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West Norfolk Rowing Club contests Charles Stanley Cup

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Novice crews from West Norfolk, Isle of Ely and St Neots Rowing Clubs have battled it out over a three-event series for the inaugural Charles Stanley Cup.

The challenge series was devised by the three clubs to build on the success of recent Learn to Row courses and to give new adult rowers a taste of inter-club competition in a friendly atmosphere.

It took place over several winter weekends with two crews participating from each club.

West Norfolk rowing 2 (29505988)
West Norfolk rowing 2 (29505988)

Each club hosted one event, including side-by-side sprint racing, skills challenges and timed 1km head racing, using four stable coxed quads donated by sponsors Charles Stanley through British Rowing.

Competition was conducted with light-hearted spirit, including bonus points awarded for the best crew fancy dress headwear for the sprints event at Ely.

This was won by the West Norse Folk crew including Fliss Davidson, Sandy Convoy, Rosie McGeachy and Raffie Cowie-Stewart in Viking helmets with woollen plaits made in club colours.

West Norfolk hosted the skills challenge event at the club at Denver Sluice, devising a river rowing course with a slalom between a set of buoys.

West Norfolk rowing 4 (29505992)
West Norfolk rowing 4 (29505992)

It also needed a demonstra-tion of manoeuvring ability to pick up a float, turning the boat round and backing it down to a designated point within a time limit.

Crews were also tested on their ability to assess rowing safety, by being presented on land with a boat that had been set up with a catalogue of safety issues, from loose heel-restraints to open hatches, and having to spot all the potential hazards.

The points were very close for the Skills Challenge leg, with West Norfolk narrowly finishing in top spot. This put them in joint first position with St Neots going into the final event of the series.

For the decider, the two West Norfolk crews travelled to St Neots for the head racing event, having missed several training sessions due to recent high-winds, but determined to perform well.

Races were held in divisions timed over a 1000m course, and each crew had a chance to race twice to see if they could improve their time.

West Norfolk rowing 3 (29505990)
West Norfolk rowing 3 (29505990)

The West Norse Folk crew had to borrow a rower from one of the other clubs, and took 21 seconds off their first time when they raced again.

West Norfolk’s sluice women crew of Sandy Convoy, Tom Bennett, Becci Brown and Angela Holford, with Helen Pryer coxing, equalled the fastest adjusted time in their first division and then took a further nine seconds off this in their final race.

This saw them post the fastest course time in that division of 4 mins 57 secs, and the fastest adjusted time of the day with 4 mins 47 secs.

West Norfolk’s exploits saw them finish an honourable second place in the Charles Stanley Cup.

The club intends to host Learn to Row courses for adults and juniors in the Spring. For more details, email: wnrc.club@gmail.com

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