WE CAME, we paddled, we didn’t quite conquer...
There was no lack of effort in the Advertiser team at Bluebell Wood’s first dragon boat races, just a dearth of discipline.
Other teams - some kitted out in smart matching outfits, some in fancy dress - glided across the surface of Manvers Lake on Saturday.
Meanwhile, our Tiser Riptides team did a lot of splashing about but lacked the co-ordination and technique to take us to the final.
In fact, out of 12 teams after three heats, we were plumb last. At least we managed to not fall in.
Leaving our Tiser paddlers in their wake were Sheffield manufacturers Loadhog, who took the overall title - despite a shaky start to the day.
Their team, the Loadhog Leviathans, recorded a best time of 51 seconds in the heats - some 12 seconds quicker than us.
But design engineer and Leviathan paddler Martin Baker said: “The day started off quite shambolically for us.
“I was late, so were some of our others, and about ten minutes before it started, it looked like we might not even get a team together.
“And with lots of other teams in matching T-shirts, we weren’t feeling very confident at that point.
“The guy from the dragon boat people who was in the boat with us, got a bit frustrated that we weren’t listening to him, which we found amusing more than anything.
“We made a few changes after our first heat but we stuck with the seating order.
“We drew boat one for the final, started off well and ended up winning in under 50 seconds, which they said was a very good time.”
The firm has also taken part in a golf day and the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge for the hospice, which has supported one Loadhog staff member’s family.
The event was a roaring success for Bluebell Wood, which had wanted to try something new and raise the charity’s profile in the north of the borough.
Early calculations suggest the day - organised by Hampshire firm Dragon Boat Events - will have brought in about £10,000 for the children’s hospice.
A date of August 11 has already been picked for next year’s event, which will add more children’s activities and a best dressed team award.
Bluebell Wood events fundraiser Jo Berry said: “We are thrilled at the success of our first dragon boat races.
“There was a huge turnout from the public and a great day was had by the teams and the spectators.
“Bluebell Wood is the local children’s hospice for the Dearne Valley and surrounding areas and to be able to hold an event in the heart of this community was a great way of raising awareness of our charity.
“We look forward to returning to Manvers Lake for our 2018 races.”
Thanks to the volunteers who joined the Advertiser team for our heats, including Adam Bell, Jessica Stanley and Caroline Boyd-Southern.
Anyone wishing to enter next year can contact Jo on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01909 508113.