An entry of 118 crews and scullers from 12 different rowing clubs, including the 3 Island Clubs and 9 from the mainland, competed in Ryde Rowing Clubs Annual Hants & Dorset ARA Championship Regatta on Saturday with an estimated 700 competitors, race officials, coaches and supporters visiting the Island over the weekend.
The high entry required a packed program 20 races to be completed in just over four and a half hours over an 1820m course from Appley Beach, near to the Ryde R. C. Headquarters in Appley Park, towards Ryde Pier and return after a buoy turn.
Races took place for Senior, Junior/Senior, Junior, Novice and Masters men in coxed fours, Senior and Junior men in coxless pairs and Senior, Junior and Novice Men in Single Sculls. For Ladies there was Senior, Junior, Novice and Masters coxed fours and a Ladies Novice sculling event which required a race to take place every 10 to 15 minutes. While always rowable, the conditions, especially at the turn, where challenging and as a result, unfortunately, the final race of the day for the Ladies Novice Sculls was abandoned.
The home Club performed better than anticipated with a second place for the Men’s Senior Four of Ben Ade, Sam Cocker, Mick Jenner and Nick Pike with Penny Budd coxing and for Novice Sculler Dale Buckett. The Men’s Junior Four of Will Ford, Ed Newnham, Jacob Redstone and Joe Groves with Austin Smith coxing were looking comfortable to qualify for their final when an incident at the turn led to their disqualification. However the Men’s Novice Four of Tom Kearney, Joel Smith, Dom Douglas and Ben Toms – with Austin Smith in the Coxswains seat once again – produced their best result of the season so far to finish in 4th palce in the final. Men’s Senior Sculler – Nick Pike – finished in 4th place, with a similar result for the Mens’s senior Pair of Sam Cocker and Tom Clark who was competing in his first race for the Club since winning the Senior South Coast Championships in 2011.
On the Sunday at Shanklin Regatta, where the Club had a depleted entry due to school exams, the changed Men’s Senior Four of Stephen Johnson, Tom Clark, Ben Ade and Sam Cocker with Chole Weaver coxing produced an outstanding performance, missing out to the favourites from Itchen Imperial by just half a length. Single Scullers – Dale Buckett in the Novice event and Mick Jenner in the Senior Sculls both finished in 4th place with a similar result for Will Ford and James Smith in the Men’s Junior Pair, where erratic steering cost them at least one place. Two Ryde Ladies – Kate Wirehurst and Abi Locke, making their competitive debuts for the Club, raced in a composite crew with Shanklin but failed to make the final.