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  • <p>Kingston head north to start the season!</p>
    April 2017 - Taking stock of Stockton

    Kingston head north to start the season!

    17 Dec 2016 - 17:10
  • <p>Kingston head west for 2nd race of the season</p>
    May 2017 - Ship shape and Bristol Fashion

    Kingston head west for 2nd race of the season

    19 Sep 2016 - 14:40
  • <p>Kingston stay local to bring home trophies</p>
    May 2017 - Great day at Wraysbury

    Kingston stay local to bring home trophies

    2 Sep 2016 - 14:31
  • <p>&nbsp;Kingston paddlers venture North (again) in search of treasure</p>
    June 2017: Crosby calls

     Kingston paddlers venture North (again) in search of treasure

    19 Jul 2016 - 07:21

June 2017: Crosby calls

 Kingston paddlers venture North (again) in search of treasure

 
 

In one hundred years’ time ancestors of the Crosby Eighteen will be asked in hushed tones about whether they remember the names of the valiant Kingston Royals who travelled, by ‘fun bus’ and two cars, to somewhere called Liverpool in the summer of 2017.  What started with the expectation of nothing more than garnering few points soon became a tale of daring-do, some damn fine paddling and rather a lot of singing. 
 
The Crosby Eighteen left their leafy riverside home on the evening of Friday June 9thand by various four wheeled vehicular conveniences drove north into the night.  The ‘fun bus’ conveyed fourteen of their number, twelve of which were fortified with small metal containers of gin based beverages, arriving some five hours later at a place known as a ‘Travel Lodge’.  They immediately took to their various quarters cognisant of the 7:00amreveille that awaited them the next day. 
 
The grey morning light of the 10th was accompanied by torrential rain that soaked in moments anyone who ventured forth without umbrella, or in this case across the carpark to an establishment run by a Mr R McDonald, where their fast was broken by some suspect and non-specific deep fried and grilled comestibles.  Arriving at the venue the unending raining and north easterly wind continued to vex and frustrate the Crosby Eighteen as they erected the Event Shelter in record time; some mention of the Guinness Book of Records being contacted was whispered as the rain and wind continued to buffet the shelter.  There is now rumours that Royal Navy Foul Weather Jackets will become standard issue.
 
The thirteen ladies, as is convention, took to the water first and proved once again why they are amongst the best in land, the final being as close a race as one can expect from the sport.  Their eventual third place does not for a second convey the hair’s breath that separated them from the victors and their effort is even more remarkable when you consider the gloomy providence had afforded them the slow shallow lane for their concluding race.
 
The mixed team of sixteen plus helm and drummer, were as you can imagine, not expected to worry the competition as the opposition had at least eighteen and in most cases twenty paddlers.  Whilst holding their own in the 200m sprints where the Crosby Eighteen were always at a distinct disadvantage, something rather magical happened in the longer 450m races.  The sixteen paddlers, adeptly helmed by Mr S Chittenden of the parish, found their rhythm and timing coalescing in a way most later commented didn’t think possible, putting to the sword a number of teams not only in the league above them but with four more paddles in the water.  The minor plate final saw them pipped into 2nd place by the most gossamer of margins by a stronger, larger crew from St Neots.  The crest fallen, and this correspondent needs to repeat, the fully crewed boats of the Cambridge Royals and Soaring Dragons having to battle over 3rd and 4th places. 
 
Further glory was denied the Crosby Eighteen as the final long race was cancelled, but as you can imagine dear reader, this was greeted with good cheer and general bonhomie.  Overall a remarkable 9th place was a result, which should be enough to claim tribute and acclaim for the rest of the season. No one other than those on that fateful day in June will understand how magnificent the boat felt when those sixteen paddled as one.  
But there is more.  The return journey to civilisation and better climes was accompanied by four and one half hours of singing, the newly discovered DJ Jeopardy (Ms A Weatherhead of the parish) mixing the beats and occasionally ‘dropping the mic’, interrupted only by a break for comfort and sustenance.  The highlight of said journey being a majestic rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ that sadly was not recorded for posterity.
 
 
The rest of the season awaits like an undiscovered country, could we but bottle the spirit of the 10th and all drink heartily together further glory and our place in history would be assured. 

 
 
 
For results, visit www.dragonboat.org.uk
 
Text: Tony Cocks
Photo credit: Julian Harvey

<p>&nbsp;Kingston paddlers venture North (again) in search of treasure</p>
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