2013 saw the Sunday League reaching new heights in terms of the numbers taking part, with up to 19 teams entered for some rounds. DARC entered more teams than any other club with 6 in most rounds. The women’s crews fared best, with DARC Energy finishing 2nd overall and DARC Horses coming 3rd. DARC Dynosaurs were 4th in the Open category. For others it was more a case of building up their experience. It was great to see more entries from clubs within the northern region as well as interest from further afield, with Hollingworth Lake once again taking part and teams travelling from Bradford on a regular basis.
Two new venues were added, at Chester-le-Street and Talkin Tarn, making a total of 8 rounds between March and October. Further innovations saw the introduction of 2 skills rounds to complement the side by side racing format, and our all-round ability was tested to the limit with a mixture of sculling and sweep rounds. The increasingly devious skills tests proved very challenging with some of us not being quite up to the mark, but as usual it was all great fun.
Scoring is based on one point per win for the regatta-style ‘splash and dash’ races, with additional points on offer for the head-format skills tests. One of the features of the competition is that crews are allowed to introduce new members over the course of the season but any team exceeding 6 members only qualifies for half points. Another feature is that any crew member losing their novice status as a result of gaining points in mainstream regattas becomes ineligible for the league. These factors served to inhibit DARC’s performance, with well placed crews having their progress restricted – an interesting rule which also encourages new teams to join the league in later rounds.
The league can act as a stepping stone to further success. DARC Energy and DARC Horses lost 5 of their members after round 3 as a result of their involvement in development crews that were victorious at Durham City Regatta
. They then proceeded to win their category in the Great Tyne Row as well as having victories in several other mainstream competitions.
Hexham on a fine day is glorious. I’m sure Talkin Tarn can be just as lovely but sadly the weather gods chose the day of our visit to vent their displeasure. Chester-le-Street was very pleasant also and we look forward to returning, as we do to all our days out with the minibus.
Northern Rowing’s photo archives for 2013 can be found below