The Women’s Squad has had a busy regatta season, fielding crews at a wide range of events in the north east. The 1st IV composed of Abi Fletcher, Sophie Langham, Flo Wurfbain and Beatrice Ormerod enjoyed some early success, winning the heavily contested Novice IV category in decisive fashion at our first regatta of the season at Chester-le-Street, and setting a benchmark by which we aimed to continue the season. Particular mention must go to our incoming Women’s Captain, Molly-Kate McCaffrey for coxing the crew to victory in her first ever regatta.
Our next event was York Spring Regatta, where we fielded a fresher Novice IV of Megan Baker, Sasha Waloff, Ellie Wainwright and Emilia Davies. After a comfortable first round win against Stephenson, despite a malfunctioning seat to the credit of the rowers, the crew was beaten in the semi final by York City RC, a commendable effort for the crew in their first regatta.
We had entered multiple crews for the first home regatta of the season, Durham City, however the notoriously unreliable weather of the North East prevailed on this occasion, which disappointingly lead to the cancellation of the regatta. Moving on from this, we focused our attention on the next big regatta, at Hexham. For this, we entered a Novice VIII, and an IM3 IV. The VIII of Megan Baker, Sasha Waloff, Hope Bicknell, Alexandra Crist, Jemima Kuzemko, Georgia Bird, Katherine Baker and Eleanor Macdougall were drawn against a very technically strong Hild Bede Novice VIII, who proved just too powerful despite the crew putting up an impressive fight, in very difficult conditions (near gale force winds). The IM3 IV was composed of SJCBC veterans Beatrice Ormerod and Abi Fletcher and novices Hope Bicknell and Megan Baker, with Charlie DC making her coxing debut. Again the girls showed grit and determination in their race, but were beaten by a Collingwood crew who ended up being the overall victors, however were somewhat let down by equipment failure during the race (a sadly all too common occurrence), when the coxbox broke.
The final official regatta of the season was Durham Regatta. We entered a Novice VIII, IM3 IV and a Novice IV on both days, with an additional Novice IV on the Saturday. On the Saturday the Novice VIII raced Lancaster University, leading until way over halfway through the race until an unfortunate crab meant the lead was lost, and the girls couldn’t quite pull it back in time. Despite this, the quality of rowing was vastly improved from the week before, and the crew presented a very strong challenge to a university crew. The novice IVs of Hope Bicknell, Sasha Waloff, Ellie Wainwright and Megan Baker, and Katherine Baker, Gwen Edmunds, Amy Taylor and Jemima Kuzemko, respectively raced crews from Trevs and Aidans. Unfortunately both crews were sadly beaten, but a lack of resources meant that the crews had to race using unfamiliar borrowed boats, wooden handled blades and faulty coxboxes which undoubtedly hindered their performance somewhat. The IM3 IV was made up of Holly Mozley, Beatrice Ormerod, Abi Fletcher and Katrina Bass who were just beaten by a strong Cuth’s crew in foul weather conditions.
The following day the VIII raced Butler, just losing in a difficult race where an (again) faulty coxbox resulted in a lack of amplification in the bows, and the Novice IV lost to John Snow. The IM3 IV however showed their class, easily dispatching a Collingwood crew, and then just losing in a tense second round, however an admirable effort, especially given the fact that the race was undertaken with no working coxbox.
We finally rounded off the season with the Johns Chads Regatta. After a disappointing performance from the mens novice squad, it was up to SJCBC’s women to secure a victory for John’s, which was delivered in fine style, with the VIII and the senior IV crushing their hapless Chads counterparts.
Overall, an enjoyable and rewarding season for the women’s squad, with lots to build on over the coming year. The crop of novices has been successfully integrated into the senior squad with many showing great promise which bodes well for the future of the club, and I wish good luck to my successor in the role of Women’s Captain, Molly-Kate McCaffrey.
The first regatta of the year for the men’s squad was at Chester-Le-Street, were we took our two strongest crews to the first big regional regatta of the year. The crews demonstrated ability, performance and overdue results.
The Mens 1st IV (Sebastien de la Fuente, James Wass, Huw Jarman, Martin Jakobson, cox Erica Thake) worked their way through to the final of their intermediate category, beating a powerful Tyne United/Northumbria University composite crew and then beating Stevenson/ John Snow composite crew in the next round. Ultimately however, they lost by only a bit more than a length to a Tees R.C. crew containing four from their Durham Regatta Championship Finalists last year on their way to Henley. It was however, a very fast and painful final!
More importantly, this demonstrated that we could beat the clubs and colleges that pose a challenge to us in the future. Perhaps more interestingly, the talk of the day was how SJCBC appeared to be dominating these races. No other college won an event.
Following Chester-Le-Street, the men set their sights on York Regatta. In a very good show, only the Men's Novice 4 and the 3rd VIII made less than the semi-finals of all the competition. The Men's 2nd VIII demolished a York St John's Crew (and also managed to do what the 1st VIII couldn't do last year in beating them), worked their way to the Semi-Finals and then sadly lost. The Women's IV, in their first ever race and with the pressure of living up to the current winning ways of the women's squad, managed to fly through the first rounds showing promise for the future, but the crew in the Semi-Finals proved too much.
Whilst the 1st VIII wasn't out in full force as our strongest crew, a mix-match (and we borrowed Trev's brand new Fillippi 8 due to the state of our current top boat) crew managed to win our category with at least 3 lengths distance in every race - coming home with more silverware and some more British Rowing points!
At Hexham, the club had its biggest every entry into the Europe’s largest one-day regatta. However, the first VIII made it all the way into the final (beating the University College and Van Mildert College 1st VIIIs) only to get disqualified as our British Rowing number on the side of the boat was unclear. Having previously been told by British Rowing that it would be okay for this occasion, we were quite annoyed. This bodes well for Durham - hopefully winning a few races in front of the home crowd.
Over the weekend of Durham Regatta, our club sent in it’s strongest crews. The Men’s Novice Crews put in a good performance, but had unfortunately left it too late in the season and came up against the strong university novice crews both days. The Men’s first Eight lost both intermediate categories, but turned out with the strongest every crew to enter the Championship 8s, which they eventually won in front of a home crowd and by a canvas each time!
Written by Sebastien de la Fuente, Club Captain and Sophie Langham, Women’s Captain 2014-15