Our rowers had an extremely successful day at Tyne Long-Distance Sculling Head and Tyne United Small Boats Head at the weekend, winning 14 of the 15 events entered.
The Tyne events form part of the North East Long-Distance Sculling Series, and traditionally are not races that we would participate in. The Tyne can be challenging, the races long and the competition stiff. However, with cancellations to both our previous events in Boston and Glasgow, the club embarked across the border for a higher standard regatta than we would usually chose as our season’s curtain raiser.
Our faith in the squad was entirely justified, as in glorious conditions for racing George Watson’s College put in some fine performances, and we were rewarded with some excellent results. Ian Walker (S6) was the fastest Junior Sculler, and the J16 Girls’ Quad – Isla Ferguson (S3), Molly Kerr, Eleanor Marlow and Ellie Brown (all S4) – was the fastest overall women’s crew of the day (beating several senior women’s crews).
Racing again in the afternoon, Eleanor and Ellie were also the fastest Junior Girls’ Double Scull; whilst Isla teamed up with Holly Cook (S3) to win the J15s, 90 seconds ahead of the closest of four chasing doubles. In the same event, Rebecca Moore (S3) and Rachael Malin (S2) beat one of the home crews by over two minutes, but were not fast enough to challenge the leaders.
Hamish Duncan and Jack Dryden (both S4) beat the home crew and two doubles from Aberdeen Schools to take the J16 2x trophy; and Lawrence Bialy and James Stevenson (both S3) finished half a second later in just under 20 minutes, which was enough to win them the J15 event ahead of the Durham crew. The two pairs then merged to race as a J16 quad in the afternoon, finishing second in a very strong field.
The Girls’ Coxed Quad of Rachael Malin (S2); Katy McDonald; Emma Crawford and Holly Cook (all S3) – steered by Anna Fenning-Kazantzidi (S2) comfortably beat the three English crews in the J14 event, before Katy and Emma then repeated the victory over Durham in the afternoon’s J14 doubles race. Anna also coxed the Boys’ Quad of Duncan Middlemiss; Peter Smith; Struan Stewart and Alasdair Watson (all S3) to victory, also over Durham.
Julie Stephen (S6) and Robyn Gillies (S5) won the Girls’ J17 Doubles comfortably ahead of their rivals from Chester le Street, but were 11 seconds behind the J18 crew of Sarah Duff (S6) and Emma Rankin (S5). The two doubles then paired up to race in the J18 Quad, but were not contested in that category. Alex Frew (S6) also won the Men’s Senior Novice Sculls, his opponent from Chester le Street not completing the course.
Overall, George Watson's College entered 17 crews into a strong field of 177, winning 14 of the 15 events entered. The confidence that the squad will have gained from achieving such unexpected and excellent results from a difficult and challenging event so early in the competition year will no doubt stand them in good stead for the remainder of the season.