Category Archives: Racing News

Club Racing Successes

Pairs Head 2019

The first of the Tideway Heads of the season was the Pairs Head on October 6th. Raced over 4.5km of the River Thames between Chiswick Bridge and Harrods Wall near Hammersmith Bridge the event for doubles and pairs reached capacity a week before the closing date at 450 entries.

A forecast of blustery winds and rain for the weekend caused a scare but the organising committee decided that conditions were within their parameters and the race went ahead.

DARC was represented by Gill Prescott in the Women’s Masters F/G double scull (for ages 60 to 69) with Eva Rankin of Loch Lomond, the pair drawn to lead off the 7 entries in their category sculled superbly to win, extending the margin of victory to 37 seconds, finishing 307th out of the 418 finishers. “They were flying along!” reported one eyewitness.

Ben Rodford has provided an image of the crew in action here.

The Pairs Head is organised annually by Barnes Bridge Ladies Rowing Club (BBLRC). Final results are on the BBLRC website.

The next Tideway Heads are the Fuller’s Fours Head on November 23rd and Veteran Fours Head on November 24th.

Boston Marathon 2019

Durham ARC’s Seniors entered two crews for the Boston Marathon on September 15th. In good conditions eighty three finishers completed the 50km from Lincoln to Boston.  

The men’s eight was second fastest overall, and the fastest Open 8+, finishing ahead of the Universities of Swansea, Manchester and East Anglia in 3hr 35 04.1sec.

The Women’s coxless quad was second in their category, only 14 seconds behind the Vesta/Wallingford composite (aka Girls Who Dare who are training to row across the Pacific Ocean in 2020),  in 4hr 30 31.2sec.

Full results are available by event and by time.

The Senior men’s squad is currently recruiting new members. If you would like to join them please email Vice Captain Stephen at



World Rowing Masters 2019

Durham ARC Masters took 2 trailers and a team of 5 drivers to Lake Valence in Hungary to compete at the World Rowing Masters Regatta, entering 24 races over the 5 days of competition between September 11th and 15th.

Located 50km from Budapest, Lake Valence is the second largest lake in Hungary, covering 26 square kilometres.

The regatta attracted over 5000 entries representing 52 countries, the men’s single sculls having the greatest number of entries with 1050, including 150 entering at masters D (50 years or over) and another 150 at masters E (55 or over). The age of competitors ranged from 27 to 93.

Because of the large number of entries races started every 3 minutes during the regatta, meaning no progression system through heats, semi-finals and finals, so all races were in effect finals with medals awarded to the winner of each race.

The club returned with wins in 4 events, three of them involving John Appleby. The first win came on Thursday for Andy Jaggard of DARC and Nick Cowan of Lakeland RC (left) in the MasF 2x, winning heat 7 in a time of 3m 45.59s for the 1000 metres. Three DARC crews took part in this event, with John Appleby and Micky Stevens finishing 2nd in heat 13, and John Watkinson and Paul Rutter 3rd in heat 5.

On Friday John Appleby and Micky Stevens (who the previous week had celebrated 50 years service with Durham County Council) competed again in the MasG 2x, this time winning heat 8 in a time of 3m 45.3sec for John to claim his first medal.

The next medal came on Saturday in the MasG 1x, an event in which DARC had 2 entries. Andy Jaggard went in heat 6 and finished 3rd in 4.09.42, before John Appleby (after finishing 2nd in the MasH 1x on Thursday) won heat 13, albeit in a slower time of 4.14.54, to secure his second medal of the week.

The third medal for john Appleby, and 4th for DARC, came in Sunday’s mixed races where John combined with Eva Rankin of Loch Lomond (in top photo) to win the Mixed Masters G 2x, also posting the fastest time of the four heats (3.59.83).

There were two more 2nd place finishes, the MasG coxless quad of John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, John Appleby and Micky Stevens on Thursday, and the MxdMasG coxless quad, consisting of John Appleby, Micky Stevens, Eva Rankin (Loch Lomond) and Joy Skipper (Upper Thames) on Sunday.

Another 3rd place finish for DARC came on the first day of the regatta on Wednesday for the Durham/York composite Women’s Masters E 8+ including Gabrielle Moore, Clare Blowey and Sarah Rutter.

Other results as follows –

Wednesday –

MasH 2x – Derek Gordon and Micky Stevens – 5th

MasF 1x – John Appleby – 4th

Mas I-M 8+ – Derek Gordon and composite – 4th

Thursday –

MasG 8+ – Micky Stevens, Paul Rutter, Derek Gordon and Grosvenor, Maidenhead, Royal Chester and Runcorn composite – 6th

WMasE 4x- – Gabrielle Moore, Clare Woodward, Sarah Rutter and Anne Homa (York City) – 6th

Friday –

MasE 1x – Paul Rutter – 5th

MasF 4x- – Paul Rutter, John Watkinson + Cambois, Tyne United composite – 7th

WMasE 2x – Gabrielle Moore, Clare Woodward – 7th

Saturday –

WMasD 4x- – Clare Woodward, Gabrielle Moore, Sarah Rutter and Lisa Kallal (Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha) – 4th

MasH 8+ – Derek Gordon and Grosvenor, Maidenhead, Nottingham, Royal Chester and Runcorn composite – 6th

MasD 4x- – Paul Rutter + Runcorn composite – 7th

Sunday –

MxdMasF 8+ – Derek Gordon, Paul Rutter + Royal Chester composite – 4th

MxdMasF 4x- – Paul Rutter, John Watkinson, Gabrielle Moore, Sarah Rutter – 5th

MxdMasE 2x Paul Rutter and Sarah Rutter – 6th

Results from all 5 days are available on the Regatta Central website.

Balint Czucz and Bence Szlovak have provided event photos.

The 2020 World Masters Regatta will  be staged at Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, and will take place on September 2nd to 6th.

Record medal haul for GB at World U23 Championships

Great Britain topped the medal table at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships at Sarasota-Bradenton in Florida. Four gold medals for the squad on the final day on Sunday July 28th brought the total to 6 gold and 2 silver medals, their best ever medal haul at the Championships.

Durham ARC had an interest in two of the finals with Hope Cessford selected in the Women’s coxless four, an event added to the programme ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and James Snowball selected in the Men’s pair, both former DARC Junior squad members.

The GB Women’s four of Alex Rankin, Lauren Irwin, Hope Cessford and Lydia Currie took the gold medal in Sunday’s final after holding off a challenge from Ireland who took the silver medal, with USA in the bronze medal position (medal presentation photo by World Rowing).

Until leaving to study at Harvard University in 2017 and competing for Radcliffe in the USA, Hope had much success representing Durham ARC, winning a gold medal in the Women’s Junior 16 single sculls at the National Junior Championships at Strathclyde Park in 2015, before going on to form a partnership with Lauren Irwin, then of Chester-le-Street ARC, achieving success in the Women’s pair at the Metropolitan Regatta in 2016. Both were then selected to represent Great Britain in the pair at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Rotterdam, and Hope rowed in the GB women’s four at the Junior World Championships in Lithuania in 2017.

Having Hope and Lauren, now of Durham University Boat Club, winning the gold medal at U23 level is a huge achievement for the northern region, with the two joining Alex Rankin and Lydia Currie, both of Edinburgh University Boat Club, in the crew under coach John Higson also of Edinburgh University.

After qualifying through the repechage James Snowball, now of Oxford Brookes University, and Rufus Biggs of Molesey Boat Club finished 6th In the A final of the Men’s pair on Saturday.

James, who had also rowed in the Oxford Brookes eight that won the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta 3 weeks previously, rowed as a Junior at Durham ARC and was a member of the DARC Junior 18 eight who won the gold medal at the National Junior Championships at Nottingham in 2014.

More than half of the 50 athletes selected for the GB U23 team represented clubs supported by British Rowing through its High Performance Programme in Clubs initiative, which covers the universities of Edinburgh, Durham, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes and London, as well as Leander Club and Molesey BC.

Lauren has also represented GB at the 2017 U23 World Championships in Bulgaria as well as coaching and mentoring young rowers at Durham University.

Also representing Durham University Boat Club at the 2019 Championships were George Bourne in the gold medal winning Men’s coxless quad and Oscar Lindsay who won silver with the Men’s coxed four.

British Rowing Director of Performance Brendan Purcell said: “To come away from the U23 World Championships with six gold medals and two silver medals is incredible. As Chief Coach for the U23s, Pete Sheppard has brought these athletes and coaches together to deliver a truly outstanding team performance.

“Everyone has stepped up over the past six weeks and then delivered their best performances on race day. In every event we were extremely competitive and it’s fantastic to have so much strength and depth for the future. A lot of these athletes will step onto the senior world stage in the coming years and keep British Rowing at the forefront of world performance.”

Video coverage of each of the U23 finals is available on the World Rowing website here.

Medals for Juniors at Nottingham

Twenty five Durham ARC Juniors were among over 1600 14 to 18 year-olds from around the country at the biggest ever British Rowing Junior Championships at the National Watersports Centre at Nottingham over the weekend of July 19th to 21st. Along with coaches, parents and supporters DARC was represented in the J14 girls singles, double and quads, J15 and J16 boys and girls quads and J18 single sculls.

The J14 girls were the most successful, returning with two bronze medals from Friday’s events, the first won by the DARC/Chester-le-Street composite of Libby Morris, Jennifer Napora, Amy Snook (CLS), Orlagh Windle + cox Francesca Suggett in the J14 girls coxed quad (medal presentation above), and the second by Libby Morris and Tilly Stoddart in the J14 girls double sculls omnium.

Friday was devoted to the J14 competitions with competitors taking part in an omnium consisting of a series of skills tests in singles and doubles, including hands off at the catch, standing 360 degree turn in a boat, standing rigger dips, back down stop and 360 degree boat spinning, finishing off with a 500m sprint, slalom and emergency stop. As well as this there was a morning time trial over 1000 metres for coxed quads, with finals taking place after the completion of the omnium. Competitors in the 4x+ were required by the rules to also enter for the omnium in either 1x or 2x. The DARC/CLS quad was 4th fastest of 31 in the time trial, and placed 3rd in the A final.

DARC was also represented on Friday in a second WJ14 4x+ including Tilly Stoddart in a Tyne ARC composite who reached the B final finishing 6th, putting them in 12th place overall. Jennifer Napora, Alice Chilvers and  Orlagh Windle took part in the single sculls omnium, finishing in 24th, 54th and 85th places respectively, while Libby Morris and Tilly Stoddart finished 3rd out of 67 competitors in the WJ14 double sculls omnium to win the bronze medal for that event.

Omnium results can be found here.

Saturday consisted of time trials over 1500 metres and minor finals for J15, J16 and J18 rowers, while semi-finals and A and B finals for these age groups, contested over 2000 metres in 6 lanes, took place on Sunday.

Conditions on Saturday were made difficult by wet and windy weather, meaning that the racing schedule had to be revised, with E and F finals cancelled. Adam Morris was unable to repeat last year’s success in the J18 1x, settling for 55th place in a strong field.

The J15 girls coxed quad of Amy Slater, Ruby Coe, Niamh Lang, Georgia Powell and cox Libby Morris finished 18th out of 30 entries in the time trial, qualifying for the C final on Saturday, in which they placed 6th (18th overall).

The J15 boys coxed quad of Ellis Black, Thomas Crabtree, James Humphries, Jacob Windle and cox Thomas Woods finished 16th out of 21 entries in their time trial, also qualifying for the C final in which they placed 3rd (15th overall).

The J16 boys and J16 girls coxless quads placed in the fastest 12 in Saturday time trials, the boys taking 8th place out of 13 entries, and the girls 10th from 16, both qualifying for the semi-finals on Sunday. Both reached the B final of their respective events, the boys crew (Oliver Beattie, Dominic Crilley, Matthew Harrison and Thomas Taylor) finishing 3rd to take 9th position overall in the J16 4x-, while the girls crew (Natalie Einbeck, Madalyn Elmer, Ella Metcalfe and Ella Sampson) were 2nd for 8th place overall in the WJ16 4x-.

Summary of results


  • WJ14 1x Jennifer Napora 24th
  • WJ14 1x Alice Chilvers 54th
  • WJ14 1x Orlagh Windle 85th
  • WJ14 2x Libby Morris and Tilly Stoddart 3rd
  • WJ14 4x+ DARC/CLS composite – Libby Morris, Jennifer Napora, Amy Snook (CLS), Orlagh Windle + cox Francesca Suggett 3rd
  • WJ14 4x+ Tilly Stoddart + Tyne ARC composite 12th


  • J18 1x Adam Morris 55th
  • J15 4x+ Ellis Black, Thomas Crabtree, James Humphries, Jacob Windle + cox Thomas Woods 15th
  • WJ15 4x+ Amy Slater, Ruby Coe, Niamh Lang, Georgia Powell + cox Libby Morris 18th


  • WJ16 4x- Natalie Einbeck, Madalyn Elmer, Ella Metcalfe, Ella Sampson 8th
  • J16 4x- Oliver Beattie, Dominic Crilley, Matthew Harrison, Thomas Taylor 9th

All the coaches were delighted with the performance, providing an excellent conclusion to the season.

Full results are here.

Photos by British Rowing.

British Rowing’s summary of the Championships is here. and coverage of Saturday and Sunday finals is available on BR’s YouTube channel.

Henley success for James Snowball

Former Durham ARC Junior James Snowball achieved success on finals day at Henley Royal Regatta on July 7th rowing in the Oxford Brookes University eight that defeated Northeastern University from the USA by three-quarters of a length to win the Temple Challenge Cup for academic eights.

The photo shows James with presentation medal and Henley cap, and Elise Sanderson, also of DARC, who raced with another Oxford Brookes crew in the Remenham Challenge Cup but was pipped to the post on Friday by the GB U23 eight, wearing Oxford Brookes blazers.

Coverage of the Temple Challenge Cup final is on YouTube.

James’ very proud mother Steph, who is the Club Welfare Officer was first to congratulate him after the success.

Congratulations go to James on his achievement from everyone at DARC!

Other former DARC Juniors competing at Henley included Thomas Jackson and Richard Mathewson. Thomas was a member of the Tyne ARC B eight that came through the qualifying stage to compete in the Thames Challenge Cup, winning their first race against Curlew RC before going out against Munich on Thursday. Thomas’ mother Vickie is DARC’s Junior Co-ordinator.

Richard raced with the Agecroft RC coxless quad in the Prince of Wales Cup, losing their heat against Bayer Leverkusen by 3 lengths on Thursday.

In 2014 James, Thomas, Richard and Elise were members of DARC’s J18 eight, coached by the club’s then Junior Co-ordinator Alan Granlund and Bill Parker, that took the gold medal at the National Junior Championships, the first time the club had won an eights event at the Championships.

This year’s British Rowing Junior Championships take place at Nottingham between July 19th to 21st.

Henley Women’s Regatta 2019

DARC’s senior squad was represented at Henley Women’s Regatta by Grace Stewart-Piercy and Gabrielle Maxfield in the Aspirational double sculls. The pair took part in the time trial over 1500 metres of the famous Henley reach on Friday June 21st. With only 16 to qualify for the knock-out phase of the competition they were unlucky to be placed 22nd, missing out qualification by only 5 seconds.

Results of the time trials can be found here.

There is video footage of the time trials on YouTube with the DARC crew appearing just under 3 hours in.

The three day event is the most important rowing competition for women in the UK and each year attracts competitors from around the world.

The squad also had some success at York Summer Regatta on Sunday June 23rd, including a win in the Women’s double sculls, with the men’s coxless quad reaching the final of the Open 4x- and the Open coxed four reaching the semi-final in the band 1 event.

Photo by Margie Stewart-Piercy.

Medals at British Rowing Masters

Durham ARC had 22 crews among the 444 from 81 clubs across the UK entered for the British Rowing Masters Championships on June 15th and 16th. The venue at Strathclyde Park was a departure from the usual Nottingham and although conditions were variable the Scottish welcome certainly met with the approval of competitors who attended, though numbers were down on recent years, perhaps because of some being deterred by the long journey north and favouring other competitions further south.

DARC returned with 2 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze medal over the two days, most success coming on Saturday in the championship sculling events.

The first gold on Saturday came in the Women’s Masters F 2x for Gill Prescott and Eva Rankin (of Loch Lomond RC) who repeated their success at the same event last year. The pair were then joined by DARC’s Helen McMillan and an X-Press composite to take a silver medal in the Women’s MasD/E 4x-. Two other DARC crews were in the same final, the WMasD 4x- of Susan Jackson, Aisling Dutton, Gabrielle Moore and Clare Woodward (below) taking 3rd place and a bronze medal, while the WMasE quad of Nicola Field, June Davison, Vickie Jackson and Julie Kitson finished 7th.

Another silver medal went to Sam English, John Lyons, Christine Heppell and Richard Court (pictured top) in the Mixed Masters D/F 4x-.

The most exciting race of the day came in the Masters G/H handicap coxless quad which produced a dead heat between the DARC MasG crew of David Walker, Paul Rutter, John Appleby and John Watkinson who overhauled the handicap to dead heat for second place against their old adversaries (Tony Stocking, Ralph Pickles, Bob Bainbridge and Chris Kenyon) in the Tees RC MasH quad, both finishing 4 seconds adrift of a Dart Totnes, Exeter and Upper Thames composite. The DARC and Tees crews were both awarded silver medals.

For the purposes of the Victor Ludorum trophy gold medals are awarded in championship events with at least 2 entries, silver in events with 4 or more and bronze medals are awarded where 6 or more compete. In non-championship races only the winners receive medals.

Sunday is predominantly the day when non-championship events are scheduled. Only individuals who have not previously won a gold medal in the same discipline at Championship level are eligible to enter non-championship events.

Sweep-oar events also got underway on Sunday with a 4th place finish for the DARC/Blue Star MasG 4+ and a 5th for the MasF 4+.

Two DARC Masters E doubles qualified for the final of the MasD/F non-championship Intermediate 2x. Paul Rutter and David Heppell finished 2nd, and Rob Coe and Martyn Calkin 6th.

The Women’s Masters E 8+ finished 4th in the final of the WMasE/F 8+ handicap.

The only medal success on Sunday was a gold for the Mixed Masters F 8+ (Clare Woodward, Gabrielle Moore, Sarah Rutter, Angela Lund, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, David Heppell and John Appleby, coxed by Nigel van Zwanenberg) who won the final of the MxdMasD/F 8+ handicap against London Otters.

There were other good performances in non-championship races but without further medal success.

Full results for both days can be found on the Rowresuts website.

The top 3 places in the overall Victor Ludorum went to –

1 Star Club
2 St Andrew
3 Stirling and York


Victor Ludorum at Hexham

Traditionally held the weekend before Durham Regatta, Hexham Regatta proved very successful for DARC, returning with two Victor Ludorum awards for the best overall results and the best results in Masters races. George Watson’s College took the Victor Ludorum for Juniors.

Ten hours of racing over three divisions on the River Tyne produced wins in 10 events and plenty of good performances from the 35 crews and scullers entered by the club.

Winners were

J13 4x+ – Lucas Walker, Tom Pfetscher, James Bruce, Eshaan Singh and cox Oliver Davison

J16 4x- – Thomas Taylor, Dominic Crilley, Tom Brumwell and Oliver Beattie

WJ16 4x- – Ella Sampson, Ella Metcalfe, Nathalie Einbeck and Madalyn Elmer

J17 1x – Adam Morris

WJ17 1x – Honor Cessford

Open 2- band 2 – Dan Pearson and John Roxborough

Women’s 4+ band 1 – Becky Chilcott, Kate Sowden, Heather Tosley, Sarah Buist and cox Diana Stserbakova

MasE 2x – Paul Rutter and David Heppell

WMasE 4x- – Julie Kitson, Carole McCarthy, Linda Forwood and Nicola Field

MasH 4x- – John Appleby, Philip Stephenson, Derek Gordon and Barry Hudson

We look forward to continued success over the coming weeks. After Durham Regatta on June 8th and 9th will be 

Juniors shine at National Schools’ Regatta

Durham ARC had 4 entries in the National Schools’ Regatta (NSR) at Eton Dorney over the weekend of May 24th to 26th. The event is the biggest of the season for parents, coaches and Junior squads representing schools and clubs around the United Kingdom who have been training hard all year.

Established in 1947 it now takes place at the 2012 Olympic Rowing venue and attracts around 5000 competitors aged 14 to 18 each year. National Schools’ Regatta is a charitable trust run by a committee of volunteers and is a not for profit event.

Chairman, George Hammond and his committee are supported by over 100 NSR volunteers.  The team come from within the sport of rowing and the local community of Windsor and Slough. “NSR could not operate without the time and energy given so generously by every single volunteer” he pointed out.

As well as the racing, the NSR is all about parents, coaches and volunteers working together with their athletes in a supportive environment. There was even a Best Marquee Competition this year!

Competition takes place over 1000 metres for J14 and some J15 races on Friday, while J16 to J18s race over 2000 metres on Saturday and Sunday. Where numbers are appropriate time trials precede semi-finals and finals on the 8 lane course.  

First to go for DARC was the youngest crew, the J14 girls coxed quad of Jennifer Napora, Tilly Stoddart, Libby Morris, Orlagh Windle and cox Francesca Suggett, who finished 6th fastest out of 50 entries in the time trial on Friday morning and qualified for the A final on Friday evening where they were also 6th, the highest placed DARC crew of the weekend.

Next was the J15 boys coxed quad (in photo above by Ian Suggett) of Lewis Davison, Thomas Crabtree, Jacob Windle, Ellis Black and cox Thomas Woods who were 5th fastest in their time trial and went into the A/B semi-final on Friday afternoon, where they finished in 4th place, qualifying for the B final where they were placed 5th.

On Saturday the J15 girls 8+ of Amy Slater, Lydia Kind, Niamh Lang, Ruby Coe, Anna Airey, Georgia Powell, Miriam Stewart, Alice Davies and cox Eve Rich, who have had recent success in their first season of sweeping, placed 16th in the time trial for J15 girls 1st and 2nd 8+s.

On Sunday Adam Morris was one of 66 entries in the Championship single sculls contested over 2000 metres for the Sculls Cup, finishing 43rd in a very strong field in the time trial.

Everyone performed to the best of their ability and did themselves and the club proud.

Results for DARC are on the Time Team website, where results from all races can also be found.