Snow and freezing conditions greeted rowers from around the northern region who converged on the River Wear for Durham Small Boats Head on Saturday February 2nd. They were joined by competitors from Bradford, Lancaster and George Watson’s College in Edinburgh who had also made the journey.
The time trial over 1800 metres, passing through the arches of Elvet Bridge, is a highlight of the winter racing season in Durham, and provides an excellent opportunity for crews to compete in smaller boats as they build up their training in preparation for racing on the River Tyne, in Yorkshire and on the Tideway in London in March.
The head always attracts a good spread of competitors of all ages from local clubs, schools, colleges and Universities who come together to gauge their performance and to enjoy the sport they love, and this year was no exception, with capacity reached in record time once entries opened in January.
The temperature rose and spirits lifted as the four divisions progressed, while river conditions remained good throughout, allowing excellent racing despite some of the original 400 entrants opting to stay away because of the wintry conditions.
The overall winner was the Open Senior coxless quad from Durham School who completed the course in a time of 6 mins 16.4 secs. The fastest women’s crew was Talkin Tarn’s coxless quad in 7.14.4.
The host club was the most successful with victories in 16 categories, followed by George Watson’s College with 10 and Durham School and Talkin Tarn ARC with 6 each.
George Watson’s College had the fastest open single sculler and their J16 open and women’s double scullers were also faster than senior opposition, while Talkin Tarn’s J18 single sculler was the fastest of the women’s singles.
As usual there was keen competition between the Durham University colleges in the coxed fours. St Aidan’s College won the open four in 6.23.8 and Collingwood College won the Women’s coxed four in 7.24.5. Events with larger numbers of entries were divided into bands as permitted by the British Rowing rules of racing. Durham ARC won band 2 of the Open fours while Butler College took band 3. In the Women’s coxed fours Durham School won band 2 and St Leonard’s School band 3. There was also a junior women’s J18 coxless fours race won by St Leonard’s School in 7.30.2.
Durham ARC achieved victories over an age range from J13 juniors to Masters G (65-69), including both open and women’s senior crews. The J13 quad finished in 8.04.7 for their first racing success, David Dowsett and Mark Humphries won the J18 double in 7.10.2, while, with no Masters opposition, Gill Prescott and Eva Rankin from Loch Lomond RC combined to win the senior Women’s double sculls in 7.49.9. DARC’s boys and girls J16 coxless quads also both recorded wins.
There was a double success for DARC’s David Rutter and Nicholas Baird, winning the Open double sculls in 7.04.4, then combining with Will Hamlyn, Brad Knights and cox Millie McIntyre to win band 2 of the Open coxed four in 6.50.6. John Watkinson, John Appleby, Paul Rutter and Micky Stevens won the Masters G coxless quad in 6.42.2 before John Appleby and Micky Stevens combined again to win the Masters G double sculls in 7.12.5, and Andy Jaggard won both the Masters F and Masters G single sculls, achieving the better time of 7.58.4 in division 1.
St Leonard’s School won 3 events as did Tyne ARC, while Tyne United won one. Smaller clubs had some success. Sunderland City won 3 events and Cambois and Hexham won one each. Berwick ARC achieved a 100% success rate from their only entry, Andrew Cairns and Chris Eke winning the Open pair in 7.11.6.
Fifty four categories were contested, with trophies awarded to winners of those with sufficient opposition. Winners are listed below in order of their finishing time.
Open 4x- band 1 Durham School 6.16.4
J18 4x- George Watson’s College 6.17.4
Open 4+ band 1 St Aidan’s College 6.23.8
Open 4x- band 2 Tyne ARC 6.32.9
J16 4x- Durham ARC 6.35.8
Masters G 4x- Durham ARC 6.42.2
Open 4+ band 2 Durham ARC 6.50.6
J16 4+ Durham School/Takin Tarn ARC composite 6.51.4
Open 4x+ Durham School 6.51.7
J16 2x George Watson’s College 6.53.4
J15 4x+ Hexham RC 6.54.9
J15 2x George Watson’s College 6.56.3
Open 2x Durham ARC 7.04.4
Open 1x band 2 George Watson’s College 7.08.9
J18 2x Durham ARC 7.10.2
Open 2- Berwick ARC 7.11.6
Masters G 2x Durham ARC 7.12.5
Women’s 4x- band 1 Talkin Tarn ARC 7.14.4
J18 1x George Watson’s College 7.14.9
Women’s J18 4x- Cambois RC 7.15.6
WJ16 4x- Durham ARC 7.23.0
Open 1x band 1 George Watson’s College 7.23.6
Women’s 4+ band 1 Collingwood College 7.24.5
Masters C 2x Talkin Tarn 7.26.3
Open 4+ band 3 Butler College 7.27.4
WJ18 4- St Leonard’s School 7.30.2
J16 1x Talkin Tarn 7.32.2
WJ15 4x+ Durham ARC 7.41.2
WJ16 2x George Watson’s College 7.41.3
WJ18 2x George Watson’s College 7.43.1
Women’s 4x- band 2 Sunderland City RC 7.45.2
WMas E 4x- Durham ARC 7.45.3
WJ14 4x+ Durham ARC 7.49.5
Women’s 2x band 1 Durham ARC/Loch Lomond RC composite 7.49.9
J15 1x George Watson’s College 7.55.4
Masters G 1x Durham ARC 7.58.4
Masters F 4x+ Durham ARC 7.58.6
Women’s 4+ band 2 Durham School 7.59.9
WJ15 2x St Leonard’s School 8.04.1
J14 4x+ Sunderland City RC 8.04.2
J13 4x+ Durham ARC 8.04.7
WJ16/18 4+ Durham School 8.06.3
Women’s 4x+ Durham School 8.09.9
Masters F 1x Durham ARC 8.11.8
J14 2x Sunderland City RC 8.13.9
WJ18 2- Durham School 8.17.9
Women’s 2x band 2 Tyne United RC 8.24.1
WJ18 1x Talkin Tarn ARC 8.24.5
WMas C 4x+ Talkin Tarn 8.26.2
WJ14 2x Tyne ARC 8.30.5
Women’s 4+ band 3 St Leonard’s School 8.30.8
WJ16 1x George Watson’s College 8.31.5
WJ15 1x Tyne ARC 8.35.5
WMas C 1x Durham ARC 8.43.1
The complete list of results combined over the 4 divisions can be found here
and there is a list sorted by gender and boat class
Winning DARC crews are on the results page.
SI Event Photography has provided a set of images of crews.