North of England Sprint success

Hollingworth Lake RC hosted one of the largest sprint regattas in the country on Saturday (6th September) – the North of England Sprint Championships. With over 350 crews taking part in 189 races there was a continual stream of boats heading down the 500m fully buoyed three-lane course, starting at just after 8am and finishing just after 6pm. Hundreds of spectators enjoyed the racing, taking in the beautiful views of the Pennines embracing the lake, despite the rainy conditions.

As this is one of the first regattas of the new rowing year, the juniors had all moved up into their new age categories. There were notably large junior team entries from Warrington RC, Doncaster Schools Rowing Association, and Merchant Taylors School, as well as HLRC who had many first time rowers. Mark Phillips of HLRC was the youngest singles winner of the day, just 11 years old, winning the J13 single sculls early in the day. It was his first race, about six weeks after his first outing in a single. 

All the juniors fought hard, many through heats, semi-finals and finals, showing great determination and spirit to win the coveted medals. Warrington juniors were consistently successful taking the Victor Ludorum prize and £500 cheque presented by the Mayor of Rochdale along with GB rowers and HLRC club members, Ruth Walczak and Jess Leyden, recently returned from the World Rowing Championships.

Senior rowers fought equally hard from singles to eights, with the Victor Ludorum prize and £500 cheque awarded to Manchester University Boat Club. The lead changed hand several times with Liverpool Victoria, Tees and Runcorn all producing strong results. 

The novice crews in all categories put in some of the tightest performances such as Sheffield University winning the coxed four category against seven other crews; the women’s novice doubles and singles won by Warrington; and the Masters C doubles won by HLRC.

After months of preparation the event was a huge success. Although the North West was very well represented, athletes travelled from afar representing clubs from Tees, Newark, Ancholme, and Trinity/Wadham College, Oxford. 

Ian John, Hollingworth Lake Club Captain, expressed his gratitude to everyone who had worked hard throughout a long day, but said the event belonged to the athletes who put on a “fantastic display of rowing and deserved every success they achieved”.

Report by Andrew Lowe
Photos by Andrew Archbold

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