Boston Head of the Witham 2014

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Thursday, 23 January 2014 13:12 Written by Administrator

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Boston Head of the River, one of the first Head races of the calendar year, was held on the River Witham on Sunday 20th January. It is rowed in two divisions over two different course lengths:  eights, J18 and Elite scullers compete over 5,000m and all other athletes race over 3,000m. Last year the event was cancelled due to wintry conditions; this year, despite the recent heavy rain, the event ran in cool but relatively calm weather.

Nottingham Rowing Club was well represented by the veteran men’s group, the women’s squad and high performance and junior scullers. For several youngsters it was their first taste of Head racing and led by coaches Ashley Hewitt and Jonny Richardson they had an enjoyable day.

In what was an all-out club effort, Nottingham Rowing Club returned to training on Trentside with 15 wins, with all sections of the club that were present contributing to this fine haul. The one section of the club that was not at Boston, the senior men’s group, was at Ely where they were training with the Cambridge University lightweights, under the watchful eye of coach Dan Johnson.  

In Division 1, Josef Stoger and Alex Barlow from the Boy's High School won J18 Double Sculls, Harvey Kay [Rushcliffe School]and Jack Smith [Toot Hill School] won J17 Doubles. Faisan Shah [Farnborough School] and James Mawby [Nottingham City Academy]took the J16 trophy, Katie Swales [South Notts Academy] won WJ16 Single Sculls and Charlotte Brown [Nottingham Girl's High School] was the WJ15 winner. The winning juniors are in groups coached by Claire Parnell and Martin Kay.

Rowing over the 5,000m stretch, the Masters D eight of Iain Hill, Chris Beesley, Andy Brown, Shane MacSweeney, Mike Walker, Andy Townsend, Graham Angus and Paul Williamson, coxed by Clare Angus won their event very convincingly, with the results later showing their time as the fastest of the day. A delighted Andy Brown said: 'Even with me in the boat we had an excellent row!'. The Women's Intermediate 1 crew of Berni McCabe, Lou Townrow, Lilly Cocks, Kat Aguilar-Agon, Cassie White, Kirsty Brown, Nicky Gray, Heather Wesson and cox Jo Dodgson won their event. Coach Helen Bloor felt: 'It was a very good day at the office for NRC crews, who were showing some very good technique; clearly, coaching through the winter was paying off. Support from the bank was really good too'. Ed Fisher, coached by Martin Kay, brought a very profitable morning to a close by taking the Elite Single Sculls in his stride.

The sun broke through for Division 2, where Nottingham Rowing Club had several more successes. Jack Smith won J17 sculls, closely followed home by Harvey Kay. Katie Swales and Siena Hayes [Loughborough High] won WJ16 Doubles. Charlotte Brown and Priya Jenkins [Loughborough High] were WJ15 Winners. Laura Champion won Women's Intermediate 2 Sculls and Abby McCartney Women’s Intermediate 3 Sculls. The Women's Intermediate 3 coxed four of Alisha Page-Long, Caitlin Olney, Amy Stevenson and Kirsty Brown, coxed by Jo Dodgson, won the event.

The afternoon closed with races over the full 5,000m. The Women's Masters C crew with Berni McCabe, Lou Townrow, Cassie White, Sarah Royles, Jill Titterton, Elly Welham, Ruth Hyde and Meryl Harrison, coxed and coached by Helen Bloor won their event. Nikki Spencer took the Women’s Elite Sculls title, rowing in a new boat bought by Nottinghamshire County Council's Legacy Fund named  'Red October', and was followed home by Katie Bartlett, who is still recovering from a back injury. Coaches Martin Kay and British Rowing's Adey Roberts had asked her to row over at a capped rate of 26 to test out the injury: results are encouraging. The final flurry of the day was a time-only row by Connor Gamble [South Notts Academy] and Rowan Law [West Bridgford School]. Their coach, Dez Atkins, was well satisfied with the performance.

On the following night, Rowan & Connor’s reward for sustained excellence over the year was to be declared Nottinghamshire County Council's Junior Team of 2013 at an awards ceremony held at the East Midlands Conference Centre . This was the third award to Nottingham Rowing Club’s Junior Scullers over the winter awards evenings, following presentations by the Evening Post and Rushcliffe Borough Council.