West Norfolk rowers make a splash at Great Ouse Marathon

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There was a good showing from West Norfolk rowers during the Great Ouse Marathon which started at the Denver Sluice Complex.

Hosted by West Norfolk Rowing Club, the event involved more than 120 boats with the race, over a distance of approximately 21.5 kilometres, concluding at Queen Adelaide near the organising club’s site at the Isle of Ely Rowing Club.

West Norfolk rowers clinched a number of podium places on the day as the club continues to grow thanks to funding from Sport England.

As the club prepared for the arrival of hundreds of competitors from as far afield as Newcastle and Wales, the weather seemed perfect for the race with it being overcast, 18 degrees and dry with a light breeze.

But by race time the wind had picked up to a cruel 15-18mph southerly blow, it was headwind all the way.

Early launches for West Norfolk Rowing Club included Hamish Collin, the club’s septuagenarian, in a single and brothers-in law Simon Prior and Robert John in the novice double scull category.

After a hard row, both boats finished third in their respective categories.

Collin clocked three hours and the double a time of two hours and 15 minutes.

Competing in a single for the very first time and, after only a short work-up period, was Mike Bond who put in a very impressive display to come third in the Master D single scull category in a time of 2hrs 11mins.

This year, West Norfolk Rowing Club were fortunate enough to receive a grant from Sport England to introduce more crew rowing into the club and in this race a new boat purchased with these funds was entered in the Women’s Intermediate 3 Coxless Quad category.

Kate Neale, Karen Thomas, Helen Pryer and Beatriz Bond made up the quartet who not only put in a good time of 2hrs 35mins before turning around and rowing back to Denver as part of their training for the Boston 50km race.

Sport England also granted money to fit out a coxed quad the club has on long-term loan with an audio suite.

This allowed a novice crew to enter two members who had only recently completed their learn-to- row course.

Matt Sawyer, Theo Bailey, Simon Grapes and Robert Ward were led by the very experienced cox Adriana Motriuc and returned an excellent time of 2hrs 32mins.

Finally for West Norfolk, but by no means the least, was a heavy-weight quad crew rowing in a boat recently donated to the club.

Entered in the Intermediate 3 Coxless Quad category, the crew of Phil Holden, Ron Rusman, Mark Dawson and Phil Bancroft put in the club’s fastest time of the day, finishing in 1hr 50mins – the 13th fastest overall time of the day.

Two Royal Air Force boats, whose members are affiliated to West Norfolk Rowing Club, also put in excellent times.

A four led by Tom Matthews in Cox and crewed by Lewis Gray, Tom Jackman, Josh Sutton and Jamie Davis, finished in an excellent time of 1hr 52mins in the Intermediate 2 Coxed Four category.

This was a strong performance as this team had not rowed as a crew before.

Finally, in an impressive row, the RAF’s Matt Parle won the novice single scull category in 2hrs 7mins.

West Norfolk Rowing Club hosts full learn-to-row courses run throughout the summer and has several races to come this autumn before it enters winter training.

For those interested in trying rowing for the first time, the next opportunity for taster sessions and rowing courses will start in Spring 2018.

For more information about West Norfolk Rowing Club please contact via: wnrc.club+join@gmail.com