Mixed results at Hexham as rowers prepare for Durham Regatta

Trevs-HB composite VIII Palatinate backpage pic 11-6-15

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Summer, the thought of which brings about scenes of drinking Pimm’s and sitting around enjoying the sun. There are other thoughts as well: the cricket, garden parties and barbecues. There is one other aspect of summer that we sometimes think of – the sprint of regatta season.

Regatta season is fully upon us now. But do not think it has been an easy start to the summer, with various races being cancelled across the country as only the British climate can achieve (a ‘flood’ here, high winds there).

Hexham Regatta nearly became one of this fatal contingent, with predicted winds of 40-50mph and gusts of even greater magnitude. But the weather gods acted with sympathy, withholding much of the expected rainfall. Still, strong winds led to some very interesting racing from all colleges as the rowers went to the wall in the north. Racing began at 08:00, and did not finish till eleven hours later in the evening. With approximately three hundred and fifty rowers from Durham alone, this was never going to be over quickly. Opposing crews were paired up before boating, and set off up the side of the course, while crews that reached the top were aligned side by side, then let loose down the stream.

Twelve heats involving colleges had been closely fought in various categories within half an hour of arriving in Hexham. This served as a benchmark for the rest of the day, with colleges repeatedly getting up and heading out onto the water to race. Owing to the wind and the fact that colleges tend to view Hexham as a practice regatta for Durham Regatta as well as a race for testing freshers’ abilities after a year of rowing, a number of colleges did not perform to the standard they were hoping to reach. That isn’t to say there were no wins, but that certain high-achieving colleges unfortunately did not hit the levels to which they aspire. This rung true for all but Trevelyan College Boat Club, who dominated in numerous senior divisions, winning in the Men’s IM2, and IM3 division for IVs, and in the Women’s Novice IVs division. Another of their crews staved off competition from Henley hopefuls Collingwood, with Trevs’ winning crews beating Hatfield, ‘Wood and Castle in various finals.

Collingwood and Cuths both produced strong results on the day, claiming the Victor Ludorum prize jointly with Trevs. But with Trevs’ ascension to IM1 division following their reaping of points, and Collingwood and Cuths’ usual dominance, Trevs’ results are all the more impressive, edging the Hill into the lead in the build up to the yearly Hill vs Bailey race (which will occur during Admirals Regatta). With this dark horse emerging from the waves of Hexham, and other boat clubs hoping to improve, the coming regattas will certainly be action-packed and shouldn’t be missed.

With disappointment so far this season with bad weather, and less than ideal results, the majority of colleges are hoping to drastically improve for Durham’s regattas over the next week. The upcoming regattas are Durham Regatta this coming weekend (Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th June), and Admirals Regatta (Wednesday 17th June). Durham Regatta this year will be a big deal, with it being the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

There will be historic re-enactment races involving Brown’s boats racing, Miners racing (using shovels to paddle), and a parade down the racecourse in period dress. The Regatta Committee will welcome anyone who wishes to dress up and take part in the parade, which will be held at midday on the Saturday. As is standard at Durham Regatta, there will be drinks tents and food stalls, as well as classic car racing taking place beyond the Racecourse. The race to watch is the Challenge VIIIs on the Sunday morning, where DUBC will try to hold off Newcastle University and various colleges including Trevs, Hild Bede, and Collingwood. Admirals Regatta is a college-only regatta, with a lighter nature than that of Durham Regatta. Beer will be sold, and a barbecue will be put on as well. Fancy dress and coxes races will occur, as well as the annual Hill vs Bailey races. The nature of Admirals being college-only will bring out rivalries and pit crews against each other without any distraction.

If anyone wishes to be a commentator for the day please email dcr.regattas@durham.ac.uk.

Photograph: Becki Grannan

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