Durham University Boat Club’s first Winter Challenge Cup, an event packed with races featuring rowing talent from as far away as Edinburgh and as close as the Durham colleges, took place on the weekend of the 23rd-24th January.
A BUCS-sanctioned event, the weekend was organised entirely by Durham student rowers Benji Dawes and Ed Sidgwick.
The main reason for hosting the event: Durham University Boat Club (DUBC) have recently moved their Tyne rowing location to a new club, Tyne United Rowing Club.
Dawes said of the move: “a good way to establish the partnership between ourselves and Tyne United is to give our clubs the opportunity to work together. This was a chance for us to show each other how well we can operate as a team”.
Looking ahead to their next event, the Durham rowers were keen to solidify the Durham rowing team, complete with college participation. Many colleges were represented, and the best college was Collingwood, with an impressive performance from their Men’s Four. They won the Intermediate Coxed Four, and Cuth’s won the Intermediate Eight.
Sidgwick said: “we would really like to see all of the colleges represented there next year. We’ll definitely try to make it easier for them to come. We’re excited about the prospect of taking a team of Durham rowers to BUCS which includes a strong contingent of college crews”.
Edinburgh commented: “from our perspective, it was a great event that was thoroughly enjoyed by our whole club and I think something the club would definitely be willing to return to next year. The relaxed but professional approach from DUBC is something we felt definitely suited the situation”. Dawes admitted: “we’ve got a lot of thanks and congratulations”.
This sense of satisfaction is largely due to the atmosphere of the event, which was energetic and enthusiastic. The organisers received many compliments on the feeling taken away from the event.
After working around the clock for two months, putting a great amount of effort into publicising their new idea, the organisers were satisfied with their event’s success.
“We had a lot of fun” said Dawes. The two rowers coordinated everything from safety to administration, in addition to liaising with the colleges and with other universities.
Sidgwick said of the event’s success: “it was a huge amount of hard work and to see it all play out was really rewarding”.