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It was with some trepidation I attended the Duck Race again this year, this being the second time of running. I had enjoyed last year’s very much, but having heard of one or two of our members taking ‘an early bath’ during setting up the course, the prospect of watching 5000 ducks descend the River Ock in the pouring rain on wet riverbanks somewhat dampened my enthusiasm.

However, we were blessed with dry weather (again) during the race, before which, more tickets and quacking duck calls for folk to ‘egg’ their ducks on ‘down’ the winding course were able to be sold.

Our club President Mike Barrett in the guise of King Duck was race overseer, and many club members helped to provide stewarding, Health & Safety and guidance for the excited crowd.

With the help of our friendly neighbouring farmer, at 2 o’clock, accompanied by cheers and quacks, the 5000 yellow ducks were poured from the giant bucket scoop on the tractor into the river. The Ock was flowing more quickly than last year. Initially, it looked as though there would be a clear winner. This duck’s strategy was to float on its side, (either that, or it had had a tipple beforehand for du(ck)tch courage)

but two thirds the way through the race, it was overtaken by a couple of determined upright contestants.

King Duck, Peter and Nigel were awaiting the flotilla at the finishing line. The last twenty meters proved to be crucial too, as the ducks

in third and fourth place, swimming in the faster current, also overtook the lateral bird, clearly without any fowl play!

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