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Head of the River Fours weekend

November 11th and 12th was a weekend to remember on the Tideway with competitors returning to action after the cancellation of the British Rowing Senior Championships in October. The Veteran Fours Head for Masters took place on November 11th and the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours for Senior crews took place on November 12th.

The Veterans Head was rowed over a shorter course from Chiswick to Putney and attracted 235 entries in all Masters categories. It was the second outing on the Tideway in a month for Gill Prescott, having completed the Pairs Head in a DARC Masters E double with Helen McMillan on October 14th.

On Saturday Gill and another of her doubles partners Eva Rankin from Loch Lomond joined Jackie Darling of Barnes Bridge Ladies and Birgith Sims of Kingston RC to form a coxless quad rowing out of Thames Rowing Club. It was the first time that the combination had taken to the water so they were very pleased to have the 5-6km row up to the start. Gill stroked the boat and, with Birgith steering an exceptional course, they started in the middle of the Women’s Masters F 4x- with Tideway Scullers and Molesey ahead, and Walbrook and Marlow behind. The crew had a really good row, passing both of those ahead of them and won their event by more than a minute, finishing 115th overall in 21.22.7. As Gill remarked afterwards ‘A win on the Tideway is always special!’.

Veteran fours results.

Photo by Ben Rodford.

Accompanied by coach Phill Tully the DARC Senior Women travelled to London with two crews boating from Cygnet RC in the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours on Sunday, a coxless quad of Taya Parker, Alison Danforth, Rachael O’Connor and Beth Holmes and a coxed four comprising Kate Sowden, Rebecca Ward, Heather Tosley and Becky Chilcott, coxed by Katie Warburton.

Rowed over 6.8km on the Tideway course from Mortlake to Putney the event attracts nearly 500 entries from around the UK and this year was run for the first time under BR’s new Competition Framework.

Taking on some of the best crews in the country the 4x- finished 15th of 16 entries in band 1 in 22.34.2 (the winners being the Leander quad of Beth Bryan, Holly Nixon, Victoria Thornley and Katherine Copeland) and the 4x+ was 13th of 17 entered in band 3 in 24.13.6. As Kate pointed out ‘the two DARC boats did themselves so proud and when you race against the UK’s best rowers it’s just lovely not being last!’

HoR Fours results.

Durham LDS and Autumn SBH 2017

Rowers from across the north of England converged on the River Wear last Saturday for the Durham round of the Northern Rowing Council’s Long Distance Sculling (LDS) Series, a time trial over 1800 metres with competitors taking on the course from Count’s House to the Bandstand in single, double and quadruple sculls, the key element being successful negotiation of the narrow arches of Elvet Bridge at the midway point.

The latest round, hosted by Durham Amateur Rowing Club, was the fifth of six scheduled over the autumn at different locations across the north-east and with weather and water conditions ideal there was great enthusiasm among the 100 crews assembled, after the disappointment of seeing earlier rounds at Berwick and on the River Tyne cancelled because of high winds.

As in recent years the morning event was the first part of a double header, coinciding with Durham ARC’s Autumn Small Boats Head (SBH) in the afternoon. Such is its popularity that for the first time a second division of the SBH was added, thus allowing 3 opportunities to race in different categories throughout the day.

The Small Boats Head also provides an opportunity for competition in sweep-oared boats (pairs and fours), the format preferred by the colleges of Durham University. After the Tyne cancellation last week this was their first chance of the new academic year to race.  

The day is a showpiece for the sport, attracting the best of the region’s rowers of all ages, as well as enabling those new to the sport to take part, and brings together clubs, schools and colleges.

The fine conditions permitted some of the fastest times for many years, with the Durham ARC J18 junior coxless quad fastest of the 300 entries, Harry Coe, Josh Stephenson, Matthew Skinner and Matthew Edge posting a time of 6min 01.2 sec and maintaining their unbeaten record for the year in the LDS Series. In the LDS Durham ARC also took victory in the Open double sculls, Andy Jaggard won the Masters G single and there were wins in the Women’s coxless quad, Women’s Masters C double, with Clare Woodward and Susan Jackson also taking the prize for the fastest Senior Women’s double, and Joyce Collett in the Women’s Masters G single scull, while in the SBH there were wins for the club in 11 categories including the Open coxless quad, Open pair, Women’s coxed four, J16 girls coxless quad, J14 girls coxed quad, Alannah Baldwin and Katie Strangward in the J18 girls double, Open Masters D coxed quad, John Lyons in the Open Masters E single scull, and the Women’s Masters E double, with Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan also winning the prize for fastest Women’s double of the day. The Women’s Masters F coxed quad gained their first victory in a head race and Gabrielle Moore won for the first time in a single in the Women’s Masters E 1x.

Success was well distributed among other clubs with Chester-le-Street, Hexham, Tyne ARC, Tyne United, Talkin Tarn, Tees RC, Cambois, Sunderland City and Lakeland RC all claiming victories. Queen Elizabeth High School was the most successful school, while Hatfield College was the most successful of the Durham University clubs, setting the fastest times in both men’s and women’s categories from a total of 35 college coxed fours entered.  

Points accumulated in each round of the LDS Series go towards a Victor Ludorum prize presented to the winning club at Junior, Senior and Masters levels after the final round at Tees RC on Saturday.

LDS results

Wins in 6 events –

  • Open J18 4x- – Matthew Edge, Matthew Skinner, Josh Stephenson, Harry Coe
  • Open 2x – Joe Owen, Nicholas Baird
  • Women’s 4x- – Becky Chilcott, Alison Danforth, Rachael O’Connor, Beth Holmes
  • Open MasG 1x – Andy Jaggard
  • WMasC 2x – Clare Woodward, Susan Jackson – Fastest Senior Women’s 2x
  • WMasG 1x – Joyce Collett

SBH results

Wins in 11 events –

  • Open 4x- – Reece Stockport, Mert Evirgen, Can Evirgen, Brad Knights
  • Open 2- – Dan Pearson, John Roxborough
  • Women’s 4+ band 1 – Kate Sowden, Caroline Kirk, Heather Tosley, Becky Chilcott
  • WJ18 2x – Katie Strangward, Alannah Baldwin
  • WJ16 4x- – Gabby Suggett, Pardis Farahi, Millie McIntyre, Kirsty White
  • WJ14 4x+ – Georgia Abbott, Niamh Lang, Ruby Coe, Ellie Goad + cox Libby Morris
  • Open MasD 4x+ – Gary McCarthy, George Peattie, Dave Murray, Peter Robinson
  • Open Mas CDFG 1x – John Lyons
  • WMasE 2x – Gill Prescott, Helen McMillan – Fastest Women’s 2x
  • WMas CDF 4x+ – Kalpana Ganatra, Jane Auster, Sue Lyons, Alison Shepherd + cox Caroline Scholl
  • WMas DE 1x – Gabrielle Moore

Bernard Robertson

We are saddened to learn of the death of Bernard Robertson who was Club Captain between 1983 and 1989.

The family has announced his passing, on Monday 30th October, following a short illness.

Bernard had a lifelong passion for rowing, representing school and University with distinction before going on to coach, Captain and Chair St. Cuthbert’s, Durham Amateur Rowing Club and Durham Regatta. A true gentleman, his warmth, generosity and laughter will be sorely missed by all.

A service for family and friends is being held at 12pm on Thursday 9th November, Durham Crematorium, South Road, Durham. DH1 3TQ.  With light refreshments afterwards at the Duke Of Wellington, Neville Cross.

Bishop wins in Boston

The first medal in this year’s Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Massachusetts on October 21st went to GB’s Tom Bishop, competing for Quintin BC in the Veteran 70+ single sculls.

Tom has connections with DARC dating from the 1970s. Formerly of Durham University he competed for DARC at the 1972 National Championships at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, taking a silver medal in the double sculls along with Geoff Potts. In the same year he was a member of the DARC Eight that took part in the Head of the River Race, the first time for 14 years that the club had fielded an eight in the race.

In 1973 he married Durham University graduate Diane Preston, who he had coached the previous year when she became DARC’s first international, representing GB in a single scull at the European Women’s Championships in Brandenburg, East Germany. At this time women members of the club were classed as associates and had no voting rights. The club only agreed to full voting rights for women at the 1975 AGM.

Both Tom and Diane then went on to represent Great Britain at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. After starting a family Diane took a long break, only returning to rowing recently. Since moving to Quintin Tom has teamed up with DARC veterans many times, most recently in a composite Masters F quad at the 2017 World Masters Regatta in Bled.

Geoff Potts

Quintin Boat Club has announced the death of Geoff Potts on October 28th following a heart attack while coaching in a launch at Mortlake Anglian and Alpha BC. His association with Quintin began in the 1970s and lasted until around 2 years ago when he moved to MAA.

Geoff Potts started rowing at Durham School in the 1960s and, along with John Appleby, Gareth Powley, George Nicholson and Tony Bailes, was a member of the coxed four victorious in the Grand Challenge Cup at Durham Regatta in 1966.

The winning crew was to be reunited 50 years later as special guests at the 2016 Durham Regatta.

After leaving school Geoff went on to Durham University and rowed, along with Bill Grant, for DUBC at Henley Royal Regatta between 1968 and 1970 before initially joining Tees Rowing Club where he started his sculling career.

Greater success was to follow however after he moved to DARC

In 1972 a DARC eight competed in the Head of the River Race for the first time since 1958, starting 255 and finishing 35th. The crew comprised Kim Metcalfe, Tom Bishop, Mike Matthews, Fred Snowdon, Ian Shepherd, Bill Grant, Geoff Potts, John Appleby and cox Andy Jaggard.

Later the same year when the first National Championships was held at the new 2000 metre course at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham, Geoff Potts and Tom Bishop took the silver medal in the double sculls.

Then in 1974 Geoff was selected as Great Britain Lightweight Single Sculler at the World Rowing Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, the first time that the Championships included events for lightweights. Becoming DARC’s first male international Geoff won the first ever WRC lightweight race and went on to finish 4th overall.

After relocating to London he continued to be acknowledged as a very accomplished veteran sculler at Quintin as well as being highly regarded as a coach. 

Coaching Award for Gordon

Plaudits have been flowing in for Gordon Beattie after he was given the accolade of Coach of the Year for the Durham and Chester-le-Street area in the annual County Durham Sport Awards on October 27th.

Gordon has been coaching for over 40 years as well as carrying out many other duties around the Club on a voluntary basis, and had been looking forward to a well-deserved rest until being persuaded to cycle up and down the riverbanks of the Wear for one more year, helping Hope Cessford achieve her aim of selection for the GB Junior squad for the second successive year.

Hope was selected for the GB coxless four that won the B final at the World Junior Championships in Lithuania in August. She spoke of Gordon as the most influential person in her life. ‘He has taught me the meaning of hard work, dedication and what it takes to be a successful athlete whilst also being a shoulder to cry on’.

Award winners from each of the 4 geographical areas go forward to the County final at the Gala Theatre on January 26th 2018.

A Shot in the DARC win Explore Series

The final round of the 2017 Explore Series took place at Tyne United on October 1st. It was a successful day for DARC with the women’s crew ‘A Shot in the Darc’ (Alison Shepherd, Sue Lyons, Jane Auster, Kalpana Ganatra and Margaret Richardson) winning all four of their races to clinch top place with 50 points in the women’s league, while Wear Well Away (Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Chris Merchant, Steve Auster and Dave Green) won 3 races to finish as runners-up in the Open league on 46, 4 points behind Hexham who have led all season.

Despite being on half points for the round Green Shoots (Zuzanna Swirad, Paddy Deans, Linda James, Alison Hoare, Maureen Miller, Louise Forster and Kate Wicks) secured 2 points, enabling them to take fourth place by half a point in the women’s league.

A total of 37 teams from 10 different clubs have taken part this year, the second successive year in which a DARC Women’s team has won the league. This concluded the sixth season of the Series which started as the Sunday League in 2012. The competition is for novice, recreational and returning rowers and retired racers.

Final league table

Great Tyne Rowers raise funds for the Stroke Association

Jo Beverley of the Stroke Association visited Durham ARC on Monday to join members of the club’s daytime rowing group for coffee and to receive funds donated. The group took part recently in the Great Tyne Row in aid of the Stroke Association, raising £1572 for the charity.

The Club entered 3 stable coxed quads in the event on September 2nd, a 25km challenge on the River Tyne starting from Newburn and finishing on the beach at Tynemouth.

The 15 crew members chose to support the Stroke Association as two of the participants had previously had strokes and rowing has helped with their recovery.

To further raise awareness the 3 teams adopted names with stroke connotations, ‘30 strokes a minute’ and ‘The F.A.S.T crew’ completing the 25km in an identical time of 2 hours 13 minutes, and ‘Stroke ‘n’ Recovery’ finishing in 2 hours 51 minutes.

Crew members are pictured above with one of the boats preparing for the event and with Jo Beverley on her visit to the club.  

 

Allcomers Regatta 2017

Seventeen teams took part in Durham ARC’s Allcomers Regatta on September 24th, the best entry for several years. Numbers were boosted by 3 teams who had travelled from Whitby for the occasion.

Five men’s teams, five mixed and 7 women’s teams contested a total of 34 races over a 300 metre course on a round robin basis. The crews from Whitby Friendship Rowing Club performed well, winning most of their races, but as they were classed as experienced rowers they were ineligible for prizes even though their experience was of fixed seat rather than sliding seat rowing.

Waterboys won the men’s competition, The Square Blades won the mixed competition, and Ladies who Launch took the accolades in the women’s competition, holding off Wannabe Wags in an ergo relay tie breaker.

Other attractions were available to entertain a healthy gathering of spectators, including a BBQ and Pimms stall. Winners of the ergo challenge were James Kendrew for men, Annabel Sholey for women and Steven Curtis for juniors.

World Masters Regatta 2017

DARC surpassed all previous records taking a party of 36 rowers, some accompanied by non-rowing partners, to Slovenia for the World Rowing Masters Regatta held on Lake Bled over 5 days between September 6th and 10th 2017. Crews entered a total of 69 races, more than twice the number entered by the club at any previous championships. With such an expansion in the number of Masters wishing to compete it was necessary for the first time to take 2 trailers to transport the required fleet of boats on the 1900-mile round trip, a major challenge for the 5 drivers involved.

To accommodate the 4700 athletes and 6000 boat entries competing in over 900 races the organisers had to start a race every 3 minutes from 7am to 7pm over the four and a half days of competition, a remarkable feat of organisation, and an even greater achievement given the fluctuating weather conditions during the week, with sun, wind and rain in equal measure. All who travelled agreed that whatever the outcome it was a wonderful experience in a magnificent setting with races over the 1000 metre 8-lane course finishing in the shadow of Bled Castle.

For many of the party it was their first experience of the World Masters, while others have risen to the challenge many times, some virtually every year since 1996. The club has only once failed to return with a victory.

Fortunes were mixed, with 5 wins, 7 second place finishes and 6 third places. The first win came on Thursday for the men’s Masters G eight (above) of Derek Gordon, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Clive Cooper (Upper Thames RC), David Walker, Martin Judson, Micky Stevens and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking, then on Friday there was a victory for the men’s G double (below) of John Appleby and Micky Stevens. Three further wins came on Sunday in the Mixed G double (Eva Rankin and John Appleby), then for Martin Judson, Paul Stanley and David Walker in a composite Mixed G eight including Colin Barratt of Ardingly RC and representatives from Hungary, Germany and USA, again coxed by Emma Hocking, and finally another victory for John Appleby, his 4th of the regatta, this time with a composite Mixed F quad including Tom Bishop of Quintin BC, Hilary Cook of Mortlake and Ailie Ord of Strathclyde Park.

John Appleby enjoyed the best return securing 4 second places – the F single scull on Wednesday, F double scull with Micky Stevens and G quad scull with Micky Stevens, David Walker and John Watkinson on Thursday, and the F eight with Tim Baker of Abingdon RC, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Walker, Martin Judson, Micky Stevens and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking on Friday.

The Judson, Walker, Stanley and Baker combination started day 1 of the regatta on Wednesday with a 4th place finish in the Masters E 4+. Several crews had their first experience of World Masters racing on Wednesday – Clare Woodward and Jacki Patrickson were 7th in the Women’s Masters D double while Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore were 5th in the same event. Another 5th place came for the women’s E8+ (Sarah Rutter, Kim Forster, Hazel Stainforth, Gabrielle Moore, Helen Adair, June Davison, Susan Jackson and Angela Lund, coxed by Nigel van Zwanenberg). Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson, Clare Woodward and cox Helen Adair had their best result of the week with a third place finish in the women’s Masters C coxed four. Andy Jaggard also finished 3rd in the F single scull, then partnered David Muse to a 6th place in the D 2x.

Thursday saw a 4th place finish for Hazel Stainforth, Helen Adair, Gabrielle Moore and Angela Lund in the women’s E 4x-. Joyce Collett had the first of three 4th place finishes in single sculls, the F on Thursday followed by G and E on Saturday, June Davison finishing 7th in the F 1x. Paul Rutter and David Oliver were 7th in the E pair. Julian Ringer and Paul Freeman of Cambois were 8th in the F 2x, Clare Woodward and Kim Forster were 6th and 8th respectively in the women’s C 1x, and Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver, George Adair were 7th in the F 4-.

Hazel Stainforth, Gabrielle Moore and Angela Lund went one better than the previous day in the women’s F 4x- on Friday, a third place, this time with Joyce Collett completing the line-up. Paul Rutter was 5th in the E single scull, and Clare Woodward and Ray Dominy were 5th and 7th in the women’s D single. Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver and George Adair again came 7th, this time in the F 4x-, Paul Rutter, Martin Judson, David Walker and John Watkinson finishing 5th in the same event. John Lund and Andy Jaggard were 4th in the G 2x, and Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Clare Woodward were 4th in the women’s C 4x-.

Saturday was the busiest day. Results included 3rd for Paul Rutter in a composite D coxless quad, 8th in the same event for John Lyons, Julian Ringer, David Muse and Paul Freeman, 3rd in the G4+ for Micky Stevens, Paul Stanley, David Walker, John Appleby and cox Emma Hocking, 6th in the women’s F 2x for Hazel Stainforth and Angela Lund, 6th in the B 1x for David Muse, 7th in the C 2x for John Lyons and David Muse, another 7th in the F 4+ for Gerry Sharpe, Michael Seed, David Oliver and George Adair, this time coxed by Helen Adair, 4th in the F4+ for John Watkinson, Martin Judson, David Walker, Paul Stanley and cox Emma Hocking, 7th in the women’s C 2x for Clare Woodward and Susan Jackson, 2nd, 4th and 8th respectively in the G 1x for Andy Jaggard, John Appleby and Julian Ringer, 8th in the E 2x for Julian Ringer and Paul Freeman, 6th on the women’s D 4x- for Susan Jackson, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Clare Woodward, 5th for David Walker and Martin Judson in the F pair, and a 2nd place for Derek Gordon in a composite Masters H eight.

Sunday of the World Masters is reserved for mixed events drawn during the regatta, and is a further opportunity for competitors to form composite crews with other clubs. As well as the three wins there was a 5th place for Hazel Stainforth, Roger Stainforth, John Lund and Angela Lund in the mixed G 4x-, 7th for Paul Rutter and Sarah Rutter in the mixed E 2x, 2nd for Hazel Stanforth and Micky Stevens in the mixed G 2x, 7th for Kim Forster, John Lyons, Clare Woodward and David Muse in the mixed C 4x-, 5th for Kim Forster and David Muse in the mixed B 2x. 6th for Paul Rutter, Sarah Rutter and an Abingdon composite in the mixed E 4x-, and 8th in the same event for Clare Woodward, June Davison, John Lyons and Paul Freeman.

Full results are available here.

Official photos from Sport Graphics

Videos of G8+, G4x and F8+.

Explanation of Masters age categories – a crew can be entered in the age category corresponding to the age attained during the current year or in any younger category.

Age categories: A Minimum age 27 years or more
  B Average age 36 years or more
  C Average age 43 years or more
  D Average age 50 years or more
  E Average age 55 years or more
  F Average age 60 years or more
  G Average age 65 years or more
  H Average age 70 years or more
  I Average age 75 years or more
  J Average age 80 years or more
  K Average age 85 years or more

There is no progression system so a medal is awarded to the winner of each race.