Grantham rowers scoop London gold medals

Newark Rowing Club's gold medal winning quad.
Newark Rowing Club's gold medal winning quad.
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Four young Grantham rowers – three from King’s School and one from Priory Ruskin Academy – took part in two national races in London at the end of last week.

Rowing for Newark RC, the J17 (Year 12) quad competed in the Schools Head of the River Race along with 300 other boats on the Oxford versus Cambridge boat race course.

In their first race on the Thames Tideway, and competing against 18-year old crews, they were pleased with their performance, coming in eighth place against the older rowers. It was especially impressive as two of the crew, Ashley Cowley and George Mitchell, should compete as J16s (Year 11) and were already rowing up a year group to form the quad. They are looking forward to returning to the Thames next year when they will no longer have such an age disadvantage.

The same quad of Ashley Cowley at bow, Max Bradbury, George Mitchell and Luke Wren at stroke, then moved across London to the Olympic rowing lake at Eton Dorney, where they took part in the national Oarsport Junior Sculling Head. Competing against other J17 crews, they came away with gold medals, rowing the 5,400 metre race in 18.596 minutes and beating Westminster School into second place by 0.2 of a second.

Amongst the many clubs and public schools beaten by the Grantham crew were two boats from Eton, the King’s School (Ely) and Henley Rowing Club.

Newark Rowing Club was also able to field three quads of girls in the competition, most of whom attend KGGS. The WJ14 quad of Jenna Draycott, Sophie Eaves, Katie McLaughlin and Gabrielle Price (with Hannah Fulton as cox) raced in one of the largest events of the day with an entry of 51 crews. They rowed extremely well, coming in sixth place against some other very strong and competitive crews.

The two other newly-formed crews of Suzi McMillan, Emma Stewart, Lilly Morten and Amy Fenhoulet raced in a coxless WJ16 quad, and Georgia Powell, Steph Hennesey, Hattie Swindells and Hannah Fulton raced in a WJ15 quad, coxed by Gabrielle Price. Both put in solid performances, finishing mid-ield in races with large entries. The WJ15 quad finished 23rd out of 51 entries.

George Mitchell and Ashley Cowley have been selected to represent the East Midlands in the J16 double sculls race at the national Junior Inter-Regional Regatta being held at the National Water Sports Centre in April. George is hoping to win a medal in this race for the second year running, having rowed in it as 15 year old in 2012 and won silver with Luke Wren.

PIX: The first shows the lads rowing on the Eton Dorney Lake, from left to right Ashley Cowley, Max Bradbury, George Mitchell and Luke Wren.

The second shows the quad with their medals in front of NRC’s new clubhouse, same order.