Monthly Archives: February 2015

GB Junior Sculling Trials

Two of the most able young scullers from Durham Amateur Rowing Club attended early identification trials for the national rowing squad on February 21st.

The two 16 year-olds took part in trials held in a single scull over a 5000 metre head course at Boston, Lincolnshire. Both did very well and have now been called upon to attend a crew sculling course at Nottingham in April. Both events are part of the performance pathway towards GB Junior Squad representation in 2016/17.

Aidan Rushforth, accompanied by his father Peter, finished 3rd out of 43, finishing in 18m 38.6s, less than one second behind the second placed sculler, and Hope Cessford, accompanied by coach Fred Snowdon, finished 8th out of 46 starters in 20m 13.7s. Hope’s race was made all the more difficult when the Environment Agency opened sluice gates to release floodwater from the river.

Both scullers went on to attend local trials for the Northern regional team to compete at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta at Nottingham on April 25th, and each won their respective races.

DARC success at the British Rowing Indoor Championships

Durham Amateur Rowing Club had a successful day at the British Rowing Indoor Championships staged at London’s Olympic Velodrome on Sunday February 8th.

Over 1300 competitors from around the country took part, including several members of the GB rowing squad.

Gill Prescott took the British women’s Masters title in the 55-59 age category with a time of 7m 26.9s for the 2km distance, an event in which she already holds the World Record. The achievement was more remarkable as Gill had also won in 2 events on the water at Durham Small Boats Head the previous day.

Roger Stainforth (pictured) competed in the 70-74 age group, and, having previously set a British Record at the shorter 1km distance at the Scottish Championships in December, was aiming to win over the classic 2km distance. During January he had already lowered his time in the European Championships in Amsterdam, before setting an Irish Allcomers record in Limerick the following week. Roger succeeded in taking the British title in London on Sunday, achieving a new British Record time of 7m 08.7s.

There were also strong performances from Helen McMillan, Martin Calkin and Harry Downworth.

Full results can be found on the British Rowing website.

Small Boats Head a great success

Despite weather concerns this year’s Durham Small Boats Head was able to go ahead as scheduled on Saturday February 7th. This is DARC’s major event of the winter season and takes place over the 1800 metre course upstream from Counts House to finish beyond the Bandstand.

The Head is eagerly anticipated following the winter break and as always was well subscribed, attracting 358 entries from around the region covering the full spectrum of ages from the under-13 Juniors of the newly formed Chorister School Boat Club to the seasoned veterans of the host club. Being relatively short in terms of distance it is able to accommodate 4 divisions, allowing coaches to try out different crew combinations in a single day’s racing, a valuable asset to those preparing for the Tideway Heads.

The size of entry and narrowness of the river present a challenge to competitors and officials alike with logistics needing to be finely tuned. Durham’s unique topography leads to much excitement with the major challenge coming around the halfway point where rowers and scullers confront Elvet Bridge whose arches, reputedly the narrowest of any racing course in Europe, need to be negotiated at racing speed.

DARC’s J18 coxless quad narrowly held off the senior men’s quad to claim top honours with a time of 6m 31.1s, with the J18 girls’ quad also claiming top spot in the women’s race. DARC was the most successful club overall, securing victory in 26 of the 72 categories contested. It was a weekend of triumph for Gill Prescott, winning the women’s Masters single and double sculls, along with Helen McMillan, on Saturday before both headed off to London to take part in Sunday’s British Rowing Indoor Championships where Gill took the British 2k title in the 55-59 age category.

Improved timing and communications systems allowed  results to be published soon after the conclusion of racing. All concerned were delighted with the success of the day’s proceedings and much praise is due to the many officials and volunteers who enabled the event to unfold efficiently and safely.

Full results are available here. List of recent wins is on the results page.

More photos from Northern Rowing (Division 1) and photos from other divisions by Al Johnston as follows
Division 2 starting here
Division 3 starting here
Division 4 starting here

See also a news report on the British Rowing website