Review of 2022

2022 was a remarkably positive year with all parts of the club seeing some success as reality returned slowly after two years of Covid desolation.

As well as competitors getting used to on-water action without Covid restrictions the early events of the winter head racing season faced the usual uncertainty over weather and river conditions. Elvet Bridge was cleared of debris just in time for the February Small Boats Head, enabling DARC to record victories in 11 events.

Competitions further afield were less fortunate with Nottingham Head of the Trent and the Yorkshire Head cancelled because of unsuitable river conditions, and the eagerly anticipated Derwentwater Head also called off.

Members of Van Mildert Boat Club were incorporated into DARC after their own boathouse was destroyed by fire just before Christmas 2021.

Both arches clear for Durham Small Boats Head


The year brought much success for the Junior squad. As well as winning a Victor Ludorum club award at Ponteland Junior Head on the Tyne in March all the Club’s entries at the Junior Inter Regional Trials at Cambois qualified to represent the Northern Region at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta (JIRR) at Nottingham in April.

As has often been the case the JIRR was heavily affected by windy conditions, which saw the course shortened and the schedule reduced to half its original size. The J16 boys 8+ fared best placing 3rd in their heat and 5th overall. There was also a gold medal in the J14 1x for Jonny Cleugh, at the time representing Chester-le-Street ARC before moving to Durham later in the year.

J16 boys 8+ at NSR 2022

The J16 boys and J17 girls impressed in representing DARC at both the National Schools Regatta (NSR) at Dorney Lake in May and the National Junior Championships at Nottingham in July. At the NSR James Bruce, Tom Pfetscher, Matthew Flatters, Lucas Walker, Finn Black, Sam Terry, Luke Davison and Finley Scott, coxed by Joseph Morrison and coached by Ray Dominy, placed 14th in the time trial of the J16 Boys First Eights, while Jennifer Napora, Orlagh Windle, Francesca Suggett and Libby Morris, coached by Cathy Rooney, finished 3rd in the B final of the Championship Girls coxless four.

Championship Girls 4- at NSR 2022

In July the British Rowing Junior Championships was affected by excessive heat which again meant a reduced programme of racing. Isaac Bolton and Will Terry won the C final of the J15 boys 2x, and 90 minutes later helped the J15 coxed quad to a win in the D final. The J16 boys qualified two crews for the B final of the coxless quad where they achieved 1st and 5th places. The J17 girls entered the WJ18 4x- and finished second in the B final.

Each year the Club sends its best Junior athletes to trial for places in the British Rowing national team. In November Sam Terry and Jennifer Napora went forward to the 2023 GB under-19 Trials at Boston, Lincolnshire.


Both the Senior Men’s and Women’s squads were swelled by new members. There being no national Senior Championships attention centered on the Tideway Heads and the Henley competitions. Although competitions at a local level provide the opportunity of event wins, performance is the measure at the larger gatherings.

Head of the River Race crew

In March the Women’s Head, Veterans Head and Schools Head of the River Race were without a DARC entry but the Senior Men entered an eight in the Head of the River Race for the first time since 2014. The crew of Elliot Kay, Jack Reeves, Harry White, Roger Dunn, Dan Lockey, Dan Pearson, John Roxborough, Ollie Negus and cox Stef Burgess completed the 6.8km in 167th position, giving them 6th place in the medium sized club pennant competition.

This was followed by a double success at Durham Regatta in the Open Intermediate 8+ and the Open non-Championship A 8+, with victories also going to the Women’s Intermediate 4+, Women’s Championship 2x and David Rutter in the Open Championship B 1x.

Henley Women’s Regatta crews

The Senior Women focused on Henley Women’s Regatta for which the coxless quad of Katie McDaid, Gabrielle Maxfield, Fran Whitfield and Anna Golightly prepared with a 3rd place at Nottingham City Regatta in May and a win in the Championship Women’s 4x- C final at the Metropolitan Regatta at Dorney Lake in June. Meanwhile Nicki Fleck and Lily Muskett in the Women’s 2x were the second fastest lightweight double at the Metropolitan Regatta and finished 2nd in the C final.

At Henley Women’s Regatta in June the quad qualified for the last 16 of the Aspirational Women’s 4x- but went out against Marlow, while Nicki and Lily qualified through the time trial of the Championship Lightweight 2x but went out in the quarter final against opposition from Australia.

In March members of the squad also helped Gabrielle to raise over £3000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by taking part in a sponsored 24 hour ergo event.

Helen McMillan wins the WMasE 1x


The National Masters Championships again clashed dates with Durham Regatta. Pride of place went to Helen McMillan who won a gold medal in the Women’s MasE single sculls, while there were silver medals for Rachel Terry in the WMasC 1x, Gabrielle Moore in the WMasF 1x and Andy Jaggard in the MasH 1x.

Spurred on by their success a party of 15 overcame the logistical challenges presented following the UK’s departure from the EU to travel to Libourne in France in September for the World Masters Regatta, taking part in 28 races over 5 days. The star performance on this occasion came from Andy Jaggard who won the MasG single sculls. Andy also achieved 2nd place in the MasH 1x race, as did Kim Forster and David Muse in the Mixed Masters A 2x and Gabrielle Moore in the WMasF 1x.

Andy Jaggard with World Masters medal


Kim and David also represented DARC on the Tideway in the MxMasC 2x at the Pairs Head in October and the Veteran Fours Head, with Michael Terry and Rachel Terry, in the MxMasC 4x- in November.


On the same day as the JIRR there was an opportunity for older Juniors and Senior and Masters squads to prepare for the summer season ahead in the Scottish Spring Regatta on the multi-lane course at Strathclyde Park. From 19 entries victories went to Nicki Fleck and Lily Muskett in the Women’s Club 2x, and Eve Rich, Miriam Stewart, Amy Slater and Niamh Lang in the WJ18 4x-.

Scottish Spring Regatta

A successful local regatta circuit brought 18 wins at Durham City Regatta, 8 at Tees, 1 at Wansbeck, 11 at Hexham, 13 at Durham Regatta and 8 at Talkin Tarn.

Autumn heads

For the first time in many years every round of the Long Distance Sculling Series survived the autumn weather, and along with the associated Small Boat Heads brought a further 42 competitive wins for the Club. The most successful in the LDS were Lynn Pain, Hazel Stainforth, Sam English, Carolyn Edwards and Caroline Scholl in the WMasG/H 4x- with wins in 4 of the 6 rounds, and Nick Baird with 3 victories in the Open 1x.

Rutherford Head took place twice during 2022, the postponed November 2021 version having been rearranged for February, then the 2022 event taking place in December. In February DARC Seniors and Juniors recorded wins in bands 4 and 5 of the Open 8+ and there was a win for Women’s Masters E 4x-, then in December the Senior Men were able to boat two eights, competing in bands 3 and 4 of the Open 8+. Victories went to the J17 boys in band 2 of the J18 8+, and to the Masters E 4x- and Women’s Masters E 8+.

Rutherford Head Open 8+ band 3

Indoor rowing and other activities

2022 brought great success for Roger Stainforth in the 75-79 2k who achieved his first gold medal at the World Rowing Indoor Championships in February, held for a second year as a wholly virtual competition.

A surprising casualty was the British Rowing Indoor Championships. Despite fantastic success as a virtual event during Covid restrictions over the previous two years the planned return to an in-person event at the Lee Valley Velodrome in December failed to attract sufficient interest to make it viable and it was therefore cancelled, as was the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships in November. A plan to include SkiErg and BikeErg events in the North East Indoor Championships also misfired due to a low entry.

Coastal Rowing enjoyed significant interest as the 2022 World Championships came to Wales in advance of its inclusion as a new sport in the 2026 Commonwealth Games and probably the 2028 Olympics. There was a bronze medal for James Purves-Liddell in the under-19 World Beach Sprint doubles.

Learn to Row courses for Adults and Juniors continued throughout the year. Tuesday morning mix-in sessions proved successful in enabling members of varying abilities who aren’t available at other times to gain valuable experience, and a mixed quad was able to take part in four rounds of the Sunday League. 2022 also saw members involved in touring on the Great Ouse and the Norfolk Broads.

Helen McMillan took over from Tim Morris as Chair of the Northern Rowing Council at the AGM in November.

A theme running throughout the year was the change of governance as the switch from a Community Amateur Sports Club to a Company Limited by Guarantee and then to a Registered Charity continued, the Charity registration and transfer of assets being completed in March, followed by the purchase of land from Browns Coalyard in November.

As the year draws to a close Elvet Bridge is once again blocked by debris.

We look forward to a prosperous and successful 2023.

none shall pass