Written by member Jim Tate – “The Handicapper”

The rhythmical ‘clunk’ of the turning rowlock as the inside hand positions the blade has been familiar to the early walkers along the banks of the Lane Cove River for generations. The shafts of early sun refracting through the sandstone Ignatian edifice on the northern bank squint the eyes.

Every Friday, despite tightening hips and loosening midriffs, several Tatts members relive that unspoiled start to the day and seek to overcome the challenge that only oxygen deficit can provide.

For the past nine Christmases, these members have sought to beat the Handicapper over a 20-minute test and have their names permanently ascribed to blue and white blades in the Tatts’ Presentation Cabinet.

This year’s iteration was riddled with symmetry. The trophy, itself, is a remnant of our departing General Manager’s rowing career and this year’s final came down to a contest between two, not only with a long affiliation to the Lane Cove course but also as children of country pharmacists. No form of performance enhancement would be required in this 10th running of the event.

Danielle Pringle (nee Young), engaging daughter of a Moree pharmacist, Loreto Normanhurst former pupil and rowing participant and sister of three Old Igantians, found herself drawn against Tom Flannery (OR13), son (and grandson) of a Forbes pharmacist and bow of the SIC 2013-second crew beaten out on the day that matters by those hoons from across the river. Time to make an account.

Young was in devastating form, showing a tenacity and focus not often seen by one new to the erg, and covered her assigned distance of 4,400m in 19:29.5 coming home rating 37 if you don’t mind.

The bookies were reaching for their pencils, and Flannery’s odds were widening like an Occidental waistline. “Hold your tickets, please!”  Flannery, brilliant, particularly in the last 500m, covered his assigned distance of 5,325m in 19:25.6, averaging 1.49 per 500m and coming home at 40 strokes per minute. This is performance at any age or level.

Tom Flannery’s name will now move onto the Blade, and he deserves our congratulations. Of course, he now joins that elite group of Blade winners which the Handicapper ensures will never win again.

Well done to all participants. Your consistency and involvement are greatly appreciated.