Bedford rugby men take to the river

Bedford Blues in rowing challenge. PNL-140729-144228002
Bedford Blues in rowing challenge. PNL-140729-144228002

Bedford Blues players took to the River Great Ouse as they took on the challenge of rowing as part of pre-season training.

As well as taking to the water, the Blues and Bedford Rowing Club were also raising awareness and funds for Testicular Cancer charities.

After Thursday evening’s usual training session, Mike Rayer’s men headed down to the club where they were split into a number of teams and then shared amongst the rowing club’s coaches.

While two of the teams were sent out onto the water in coxed fours boats, two players took on a double challenge while one player was given a single boat to practise on.

Despite a few wobbles, all of the players made it safely back onto dry land with only a wet bum to complain about.

Away from the water, the rest of the players were taking on several different Ergo Challenges including one-minute, ten stroke and relay races.

Afterwards the players and rowing club were treated to a feast in the club house with Nando’s and Andreas Pizza helping out with plenty of chicken and pizza for everyone to re-energise on.

Blues Director of Rugby Mike Rayer said: “We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the rowing club and it was great for the lads to try something new. There was plenty of banter and competition between the teams and everyone wanting to set records on the Ergo.

“We’ve had a great first block of pre-season and now the lads have a week off to recuperate before the really hard work starts in August.”

Bedford Rowing Club President Mike Perry added: “Everyone had a great evening on the river and it is fair to say that there is plenty of power in the Blues squad which is great for rowing. Some of the other disciplines needed aren’t quite there, but with a bit of practice a few of the lads could certainly convert to rowers without too much trouble.”

While the training event was meant to be a break from the normal pre-season endeavours, the night was also a chance to raise funds and awareness about Testicular Cancer which sees around 2,200 men diagnosed with the condition each year.

The Blues have donated hospitality for two to their pre-season friendly with Saracens on Friday, August 29 as well as a signed match ball as raffle prizes. Tickets can be bought from the Bedford Rowing Club bar for the next two weeks before the draw takes place next month.

“We hope to raise much needed funds and awareness about Testicular Cancer which, unlike a lot of other cancers, is far more common in younger men, “said Rayer.

“While survival rates are around 95 per cent, it is so important that men take the time to check themselves regularly as early diagnosis is key.”