Rowing round-up: Lent 2017

RGS Worcester rowers achieved 11 wins during the Lent Term, and two rowers have been selected to represent the West Midlands at the Junior Inter-regional Regatta on 22 April.

Following the successes at two indoor rowing competitions in January the first win on the water came at the Head of the Severn. Racing over the 4.5km course the Novice Coxless Quad of Fraser Sparks, Felix Haynes, Joe Murray and Harry Chaplin beat strong opposition from Birmingham University and King’s School Worcester to take gold.

Gloucester Spring Head proved fruitful with four wins on the day. Ashley Nock and Harry Gemmill, Intermediate 2 Double, and Harry Smith, J18 Single, raced the 6.5k course and came in first place against strong contenders. There were also wins over the short course (1.8k) for the J15 boys’ Quad (Ben Walker, Alex Owen, Jack Beasley, Adam Smith, and coxswain Will Rigby) and the Women’s Novice Double (Elle Mortimer and Amelia Fish).

There was a reduced RGS turn-out for the West Midlands Junior Rowing Championships held in Worcester, due to the clash with DofE and CCF trips, but RGS fielded eleven crews. Ashley Nock and Harry Gemmill raced J18 double and came second, beating four other crews in the race. In the J18 quad, the RGS crew (Alec Berry, Ben Thomson, Ashley Nock, Harry Smith) achieved a well-earned silver medal. It was pleasing to beat several crews that had beaten RGS earlier in the winter season including crews from Hereford Cathedral School and ABV Severn.

J16 rowers Harriet Holyhead and Amelia Fish rowed in the WJ16 Composite Eight with girls from Worcester, Birmingham and Ross Rowing Clubs. There was no opposition in the event and the girls have therefore been selected to race at the national Junior Inter-Regional Regatta on 22 April – we wish them luck!

RGS Worcester sent two crews to the Schools’ Head raced on the Tideway in London (the Boat Race course raced ‘backwards’). After the crews had boated, conditions deteriorated to the point where the course had to be shortened from 6.8k to 2k. The Boys’ Quad (Harry Gemmill, Ben Thomson, Harry Smith and Ashley Nock) raced through white water (think of the Oxford-Cambridge women’s race in 2016 and you will understand the conditions on the day!) and described the experience as like having a bucket of cold water thrown at you every stroke! The Mixed Quad of Alec Berry, Matthew Hill, Darcy Simon and Francine Bath, fared little better with white top waves adding to the fun! Both crews were relieved to be back on dry land!

The National Junior Scullers’ Head at Dorney Lake was relatively calm in comparison, despite a cross-headwind, which kept the coxswains busy with their steering. We sent five crews to this highly competitive event and were pleased to report some of our highest placings for a number of years. The J15 Boys’ Quad (Ben Walker, Alex Owen, Jack Beasley, Adam Smith, and cox Will Rigby) achieved 20th place in a field of 63. The B quad (Edward Smith, Ben Jarvis, Theo Hercules, Jacob Dyson and cox George Garrity) performed well beating 18 other crews to come in 45th. The WJ15 Girls suffered an equipment malfunction in their race when an oar snapped in half and they had to retire.

It was the first experience of Dorney Lake, the London 2012 venue, for the J14 rowers who started the sport last September. RGS Worcester was represented by a Girls’ Quad and a Boys’ Octuple. The girls’ crew of Phoebe Ellis-Tait, Olivia Fletcher, Mia Fletcher, Florence Hobson and coxswain Ellie Jones came in 42nd of 58 crews. The Boys’ Octuple, expertly steered by Olly Bailey, comprised James Larkin, Malachy Larkin, Daniel Hall, Luca Barnes, Ben Wastie, Will Osborne, Liam Leonard and Harry Lord. Racing in a field of 61 crews the boys were pleased with their 35th placing for their first national event.

A group of 27 rowers and five coaches are heading to Portugal this week for their annual rowing camp to prepare for the Regatta Season which starts after Easter.

Mrs Jane Sullivan, Head of Rowing