Rowers from across the north of England converged on the River Wear last Saturday for the exciting double header of the final round of the Long Distance Sculling Series (LDS) and Durham Autumn Small Boats Head (SBH), both time trials hosted by Durham Amateur Rowing Club.
The Sculling Series, which is organized by the Northern Rowing Council, includes six rounds over six consecutive weeks, previous rounds having taken place on the Rivers Tyne at Newburn, Tweed at Berwick and Wear at South Hylton, with weather cancellations on the Tees and Wansbeck. Although offering the shortest course Durham is one of the most challenging, with competitors having to negotiate the narrow arches of Elvet Bridge at the halfway point of the 1800 metres.
The fastest times were posted earlier in the day when conditions were more favourable, before overnight rainfall had time to take its effect on the flow of the river. The overall winner in the LDS division, with a time of 6min.08.3sec, was Durham Amateur Rowing Club’s senior coxless quad of David Rutter, Nicholas Baird, Tom Richardson and Will Hamlyn, fresh from racing at the Tideway Fours Head in London the previous week.
Yarm School, St Leonard’s and Queen Elizabeth High School also had some success in the junior races.
Durham ARC also did well in Junior events in the LDS, winning the J18 girls (7.10.2) and J16 boys (6.44.3) coxless quads, while at the other end of the age scale there were wins in the Masters events for John Appleby and Micky Stevens in the Masters G (65-69) double sculls, finishing in 7.12.2, David Muse in the Masters B single sculls (7.35.5), Andy Jaggard in the Masters G single (7.55.5), and Joyce Collett in the Women’s Masters G single (9.10.6).
The traditional fierce rivalry between the colleges of Durham University was a feature of racing in the Small Boats Head, with eight colleges providing a total of 35 coxed fours over the two afternoon divisions. For most this was the first opportunity of the new academic year to compete. To ensure fair competition men’s and women’s crews were divided into 3 bands, Hatfield College Boat Club winning band 1 (6.26.6), Queen Elizabeth High School band 2 (7.12.7) and Grey College band 3 (6.58.9) in the men’s coxed fours, while Durham University BC won band 1 of the women’s coxed fours (7.30.1), with Collingwood College taking bands 2 (7.32.3) and 3 (8.35.3).
In the double sculling events in the SBH Yarm School won at junior boys J18 (7.02.0), boys J15 (8.06.8), and girls J18 (8.04.5). A Durham School/Talkin Tarn RC composite crew won the boys J16 double (7.51.2), Cambois RC won the girls J16 (8.14.6), and Tyne United RC won the girls J15 (8.51.3). Tees RC won the Open 2x (7.28.7) and Durham School the Women’s 2x (7.51.9). Tees RC also won the Masters H (70+) double sculls (8.02.5).
In the SBH Durham ARC also won the senior Women’s coxless quad (7.05.5), Junior girls J15 (7.51.4) and girls J14 (8.37.1) coxed quads, and Grace Stewart-Piercy won the J18 girls single sculls (9.33.1).
More photos can be found on facebook.
Points gained over the 6 weeks of the Long Distance Sculling Series contribute towards Victor Ludorum prizes for Juniors, Seniors and Masters rowers which will be presented to victorious clubs at the AGM of the Northern Rowing Council on November 26th.
The next Small Boats Head race on the River Wear is on February 2nd 2019.