MASTERS rowers flocked to the Thames in London for the first Vesta Veterans 8s head in three years, reports NICK HARTLAND.

Monmouth RC’s Masters E (over-55) men’s boat placed a highly creditable 11th overall and second in class in the 186-boat race, covering the 4.25-mile Chiswick to Putney championship course in 19 minutes 49 seconds.

Winners of Masters E were an Irish composite drawn from the best age-group rowers across the whole of Ireland, who won in 19.15, while Thames RC’s over-27 boat set the benchmark in 18.23.

The Quintin/London composite containing Old Monmothian Stewart Bell and former Wales cap Stewart Harries took the over-50 D class in 19.28, while Monmouth were just pipped by three seconds on overall time by Upper Thames’ over-50 boat and half a second by Agecroft’s over-42 boat.

Monmouth’s mixed over-55 eight also came second in its age category, crossing in 22.13 in 88th overall, with Wallingford taking the class win in 21.30.

And the Wye club’s women’s over-55 boat produced a competitive row to finish just 47 seconds back on the winning Upper Thames boat of Sydney Olympic medallist Miriam Batten.

They finished fourth out of 15 in class in 22.50, for 111th overall and 82nd on handicap, with York second in category in 22.17 and Broxbourne third in 22.31.

The Monmouth RC Masters E crew was – Al Butler, Nick Hooton, Tim Male, Andrew Barnett, Paul Bezani, Jonathan Keyte, Mark Stewart-Woods, James Allison and cox Zach Salmon.

Apr Newsletter Mon RC mens masters boat with Tim Male second from right and Nick Hooton fourth from right pic Ben Rodford

Monmouth’s Women’s ME crew was – Louise Allison, Liz Lewis, Kate Hooton, Sue Smith, Helen Tilley, Julia Cowton, Rachel Westerlund, Gabby Miles and cox Taryn Birkett.

Apr Newsletter Mon RC womens masters boat with Kate Hooton third from right pic Ben Rodford

The Mixed ME boat was – Colin Lewis, Peter Kelsall, Alex Mitchell, Kathryn Diserens, Eric Froggatt, Maggie Hickland, Dawn Brace, Gail Adams and cox Darcy Birkett.

Photos by Ben Rodford Photography

Full results at