ROWING: Club members represent East Midlands at National Regatta

George Mitchell (left) and Luke Wren with their national silver medals.

George Mitchell (left) and Luke Wren with their national silver medals.

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SEVERAL local rowers from Newark Rowing Club represented the East Midlands in the National Junior Inter-Regional Regatta at the National Water Sports Centre lake at Holme Pierrepont on Saturday.

A biting cold north-east wind funnelled down the course, creating waves higher than the sides of the fine rowing boats and made rowing conditions extremely difficult, verging on dangerous. At the point where crews in six successive races had snapped oars because of the difficulties of rowing through a strong wave, the racing was put on hold for an hour to see if the conditions would improve.

After the hour it was decided to race the J16 (Year 11) boys’ eights, the biggest and most robust of the boats. Because of the conditions, even these crews struggled and it was decided to cancel the rest of the day’s racing.

Sadly, this meant King’s School students and medal favourites in the J15 doubles Jack Smith and Ashley Cowley were not able to race. Also missing out on a chance to race were Rowena Price and Molly Zalas, both KGGS, who were part of the women’s J16 eight.

In the J16 boys’ doubles there was medal success for Luke Wren (Kings’s) and George Mitchell (Priory Ruskin Academy).

Before the competition, there was doubt whether the lads would have a suitable boat to row in. Having gained in height and strength since last season, the boat they had been using was too small for them and no suitable replacement could be found.

At the 11th hour they were lent a suitable boat and they were able to get out and practise the evening before the race.

Having raced and won their heat of six boats in the morning, they were looking forward to racing head-to-head with the winner of the second heat, York Rowing Club, in the finals during the afternoon.

But because of the conditions, the final had to be cancelled and medals were awarded according to performance in the heats.

The York crew’s time in the heats was slightly better than George and Luke’s and so the local duo came home with the silver.

They are looking forward to a re-match at the largest junior regatta of the year, the National Schools Regatta, at the beginning of June.