The new rowing season began this weekend for Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club as they attended the Head of the Stour in Christchurch.
The head race is a annual fixture of the coastal rowing calendar and the time trial event once again marked the start of a new season. Shanklin had a variety of crews across both divisions totaling 11 entries.
The first division saw an abundance of single scullers take to the water for the club. In the Men’s Novice Coastal Sculls Joe Robertson, Henry Mudge and Jamie Gamble all rowed phenomenally well and all finished within 11 seconds of one another; Jamie earning second, Joe placing third and Henry finishing fourth – fantastic results in a competitive category that show great promise for the season.
Daisy Faithfull also took to the water in a single scull, rowing in the Ladies IM3 River scull. Knowing she faced tough opposition Daisy rowed extremely well, finishing second and just over 10 seconds behind the winner.
More sculling came in the form of the club’s J14 River Double. Riley Horrix and Ethan Walters went afloat for their first ever head race. Despite having no one else in their event and were merely racing for time, the duo rowed out of their skins to finish in the top half of finishers for the first division.
Also racing in the first division was the Ladies Junior Four of Sophie Atkin, Mia Phelan, Emily Andre, Stella Gamble and cox Emily Faithfull. In a combination that had little time training on the water the crew rowed fantastically well and scored a 6th place finish, a feet even more impressive considering both Sophie and Mia are still novices.
The final first division result was something of a throwback for the club. After a season rowing for fellow Island club Ryde, Joe Evans Murray was wearing blue once again and teamed up with his old partner Alex Robertson, with whom he won the Junior Pairs championship in 2014. Despite very limited time on the water due to Alex living at Uni, the duo quickly found their rhythm and put in a great row to win their event by a staggering 1 minute and 15 seconds and take the club’s first win of the new season.
The second division saw 4 more Shanklin boats rowing up to the start of the 2 mile course. The first of which was the Men’s Junior Four. Joe Robertson, Henry Mudge, Matt Miselbach, Jamie Gamble and cox Ethan Walters didn’t have a lot of time in the boat together before the race, but didn’t let this phase them as they raced in a fiercely competitive event placing third out of nine.
Joe Evans Murray decided that just 1 event on his return wasn’t enough, and took to the water in the second division in the Men’s Open River Sculls. Confessing he had the wind taken out of his sails from the pair an hour before, Joe had a painful race, but rowed well to earn a strong time and a second place finish.
Sisters Emily and Daisy Faithfull were also racing in division 2 and took to the water in the Ladies Junior Pair. The girls had a strong start to their row and looked to be gaining time on the other entered pairs, but half way through the race suffered problems with the shoes in the boat and were forced to stop on more than one occasion down the course. Despite this they finished second and were just over 20 seconds behind the winners.
The final Shanklin boat of the day was an Isle of Wight composite. Newport rower Bethany Walpole Davis joined Scarlett Phelan, Mia Phelan, Sophie Atkin and cox Alex Robertson for a Ladies J14 coastal quad. Despite only rowing for time and being some of the youngest members of the field, the girls had a solid row and more importantly a great experience down the course.
The event was a strong display of the depth of the club’s squads, not only taking a senior status win, but also earning many podiums across the day. The club now look forward to the next couple of head races where crews will look to close gaps and improve further on an excellent day at Christchurch.