Category Archives: Racing News

Club Racing Successes

DARC into the lead at Tynemouth

After the July round was cut short by windy conditions on the Tyne, the sixth round of the Explore Series was back on track for the sixth round at Tynemouth on August 6th. The Tynemouth round is always one of the most eagerly anticipated of the season, with challenging conditions guaranteed. After last year’s cancellation this year certainly lived up to expectations for the 14 crews taking over the 300 metre sprint along the harbour wall.

With some very close contests it was a good day for the 3 DARC crews, A Shot in the Darc and Wear Well Away both winning 3 races, and Green Shoots winning 2 as well as being involved in a dead heat.

This took A Shot in the Darc (above) ahead of Wine on the Tyne (from Tyne ARC) to move into overall lead in the women’s league with 36 points with their closest rivals now on 31. Green Shoots move ahead of Tynemouth into 5th on 19.5 points. Wear Well Away retain 2nd place in the open league on 34, two points behind Hextraordinary (Hexham RC), a healthy situation with two rounds remaining.

Tynemouth RC provided their usual excellent hospitality for crews and spectators, and the wet weather held off just long enough to complete all the races.

The next round is a sweep-oar splash & dash event at Chester-le-Street on September 10th.

League tables after round 6 – and Tynemouth results below


World Junior Championships, Lithuania 2017

Hope Cessford of Durham ARC was the northern region’s only representative in the Great Britain squad at the World Rowing Junior Championships at Trakai, Lithuania recently. Hope rowed at bow in the junior women’s coxless four along with Flo Donald (Lea RC), Mary Wright (Henley RC) and Charlotte Fennell (Marlow RC).

With 17 nations competing in their event the GB four finished second in heat 1 on Thursday August 3rd, behind the eventual champions Croatia, which qualified them automatically for the semi-finals on Saturday along with Romania, USA, China and Poland. Qualifiers from Thursdays heats were joined in the semi-finals by crews progressing from Friday’s repechage.

In the second of two semi-finals GB finished 4th behind China and USA, with New Zealand only edging them out by 0.6sec from the 3rd place that would have qualified them for the A final. This put GB into the B final which took place at 7.30am on Sunday 6th.

The GB four won the B final, completing the 2000 metre course in 7.15.38, beating Italy, Greece, France, Germany and the Netherlands, ranking them 7th in the world in the event.

Results of the B final and all finals.

Photos courtesy of FISA.

It was a very successful championships for Great Britain, who finished 2nd in the medal table with two gold, one silver and one bronze medals, as described in British Rowing’s report.

Hope selected for World Championships

Hope Cessford of Durham ARC joins a squad of 34 chosen by British Rowing to represent Great Britain at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships taking place at Trakai, Lithuania between August 2nd and 6th. Crews were finalised following trials 2 weeks ago. Selection for the Women’s coxless four is a fantastic achievement for Hope who has been with DARC’s Juniors squad throughout her teenage years, having being identified for GB squad trials after winning the women’s single sculls at J16 level at the British Rowing Junior Championships in 2015.

Strong opposition can be expected in Lithuania with a huge entry of 752 rowers overall from 59 countries in 258 boats. The GB four of Charlotte Fennell (Marlow RC), Mary Wright (Henley RC), Hope Cessford (Durham ARC) and Flo Donald (Lea RC) is one of 17 crews from 5 continents contesting their event.

In recent years Hope has been the latest in a series of junior athletes coached to success by Gordon Beattie who counts 2016 Olympic Women’s 8+ silver medallist Jess Eddie among his former protoges.   

Now in her final year as a junior Hope had a successful 2016 rowing as a pair with Lauren Irwin, then of Chester-le-Street ARC, winning the Women’s Senior Pair at the Metropolitan Regatta at Eton Dorney and the Women’s Elite Pair at Durham Regatta (above) before their selection together to represent GB for the first time at the September 2016 World Championships in Rotterdam, where they achieved 3rd place in the B final of the Junior Women’s Pair.

Already this year Hope has represented Great Britain at an international regatta in Munich in May and at the European Junior Championships at Krefeld, Germany where Hope and Flo Donald took 5th place in the final of the Women’s Pair.

The World Championships is likely to be Hope’s final competition as a junior before going to Harvard University.

BR Junior Championships 2017

The Club entered 2 crews for the British Rowing Junior Championships held at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham on July 14th to 16th, a J14 girls’ coxed quad (pictured) and a J15 girls’ coxed quad.

This year’s Championships was the biggest ever with a record number of entries and over 1500 rowers representing 131 clubs from across the UK.

For the second year the event started on Friday with an omnium for the J14s which included tests of skills such as standing rigger dips, 360 degree turns, slalom, roll ups and emergency stops carried out in singles and doubles, as well as a time trial. The J15s and above joined the competition on Saturday with the main finals taking place on Sunday.

The J14 girls’ crew of Maddy Elmer, Freya Court, Elicia Baldwin, Hope Simpson and cox Ruby Coe finished 20th out of 42 in the time trial and qualified for the D final over 1000 metres in which they were 3rd.

The J15 girls – Catherine Musgrave, Jess Cooper, Gabby Suggett, Honor Cessford and cox Lily Sanderson were 14th out of 29 in the Saturday time trial which took them into the C final over 2000 metres where they were 2nd.

See also the BR report on  the weekend. Full results are here and there is YouTube footage from each day.

Henley Masters Regatta 2017

Durham ARC returned with 3 gold medals from 10 events entered at Henley Masters Regatta, the regatta established in 1994 and hosted by Upper Thames Rowing Club held on July 7th and 8th 2017, the week after Henley Royal Regatta. Competitors travel from all over the world to compete over 1000 metres on the famous Henley reach.

Gill Prescott and Eva Rankin (Loch Lomond ARC) each won 2 gold medals, firstly in the Women’s Masters F double sculls before combining with Helen Frykman and Sherri Kline from Long Beach Rowing Association, California to win the Women’s Masters E coxless quad.

The 2x beat last year’s winners Tideway Scullers in the semi-final and Twickenham in the final. The 4x- beat an Ardingly/Gloucester composite in the quarter final, Kingston in the semi-final and Twickenham in the final.

Gill was returning a favour to the Americans who had made it possible for her to race in the Head of the Charles Regatta (HoCR) last year as they had always wanted to race at Henley. A third member of the Long Beach RA contingent, Wendy O’Brian, raced at Henley in the Women’s Masters D 2x with Antonella Corazza from SC Varese, Italy (who had also raced with Gill in the 4x- at the HoCR) and they also won their event, ensuring all of the group came away with a Henley Medal.

A third gold for Durham ARC was secured by John Lund in a Masters H 4x- composite with Quintin BC and Wallingford RC, overcoming a Cambridge (USA)/Christiania (Norway) combination in the semi-final and Upper Thames RC in the final.

In other events, the Durham Masters F eight beat Crabtree by a canvas in the semi-final but lost to Quintin in the final. The Durham/Upper Thames RC MasG 8+ also lost to Quintin in the final.

After a dead heat and rerow David Muse lost in the quarter-final of the MasB 1x by 1 foot against Twickenham. The Masters F 4+ lost to Crabtree in the quarter-final, and Andy Jaggard lost against Poplar B&D in the quarter-final of the MasG single sculls.

In their first appearance at Henley Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore lost in the quarter-final of the WMasD 2x against Tideway Scullers, and the MasD 2x lost in the semi-final against Burton Leander.

Full results are  here.

Victor Ludorum at Talkin Tarn

The regatta season reached its conclusion in the Northern region at Talkin Tarn Regatta on July 1st. A bright and breezy day proved to be a very successful one for the Club, winning the Tarn Regatta’s inaugural Victor Ludorum award for the most successful club, for which they received a splendid new trophy sponsored by Darlington Prontaprint, along with a cash prize of £250.

Out of 44 entries spread over 3 divisions there were wins in 15 events on the buoyed 3-lane course, shortened slightly from the advertised 700 metres because of excessive weed infestation which is a perennial problem on the tarn.    

Seven wins for the Juniors included Thomas Taylor in the J14 single scull, Matthew Harrison and Dominic Crilley in the J14 double, Katie Strangward, Allanah Baldwin, Bethan Hall, Izzy Wilkinson and cox Abbie Burke in the J16 4+, Sam Taylor and Aidan Crilley in the J18 2x, and wins in the Women’s coxed quads for 2 crews – Honor Cessford, Jess Cooper, Catherine Musgrave and Gabby Suggett, coxed by Lily Sanderson, and Alannah Baldwin, Katie Strangward, Georgia Murphy and Abby Burke, coxed by Elise Sanderson.

With 3 women’s eights and 2 open eights competing there was a win for the DARC/St Leonard’s combination including Harry Coe, Aidan Crilley, Matthew Skinner, Sam Taylor, Josh Stephenson and Matthew Edge, coxed by Rebecca Jackson in the Open 8+, and for the Senior Women’s crew of Claire Adams, Kate Sowden, Ruth Hodges, Fi Ashton, Liz Law, Taya Parker, Alison Danforth and Beth Holmes, with cox from St Leonards in the Women’s 8+.

Another win for the Seniors came for Brad Knights and Elliot Kay in the Open pair. The new BR ranking system saw the Women’s double divided into 3 bands, with band 2 won by Liz Law and Taya Parker.

Andy Jaggard won the Masters G single sculls, then combined with Joyce Collett to win the Mixed Masters G double. Kim Forster and David Muse won the Mixed Masters B double, and there were wins for George Adair, David Oliver, Michael Seed and Gerry Sharpe in the Masters F four coxed by Helen Adair, and in the Masters F coxless quad.

The calendar of events in the Northern region can be found on the Northern Rowing website.

York Summer Regatta 2017

The Juniors went to York on Sunday June 18th for York Summer Regatta, along with a crew from the Senior Women and one from the Masters Men, returning with wins in 6 events. Forty-seven events were contested overall in 3 divisions over a 1000 metre course on the River Ouse.

Both the J14 boys double sculls crews reached the final with Matthew Harrison’s crew finishing a length ahead of Tom Brumwell’s.

The J15 girls quad (Honor Cessford, Jess Cooper, Catherine Musgrave, Gabby Suggett and cox Lily Sanderson) won the Women’s coxed quad, overcoming Guy Fawkes and York before the same crew claimed a second victory in the WJ15 4x+ against York.

The J13 girls, Ruby Coe and Niamh Lang, won the WJ13 double then combined with Alice Davies, Lydia Kind and cox Thomas Woods to win the WJ13 4x+, against opposition from Leeds and York.

Two Durham crews entered the J14 girls double, with Elicia Baldwin and Hope Simpson winning against Freya Court and Maddy Elmer in the semi-final before losing against York in the final.

The Senior Women – Beth Holmes, Alison Danforth, Taya Parker and Liz Law (above) – won the coxless quad defeating York crews in both semi-final and final.

In the Masters D double Martyn Calkin and Rob Coe overcame York in the semi-final before losing out to Lancaster John O‘Gaunt in the final.

Full results here.

Durham Regatta 2017

Weather conditions didn’t detract from the usual high standard of racing at the region’s premier event of the year on June 10th and 11th. For the second time Durham Regatta fell on the same weekend as the National Masters Championships in Nottingham, meaning no masters events at Durham with so many masters away racing. A damp start to Saturday was followed by a troublesome wind later in the day on Sunday, but despite this the packed schedule involving around 600 crews in 450 races was maintained almost to the minute on both days, testament to the magnificent efforts of the many volunteers.

Full use was made of the Club’s recently extended landing stage, the extension funded in part by Durham Regatta, with all crews including schools and colleges boating from DARC. Revised car parking, boat storage and crew circulation arrangements contributed to the improved efficiency.

The decision to adopt the old British Rowing points system on Saturday and the new one on Sunday worked well, with some close races particularly on Sunday.

There were 3 wins for the Juniors on Saturday and 2 wins on Sunday, one for the J13 girls coxed quad (Ruby Coe, Alice Davies, Niamh Lang and Ellie Goad, coxed by Thomas Woods) who battled through 3 rounds to beat the Chorister School in the final, and the other in the non-championship Women’s coxed quad, the third win this season for Michelle Joubert, Emily Hanscam, Ruth Hodges, Emma Lyons and cox Christie Lau, sculling to victory over Doncaster Schools and a Hexham/Durham School composite in Peter Burdess, the boat now restored after the incident in March when it was badly damaged by a heavy object dropped from Baths Bridge.

Saturday wins came from the J14 girls double scull (Hope Simpson and Elicia Baldwin), overcoming Durham School in the final, the Women’s Novice four (Catherine Musgrave, Jess Cooper, Mollie Coe, Honor Cessford and cox Lily Sanderson) who defeated Yarm School in the final, and the J18 DARC/St Leonard’s composite eight who beat the Yarm School eight in their race.

The Senior Women entered two Championship coxless quads but lost out to Tyne ARC and Newcastle University.

Crews received their prizes from special guests Jess Eddie and Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell at the presentation held at the Gala Theatre on Sunday evening.

Full results can be found here.

British Rowing Masters Championships 2017

DARC Masters were out in force at the British Rowing Masters Championships held at the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont on June 10th and 11th, the same weekend as Durham Regatta, returning from Nottingham with a good haul of medals.

This year’s Championships was the biggest ever, with 940 entries from 140 clubs, showing the strength and depth of Masters rowing across the country. The new British Rowing competition framework meant that instead of the Novice and Intermediate levels used in previous years, non-championship events were categorised into bands according to ranking index to ensure closer racing.

DARC entered 31 events in all. There were 3 gold medals in Championship events on Saturday as well as 2 silvers and 1 bronze medal and another win at non-championship level. In difficult conditions on Sunday there was a silver medal and a further non-championship win.

The first win on Saturday came from the Open Championship Masters D quad (above) of John Lyons, Richard Court, David Muse and Paul Freeman (Cambois RC).

With Gill Prescott unavoidably away there was a win in the Women’s Masters E coxless quad for a reorganised crew including Eva Rankin with a composite from Exeter, Wycliffe College and Upper Thames Rowing Clubs.

Angela Lund joined the Mixed Masters E/F quad with Helen McMillan, John Appleby and Micky Stevens to secure another gold. John Appleby and Micky Stevens then combined again to take a silver medal in the Masters G double sculls. Andy Jaggard and John Lund also reached the final, finishing 5th.

A more unexpected win came in the Women’s non-championship Masters D-F coxed four, the crew of Jacki Patrickson, Clare Woodward, June Davison and Susan Jackson, coxed superbly by Helen Adair, coming from behind to overtake 2 opponents in the last 250 metres in a very exciting race. The same squad entered a Masters A-C 4+ combination, this time Aisling Dutton replacing June Davison, and did well to take 2nd place behind a much younger crew from Lea RC.

Joyce Collett competed in Championship F single sculls as there was no competition in G 1x. She had an excellent scull winning a bronze medal, only a couple of lengths behind the winner. Had she been competing as F/G 1x with several seconds start she would certainly have won gold.

There was also a silver medal in difficult conditions against a strong headwind for Andy Jaggard in Masters G single sculls.

Paul and Sarah Rutter won a heat of the Mixed Masters E double sculls, and Kim Forster and David Muse finished second in the final of the Mixed Masters B 2x.

On Sunday crews faced horrendous conditions. The Women’s Masters E eight (Sarah Rutter, Kim Forster, Hazel Stainforth, Christine Heppell, Helen Adair, Gabrielle Moore, Sam English, Angela Lund and cox Andy Jaggard) had to wait at the start as their opponents from Marlow spent several minutes broadside on while attached to the stake-boat. When they finally got straight the DARC eight had the better start taking half a length lead. The bigger Marlow crew then rowed through taking a 1 length lead, but with a push at 500 metres and another at 250 metres the DARC eight battled back, taking the silver medal, only losing by around 1/3 length in a gutsy performance.

The final win came from Ray Dominy making her first appearance at the national championships, winning in the Women’s non-championship Masters D-F single sculls.

Soon afterwards, at around 2pm on Sunday, racing was abandoned because of worsening wind and water conditions, which meant the remaining DARC entrants, including the men’s and mixed eights, were unable to race.

Because insufficient races were completed there was no Victor Ludorum Award for the most successful club overall, but DARC was given the accolade of ‘Club of the Day’ by British Rowing after the performances on day 1.

All the results from the weekend can be found here.

Clean sweep at Tees Explore Series

Round 4 of the Northern Explore Series took place at Tees Rowing club on June 4th. This was the annual sculling skills round, where competitors race against the clock on a circular course over 1km between the Princess of Wales Bridge and the Infinity Bridge, carrying out a series of tests along the way, including square blade rowing, cornering, spinning on the spot through 360 degrees, backing on to a buoy, swapping blades between bow and stroke, emergency stop and blade slaps. Thirteen teams took part, each having two attempts at the course, the combined time deciding the outcome.

Blustery conditions made the first round a learning exercise as crews and coxes attempted to master the conditions with varying degrees of success, some becoming more acquainted with the riverbank than strictly necessary! DARC’s 3 entries had mixed fortunes in the first round, occupying 3rd spot in the open placings and 2nd and 5th in the women’s, leaving room for improvement in the second round.

Not to be outdone by the opposition from Hexham, Tyne and Berwick Steve Auster, coxing both Wear Well Away (above) and A Shot in the Darc (below), devised a plan to use the conditions to best advantage, putting it into effect to devastating effect with Wear Well Away (Chris Merchant, Vaughan Gordon, Colin Lawson and Dave Green) posting a time of 6m 34s in the second round, 45 seconds ahead of the field to take the lead in the open competition. Next came A Shot in the Darc (Kalpana Ganatra, Sue Lyons, Jane Auster and Margaret Richardson) whose time of 6m 52s moved them into the lead in the women’s league on combined times, their time almost a minute ahead of the opposition, both times marking the first occasion either team had broken 7 minutes for the course.

Sadly this year’s new women’s team Green Shoots (Paddy Deans, Linda James, Zuzanna Swirad, Maureen Millar and Kate Wicks, coxed by Dave Green and Kate Wicks was unable to capitalise and slipped into 6th place. 

Excellent performances and the first time in six years that DARC has had the top open and women’s team in the same round, two course records giving added cause for celebration.

Tynemouth Rowing Club kindly provided 2 stable boats for the event and Tees Rowing Club as usual provided excellent organisation and hospitality.

The result sees Wear Well Away take up 2nd place and A Shot in the Darc overall joint top in their respective league tables, with the next round a sweep-oar one at Tyne ARC on July 2nd.