Fierce but friendly competition was rife when 33 teams paddled for the winning title at the Dragon Boat Regatta organised by the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. But at the end of an exhausting day, the ultimate winner was the charity, which was expecting at least £1,000 in sponsorship from each of the teams which raced at the event at Remenham Farm, Henley, on July 16. The teams comprised 16 paddlers and one drummer, whose role it was to drum out the beat for the paddlers to follow. MiTech, in Gordon Road, entered for the second year running and the MiTech Mariners won each of their qualifying heats over 257 metres, becoming hot contenders for the title. But as team member Jenny Sullens explained: "Unfortunately following a day's arduous racing in the brilliant sunshine, we were finally defeated in the semi-final, finishing in second place by a fraction of a second." She added: "Although we were disappointed, we have improved no end in the past 12 months and will be going for first place next year. So it's back to the training and the practice sessions for the MiTech Mariners. 'In it to win it' is the new team motto." Ercol Furniture in London Road entered two teams in the race this year - the Ercol Lions A & B. Team B came in fifth and Team A was 18th, spurred on by drummers Stella May and Tracey Janes. Both Ercol teams landed up in the same race with Team B winning. The winners were presented with a bottle of champagne by Lucian Ercolani, son of the company's founder, who rowed at Henley before the Second World War and took part in the first race after the war ended. Points were also awarded for the participating companies' fundraising efforts. MiTech, which has designed and installed structured cabling networks in more than a dozen of the fund's major sites around the UK, raised £1,975. Ercol, which raised £4,200 from sponsorship, donations and a raffle, took top spot for fundraising. The company will be presented with a trophy from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund during September.