After two years of planning and preparation and a week of anxious weather watching with the wind settled in the adverse north-east quarter, it was a relief to all concerned when the 58th South Coast Rowing Championships got underway in Swanage on Saturday(13th). Nonetheless, it was considered prudent to scale the event down to one day in light of the Sunday forecast.
The natural amphitheatre of Swanage Bay provides an ideal setting for the 1800 metre course, viewed from the vantage point of Sandpits Field, stretching towards Ballard Point.
26 clubs from the three rowing associations contested the six Championship events and a further ten Open events, all for coxed fours. The J14 and J16 coxed quadruple sculls events for Boys and Girls were salvaged from the Sunday program and run at the end of the Saturday schedule as conditions had moderated.
Premier event , Men’s Senior Fours for the magnificent Bideford Bowl, was a spectacular win for Bexhill RC by “a distance” over current Hants and Dorset Champions BTC, a length up on defending 2013 Bowl winners Itchen Imperial RC in third place. Bexhill also pulled off the double, taking the Ladies Senior Championship with Itchen Imperial second and Coalporters third.
Rivals Itchen and BTC fought it out for the Ladies Junior Championship with Itchen prevailing and Worthing pushed into third place.
In the Ladies Masters Open, Christchurch pushed BTC hard to the line finishing just three-quarters of a length down to take second place over Southampton.
It was in the Men’s Junior Open that Christchurch RC found its salvation with the B crew T Mahy, M Tamlyn, M Van de Heijden, R Quinn(str), A Ratcliffe(cox). Qualifying with a comfortable three length win over Ryde in the heat despite a poor start, they embarked in the final with all guns blazing, getting away well and building up an early lead. But by 1500 metres they had been closed down by Shanklin who piled on the pressure until 50 metres out when a crab in the Christchurch crew spelt disaster. Simultaneously Shanklin lost their momentum in a trough and the race was still on as both crews quickly recovered for a final dash to the line and the judges’ verdict “Christchurch by one foot!”
The Shanklin A crew, a wild card in the Men’s Junior Championship race, performed well finishing in second place to Deal. Third place for Poole gained them the Hants and Dorset Championship as this was also the row off with BTC.
In the Junior coxed quads events, Christchurch J14 Girls S Dodsworth, K Browning, E Cheetam, L Berridge(str), K Cherskova(cox) comfortably beat Itchen Imperial and secured the Pat Sherwin Memorial Trophy on aggregate as most successful club.