Category Archives: Racing News

Club Racing Successes

Bronze for Roger at World Indoors

Roger Stainforth of Durham ARC added to his excellent performances in the 75 to 79 age category by improving his British record time over 2000 metres to 7m 23.8s in winning the English Indoor Rowing Championships at the Manchester Velodrome on February 2nd.

Roger was delighted with the time which lowered his previous best for the season of 7.25.2, set at the British Rowing Indoor Championships in London in December, by 1.4 seconds.

The following weekend he travelled to Paris to represent Great Britain at the World Rowing Indoor Championships at the Coubertin Stadium. The 2-day event got underway on Friday, February 7th with sprint races over 500 metres, before continuing the following day with individual races against the clock over 2000 metres, and rounded off with mixed relay races, a total of nearly 2300 athletes from 52 nations competing on 96 Concept2 ergos.

Roger overcame opposition from Italy, France and the USA to take third place in 7.32.3 against very strong opposition in Olaf Ellefsen of Norway who emerged as the winner in 7.14.8, and Christian Sommer of Germany who was second in 7.25.2.

Three British records was an excellent conclusion to the 2019/20 season but there was a note of disappointment about the performance in Paris.

“Going to the World championships I felt really good and hoped that I could do better again, but alas, I forgot my race plan, went off too fast and with silver in my grasp I hit the metaphorical wall. I had to settle for bronze or risk no medal at all. An inexcusable error never to be repeated cost me a good time and shinier medal! The campaign for 2021 starts now.”

Competitors ranged from 14 to 16 year-old juniors through senior men and women, to masters aged over 30, and adaptive athletes. The oldest was Georges Basse from France in the 90-94 age group who completed the 2km in 11.11.7.

Winner of the Men’s 500 metres sprint was Phil Clapp of Great Britain in 1.12.3, while Alexander Vyazovkin of Russia won the Men’s 2000 metres in 5.43.5.  Olena Buryak of the Ukraine continued her dominance of the Women’s events winning both the 500 and 2000 metres in 1.27.5 and 6.31.7.

Indoor rowing provides an excellent training workout, avoids inclement weather and is highly effective at bringing together the rowing community, and unsurprisingly it is one of the fastest growing participation sports.

“Fantastic”, summed up Peter Dreissigacker, co-founder of Concept2, after representing the USA in the 65-69 category when asked for his impressions of the first time the World Indoor Championships has taken place in Europe.

Results from all categories are on the World Rowing website.

You can also watch a replay of the Masters events on YouTube at  https://youtu.be/jV5ZLcoLWa4

British records for 2k are on the Concept2 website.

Top photo by World Rowing

Durham SBH weathers the storm

Durham Small Boats Head went ahead on February 1st after some initial concerns about the weather forecast, Durham’s topography affording sufficient shelter from the elements to prevent an addition to the long list of cancellations over the past year.

The decision to go ahead was vindicated, with the moderate south-westerly wind failing to trouble competitors, and although one or two visiting clubs chose not to risk towing their trailers in the wind 327 of the original 385 entrants completed the course.

With a strong stream flowing it wasn’t a day for fast times over the 1800 metres but some compelling racing meant an exciting day against the backdrop of the World Heritage Site for rowers and spectators alike, not least to witness the drama unfold as crews negotiated the arches of Elvet Bridge.

Traditionally held in its unique setting on the first weekend of February the Head acts as a curtain-raiser for the winter racing season before crews prepare for challenges to come in bigger boats on the Tyne and Thames.

Having four divisions provides some flexibility for coaches to try out different combinations, while enabling organisers to maximise the number of entries, competitors ranging in age from J13 juniors to Masters H (70+) and coming from schools, colleges and clubs throughout the northern region and beyond. Durham Amateur Rowing Club, being the host club, provided the largest entry of 59, with the Durham Colleges between them accounting for a further 46. George Heriot’s School from Edinburgh was the best represented school team, providing stiff opposition for the junior squads from Durham School, St Leonard’s School, Queen Elizabeth High School and Yarm School.

The fastest time of the day went to the Queen Elizabeth HS Open coxless quad in 6m 27.0s. The fastest Women’s crew was the WJ18 coxless quad from George Heriot’s School in 7m 18.5s.

Sixty-five events were contested, and after results were combined over the 4 divisions Durham ARC emerged as the most successful club in terms of victories with 22, while George Heriot’s School achieved 6 wins, Durham School, Yarm School and St Leonard’s School won 4, and Chester-le Street ARC, Tees RC and Tyne ARC 3 each.

Crews were banded in events with large entries, the most popular being the open and women’s coxed fours, each with entries from 12 College Boat Clubs, Hatfield College BC taking the honours in band 1 of the Open 4+ in 6.34.9, holding off Collingwood College by a second. Collingwood won band 2 and John Snow College band 3. Collingwood College also won band 1 of the Women’s coxed fours in 7.47.4, while Yarm School took band 2 and Collingwood band 3.

Durham ARC, represented by Ellis Black, Thomas Crabtree, Jacob Windle and Lewis Davison, held off the challenge of Durham School to win the J16 4x- in 6.35.5, and the DARC Masters E 4x- (Richard Court, John Lyons, Paul Rutter and David Heppell) was the fastest Masters crew in 7.00.0. The DARC Masters F crew of Gerry Sharpe, George Adair, David Oliver and Michael Seed won in both the Masters F coxless quad (7.30.8) and coxed four (coxed by Helen Adair in 8.06.7).

John Roxborough and Dan Pearson won the Open pair in 7.32.0.

DARC’s Adam Morris was the fastest single sculler of the day, winning the J18 1x in 7.25.7 in a close race with QEHS, Yarm School and Durham School who all finished within 3 seconds of one another, before Adam combined with the Yarm School sculler to win the J18 2x in 6.49.0.

The Women’s coxless quads was hotly contested, with DARC’s junior squad racing two crews in band 1 against the senior women and Talkin Tarn masters. The junior 4x- of Ella Sampson, Elicia Baldwin, Mollie Coe and Madalyn Elmer ran out winners in 7.30.9. The second senior quad won in band 2, recording an identical time to the band 1 seniors in 7.36.1.   

After winning a bronze medal at the national championships last year at J14 age group the J15 girls (Jennifer Napora, Orlagh Windle, Libby Morris, Alice Chilvers and cox Tilly Stoddart) won the WJ15 coxed quad in 7.39.1, a second faster than the boys J15 4x+ winners. Libby and Jennifer also won the J15 girls 2x in 7.56.2.

The Women’s Masters D coxless quad of Clare Woodward, Gabrielle Moore, Aisling Dutton and Susan Jackson won their event in 7.45.6.

Paul Rutter and David Heppell won the Masters E double sculls (7.49.8), Andy Jaggard, after winning at the World Masters last year, won the Masters G single sculls (8.06.9), and there was a win in band 2 of the Open double sculls for Thomas McGranaghan (8.16.1).

Gill Prescott and Eva Rankin raced their double scull at Women’s Masters D and Masters F, winning both events, with the faster time of 8.08.8 coming in division 2.

Miriam Stewart won the girls J16 single sculls in 8.43.6 and the DARC J15 girls claimed the top 3 places in a field of 11 in the WJ15 1x, with Francesca Suggett taking victory in 9.21.9.

Durham ARC also did well in the younger junior age groups with the boys and girls J13 coxed quads each winning at the first time of asking, while the three DARC J14 boys coxed quads took first, third and fourth places, holding off opposition from QEHS, St Leonard’s and Yarm School.

Yarm School won the women’s J18 pair, J15 and J16 coxed quads, and J16 coxed four.

St Leonard’s School won the J16 girls coxless quad, J16 girls 2x, J15 boys 2x and J14 girls 2x.

Durham School won the J18 coxless quad, women’s coxed quad, women’s double sculls and J18 pair.

George Heriot’s School provided the fastest senior women’s sculler and the fastest Open sculler in band 2.

Tees Rowing Club had a successful day, winning the Open and J16 double sculls and the Open single sculls, and finishing 3rd in the Open quad sculls.

Following on from his success in winning 2 gold medals at the Mizuno British Rowing Indoor Championships in December Isaac Hillicks-Tulip of Tyne ARC won the J15 single sculls in 7.40.8 and also won the J16 1x in the following division. Gaining their first ever experience of the course the Tyne ARC J14 2x went under 9 minutes to win their event.

Mollie Dowson of Chester-le-Street ARC won the women’s J18 single and double sculls, and Jo Lewis of Talkin Tarn ARC won the Women’s Masters D single sculls.

Ebchester Boat Club took part for the first time since the club reaffiliated last year after dissolution in 1974, entering a WJ16 composite quad with Chester-le-Street ARC.

Feedback about the event has been very positive and hopefully the winter weather will be kind for the remainder of the head racing season.

Junior crews will be contesting places in the squad to represent the Northern Region at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta at trials on Saturday. Meanwhile the Durham Colleges will be focused on the Novice Head and Senate Cup on Sunday.

After a year’s absence the BUCS Head returns to the River Tyne on February 22nd and 23rd when Durham and Newcastle Universities will be vying with opposition from around the UK, before crews look to the Tideway Heads in London in March.

Full results from the SBH combined over the 4 divisions are here  

SI Events Photography has provided photographs from each division and more can be found on the Durham ARC facebook page

Victory for Roger at BRIC

Roger Stainforth may have been Durham ARC’s only representative at the 2019 Mizuno British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC), officially the largest indoor rowing event in the world, but he returned triumphant with a gold medal and a British record in the Masters age 75-79 heavyweight 2km event!

On Saturday December 7th over 1,800 competitors took to rowing machines at the Lee Valley Velopark, home to the 2012 London Olympic cycling events. There were over 2,300 entries across 140 events, with athletes from as young as 11 right up to age 88 racing in front of a sell-out crowd.

Since turning 75 in September it was the second occasion that Roger had lowered the British record, having broken the previous mark that had stood for 11 years at the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships 2 weeks earlier, his time of 7m 25.2s at BRIC on Saturday being 4.5 seconds quicker. A total of 3 World records, 10 British records and 62 Championship records fell at the event, including many in adaptive and masters categories. Results from all categories can be found here.

This year was the fifth occasion since being re-branded as BRIC that the Championships has been held at the Velopark and Roger has won his event at all 5! The 70-74 age record of 7.08.7 which he set at the February 2015 British Championships still stands.

“The atmosphere in the velodrome is inspiring. there are pictures of the British Olympic cyclists around the corridor as you walk to the competition area, it’s wonderful to think that the likes of Chris Hoy, Wiggins, Cavendish, Pendleton etc have trod the same route to glory!” he observed.

BRIC attracts athletes of all abilities and from around the world. One of the highlights was Olympic Champion Eric Murray of New Zealand taking part in the Mixed 4km relay with a wild card team drawn from all the competitors entered on the day. “BRIC is such an iconic event worldwide, it’s great to be able to come here, share a bit of advice, talk to people and just experience what it’s all about,” he said.

Very happy with Saturday’s performance, Roger predicted “I’m confident my race training is bearing fruit and I hope to go even quicker at the next event in Manchester – the English Indoor Rowing Championships on February 2nd 2020”.

Roger only took up rowing after his 60th birthday, the motivation for taking up the sport at an advanced stage of life being provided by his daughter Rebekah taking it up, closely followed by wife Hazel, herself now a former world masters gold medallist and record holder on the water. Since then he has been a great ambassador for the indoor version of the sport, winning many times at national championships, including victories at the Scottish, Welsh, Irish and British Championships in the 2017-18 season, but has only ventured on to the water for one year, in 2016 forming a successful partnership with Martyn Calkin, the pair winning the Novice Masters F double sculls at the National Masters Championships in Nottingham.

Last year was a difficult one as Hazel was undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In March 2019 Roger organized a 100km Big Pink Ergo Challenge which raised over £770 for breast cancer charities.

Meanwhile Hazel has made an excellent recovery, returning to competition with the Women’s Masters G coxless quad, and winning races in the Long Distance Sculling Series on the Tees and Tyne.

Good conditions for Rutherford Head 2019

A large entry of 264 enjoyed some unusually good conditions for Rutherford Head on Saturday December 7th with a breeze in the afternoon providing the only real difficulty.

Organised by Tyne ARC the head is the northern region’s premier race for large boats in the winter season and attracts some of the best rowers from clubs, schools and academic institutions around the country. Saturday was also a busy day for other competitions elsewhere, with around 500 taking part in the Scullers Head on the Tideway, and the British Rowing Indoor Championships also in London attracted over 2300 entries.

Such was the demand for places at Rutherford Head that for the second year running entries were suspended when capacity was reached barely 2 hours after opening at 6pm on November 10th with many joining a waiting list in hope of withdrawals.

Competitors came from far flung corners including Aberdeen, London, Canterbury, Manchester, Nottingham, York, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as from local clubs and Universities to race in 2 divisions over the 4.5km Championship course between Scotswood Bridge and Newburn. Excellent planning and organisation enabled all crews to go afloat on time and return to one of the 3 allocated boating location at Tyne ARC, Tyne United RC and Newcastle University BC before December darkness descended.

The size of entry, including over 100 eights, enabled British Rowing’s competition structure to be put into effective use with some events seeing competitors allocated to up to 5 bands according to ranking points. 

The University of London provided the fastest open eights of the day, the open 8+ taking victory in division 1 in 14m 16.8s, and the fastest women’s eight completing division 2 in 16m 29.3s, each holding off rivals from Newcastle and Durham Universities and Tideway Scullers School.

Durham ARC entered 16 crews including 4 composites, claiming 3 wins. The first, in division 1, went to the DARC J18 girls stroked by Elicia Baldwin finishing in 19.48.2 in band 2 of the Women’s J18 coxless quad. In division 2 the composite Masters E eight (involving John Lyons and Richard Court and crew members from Hexham, Cambois, Kings School Canterbury and Tyne United) won the Masters DE handicap in 18.01.8 (adjusted to 16.46.7), and the DARC/Loch Lomond Women’s Masters F coxless quad of Gill Prescott, Eva Rankin, Joyce Collett and Christine Heppell, won the WMasCFD 4x- in a time of 20.53.4 (adjusted to 19.03.8).

In division 1 the J18 girls also finished 4th in band 1 of the WJ18 4x-, 8 seconds ahead of the band 2 winners, while the senior men finished 9th in band 4 of the Open 8+. The senior women were 3rd and 5th in band 3 of the Women’s coxless quad.

Also in division 1 the DARC/Blue Star MasF coxed four was 2nd to St Neots in the MasDF 4+, the Women’s Masters E eight was 3rd in the WMasCDE 8+, and the MasD coxless quad was 4th in the MasADEF 4x-. 

In division 2 the Junior girls competed in band 4 of the senior Women’s eight and finished 2nd to Hatfield College. The senior men were 3rd in band 3 of the Open 4x-, and the DARC/Yarm School composite were 2nd in band 2 of the J18 4x-.

Masters events were subdivided into a MasDE 8+ and a MasDEF 8+, and Women’s Masters events into a WMasCFD 4x- and a WMasCDEF 4x-, with DARC having involvement in all. As well as the composite wins in the MasDE 8+ and WMasCFD 4x- David Oliver’s DARC Masters E eight was 2nd and the DARC Masters D eight stroked by Stephen Kay was 3rd in the MasDEF 8+ competition, and the Women’s Masters C coxless quad stroked by Carole McCarthy was 3rd in the WMasCDEF 4x-.

Full results of division 1 and division 2 can be downloaded from the Tyne ARC website.

With the repeated issue of oversubscribed entries Tyne ARC are considering how to respond to calls for a 2-day Rutherford Head next year. Would this dilute the traditional one-day Rutherford, fought out in just one day, whatever the weather? Views are welcome by email to entries@tynearc.com

After a year away the BUCS Head of the River Race returns to the Tyne in 2020 and will be raced on the same course over the weekend of February 22nd and 23rd, a week after Tyne Head, and the week before the Yorkshire Head.

Derwentwater Head trial

The weekend of November 23rd/24th was a frustrating one for rowers on the River Wear with high water levels causing the cancellation of Durham College Rowing’s Senate Cup competition scheduled for Sunday, but it was certainly a busy weekend for club members with plenty of action on offer elsewhere. Three DARC quads went to London for the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours and Veteran Fours Head, the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships took place at Motherwell, and three more crews went to Keswick for an invitation trial in preparation for the inaugural Derwentwater Head in 2020, while back in Durham on Sunday DARC was proud to host the first of a winter series of British Rowing’s Women’s Training Days, focusing on Movement Patterns.

The Derwentwater Head trial was hosted by Lakeland Rowing Club who moved to a new location at The Isthmus earlier this year. Lakeland welcomed eighteen crews from Chester le Street ARC, Hexham ARC, Tyne United RC, York City RC and Durham ARC who accepted the invitation to take part in 2 divisions for the time trial over 3000 metres, the morning division being rather damp but conditions improving by the afternoon. Lakeland had prepared an alternative course for use in the event of windy conditions but fortunately the lake was relatively calm.

DARC was represented in division 1 by Gary McCarthy, Dave Murray, Mick Downworth and Peter Robinson in a Masters D coxless quad, and in division 2 by the only eight to take part, a Masters D 8+ including George Peattie, Angela Purves, Vaughan Gordon, Dave Murray, Arthur Glasfeld, John Liddell, Tom Dower, Stephen Kay and cox Niki Tough, and by a Women’s Masters C 4x- comprising Carol McCarthy, June Davidson, Hannah Gravatt and Emily Hanscam.

Medals were presented to winners in each event, each hand-painted on Honister slate. The medals were originally intended for Lakeland Explore Series which was cancelled last year because of the weather.

Results are shown here. It was an enjoyable day for all concerned in what must be one of the most spectacular settings in the UK for a head race. Rob Grange Photography has provided an album of photographs.

Several years in the planning and subject to official ratification Derwentwater Head will be added to the calendar of British Rowing affiliated competitions in the Northern region, the first head provisionally scheduled for March 7th 2020. Details are available here. Lakeland have already provided several trainees to boost the regional umpires’ pool.

Thanks to all at Lakeland Rowing Club and to Paul McCarron and Colin Percy for umpiring the private match.

Tideway Fours and Veteran Fours

DARC was well represented at the Tideway Fours heads last weekend, with men’s and women’s quads in the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours (HoR 4s) on Saturday November 23rd and a women’s masters quad in the Veteran Fours Head (Vet 4s) on Sunday 24th. But for the untimely intervention of the weather there would have been more.

Both competitions are rowed on the Championship course, the HoR 4s over 6.8km downstream between Mortlake and Putney, while the Vet 4s is rowed upstream on the flood tide over a shorter course between the Mile Post and Chiswick Staithe.

Attracting crews of international calibre the HoR 4s aspires to be the pre-eminent head race for fours and quads and is capped at a maximum entry of 480 for reasons of safety. The Vet 4s was able to accept 215 entries this year.

The race committee of the HoR 4s was taken by surprise when capacity was reached 15 days after opening on September 30th and entries were suspended, with DARC having a remarkable 5 crews in the start order including the senior men’s, two senior women’s and 2 junior girls’ quads. Last year’s winners Leander was one of the clubs to miss out after failing to submit their entries in time. Vet 4s entries filled up soon afterwards.

Difficulties started when a warning about the likely conditions was issued a week before race day, following heavy rainfall in the Thames Valley. With a strong stream forecast and the Port of London Authority issuing a Yellow Flag warning of strong fluvial flows, clubs were given the option to withdraw any crews for whom the conditions might not provide a positive racing experience. This initially reduced the field by 40 but two days before the race the committee considered it necessary to reduce numbers by a further 60 in order to provide sufficient space to allow for safe marshalling under the prevailing conditions.

The cull was made according to crew ranking points, leaving the two DARC J16 girls crews and one of the senior women’s disappointed and forced to scratch.

Conditions improved slightly with the PLA flying a Green flag the day before the race but remained challenging.

The senior men’s crew, David Rutter, Tom Richardson, Aidan Rome and Nicholas Baird (top), finished 13th in the Club 4x- band 2 in 20m 22.8s, and the remaining senior women, Gabrielle Maxfield, Rachael Colling, Lucy Lloyd and Emily Grant were 17th in Women’s Club 4x- band 2 in 22m 07.7s.

The fastest men’s crew of the day was a composite quad representing Tideway Scullers’ School, Edinburgh University BC, Nottingham RC and Durham University BC in 18m 02.2s, while the fastest women’s crew was a quad from Tideway Scullers’ School in 19m 23.3s. Results by time are here.

The performance of the weekend from DARC came in the Veteran Fours Head on Sunday when Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan in the composite coxless quad with Jackie Darling of Barnes Bridge Ladies and Birgith Sims of Kingston RC, overcame Tideway Scullers, Walbrook, MAA/Twickenham and Lea RC to win the Women’s Masters F 4x- for the third year in succession by over a minute, finishing 125th overall in 22m 11.8s (photo from Ben Rodford Photography here). Vets 4s results are here.

We are grateful to our trailer drivers and to the clubs on the Thames for hosting our crews and to the army of volunteers, launch drivers, marshals, umpires and timekeepers for keeping everyone safe and without whom the events could not take place.

The weather has not been kind recently. York Small Boats Head was cancelled last week and the issue of river dredging has once again been raised following devastating floods in South Yorkshire earlier in November. We look forward to better conditions for Rutherford Head on the River Tyne on December 7th.

After the Scullers’ Head, also on December 7th, the next Tideway heads are the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on Saturday, March 7th 2020, Schools’ Head on Wednesday, March 18th, and the Head of the River Race and Veterans’ Head on Saturday, March 21st and Sunday, March 22nd.

Record for Roger at Scottish Indoors

Having moved up an age category in September Roger Stainforth added to his indoor rowing achievements on Saturday by setting a British record for the age 75-79 heavyweight 2km while competing in the over-70 event at the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships at the Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell.

His time of 7m 29.7s beat the previous record of 7.32.6 set in 2008 by Jim Brownlow of London Rowing Club by 2.9 seconds.

Improving on the 7.35.2 he recorded at the North East Indoor Championships at Durham’s Maiden Castle 3 weeks ago Roger is still working his way back to fitness following eye surgery but  looks well prepared for the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the Lee Valley Velopark in two weeks time.

The result adds to the British record that he already holds in the 70-74 age range for 2000m of 7.08.7 and the 70-79 Scottish and British records for 1000m of 3.23.5, set in the 2014/15 season.

With the Scottish, Irish and Welsh Indoor Championships all taking place on the same day there will however be no repetition of the 2017/18 grand slam of victories in home nations championships.

The 2019 Scottish Indoor Championship results are here.

British records are recorded on the Concept2 website.

Early finish for Sculling Series

The Long Distance Sculling Series (LDS) finished a week early after it was decided to cancel the final round at Durham along with Durham Autumn Small Boats Head (SBH), planned for November 9th, because elevated river levels made it impossible to provide safe and fair racing.

2019 has been a difficult year as regards unpredictable river conditions, with both days of Durham Regatta also cancelled in June – and Durham Autumn Sprint Regatta was called off in September because of an unviable entry.

The river level chart below illustrates the rise and fall over the week preceding the LDS/SBH.

Demand for competition during the autumn heads season has increased hugely in recent years. The Northern Rowing Council’s LDS Series had been running for several years but the number of events and their location had remained uncertain until 2013 when the event returned to Durham following a break. Some rounds included an associated SBH, others didn’t.

For a long time Durham has staged a very popular Small Boats Head with 4 divisions allowing for up to 400 entries in February each year, but it was not until 2015 that an additional Autumn SBH was offered to coincide with the Durham LDS round, allowing sweep-oar entries as well as sculling, which made it very attractive particularly to the College sector who focus on sweep-oar competitions, of which few were available in the region during the heads season.  

The LDS settled on 5 rounds, increasing to 6 with the addition of Berwick in 2015, four of them having an associated SBH in the afternoon.

From around 120 entries for the 2013 Durham LDS the combined entry increased to over 200 in 2015. Demand continued to increase and in 2017 it was decided to add a second division of the SBH, thus accommodating over 100 in the LDS and almost 200 in the SBH, SBH results being aggregated over the two divisions.

Such was the demand this year that entries were suspended the day after opening and it was decided that, rather than reject around 25% of entries, a second division of the LDS would provide places for a combined entry of 378, This was the plan until the weather intervened! – an early LDS/SBH division 0 for the City based clubs, including 29 SBH entries representing 11 of the 16 Durham Colleges, and 51 LDS entries from Durham ARC, Durham School and St. Leonard’s School, followed by LDS division 1 and SBH divisions 1 and 2, each including around 100 entries.

Naturally the cancellation was a great disappointment for the 59 DARC crews entered (up from 44 last year) as well as for other clubs around the region.  

With entries and weather equally unpredictable are we heading for 4 divisions in the autumn to match the 4 in February? The limiting factor is the hours of daylight.

The previous week’s competition at Wansbeck, in ideal weather, therefore proved to be the final round of the LDS Series and included some good performances from the 23 DARC crews taking part, although times recorded suggest the distance was shorter than the advertised 3.5km.

Paul Rutter and David Heppell in the Masters E 2x won for the 4th time in 5 LDS starts. Unlike previous rounds Kim Forster and David Muse in the Mixed Masters C 2x had some opposition so were awarded a win in the LDS, as were the MasD 4x- (Gary McCarthy, Dave Murray, Mick Downworth and Peter Robinson) and Andy Jaggard in the MasG 1x. The Women’s Masters G 4x- (Lynn Pain, Hazel Stainforth, Carolyn Edwards and Caroline Scholl) overcame the DARC WMasE crew (Julie Kitson, Vickie Jackson, Linda Forwood and Nicola Field) but missed out on extending their winning run, taking second place by 0.7 seconds after the handicap to the Talkin Tarn WMasC 4x-, while Joyce Collett and Sarah Rutter in the WMasF 2x overhauled Berwick’s WMasC 2x by 17 seconds after application of the handicap.

George Watson’s College from Edinburgh entered a strong team in both the LDS and SBH divisions but the DARC J16 boys 4x- stroked by Thomas Woods emerged as the fastest open coxless quad in the SBH division, in which Jennifer Napora and the Chester-le-Street/DARC J15 girls coxed quad were also winners, as were the DARC MasD 4+ (John Liddell, Tom Dower, Alastair Edge and Arthur Glasfeld, coxed by Clive Hole) who won for the second time in 2 starts. Competitive times were recorded by several other crews.

The most successful DARC crew in the LDS Series is therefore the Masters E 2x of Paul Rutter and David Heppell with 4 wins and a second place, with the Women’s Masters G 4x- (Lynn Pain, Hazel Stainforth, Carolyn Edwards and Caroline Scholl) gaining 2 wins and 2 second places, and Jacob Windle winning twice from 2 starts in the J16 1x.

Over the 3 SBH competitions there were 2 wins from 2 starts for the Masters D 4+ (John Liddell, Tom Dower, Alastair Edge and Arthur Glasfeld, coxed by Clive Hole).

Links to full results and times from each round can be found on the LDS Series page.

As a postscript to the weekend cancellation Sunday’s Ergathon organized by Durham College Rowing at DARC was a great success with 19 teams and 220 people rowing in relays on ergos the distance from Lands End to John o’Groats to raise funds for the mental health charity Mind.

The next Durham College Rowing events are the Senate Cup on November 24th and the Novice Cup on November 30th and December 1st.

The next rowing competition at DARC is Durham Small Boats Head on February 1st 2020.

School Games Indoor Rowing Championships

Durham ARC Juniors put in some good performances at the Level 3 School Games County Durham Indoor Rowing Championships at the Graham Sports Centre, Maiden Castle on Thursday,

Congratulations to the successful rowers in each year group –

  • WJ13 – Sian Davison 1st in Year 8 girls
  • J13 – Will Terry 3rd in Year 8 boys
  • WJ14 – Elise Lambert 1st in Year 9 girls
  • J14 – Tom Pfetscher 1st and Sam Terry 3rd in Year 9 boys
  • WJ16 – Louise Southward 1st and Hannah Davidson 3rd in J16 girls
  • J16 – Jacob Windle 1st and Ellis Black 3rd in J16 boys
  • J18 – Adam Morris (right) 1st and only entry in Year 11/12 boys

School Games is a Government priority for realising a meaningful sporting legacy from the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and is supported by three Government Departments – the Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department of Health and Social Care, with funding from Sport England. Competition takes place at 4 levels – Intra-school (L1), Inter-school (L2), County (L3) and National (L4).

The County Championships draws entries from local schools and clubs, with the best placed athletes invited to compete at the Regional Indoor Championships in March, after which those with suitable ergo scores can go forward for consideration for the GB Junior assessment process.

Thanks to Ray Dominy for photos of winners below.

Successful competitors are also invited to participate in Durham University’s Junior High Performance Academy, Durham University Boat Club (DUBC) being one of the successful High Performance Programmes supported by British Rowing and funded by Sport England.

Thanks go to DUBC, British Rowing and County Durham Sport for hosting and organising the event.

Sculling Series nears climax

After the completion of 4 of the 6 rounds of the 2019 Northern Rowing Autumn Series uptake for both the Long Distance Sculling Series (LDS) and associated Small Boats Heads (SBH) has been enthusiastic, with entries for the competitions at Tees, Tyne, Wansbeck and Durham being suspended early when safety limits were reached soon after opening. Interest has been well distributed and good support has come from the region’s clubs, schools, colleges and Universities.

Durham ARC has been represented at each event, with 23 entries at South Hylton LDS on October 5th, 6 for Tees LDS and 4 for Tees SBH on October 12th, 13 for Tyne LDS and 7 for Tyne United SBH on October 18th, and 2 at Berwick LDS on October 26th

There will be no Victor Ludorum award in the LDS Series this year but DARC has already enjoyed notable success for Juniors, Seniors and Masters, with wins coming at South Hylton for the J17 girls 4x- (Ella Sampson, Ella Metcalfe, Nathalie Einbeck and Madalyn Elmer), Jacob Windle in the J16 boys 1x, Jennifer Napora in the J15 girls 1x, Women’s 4x+ and Masters E 2x. Further wins went to the Women’s Masters D 4x- (Clare Woodward, Aisling Dutton, Gabrielle Moore and Susan Jackson) at Tees LDS and to the Women’s Masters G 4x- (Lynn Pain, Hazel Stainforth, Carolyn Edwards and Caroline Scholl) at Tees and Tyne LDS, while at Tyne LDS there were wins for Jacob Windle in the J16 boys 1x, Tilly Stoddart in the J15 girls 1x, and Paul Rutter and David Heppell in the Masters E 2x.

The Senior Men’s 4x- stroked by Nicholas Baird were winners at Tees LDS, 2nd at Tyne LDS and 3rd at South Hylton, while the Senior Women stroked by Emily Grant finished 2nd in the W4x- at Tees SBH and 2nd in band 1 of the W4x- at Tyne United SBH. There was also a 2nd place finish in band 2 of the W4x- and a 3rd place in the W4+ for the senior women at Tyne United SBH. 

The only victory at Tees SBH went to the Masters development 4+ (John Liddell, Tom Dower, Alastair Edge, Arthur Glasfeld and cox Clive Hole), Arthur Glasfeld’s first competitive outing for the club and a rare success in the coxes seat for 79 year-old Clive Hole.

After their win at Berwick the Masters E 2x of Paul Rutter and David Heppell (above) leads the way in terms of the series with 3 wins and a second place, followed by Lynn Pain, Hazel Stainforth, Carolyn Edwards and Caroline Scholl with 2 wins and a second in the Women’s Masters G 4x-, and Jacob Windle with 2 wins from 2 starts in the J16 1x.

Results from each round are accessible from the LDS web page.

The start order for Wansbeck LDS and SBH on November 2nd is now available and the 6-week series culminates with Durham LDS and Autumn Small Boats Head being contested over 1800 metres on the River Wear on Saturday November 9th.

Early suspension of entries is a recurring theme this autumn with the Fullers Head of the River Fours and Veteran Fours Head on the Tideway on November 23rd and 24th both becoming oversubscribed soon after opening, giving competition organisers food for thought. Conversely the Head of the Don, scheduled for October 5th, was cancelled because of insufficient entries.

Tickets for £2 are still available for the Bonfire, Fireworks and Boat Burning Party on Sunday, after which we look forward to good conditions and a full days racing on November 9th.