ExtraOARdinary Victory for Novices
By MARCUS STEAD
A team of newcomers who had been in training for just four weeks were the surprise winners of the Splash and Dash Men’s Regatta at Llandaff Rowing Club.
The team of Robert Gordon, Daniel Edwards, Stephen Cleary, all aged 32, and last-minute replacement Richard Phipps formed a team called ‘Love Dem Oars’ and saw off competitors in three races, including a comfortable victory against a more experienced group of firefighters in the final.
The event was held last Saturday as a fundraiser for Velindre Cancer Care and Keep Wales Tidy.
Robert, who works as an accountant for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I entered this event a few years ago with other people, and this year I suggested to my friends that we should take part, because it raises money for good causes and there’s a decent party afterwards at the club.
“I meant it as a bit of fun and a chance to raise money for local charities. I certainly didn’t expect us to win it!”
The original quartet began training in August under the guidance of Arthur Williams, 69, an accomplished rowing instructor, who was equally surprised by their win. He said: “I have to give them credit. They were a pleasure to work with because they were keen to learn and they have a good sense of humour.”
The team were dealt a blow just two days before the race when their most athletic team member, daily gym-goer Robert Kinsella, was forced to withdraw after being called into hospital for a hand operation, and he was substituted on the day by established rower Richard Phipps, who took part in eight races for different teams during the day. He said: “It’s been a very long, tiring day for me though it was a pleasure to step in and help ‘Love Dem Oars’. They’re a great bunch of lads and we’ve raised money for two good causes.”
The team are still accepting sponsorship money and anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting: goo.gl/CbPTLS