Category Archives: Racing News

Club Racing Successes

European Junior Championships

After 2 years of intensive training with the Great Britain Junior Squad Hope Cessford is making excellent progress, taking part recently in the European Junior Championships in Germany. This follows a successful 2016 during which Hope represented Durham ARC in the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race and at Henley Women’s Regatta, before Hope and Lauren Irwin (Chester-le-Street ARC) won at the Metropolitan Regatta at Eton Dorney and in the Elite Women’s Pair at Durham Regatta (above). The pair then went on to represent Great Britain for the first time at the World Junior Championships in Rotterdam last August.

Hope is the Northern Region’s only representative in a 32-strong GB Juniors squad announced recently. When not with the GB squad she is coached in Durham by Gordon Beattie.

On Saturday May 6th the GB Women’s coxless 4 of Ella Morgan (Henley RC), Mary Wright (Henley RC), Hope Cessford (Durham ARC) and Flo Donald (Lea RC) finished 2nd in heat 2 at the Munich DRV Junior International Regatta, 2 seconds behind winners Germany in 7.30.64, qualifying for the A final on Sunday May 7th where they finished 5th in 7.30.52 behind four German crews. Also on Sunday Hope and Flo were 2nd in 7.48.18 in the heat of the Women’s Pair, two seconds behind the other GB pair of Ella Morgan and Mary Wright from Henley before conditions led to curtailment of racing.

Great Britain then sent a small squad to the European Rowing Junior Championships in Krefeld, Germany on May 20th and 21st, including Hope and Flo Donald of Lea RC, who qualified in 2nd place in heat 2 of the Women’s Pair behind eventual champions Romania in a time of 8.00.25. In the second semi-final the GB pair finished 2nd to Germany in 7.47.57, a result that put them into the A final on Sunday where they finished 5th in 7.56.32. Full results can be found here.

Krefeld is a new venue for international regattas and the European Junior Championships is a relatively new event introduced in 2011 but entries continue to grow, with this year’s regatta attracting 532 athletes from 33 nations. 

The World Rowing Junior Championships take place this year at Trakai, Lithuania on August 2nd to 6th.

Successful weekend at Durham City Regatta

Durham City Regatta took place over the weekend of May 12th and 13th with 11 hours of racing over the 700-metre course on Saturday to accommodate a full entry of 300 crews representing schools, colleges and clubs from across the north of England, followed by a more relaxed day on Sunday with 120 crews competing for 6 hours over 500 metres, entries from doubles and singles being particularly popular this year.

With British Rowing’s new Competition Framework being phased in it was decided to adopt the old rules for Saturday racing and to use Sunday to trial the new Ranking Index system of scoring.

The success of the day was down to the volunteers who turned out in force to support the event and Club Captain Paul Rutter was quick to praise them for their efforts.

On the water it was a successful day for DARC’s Senior Men’s and Women’s squads with wins on Saturday for the Women’s Elite coxless quad of Liz Law, Taya Parker, Alison Danforth and Beth Holmes, and for the Women’s IM3 coxed quad of Emma Lyons, Ruth Hodges, Taya Parker, Michelle Joubert and cox Christie Lau. The elite crew won again on Sunday, this time in the Women’s coxless quad, and there was a first win for the Men’s coxed quad (above) of Tom Maddick, Joe Owen, Nick Baird, Reece Stockport and cox Becky Jackson.

Further wins came for Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan on Saturday in the Women’s IM2 double sculls and on Sunday in the Women’s 2x. The Masters D 2x also won on Saturday and Joyce Collett won the Women’s Masters F single scull on Sunday.

There were 6 wins for the Juniors on Sunday. Mollie Coe, Catherine Musgrave, Jess Cooper, Honor Cessford and cox Lily Sanderson won the J15 girls coxed quad, Freya Court, Madalyn Elmer, Elicia Baldwin and Hope Simpson won the J14 girls coxed quad, and Niamh Lang, Ellie Goad, Alice Davies, Ruby Coe and cox Thomas Woods won the J13 girls coxed quad. In the J14 girls double sculls there was a win for Hope Simpson and Elicia Baldwin, while Adam Morris and Mark Humphries won in the J15 boys 2x. In the Women’s 4+ Mllie McIntyre, Catherine Henderson, Natalya Priestly Leach, Gabriella Suggett and cox Katie Warburton also won.

Full results:

Berwick Explore Series

Round 3 of the Explore Series took place on May 7th at Berwick, one of the most scenic of the locations visited by the popular competition for novice, recreational and returning rowers. An excellent entry of 19 crews gathered at the Berwick clubhouse in the shadow of the Royal Border Bridge and competition got underway an hour earlier than usual at 11am to make inroads into the 38 scheduled races before the tide turned.

DARC entered 2 Open and 2 Women’s crews. Wear Well Away (Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Chris Merchant and Steve Auster) were the most successful on the day winning all 4 of their races, and there were 2 wins apiece for A Shot in the Darc (Sonny Shepherd, Kalpana Ganatra, Sue Lyons and Margaret Richardson) and Cuthbert’s Craft (Louise Forster, Matt Pallister, Geoff Raw and Stewart Allan), a mixed combination taking part in their first round of the series. Alison Hoare joined the Green Shoots team for the first time along with Paddy Deans, Maureen Miller and Linda James.

Two of the crews were coxed expertly by John Lyons, with Steve Auster, Louise Forster and Paddy Deans sharing coxing duties for the other two when not rowing themselves.

With 9 clubs from the northern region attending an enjoyable day was had by all. One of the benefits of the series is the social opportunities it provides. Excellent organisation and hospitality was provided by the volunteers from Berwick who took everything in their stride despite difficult boating conditions on the incoming tide.

In the overall league table for Open crews after 3 rounds Wear Well Away move up to 4th on 18 points behind leaders Hexcellent from Hexham (21). In the Women’s table Wine on the Tyne form Tyne ARC (21 points) leapfrog A Shot in the Darc (20) who are now in second place.

The annual sculling skills round at Tees Rowing Club is next on the agenda on June 4th.

Victory for alumnus at BUCS

Former Durham ARC and St Leonards member James Snowball celebrated victory in the Open Intermediate Eight representing Oxford Brookes University, winning a gold medal at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta at Nottingham on April 29th.

The following week James returned with a  silver medal from the International Regatta in Ghent, Belgium again with the Oxford Brookes 8+, finishing ahead of Thames RC.

BUCS results

Juniors at Chester-le-Street

Chester-le-Street presents a great first regatta for our junior crews, especially the younger juniors, who were out in force. A total of 12 junior crews were entered, so for the sake of brevity and interest they’ve been reported on by age group rather than specific crew.

The J13 Girls entered two quads and a double, managing to make it to the final in both events, with some impressive racing by all. In their first races of the season, they were able to hold their own against other local crews, setting a good precedent for upcoming regattas.

The J14s raced in a girls double, a boys quad and three boys singles. Despite it being the girls’ first race in a double and the boys’ first event in singles, they were all able to perform well, with the boys quad making it to their final.

Lastly, the J15s entered a mixed quad, a girls four, and boys and girls double. The girls four raced in a senior event, and the boys double, consisting of Adam Morris and Mark Humphries was able to take home a win for the club in an impressive final.

These results show the adaptability of our junior squad, and if these performances are anything to go by, they should do very well this regatta season.

Written by Harry Coe

Photos courtesy of Rob Coe and Al Johnston

Chester-le-Street Regatta 2017

Durham ARC had 22 entries (12 Juniors, 4 in Senior events and 6 Masters) racing over 900m at Chester-le-Street Regatta in bright but breezy conditions on April 30th, the regatta being held this year on Sunday to avoid a clash with York Spring Regatta, which took place on Saturday. With some 320 entries overall it proved to be one of Chester-le-Street’s best supported events ever.

This was the first regatta of the season for the Northern Region and the first to be held under British Rowing’s new Competition Framework. Under the new system, a banding classification is applied to well subscribed events with the aim of achieving closer racing. Several events were sub-divided into B1 and B2 bands, with Ranking Index points awarded dependent on finishing position. The system is being phased in during 2017 and will become fully operational for the 2018 regatta season.

DARC entries included J13 2x and 4x+, J14 1x and 4x+, WJ14 2x (B1), J15 4x+ and 2x (B2), WJ15 2x (B1), Women’s 4+, Women’s 4x+, Women’s 2x, Masters 1x (B2), Masters A 4x+, Masters D 2x, Women’s Masters D 2x and Masters G 1x.

It was a successful day with the new combinations of David Muse and Andy Jaggard winning the Masters D double, and Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore winning the women’s masters D double. Emily Hanscam and Ruth Hodges won the women’s 2x and Andy Jaggard the masters G 1x. Other wins came in the J15 2x and masters A 4x+.

Full results are on the Chester-le-Street Regatta page.

Strathclyde Park Regatta

The Regatta season got off to a flying start on April 22nd with the DARC Juniors going to the Junior Inter Regional Regatta at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham on Saturday while the Masters attended the 2-day Strathclyde Park Regatta, both multi-lane events.

Strathclyde Park Regatta is organised by Scottish Rowing and incorporates the Scottish Universities Rowing Championships. Among Durham ARC’s 15 entries were Women’s Masters E 1x, Masters F 8+, Women’s Masters C 4x, Women’s Masters 2x, Masters D 2x, Masters G 2x on Saturday, and Women’s Masters D 4+, Masters F 4x, Masters G 4x, Women’s 1x, Masters H 1x, Masters 2x, Women’s Masters C 2x, Women’s Masters D 2x and Masters B 1x on Sunday.

There were wins for Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore (pictured) in the Women’s Masters D 2x and for John Watkinson, John Appleby, David Walker and Paul Stanley in Masters G 4x- and Masters G 2x, and 2nd places for Kim Forster and David Muse in Masters D 2x, Kim Forster and Gabrielle Moore in the Women’s Masters Res 2x, David Muse and Andy Jaggard in Masters B 2x, David Muse in Masters B 1x, John Appleby in Masters H 1x, June Davison in the Women’s Masters E 1x, and for the Masters F 4+, Masters F 8+, Women’s Masters B 2x and Women’s Masters C 2x.

Several other good performances included Joyce Collett racing in a single against strong university opposition and Andy Jaggard in a single, both at Masters G. 

Full results are available in a spreadsheet.

Photos can be found on the Not Just Rowing facebook page.

Junior Inter-Regionals 2017

4 crews represented DARC at Junior Inter-Regionals 2017, with all of them performing very well in the first national regatta of the year. Even after a fairly eventful journey, and unusual conditions at Holme Pierrepoint (Sun? No wind?), the standard set by DARC crews was high, and bodes well for the upcoming regattas.

First in their final was the Girls J15 4+, consisting of Gabby Suggett, Pardis Farahi, Millie McIntyre, Kate Henderson, and cox Katie Warburton, putting in a gutsy performance to finish 9th overall, with a time of 6:39.1. They were closely followed by the J15 Girls 4x+, Honor Cessford, Mollie Coe, Jess Cooper, Catherine Musgrave, and cox Lily Sanderson who came 8th in the time trial, and were beaten to winning the B final by just 0.35 of a second, making for a nail-biting finish for all involved.

Also racing were the Girls J14 4x+, consisting of Hope Simpson, Elicia Baldwin, Freya Court, Madeline Elmer, and cox Zara Gilbert, who managed to come 10th, a good performance for a crew just starting in their racing career. The WJ16 8+, consisting of Alex Roberts, Abby Burke, Alannah Baldwin, Georgia Murphy, Elise Goddard, Bethan Hall, Izzy Wilkinson, Katie Strangward, and cox Becky Jackson, although completely overshadowed by Fred’s shirt (just ask him to show you), performed extremely well, winning the B final by almost a length, and only 20 seconds off the winning time for the A final.

Last and certainly not least, our resident Big Lad, Sam Taylor, was invited to row in a composite 8+, featuring rowers from such far-flung climes as Durham School and Chester-le-Street. Despite having only had a few sessions together, they were still able to come 10th, with Sam showing himself as a more than competent oarsman.

Overall, the results of the weekend show the strength of the DARC Junior Section, and especially that of the Junior Girls, setting a good precedent for local regattas in the next few weeks.

Written by Harry Coe

Photos by Ian Suggett and Rob Coe

Three Eights to Veterans’ Head

Durham ARC had 3 entries in the Vesta Veterans’ Head of the River Race on the Thames on Sunday March 26th, the annual Eights race for Masters which traditionally falls the day after the Head of the River Race (HoRR). The lack of DARC entries in either the Women’s Head or the HoRR and late cancellation of the HoRR this year because of windy conditions provided extra incentive. The DARC entries included a Masters F composite with Upper Thames, a Women’s Masters E 8+ and a Women’s Masters Novice E 8+.

Raced over the Championship course from Putney to Mortlake the Veterans’ Head was first staged in 1983 when the main Head of the River Race became too popular to accommodate both senior and veteran rowers. This year’s event attracted 235 entries including 32 from overseas. The three DARC Eights boated from Cygnet RC near Barnes Bridge ready for the 11am start.

For the more experienced crews it was familiar territory but for the novices it was their first outing on the Tideway. In good conditions the Masters F Eight posted a time of 14.33.9 (adjusted to 13.12.9), finishing 44th overall and 3rd in their age category. The Women’s Masters E Eight (pictured below) finished 190th overall and 6th in their category in 16.08.33 (adjusted to 15.05.33).

The Novice crew (above) comprising Aisling Dutton, Nicola Field, Julie Kitson, Clare Staines, Ray Dominy, Steph Snowball, Vickie Jackson and Linda Forwood, and coxed by Caroline Scholl, was last to start as number 234 and improved their position to finish 227th in 17.12.74. Julie decided to use the occasion to raise money for the Myotubular Trust charity that her employer is supporting this year.  Funds raised have risen to over £1,000.

See Vesta website for full results.


Durham Explore Series falls on Boat Race day

By fortunate coincidence round 2 of the Explore Series fell this year on the same day as the Boat Races. April 2nd dawned sunny and warm, the day after DARC’s Boat Race Ball. The discovery of an unexploded World War 2 bomb near Putney Bridge cast doubt over whether the Boat Races could go ahead, cancellation would have put paid to the planned party and screening of the races, but fears proved unfounded and all went according to plan.

This was the first sweep-oared round of the season, the format alternating between sweep-oar and sculling each month. An early start at 11am and a buoyed 250m course, modified from that of previous years to finish nearer the landing stage, along with some expert organisation, enabled the 38 scheduled races to be completed within a 4-hour window. Boating 4 crews at a time from the extended landing stage speeded up circulation and kept the volunteers and near record entry of 19 crews busy.

The Explore Series is a simple and exciting format where relative newcomers can experience some safe and close racing in stable coxed fours or quads, with an opportunity for visiting crews to enjoy different surroundings, meet old friends and make new ones. With Berwick and Gateshead making their first visit to the competition in Durham the standard of racing continues to impress. Honours in the Open league were shared between Hextraordinary representing Hexham and Barcing Mad from Berwick with 4 wins each, while in the Women’s competition there were 4 wins for A Shot in the Darc from Durham as well as for Wine on the Tyne from Tyne ARC and Gateshead Goldstars from Gateshead CRC.

A Shot in the Darc (Sue Lyons, Sonny Shepherd, Jane Auster, Kalpana Ganatra and Margaret Richardson, coxed by John Lyons) were delighted with their second successive maximum points haul enabling them to retain overall leadership of their league with 14 points. DARC’s Open crew Wear Well Away (Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Steve Auster, Chris Merchant and Dave Green) picked up 3 wins and there was a win apiece for Green Shoots (Zuzanna Zwirad, Paddy Deans, Linda James and Maureen Miller, coxed by Ken Gardner) and Out of Darcness (Louise Forster, Geoff Raw, Andrew Fisk and Stewart Allan, coxed by Gerry King and Dave Green). Hexham lead the Open competition also with a maximum 14 points after 2 rounds.

A tea of pork sandwiches and refreshments from the bar whet the appetite for those who hadn’t seen enough racing for the day who stayed to watch the screening of the Boat Races in the clubhouse, the Cambridge women and Oxford men taking victory.

Round 3 of the Explore Series is at Berwick on May 7th.