Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club and Lancaster Schools' Rowing Association





Racing in the UK


Scott Durant
Mason Durant
Danny Bellion
Steven Sullivan

Lancaster Based Wins

Wins by the Lancaster based clubs at open events.


Red Rose Sprint - May 2012

By Steven Sullivan

A late change to the Red Rose Sprint date between all Lancaster based rowing clubs meant that this year's event ran a little bit chaotically:

  • one club didn't know that the event was running,
  • the initial timetrial had to be scrapped,
  • the last crew turned up 45 minutes late,
  • one sculler had a 4+ handicap and a mixed 2x racing as female!

The main highlight of the event was the JOG 4x (favourites) extending the handicap that the LRGS 4+ had to make it "fairer", then the JOG crew caught a crab which allowed the boys to go on and win the first semi-final race.

By the end of racing 8 crews had raced down three times from the Aqueduct to the Club for a final placing of:

  1. LUBC/JOG 8+
  2. LRGS 4+
  3. JOG 4x
  4. LRGS 1x
  5. JOG 4x (vets)
  6. LRGS 2x A
  7. LRGS 2x B
  8. LRGS 4x+

JOG went on to win the event by virtue of having 8 men in the top three boats, LSRA placed second as they had 8 participants, LRGS placed third as they had 5 participants, and LUBC placed last as they only had 4 participants.

Trafford Head - February 2012

By May Jarvis

On Saturday the 18th of February 5 crews from Lancaster John O’ Gaunt took part in the Head of the Bridgewater. First thing in the morning and conditions were not ideal for the three scullers: Tom, Oliver Standford and Oliver Tidswell. Heavy rain and blustering winds battered the course throughout the canal. First to go in division 1 was Oliver Standford who suffered due to the weather, coming 3rd in his category with a time of 13:03, and losing by 39seconds to the winner from Hollingworth Lake. Next up, J14 Oliver Tidswell rowing for Lancaster Schools who came a valiant 2nd, losing by 36seconds to a strong Warrington sculler. Tom was due to race in the first division however was put off by the bad weather and scratched.

The second division, as they always are at races, was delayed which was lucky for May and Ellie who arrived with barely any time to rig up their double. By this time the wind had dropped and the skies had cleared so warm sun was shining down. Tom Sanders had a change of heart and cheekily re-entered his single in the 2nd division, much to the annoyance of Oliver Standford who had braved the elements earlier in the morning. Both crews got out on the water with time to spare and were waiting at the head of the canal for quite a while. When the racing finally started the girls double discovered that one of their riggers wasn’t as aligned as it should have been, so their technique and power suffered greatly. However they managed to keep a good time and beat their competition, by 46seconds, who had rowed in the previous division. Tom Sanders, who was competing in the same IM3 category as Oliver Standford, put in a good effort however the winds must have blown the previous crews down the canal as Tom lost to the winner by 2mins 38seconds.

3rd division was very nerve racking for the men’s IM3 4+ (Shona Barnish, Tom Sanders, Steve Holmes, Oliver Standford and Wilson), as it involved Wilson getting from Manchester airport and into the boat on time. To make matters worse the clouds had returned and the 3rd division crews were treated to occasional but very heavy hail showers. Time was called for boating and there was still no sign of Wilson so a quick decision was made that May was to sub in for him at bow seat. However, just as the boat was being taken to the water a car screeched into the yard and out jumped Wilson ready to go. After a bit of faffing and number pinning they were on the water and rowing up to the start. The race went well and the crew was strong however the men were beaten by two more powerful crews from Runcorn and Hollingworth Lake, losing by 47seconds to the winner.

All in all an eventful day out, one win from the girl double and overall hard work put in by everyone. I’m sure we’re all looking forward to those regattas in the sunshine so all I can say is bring on the summer!

Warrington Head - February 2012

By Shona Barnish

On the 5th of February 6 crews from Lancaster John O' Gaunt rowing club made the journey to Warrington rowing club to take place in their annual Head race. The weather was unfortunately foggy, although this eventually lifted, and extremely cold, but this didn’t stop us having a successful day of racing!

The first crew to race was the men’s IM3 four with Tom, Steve H, Olly and Wilson, coxed by Shona. They felt this race went well and they pulled away from their opposition on both legs. They finished with a total time of 14:19.4 seconds, which deservingly won them the race!

Division 3 saw the women’s novice four, including Laura, May, Ellie and Shona, coxed by Oliver. This was a strong race and they overtook at least one other crew. They completed the course 15:51.7, which got LRSA’s first win of the day.

In division 5, Oliver Tidswell raced a J14 1x. This was clearly a good race for Oliver as he beat his opposition but over a minute. This was another win for LRSA!

The final division of the day was a busy one for John O’Gaunt! The women’s novice 4x-, consisting of Laura, Ellie, Shona and May, clearly scared off their opposition as they unfortunately scratcher! However this didn’t stop them racing and they were bumped up to women’s senior. This was a tough race and although coming third, they felt that the race made them able to see how they faired against more experienced crews.

Last but not least, it was time for the two IM3 doubles consisting of Tom and Wilson in one and Olly and Steve H in the other. The competition between the crews was high and on the first leg both crews got a time of 8:03 but on the second leg Tom and Wilson managed to get a 30 second lead! Although neither crew won overall it was clearly a good race!

Over all it was a successful day of racing for both John O’Gaunt and LRSA with us winning 3 out of the 6 races entered!

Northwich Head - November 2011

By Hannah

On Sunday the 13th November 2011 Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing club and Lancaster School’s Rowing Association travelled to Cheshire to compete in the annual Northwich Autumn Head.

The race measured approximately 2350m over the River Weaver, and the conditions were cool but particularly bright and sunny for a November’s day.

The journey was a successful one, as two participants won their race!

It was an early start for some, as the first division started at 9:45am- Oliver Tidswell was first to compete in the J14A.1X category. He came a close second with a time of 11:25:9 minutes, behind the winner who finished the race in 10:45:3.

Next to race was Laura Parkinson in the W.IM3.1X category, who achieved a great time of 12:08:1.

Also, Tom Sanders and Steve Holmes competed for Lancaster John O’Gaunt in the IM3.1X category and finished with times of 11:24:0 and 11:49:3 behind the winner of the category, with a truly impressible time of 9:50:6.

The second division started at 12:00 pm where Eleanor Bayton and May Jarvis raced in the W.NOV.2X and won their category with a fantastic time of 10:45:7!

The W.NOV.4+ (Laura Parkinson, Chloe Watson, Hannah Blamire and Shona Barnish) competed in the third division, and also won their race with a brilliant time of 11:00:4.

Finally to race, was the IM3.4X who came an extremely close second, finishing the course with an excellent time of 8:50:0- putting them in a well-deserved position of 9th overall!

All in all, it was a great day out and we managed to obtain some superb results!

Well done to the two crews who won their race and also to all those who competed!

Agecroft Head - October 2011

By Rhainne Bell

At 9:45 in the morning, on a fine day, 6 singles went up to the starting line for the 3520m race. Fist to come down was Steve Sullivan (ELI. 1x) and got a time of 11:59 losing to 1st by 54 secs and placing him 5th in his division (out of 5). Next came Wilson Birchall (IM3.1x) finishing with a time of 13:10 placing him 4th (out of 7). He lots by 47 seconds. Then Tom Sanders (IM3. 1x) raced down the course finishing with a time of 15:17 Next to come was Ollie Stanford (IM3. 1x) finishing with a close time to Wilson of 13:15!!! Only 5 seconds between!!! Andy Kayll was next to set off as he crossed the line with a finishing time of 13:57 beating Tom. Last of all but not least, Laura Parkinson (WIM3. 1x) came in sight of the finish line crossing over it in a time of 15:24, Resulting in no wins for the club, yet....

After about 15-20 minutes of finding the place, Glenn, Phil, Rhianne and Jess arrived in plenty of time for their race. The weather was fortunately holding off for us. The first crew to come down was the NOV. 4+ with Jess, Chloe, Rhianne, Hannah and Shona. They had a brilliant row to the finish, going over the line with a time of 14:35. They were in high spirits and convinced that they had got the gold. But the smiles were wiped clean off their faces when they found out their time as their opposition beat them by less than a second!!! They were so frustrated. This was the closest the club got to winning. Next came the MasB. 4x- made up of Phil B, Phil P, Glenn Stevens and Martin Gray. With being the only crew in their category, they got notched up to the next one. With the competition being an itchy bit harder, they crossed the line in 11:44. The last crew of the day to race down the 3520m race course was the W.J16A.2x- Ellie Bayton and May Jarvis. They were our last hope of winning that day. But with the competition being tough, they lost to the winners by 31 seconds, with an overall time of 13:31. With some extremely close races, JOG and LSRA were unsuccessful as to gaining any more wins. Moreover, the weather was great and most of all, we enjoyed a good day out.

Red Rose Head - September 2011

By Aaron Sims

The weather was evidence for the end of summer as members of Lancaster John O'Gaunt came together for the first Red Rose Head of the 2011/12 head season. Calm weather and sunny skies from earlier in the week were cast aside in place of gusty winds, darkening clouds and brief spots of rain. As ever, the elements did not stop the club from giving some pleasing strong performances over the 4km course on the Lune and almost all of the 16 times being personal bests in these crews, something not expected in the conditions.

With the plan next year to try and qualify a crew for Henley Royal Regatta, the aim was for all contenders in the men's squad to set a time in the single scull, creating an initial ranking that can be measured as the season progressed. Eight candidates entered of the ten single scullers who set times.

Back in training following the birth of Baby JLS, Steve Sullivan took the top two spots in the handicap rankings with his first and second attempts netting respective raw times of 17.23 and 17.26 giving him times of 19.22 and 19.25 following the handicaps. An excellent start to the season and evidence that any prospective HRR crew for the 2012 competition are likely to include him.

With this event being Aaron's last ever session at the club, this inevitably meant this was his and Matt's last time ever racing their double which had been the club's most successful crew for the 2011/12 season, winning seven of their nine races together ranging from novice to IM1. Having done so much together, their target was a course record in the double and had proven their ability to do so earlier in the week, clocking a 15.30 in calm conditions, well under the record. The winds however were not as kind to them and with headwind gusts coming from both directions, they only managed to come third on the day with a time of 16.56 and a handicap time of 20.13. This was however, a new best for the crew so they did leave on a high.

Matt then had a go in a single, setting an incredible time of 18.21 with a handicapped 20.20. This, being his first time doing a single in the Red Rose Head gave him fourth place overall and second place in the singles trials. Following him, fifth and sixth place were taken by Drew and Wilson who set respective times of 19.11 and 19.37 with handicapped times of 21.20 and 21.36. Some more excellent times given the conditions they were racing in.

Up next was the coxed quad of Glenn, Phil, Martin, Phil and Dylan who, without realising, broke the course record for the boat class with a time of 17.07 and a handicapped time of 21.44. A cracking job from them for which Dylan was quick to accept the praise, claiming all was due to his steering. The course record was enough to warrant them coming seventh overall.

Another double racing potentially for the last time at the event was the classic combination of Amy and Laura who had not rowed together for quite a long time. Amy will be leaving the club soon to start her studies at Leeds Metropolitan University. They got right back into their old ways, setting a very pleasing 20.28 with the handicap of 21.55 which kept them in the top half at eighth place.

Next up, following his success in the quad, Phil Bell had a go in a single and came ninth with a time of 20.02 and a handicapped time of 22.01. This time was closely followed by the coxless quad of Ellie, Hannah, Jess and Shona whose time of 19.41 was handicapped to 22.07, earning them tenth place. Chloe and Rhianne entered in their usual doubles combination and came eleventh with a time of 21.12 and 22.39 following the handicap. Hopefully this will be a crew they will focus on more this year and get faster and faster each time.

The final five entries of the day were more single sculls with the twelfth to fourteenth positions all coming within six seconds of each other. Steve Holmes set a time of 20.44 and a handicap of 22.43. Meanwhile a second separated Kieran and Tom who put down times of 20.49 and 20.50 respectively with handicapped times 22.48 and 22.49, much to Tom's annoyance. Fifteenth place went to Oliver who after a great regatta season in a J13 single, comes into his J14 season setting a time of 22.30 which is very respectable for his age group. Finally in sixteenth place, Rich, who is new to sculling this summer, crossed the line in his single on his first attempt in 23.29 with a handicap of 25.28.

With the most successful season for the club in recent years just behind them, the new challenge for Lancaster John O'Gaunt this year is to continue the hard work and better the results with every possible opportunity. Judging by many of these times, this will not just be a possibility but an inevitability. So as I finish writing my last ever article for this website, all I have left to say is 'Good luck Lancaster! Gaunt to the Fore!'

Gloss and Ross Regattas - August 2011

By Aaron Sims

For a change in scenery and to enjoy the end of the regatta season as much as possible, nine members of the club saddled up and headed down south for the bank holiday weekend. A mixture of JOG crews in size, competition and experience littered the course in order to see how the southern competition fared.

Gloucester's 750m regatta on the perfectly straight stretch of canal by their boathouse was the first to be faced and the first crew from Lancaster to tackle it was the Mixed IM3 Coxless Quad of Rich, Laura, Becky and Steve Holmes. This being Rich's first sculling race and the first race altogether for Laura and Becky, it would be interesting to see how they would get on against their competition, fellow north-westerners Liverpool Victoria. Despite a fault in the steering leading to a hazardous start that saw the quad veer into the other lane and almost hit the bank, the crew composed themselves again and took after their competition, hacking away at their early lead with each stroke. This valiant effort was unfortunately not enough and the crew's racing was over for the weekend.

Following this, Rich got back on the water with Drew in the IM3 Double to race a crew from Twickenham. A strong race ensued considering the limited time the boys had together in the boat and a push to the line meant the result was never obvious but they didn't manage to overcome their opposition and another crew was done for the day. Drew then got straight back on the water for his IM3 Single head, once again against Twickenham. Another strong push saw Drew come so close to avenging the double result but it was too late.

Next up was the first sculling race for Seb and Matt, two new members from LUBC, joining the club over the summer. Having had a couple of weeks sculling, no-one knew what to expect of these boys and hopes were high as they took to the water against Burton Leander (albeit taking to the water taking a while with Matt not wanting to get in the boat for some reason). The boys worked hard and gave a good effort but were unfortunately no match for the opposition who sculled to an easily victory.

With all crews but one having raced, it was up to Aaron and Matt to try and earn something shiny for the club. Having entered both IM1 and IM2 Doubles, the former saw no other entries and thus the boys had only one event for the day. The draw meant that JOG had a bye to the final to face the winners of Walbrook and Liverpool Victoria, a crew that Aaron and Matt had raced before and knew to be strong competition. Surprisingly, the Vics boys were beaten by a couple of lengths and thus the JOG crew were worried that their 'Unbeaten in the North but unsuccessful in the South' streak would continue. The crews lined up at the start and took off...straight into each other. In order to avoid assorted obstacles that lie on each side of the course near the start, both crews had the same idea of steering towards the middle and ten strokes in saw a blade clash. Lancaster composed themselves quickly and managed to find a good rhythm within a couple of strokes, pushing away to a two length lead which they held to the finish despite a strong push from Walbrook resulting in Aaron and Matt's first win in the South. A great end to the day for them, especially as it was Matt's birthday.

Following this, the JOG troupe packed up and headed down the road to Ross-on-Wye for the next instalment of racing. Having set up the tents, the group then headed to town for a pub dinner and began to enjoy the festivities that were taking place in and around the club with some deciding to go for a night out in town, returning through the early hours of the morning in dribs and drabs.

Drew, having had a good night's sleep, was the first race of the day in his IM3 Single. Having got himself ready and ensured he was good to go, he tore down the 750m course, hell bent on making up for the day before. He was a good three lengths up on his opposition from Evesham with less than 100m to go when disaster struck,. His blade caught a buoy marking the two lanes and the shock and power with which he caught it caused him to lose the blade altogether, sending him in the drink and give him a bath to accompany his earlier shower as the other single paddled past. Matt and Aaron who had been watching from the bank were speechless watching the whole thing happen as it was so quick and unexpected. Drew climbed back in the boat and rowed over the line.

Drew then had another shot at glory, once again in the IM3 Double with Rich (who, for the record, had only got in from his night at a reported 6am and was most likely still drunk). The crew raced against a double from Wiltshire Scullers and despite their current ailments and racing in the more difficult inside lane, Drippy and Boozy only succumbed to defeat by a mere two lengths. Rich then went back to bed.

Matt and Aaron took to the water, also against Wiltshire Scullers, for the first of a possible three rounds in the IM2 Doubles. Despite the other crew's considerable size, the Lancaster double cruised to a three length victory, progressing to the semi final against Evesham. In this race, the JOG boys were pressed hard through the first stages of the race, facing a strong start from their opposition. They stretched out their rowing and began to push away in the last 200m when the Evesham crew's steering went awry and they began encroaching into Aaron and Matt's lane forcing a blade clash and their subsequent disqualification.

Following this race, Aaron and Matt had the daunting task of the IM1 Double final against an intimidating composite crew from Oxford Brookes and Henley, the former of whom, it had been made aware, had won IM1 Doubles at this years Metropolitan Regatta, thus this crew came with both the name and the calibre. Aaron and Matt felt they were done for. They took to the water, lined up and the race began.

To their surprise, the Lancaster crew lost no ground following the starts and were seemingly starting to move away, this was unexpected and so the boys pressed on. To Aaron and Matt's great annoyance, two mixed eights were rowing up the course to the start and failed to stop and let the race pass as the marshal was calling for them to. This sent waves of wash that only affected the JOG crew and set them back a little. Despite this, Lancaster still had their noses in front as they passed the crowds of spectators who sensed the close battle ensuing on the water and were cheering loudly. With 200m to go, both crews took up the rate for a final push and the composite crew got the better of it, crossing the finish line no more than one canvas ahead of Lancaster. A truly fantastic race and the second ever defeat for Aaron and Matt in the double.

Next up was Seb and Matt. The boys had been psyching themselves up all day and, having had a bye through to the final, felt ready to take on their opposition from Exeter. The boys looked strong paddling up to the start but as they were lining themselves up, the start marshal began the race and Exeter, who were ready, took off leaving the unprepared Lancaster to panic into a start. They were unable to catch the crew who had amassed a substantial lead and cruised to the finish line. If anything this will prove to be some valuable race experience for the boys in that they will approach the start with more efficiency next time.

Once again, the last race of the day for Lancaster was Aaron and Matt in the IM2 Doubles final. The crew were racing against a double from Wycliffe College in Stroud who had seen off a double from Gloucester in their semi to progress. This crew was familiar as Wycliffe's head coach Jonny who was in the crew, is a friend of Aaron's and thus he knew it would be a fun race however it turned out. It so happened that Aaron and Matt delivered some of their best rowing of the weekend, opening up a lead of two lengths from the start, sitting on the opposition to hold that lead right to the end.

The weekend proved to be successful for the club and a great bank holiday getaway for all the members who attended, getting some experience of southern racing and relaxing in the sunshine. With Aaron leaving Lancaster in two weeks time, it was also a fantastic way to end his last regatta season with the club, rounding off a very successful track record in one of Lancaster's most successful crews of the season.

Warrington Regatta - July 2011

By Kieran and Dylan Bell

We got to Warrington nice and early as our first race was indeed, the first race. Aaron, Matt, Amy and Laura were to be battling it out in the North of England IM3 mixed 4x- Championships. They raced well and won the first stage but lost to a strong Northwich side. Shortly after was the open IM3 4+ they battled hard but lost out in the semi-final.

Chloe and Kieran were racing at 10:54 in the IM3 mixed 2x- and had an unusually bad race which was later explained by the discovery of a bent rigger on Mabel. 3 minutes later the Masters C 4x- who had a semi-final and a final in their way of victory and they won both races comfortably and took home a well deserved tankard each. The first single sculler of the day was Rhianne for LSRA in the W j14 1x and put up a fight but couldn't beat her opponent. Less than 15 minutes later, Steve and Wilson raced in Mabel in their IM3 2x- event and they unfortunately had a frustrating race as we had not yet uncovered the mystery of the bent rigger and so they struggled to get the boat to go in a straight line and to keep the boat level, however they made a valiant attempt.

After a couple of hours break we were back on the water, this time it was May in her W j15 1x, she had to wait for a semi-final and was then straight in the final. She beat the Runcorn sculler in a very close race, crossing the line in less than a second before her opponent, nevertheless a very good win. Less than an hour later, our final single sculler, Oliver, competed in the j13 1x and had to get through 4 races to win, he won his first, second and third race comfortably, his final race, he had to restart when he was in the lead but he ploughed on well and crossed the line a good 12 seconds ahead of Liverpool Victoria.

A good race day with plenty of close races and 3 more wins to add to the tally from this years regattas, 2 for LSRA and 1 for Gaunt.

Talkin Tarn Regatta - June 2011

By Aaron Sims

Fifteen JOG/LSRA crews travelled up into Cumbria for this year's Talkin Tarn Regatta. The weather was baking hot and the wind was at a minimum which was an improvement on last year's choppy affair.

Problems arose early with issues collecting the riggers from the boathouse in the morning causing them to arrive at the race ninety minutes later than expected. Phil's single was one of the first races of the day and there were worries he might have to scratch, this however was not the case and he was able to get down to business. Phil came up against strong opposition in the IM3 1x heat and was beaten in the first round. His race in the Masters A/B/C 1x went considerably better. A strong battle ensued with Phil only just being overcome by his opponent from who was clearly exhausted at the end, being unable to formulate words.

While this took place and in the heat of the riggerless boats saga, Oliver had borrowed a boat from Amy at Tyne RC in order to race their J13 1x head, Oliver overcame the taller, blonder boy from the Newcastle club with considerably ease. He then proceeded to do the same in the final to secure win #1 of the day.

Andy, Andy, Tom, Wilson and cox Dylan managed to echo this performance by effortlessly ploughing through two rounds in Novice 4+s to win overall, beating Durham School and Hatfield College in the process. Win #2 done. Laura, meanwhile did not have as much luck in her WIM3 1x, although delivering a strong race, she was overcome and beaten by two lengths by her opponent from Talkin Tarn.

In the midst of all this, the WJ15B 4x+ of Hannah, Chloe, Shona, Rhianne and cox Paul had their straight final against St Peter's School. The girls came off the line with a strong start and were neck and neck, a push from the opposition gave them a slight lead which Lancaster tried valiantly to recover but it was not to be with the girls crossing the line a mere half a length behind. This is still a very pleasing result with even Captain Pugwash surprised and pleased when told.

Lots of doubles action came up next with Izzy competing for the first time ever, racing alongside Rhianne in WJ14B 2x. The girls outdid themselves in a tough draw making it through two rounds, coming second of three in the final. A shame they didn't get the win but can be proud of their performance nonetheless. The doubles of Chloe and Kieran and Tom and Shona raced next in Mixed IM3 2x, Kieran and Chloe gave a good race and were just beaten by their oppositon from Tyne RC. Meanwhile Tom and Shona, also racing Tyne, had technical issues when Shona had a footplate malfunction which cost the crew time from which they were unable to recover.

Oliver the giant killer was up again, this time alongside Paul in the J13A 2x. Once again the Lune over came the Tyne and the boys were in the final where they faced some strong competition and were forced to settle for second place. Another strong performance from a very young crew. Luke made up for this in his Novice 1x straight final against a sculler from Hexham by pulling away off the start and not giving his opponent any chance to come back. Win #3 secured.

Difficulties in the draw saw Aaron rearrange the heat for the Mixed IM3 4x- involving himself, Matt, Laura and May. The crew lined up a few hours ahead of schedule alongside their opposition, a composite Tees/Yarm crew, and set off. Both crews having chatted prior to racing had revealed they were both scratch crews and thus had no time on the water to prepare. This did not stop the JOG/LSRA comp as they went on to win by a good three lengths, striding twice to prevent anyone getting too tired for their upcoming races.

More doubles action was next with Aaron and Matt and also Wilson and Steve H racing opposite sides of the draw in IM3 2x and May and Ellie in WJ15 2x. Aaron and Matt saw off their initial competition from Tyne United with ease, rocketing off the start in their trademark fly and try-not-to-die fashion. Steve and Wilson replicated this by taking on and vanquishing a Tyne United crew of their own. The next round saw Steve and Wilson take on another Tyne United crew, the race was once again close but with the Tarn having no discernible marking to let you know you are going in a straight line, they began to go off course and into their opposition's lane, forcing them over too. In the end, United managed to nip clear to get over the line first, leaving Wilson and the birthday boy Steve out of the running.

Aaron and Matt, meanwhile beat a crew from Tyne RC in their semi to proceed to the final and to avenge Steve and Wilson by racing the Tyne United crew that knocked them out. They proceeded to do so, winning the event and keeping their 'unbeaten in the North of England' reputation intact. Sharing the boat with Matt and Aaron were May and Ellie with both crews swapping over when the other had raced made the atmosphere hectic. This didnt stop the girls winning by considerable amounts of clear water in both races against Yarm School and Durham School. Wins #4 and #5 in the bag.

The final race of the day was the final for the Mixed IM3 4x-. Having seen their competition race their heat and seeing it being a close call, little could be discerned from the result and thus the plan was to go like the clappers at the start and see what happened. This worked as the JOG/LSRA crew pulled away from Tyne easily and proceeded to increase their leading margin. #6 done and dusted.

With racing over, boats went back on the trailer and people then meandered to treat themselves to either an ice cream or a 'famous' Jarvis bacon butty. All well deserved as the event was the most lucrative of the year and the club total of wins for the season as the most successful for the best part of the past decade!

Marlow Regatta - June 2011

By Aaron Sims

As a favour to the club, and for a chance to see Dorney Lake again, Aaron offered to drive LUBC down to Windsor for Marlow Regatta. Not fancying their chances for the Saturday, the club decided to enter the 1km sprints on the Sunday as a nice way to finish off the season. LUBC kindly offered to take the double down on the trailer for Matt and Aaron to have a crack at some southern competition.

The crew who have been racing at IM3 level found the regatta offered no such category and the lowest for doubles was IM1, a daunting challenge but one that the boys were up for fully. With the competition being two crews from the Irish club Carlow RC, an Isle of Ely/Rob Roy Composite and a crew from Wallingford, the opposition was of notable reputations, something that worried the boys but was expected nonetheless.

Taking off from the start saw the two Carlow crews snatch an early lead with Wallingford in hot pursuit. Aaron and Matt found themselves not far behind, neck and neck with the IEL/ROB crew throughout the race, managing a half a length lead (more through a high rating than power. Standard). Crossing the line saw the boys exhausted and struggle to get the boat back to the trailer. It then turned out that Wallingford had been disqualified through some dodgy steering causing them to veer into one of the other lanes and towards a Carlow crew, this resulted in JOG earning 3rd place in IM1, an achievement Matt and Aaron were exceptionally proud of.

Aaron then went onto sub in stroke seat of the LUBC Men's IM3 VIII due to one of the crew having been injured earlier in the week. The race was stacked against them with opposition including Durham Uni, and . The race start was pretty good for a scratch crew and the margin was not too sparse between the four boats, although LUBC came fourth overall in the end, they managed to maintain an overlap between themselves and the DUBC crew in the next lane, something that was unexpected and quite pleasing seeing as that crew were attending HRR Qualifiers the following week.

Durham Regatta - June 2011

By Aaron Sims

The students and juniors were out in force for this year's Durham Regatta. Six crews were racing over the two days with many looking like hopefuls for taking the win. The weather failed to break the pattern of cloud and some sun on Saturday and rain on Sunday which caused everyone to take shelter where they could.

Saturday saw only one crew race in the form of Andy, Tom, Andy, Wilson and special guest cox for the weekend, Ana Yong, enter Novice 4+. The first of four rounds saw the boys racing a local crew from Durham ARC who they dispatched of well with a verdict of two and a half lengths. The second round they were not so fortunate, racing the eventual winners John Snow College, losing by two lengths.

Sunday saw a lot more crews from the club racing. Starting the day saw Matt, Aaron, Andy and Luke enter IM3 4x-. Their first round was against a Northumbria Uni quad who posed no immediate threat with the boys getting an easy win by two and a half lengths after taking the rate down in the latter stages. The final against DUBC was another matter, two of the crew had raced the previous day in Elite 4x- and so were not a crew to be taken lightly. Off the start, DUBC took a slight lead and the JOG boys were able to hold on but the power and evident ability of their opposition saw them begin to pull away and take the victory by two lengths.

The surprise of the day was the outstanding performance from the WIM3 4+ of Caroline, Mary, Annie and Anna with Ana coxing again. The girls had a daunting five rounds to tackle and they went about it admirably. First up, the girls took apart a crew from St Hilde & St Bede College, winning by 3 lengths. Next up was Butler College who the girls took care of by a similar margin and John Snow College was the third to fall, this time by a margin of four lengths. The semi final saw the girls face off against a crew from Durham ARC and gave their all to get across the finish line first, unfortunately DARC appealed to the umpires citing bad steering from the JOG crew, despite Ana taking what can only be deemed a competitive line. This meant the end for the crew who should have made the final but were pleased enough to get as far as they did.

The day closed with Andy, Florian, Wilson and Tom, along with Ana, racing in IM3 4x+ and Laura, Ellie, May and Amy racing in WIM3 4x-. The girls were granted a row over after Leeds RC scratched, they then faced a crew of Durham Uni seniors in the final. The girls gave it a strong attempt and definitely gave the more favoured DUBC crew a run for their money but were unable to catch them. The boys, meanwhile, easily saw off the seemingly veteran Tyne United crew in the straight final to take John O'Gaunt's only silverware for the weekend. Everyone then made a hasty effort of packing up and getting out of the rain while the boys stayed to pick up their pots at the ceremony, a great end to Florian's time with the club as he then returned to the motherland.

Red Rose Sprint - June 2011

By Aaron Sims

No-one could have asked for better weather as the crews from Lancaster John O'Gaunt, the Lancaster School's Rowing Association and the Lancaster University Boat Club amassed at the Skerton Boathouse for the 2011 Red Rose Regatta. With the Lancaster Royal Grammar School failing to send crews for the fourth year in a row, the Ralph Cup would be a row over and the Francis Russell Trophy would be settled between JOG and LUBC.

12 crews took part in the event.

JOG sent 4 crews:

  • 'JOG 2x A' consisting of Matt and Aaron
  • 'JOG 2x B' with Oliver and Drew
  • 'JOG 4x-' with Florian, Steve, Wilson and Tom
  • 'JOG 4x+' with Phil, Martin, Phil, Glenn and Dylan.

LSRA's 5 crews were:

  • 'LSRA W4x-' with Laura, May, Ellie and Amy
  • 'LSRA 1x' with Luke
  • 'LSRA 2x A' with Ben and Kieran
  • 'LSRA W4x+' with Rhianne, Chloe, Jess, Hannah and guest cox Anna
  • 'LSRA 2x B' with Paul and Oliver

LUBC sent:

  • 'LUBC 4+' with Owen, Dan, Stu, Alex and Ruth
  • 'LUBC 8+' with John, Ash, Matt, Seb, Greengay, Mark, Simon, Michael and Liz
  • 'LUBC W4+ B' with Kirsty, Alex, Debs, Jess and Ollie
  • 'LUBC W4+ A' were unfortunately forced to scratch as Lydia was suffering with a back injury preventing the crew from competing.

The template of the event would involve a processional time trial for each crew down the 800m course from the aqueduct to the boathouse adjacent finish line. The 12 crews met above the start line and after a rolling start presided over by Alice and Jenny, Sarah and Jess recorded the times at the start and Annie at the finish. Steve then processed the times to give both handicaps and an order of racing. The top 8 crews would then proceed to Division 1 and a knock out tournament to race for the 'Cup' while the bottom 4 would proceed to Division B to race for the 'Plate'. Racing the time trial saw Deb's from LUBC hurt her already injured wrist, thus Jenny from the W4+ A agreed to sub in.

First up was the JOG 2x A vs. the JOG 4x-. The double set off with a 8.4 second lead and, after a quick start, extended their lead to a strong finish. Next was the JOG 2x B vs. the LUBC 8+, a very close race with the 8+ closing in on the 2x after a 20.4 second head start. The double held their own however to cross the line first. Luke's LSRA 1x was next to race with a 17.6 second head start over the LUBC 4+ and managed to hold on to a close win. The final race of the first round saw the LSRA W4x- race the LUBC W4x- B who had a 4.2 second lead. The 4x- moved through the 4+ midway through the course to take the win.

In the first round of division 2, the two LSRA 2xs raced head to head and after a quick start, the aptly named 'A' crew beat the 'B' crew to progress to the Plate final. Meanwhile the JOG 4x+ managed to overcome the 22.4 second start that the LSRA 4x+ had to meet the 2x in the final.

The second round of division A saw a couple of grudge matches take place. With potential over the summer of a crew involving Aaron, Matt, Drew and Olly; the JOG doubles race was a fierce contest which would suggest the pecking order over summer. The starts were close and there was an overlap until around halfway through the course where Matt and Aaron took it up a gear to win by 3 lengths. Next LSRA faced off against LSRA as the 1x raced the W4x-. With Luke getting a 2.4 second head start, he was able to hold off the girls for most of the course but when they took the rate up for the finish, he was unable to respond and conceded defeat. The JOG 4x- was next up racing the LUBC 8+. One of the closest races of the day saw the 4x- clutch onto the win by the smallest of margins as the bow balls were fighting for the lead in the last few strokes of the course. The last of the semi-finals saw the LUBC 4+ and W4+ face off and despite a strong row and a 22.4 second head start, the guys managed to move through the girls swiftly to win.

The finals of division B were up next with the LSRA 2x racing the JOG 4x+. An exceptionally close finish with a blade clash crossing the line allowing Kieran and Ben to take the vets by a bow ball. Separating the crews was a different matter. The LSRA 4x+ faced the LSRA 2x B in their final race and managed to row to a comfortable win, settling the finish order for the division.

Due to mix ups in break times to load up on the BBQ and buffet on offer in the clubhouse and people wanting to watch some racing as well as competing, the event took a little longer than expected. Combined with the club order being conclusive at this point led to LUBC heading back early and the last race of the day was the first place final between JOG 2x A and LSRA W4x-. The girls got a 10.6 second head start and were snappy off the line. Matt and Aaron shot off the line in hot pursuit, coming level with the quad with 200 metres to go. Disaster struck as a loose collar on Matt's sternside blade caused him to nearly lose the oar altogether, he managed to hold on as the 2x took a 2 length lead to win the event.

By the time all crews were off the water, the BBQ and buffet had been stripped bare (much to Aaron's annoyance who didn't get a single bite of it). The event however proved a success with the format proving worthy to adapt for the future and the Francis Russell being retained by John O'Gaunt for another year. With all 3 clubs set to race at Durham Regatta next weekend, it is hoped the race experience will prove useful and as much silverware as possible returns to the Lune based clubs.

Northwich Regatta - June 2011

By May Jarvis

On the 30th of May 15 crews from Lancaster John O' Gaunt rowing club made the familiar journey to Sir John Deane's Collage, the home of Northwich rowing club to take place in their annual regatta. The weather was unfortunately not as pleasant as expected and rained heavily throughout most of the event and only brightening up for the last few races.

One of the first few races consisted of a straight final between the two IM3 coxed quads, both Phils, Glenn and Martin against Aaron, Oliver, IT Andy and Kieran. Aaron's crew came away with the pots from this race through winning by 2 ½ lengths. Glenn's quad then went on to do a coxless race in a straight final against Runcorn and made a valiant effort. It was a tight race all the way down the course but Runcorn pulled away in the last 100m to win by only ½ a length.

The women’s student coxed quad, including Mary, Annie, Laura, Caroline and cox Dylan, brought home another win for Lancaster by beating Liverpool Victoria in yet another straight final winning by 2 ½ lengths, well done girls! The same crew attempted a four as well but were beaten by Northwich due to an oar coming out of it's gate and obviously having to stop. In my opinion this shows that the girls are too strong for that boat to handle.

Only one junior coxed quad was raced at Northwich. Hannah, Jess, Shona, Chlöe and Dylan as cox raced the girls made a great effort and held their own but were just beaten by Grange. The other junior quad was in the Duffer steered by Amy with May, Ellie and Laura. They beat Agecroft in the first round with ease but straight off the line in the final Grange pulled away but Lancaster kept up and finished only 1 ½ lengths behind.

Six doubles were entered into the regatta, three of which were in the WJ15 category. Chloe and Rihanne rowed first against Grange school in a close race and unfortunately lost. May and Ellie then raced against another Grange crew and won comfortably then went on to race the crew Chloe and Rihanne lost to and won yet again. Jess and Hannah then raced against the Northwich crew but they were a strong crew and Lancaster unfortunatley lost. In the final May and Ellie came up against the Northwich crew and throughout the whole race it was neck and neck however Northwich pulled away slightly at the line to take the tankard. An observation made by Anne Jarvis is that all of the Northwich crews were put in the inside lane so had an advantage.

Two mixed doubles entered against each other, Tom and Shona against Aaron and Laura. Tom and Shona encountered some problems at the start of the race so Aaron and Laura pulled away and won the race comfortably. Steve and Wilson also entered an IM3 double but lost in the first round unfortunately.

Finally Tom and Oliver entered Novice singles and came up against one another after after both winning previous rounds. Tom pulled away from the start but over the middle section Oliver started pulling it back however Oliver's steering let him down and he crashed into the bank which led Tom to pull away yet again and win the race.

Overall a relatively good day for Lancaster ending in four wins and some near misses hopefully setting us up for some good regattas to come!

Shrewsbury Regatta - March 2011

By Florian Halama

Sat, 15.05.2011 – The weekend started early for the PHIL B, PHIL P, MARTIN, KIERAN, CHLOE RHIANNE and JOG cox DYLAN, who started their journey to Shrewsbury at 5.30 in the morning. After 110 miles the group and the trailer arrived in Shrewsbury, where they were already awaited by GLEN, MATT, TOM, ANDY, STEVE H, AARON and FLORIAN who had spent the night in the area. Without wasting time the oarsmen and women immediately prepared the first race for the day, AARON IM3 1x. After a hectic boating phase, he raced the 1000m course and lost to a experienced rower from Nottingham.

The next race took place in the IM3 4x- division, where PHIL B, PHIL P, MARTIN and GLEN raced Kings School Worcester. The school team had enough power to win the race against the most experienced and well-functioning crew in the JOG squad. However, the ‘Kings’ had to face JOG again in the next round, where they raced against KEIRAN, STEVE H, ANDY and TOM, who sadly had to give away the race by about two lengths. In between these races RHIANNE and CHLOE raced in the Junior 15 2x but lost a close race to Abingdon RC. By the time PHIL B, PHIL P, MARTIN and GLEN went to race Masters D 4x- it dawned on the JOG oarsmen and women already that Fortuna, the goddess of luck, was not favourable to JOG on this Saturday. The masters lost their race against Abingdon RC on the difficult course. The last race of the day took place in the Novice 4x+ category, where ANDY, MATT, FLORIAN, TOM and JOG star cox DYLAN raced a crew from Ireland. After the first meters the JOG oarsmen were ahead of the Irish but were then overtaken in the middle part of the race. However, the support of the fellow JOG members and the precise steering of cox DYLAN enabled the quad to gain again on their opponents. However, although the crew already scented a slight hint of win in the competitive air, they lost the closest race of the day by about one length.

Although there were no wins for JOG at the Shrewsbury Regatta 2011, the involved oarsmen and women enjoyed the picturesque setting of the historic event.

Merseyside Regatta - March 2011

By Laura and Izzy

The first regatta of the season for John O' Gaunt RC and Lancaster Schools' RC was horribly windy, beautifully sunny, and full of crashes!! Luckily no damage was done, apart from to the toll booth that Steve managed to break on the way to the race.

First racing was the J13 double with Oliver and Paul. They easily won their heat and quarter final races. Sadly, they lost out on a place in the final by a margin. However they battled it out with Liverpool Victoria in the row off and came third. For their first race, this is a fantastic result especially since Paul only learned to row at the Easter Training Camp! The next to race were the two men’s coxless quads in Im3 in a 3 way straight final. Runcorn won with the two Lancaster crews coming head to head and crashing into each other, after some interesting and unfortunate steering issues. As a result, the “Alrighty Almighty” crew (students and Wilson) were disqualified and Ben’s, Keiran’s, Robin’s and Steve’s crew came second. They came up against each other again in the Novice Challenge race, which the juniors and Steve went on to win. Next up was Dylan, rowing his first race in the J11 single sculls. He came a very decent second place against, especially considering he was racing in the category a year above his age.

The veteran coxless quad raced next, after rowing back because they forgot the all important race number… Very windy conditions made this another difficult race against Warrington and Liverpool. Liverpool were overtaken on the start by Gaunt but pulled back towards the finish to come first with Gaunt coming second. Following this was the women’s novice coxless quad in a straight final against Warrington and Liverpool Vics. The girls had a brilliant start and took the lead. Unfortunately there were some blinders of crabs caught down the course, resulting in one blade disappearing under the boat. However, the girls rowed through this incident and gave a strong finish that they should be proud of. Next were the J15 women’s double with Chloe and Rhianne racing in a tense quarter final against the Grange School. Sadly they missed out on a place in the semi’s by a canvas, but did provide the Grange with some very tough competition. Oliver raced for the second time today, this time in his J13 single. It was a good race between him and the Liverpool sculler but unfortunately Oliver just missed out on a place in the semi finals.

Aaron and Matt raced novice doubles in their first race of the day and won easily, giving Gaunt a second win for the day. W.IM3 4x- saw Laura, Ellie, May, and Amy neck and neck with the opposition off the start. This gave them the confidence to pull away towards the middle of the race, but unfortunately Northwich came back on them and pulled just in front, making it a very close finish. Another tough race for the W.Nov.2x in a 3-way straight final against Warrington and Liverpool Victoria. After a strong, if somewhat panicky start, a blade clash left them neck and neck with Liverpool, who proceeded to push them closer into the big boats, resulting in another blade clash this time and meaning that both crews stopped rowing. This time Liverpool took the advantage in the first few strokes and despite some very fierce rowing and decreasing their lead, Lancaster just couldn’t quite catch them and finished second.

Next Aaron and Matt raced in the double again (IM3 this time). They won. Again.

Ellie was the last competitor of the day racing in J15 novice singles. She had a brilliant start, but sadly the race was restarted. Second time round she was looking strong the whole way through but was blown into the barge, some very nifty steering avoided a collision but sadly she was beaten by a length. In the third place row-off, she won easily by three lengths.

Hopefully the next race will be less windy… despite this it was a good day with the plan for next time being to win more pots!

Note from Boris: this is the third year on the trot that we have won both the Men's Novice 4x and Men's Novice 2x at this event!

Northwich Head - March 2011

By Mary Merrittsmith

Sunday 17th April saw JOG and LSRA crews racing in all three divisions of Northwich Spring Head. A sunny day perfect for rowing meant success for two crews and positive results to many more.

Division One was for single sculls, Steve came 2nd in the elite category with a time of 9:37.43. Meanwhile, Aaron, Ian and Mary had entered into Novice singles, Aaron came 3rd out of 8 in the men with a time of 10:39.93. Mary came second in womens meandering down the course in a time of 11:47.82 but, considering the only race plan was not to fall in, wasn’t too disappointed. Unfortunately, Ian did capsize after crossing the start line so did not finish the race. Hopefully that was a bad luck one off and it will go better next time!

Division Two featured Jess and Hannah and also Rhianne and Chloe racing in the J15 doubles class and the boys (Andy, Tom, Robin and Keiran) racing in their IM3 coxless quad. Jess and Hannah were in 5th place with a good time of 11:34.36 and in 6th place were Rhianne and Chloe with 11.52.22. The boys came 3rd with a time of 9:31.30. Aaron and Steve were going to race in the IM1 category in this division but had to scratch after Steve rather overdid it in Division 1.

Finally Division Three and the sun was still beating down. A long wait at the start due to launches down the course running out of fuel meant that the W.IM3 4+ could test out the cox box and wake up most of Cheshire with cox Dylan shouting “Is this loud enough?”… Finally we could start and first to race were the JOG/LUBC composite of Mary, Caroline, Alice (LUBC) and Laura with Dylan coxing. The pressure was on to keep up Dylan’s 100% winning streak, luckily they did win, spurred on by him forgetting the instructions that Aaron had given about a build at the finish, and instead yelling “BEAST IT!!!” down the last 700m, resulting in an exciting bit of racing to try and overtake the opposition. They came in with a time of 10:06.16. Racing just behind the four were Phil and Phil in a Masters E 2x, this was a tough race with lots of blades clashing and they came 3rd with a time of 10:06.64. The last crew of the day to race was another medal winning one, Laura, Shona, Ellie and Amy in their W.IM3 4x- finished with a magnificent time of 9:57.96.

So a good day was had by most (and not only because of the yummy cakes that Rhianne made), the last head race of the season gave some healthy looking results and hopefully will mean lots more medals in the coming few months of regatta season.

Easter Camp - March 2011

By Ellie Bayton

The 2011 Easter camp took place from Monday 11th April through till Friday 15th of April. The plan for the week was for the students to row in the morning while the juniors did jobs and then after lunch they would swap round. Over those five days numerous jobs and improvements were made around the clubhouse including knocking the ceiling down and taking the carpet up in the girls changing rooms, treating all the bay doors and also the portable sculling rack, painting the darker areas of the bays and especially Matt’s removable racks which will make a big difference to manoeuvring and storing boats around the bays.

The weekend before the camp, the weather was beautiful however come Monday it did nothing but rain. This didn’t stop new faces coming down and really enjoying themselves, learning new skills and techniques, and thankfully didn’t put them off as several of them carried on coming down each day. On that same day Sarah led a course for half of the juniors, the ‘Junior Indoor Rowing Leaders Award’, which the other half would complete on the Thursday. Despite the weather everyone made a really enthusiastic start to the week and all the jobs. On Tuesday the weather brightened up just in time for the new juniors, having learnt the basic s, to take part in the capsise drill which they all completed successfully. Some members of the club who were racing at Northwich went out to train while others tried out new crews. After lunch work was started on cleaning the bar; carpets were taken outside and cleaned while the floor was swept and mopped. In the girls changing rooms, the carpet was taken up and the boys changing room was mopped.

On Wednesday the weather stayed good and work was started on treating the four pairs of doors and the portable rack. All members new and regular went out again and had successful outings. Especially Paul, one of the new beginners, who went out in a double with Oliver, three days after his first ever outing in a boat. Thursday remained fair while the beginners ventured all the way up to the Motorway Bridge and back. Thursday was also a very productive day as the ceiling in the girls changing rooms was brought down and most of the rubbish bagged up. The excess rubbish and left over plastic and sponge from the old boat racks was also bagged up ready to be taken to the dump the next day. Treatment for the doors was also finished on Thursday. Friday, the last day of the Easter Camp, was fair and the water was still, perfect for an Easter Egg Hunt! Iain went up the river in the launch and hung chocolate eggs on the overhanging trees from the Scout Hut to the Aqueduct on both sides of the river. Crews set off, some more competitive than others, and generally had a really good laugh manoeuvring in between the trees searching for the treats. During lunch that day mixed doubles were drawn for a friendly mixed doubles tournament, however some crews got so competitive during the egg hunt there wasn’t enough time for this to happen. Hopefully this will happen at some point in the future or at the summer camp. Friday also saw the finishing off of all the jobs and also two, full, trips to the dump.

Overall over the whole Easter Camp as well as the regular club rowers 12 new juniors came down to try out Rowing, 5 of these came for the whole week and made really good progress. The regular rowers and racers spent the week trying out new crews, training for the upcoming race, Northwich and also learning how to use sweep oar. Plenty of really useful jobs were done, improving the look and efficiency of the clubhouse. I’m sure everyone would agree, a very positive week with really good results from the race at the end!

Red Rose Head - March 2011

By Aaron Sims

After a gruelling but rewarding performance from the Men's VIII at Chester the day before, the last thing you'd want to do the following day is to race again. But that’s the way it goes in Lancaster, with the following day set aside for the final Red Rose Head of the season. Fifteen crews entered the event all with excellent times, assisted by the excellent racing conditions of minimal wind and calm waters.

As per usual, Steve 'Captain Pugwash' Sullivan was the fastest of the day on handicap, putting down a stereotypically great time of 17.25 with a handicapped time of 19.24. Second place went to the quad of Matt, Aaron, newcomer Oliver and Steve who, for a scratch crew in an annoyingly low rigged boat, produced a blisteringly good time of 15.49 and a handicapped time of 20.26.

Aaron and Matt, having raced all head season in a double together but not having been around at the same time to compete in a Red Rose, placed 3rd with a cracking time of 17.28, giving a handicap of 20.45. 4th place went to LRSA sculler Luke Hodgeson who wanted to test out his new single in racing conditions. He earned a time of 19.01 with a handicapped time of 21.00.

The JOG/LSRA quad of Amy, Shona, Ellie and Laura placed 5th overall with a time of 18.43 and a handicapped time of 21.33, a promising time as this quad will be intending to compete together come regatta season, with an absent May Jarvis likely to be rotated into the crew at some point. More juniors finished shortly behind them with Kieran and Ben taking out a double and racing to a strong time of 18.16 and a handicapped time of 21.33.

The next two slots were filled by newcomers to the Red Rose scene. Will Kenyon, who rows out of JOG during the holidays when back from university, took out a single and navigated the course well to deliver a time of 19.52 with a 21.51 handicapped time earning him 7th overall. LUBC fielded one crew to the event in the form of a scratch pair with the two coaches Sam Nahk and Jonny Williams racing. Considering their recent inactivity in boats, their time was not as bad as it could have been with a time of 19.13 and a handicapped time of 21.52.

Phil Bell, also returning from racing the VIII the day before, decided to enter a single, posting a time of 19.54, coming 9th overall with a handicapped time of 21.53. Following him in the rankings was another scratch quad, with Florian absent, Tom, Andy and Matt 'Wilson' Birchall were joined by Will, posting a respectable time of 17.33 with a handicapped time of 22.04. A good time for a novice quad, they will be looking to take that crew to Northwich Spring Head in the next few weeks.

The LSRA women's double of Chloe and Rhianne came 11th overall with a time of 20.38; a good start for this crew at a red rose event having raced together at a few other events recently. Their handicapped time came to 22.05.

Another new crew to enter was Oliver who entered a single prior to the quad previously mentioned as an attempt to get back the feel for racing. Whilst not actually pushing himself much, if at all, he still managed to get a time of 21.35 and a handicapped time of 23.34.

The learn to row guys had a sculling face off which saw Ian Davidson beat Steve Holmes over the 4km course in singles with both netting new personal bests and securing 13th and 14th places respectively for the event. Ian managed a time of 25.09 and a handicapped time of 27.08. An improvement of almost two and half minutes! Steve may have lost out on this race but can be just as satisfied with his performance, getting a time of 28.14 and a handicapped time of 30.13, a massive improvement of over eight minutes!

The first of the last two crews racing on the day was the junior women's coxed quad of Alice, Becky, Izzy, ??? and cox Oliver who rowed to a time of 27.54 and handicapped time of 30.20. A good effort from some of the girls who are fairly new to the sport. The final crew of the day was Super-Cox turned sculler Dylan Bell who, in his training single, and his first ever time on the water raced with as much energy as he does when he runs rings round everyone at circuits. Although no official time was taken of this epic voyage, it has been estimated that Dylan scored somewhere in the region of 32.00. An excellent effort from him and from all other racers involved.

This concludes the Red Rose heads for the 2010/2011 season. Arrangements are underway to organise the Red Rose sprints for after Easter as we head to summer term. With training camp to come, the rest of the season should prove exciting for all involved at John O'Gaunt.

North of England Head - March 2011

By Aaron Sims

On a rather foggy morning in Chester on the 26th of March, John O'Gaunt fielded their first men's VIII for the past ten years. The eight men racing on the day had to brush off the cobwebs on their sweep rowing practice, which ranged from seven months to thirty years, in order to give a performance they hoped for. For the race and an outing the weekend prior, LUBC kindly offered the services of their new Wintech VIII 'HRH Princess Alexandra' for the club to use.

The definitive mixed-bag crew consisted of bowman Matt Wilkinson, two seat Kieran Bell (the youngest in the boat at fifteen), three seat Glenn Stevens, four seat Martin Gray (the oldest in the boat at forty nine), five seat Phillip Bell, six seat David Hodbod, seven seat Steven Sullivan and strokeman Aaron Sims. The occupant of the little seat in the stern was Jennifer Tonkins, the women's captain of LUBC who agreed to cox and to 'keep an eye on her Princess'.

Aaron, who organised the crew, arranged it so that everyone would arrive in time to cheer on the LUBC women's VIII racing in the first division and within it, the crew's cox Jenny, racing at three seat. This was much to the dislike of Captain Pugwash who would have rather had another two hours in bed.

Having Aaron, Steve, David, Phil and Matt in the lineup, the boat was almost an LUBC old boys crew and thus the targets were set for a target time of eighteen minutes and to get as close to the University 1st VIII on time as possible. With one rather promising outing under their belt (for which David, currently training for an Ironman, cycled a full 55 miles from Bury and back), the crew took to the water.

As an IM3 VIII, the boat was drawn between Liverpool Victoria, who made their start before JOG had even finished turning, and Derby RC. The race was smooth and set with the crew holding a rate thirty consistently, closing in on Liverpool with every stroke. An excellent racing line and some well placed calls that would only be expected of a battle hardened cox, Jenny allowed the crew to hold off the gradually incoming Derby all the way to the line.

The final results show the crew placing 9th of thirteen in IM3 and 29th overall for the day's racing with a time of 18.06.81. A very pleasing achievement considering the very limited time together as a crew.

Other results from the racing put the University 1st VIII fourteen seconds ahead of the JOG crew, placing 5th of six in IM2. The University 2nd VIII placed 6th of twelve in Novice and the Women's VIII placed a very pleasing joint 3rd (with Agecroft) of ten in W.IM3. A former LUBC athlete, John O'Leary was also racing that day in Agecroft's 1st VIII. They won Senior VIIIs and was the second fastest crew of the day, losing out by a mere second to Shrewsbury School, a fantastic performance.

The Lancaster Royal Grammar School also sent three crews to the event in the form of a J18 4x- which placed 4th of four, a J15 4x+ which came 7th of seven and a J17 VIII which placed 2nd of two.

With LUBC's VIIIs off to Head of the River next week and JOG to attend Northwich Spring Head in a few weeks time, the Lune based will be well represented for the close of a very successful head season. Roll on the Easter training camp.

Trafford Head - February 2011

By Andy Partridge

On the 26th of February, and after a long wait for a late novice double of Aaron and Matt (the latter of whom apparently had a 90 minute lie-in, resulting in a 70min drive only taking 45), Trafford Head got underway. The day started with a light blanket of rain, calming down and giving sun later on, giving pleasant conditions for all crews on the 3.2km course. The size of the canal and the frequently strong crosswind, however, did cause problems for many crews, with a few slight crashes during the day. Nevertheless, the John O’Gaunt/Lanster Schools' RA fleet of nine crews earned the top spot in four categories; Elite Singles, Novice Doubles, Im3 Coxed Quads and Women’s Im2 Quads.

The first division of the day contained four Lancaster crews. The two Novice Doubles of Aaron and Matt and Tom and Andy were joined by Steve ‘Captain Pugwash’ Sullivan in his Elite Single and the LSRA Women’s J15 Coxed Quad of Shona, Jess, Emma, Hannah and Rhianne (cox). Despite their damaging a beloved local tree, Aaron and Matt managed to hold it together to post the fastest time in the Novice Double category with 12:52. Tom and Andy weren’t far behind, coming third with 14:22. Steve continued his winning streak in his single with a blistering time of 12:18, placing fourth overall in the division and was the fastest single of the day. The girls gave a sterling performance, posting a time of 14:47, only just coming second to Northwich.

The second division saw the Master’s coxless quad of Glenn, Phil, Martin and Phil and the WIm2 4x- of Amy, Annie, May and Laura race. Two Lancaster Schools’ RA doubles also competed, with the Novice Double of Kieran and Ben joining the J15 Women’s Double of Chloe and Rhianne. The Masters posted a great time of 12:12, coming second by a mere six seconds, meanwhile, the girls’ quad posted a great time of 14.01, the fastest women’s quad time of the day. The boys, despite underrating slightly, delivered a respectable time, coming second in the category with a time of 13:35, followed by the girls posting a time of 15:48 and coming third in their category.

As the day went on, the sun managed to break through, providing a different atmosphere in the third division to previous races this season. The Im3 coxed quad of Glenn, Phil, Martin and Phil employed the fresh coxing talent of rising star Dylan to have a second shot at a victory. They were joined for the division by the Im2 Quad of Steve, Kieran, Aaron and Matt. The Masters won their open category comfortably, posting a time of 12:21. The Im2 Quad did not favour so well unfortunately. Despite a generally fantastic performance, the lightweight quad suffered in the crosswind. A mistimed corner and a reunion for Aaron and Matt with the tree resulted in valuable seconds being lost. Overall they managed a time of 11.18 and a settling for second place behind Liverpool Victoria, they can instead be pleased by placing eleventh overall of every racing crew that day.

The breaking sun in Trafford almost seemed to be signalling the impending regatta season. An illusion that definitely allowed the John O’Gaunt members to deliver some quality performances and as regatta season approaches, hopefully there will be many more wins to celebrate. Meanwhile Aaron definitely enjoyed collecting Steve’s medal at the presentation, creating another illusion that he is an elite sculler.

Red Rose - February 2011

By Aaron Sims

Full Results

The Lune was ravaged by the elements on the 13th February for the Red Rose Head as the crews prepared to race. The powerful upstream winds and soaking rain made for unpleasant racing conditions, causing some big problems for all the crews over the 4km course.

For the first time this season LUBC were in attendance, in preparation for BUCS Head in Peterborough the following weekend, sending two men’s VIIIs, one novice and one senior. With the women’s VIII unable to race due to injury, they still braved the less than amicable conditions, choosing to cheer crews on at the halfway point, which was most appreciated.

The fastest handicapped time of the day, once again came from Steve ‘Captain Pugwash’ Sullivan who managed to post the only handicapped time of the day under 20 minutes with a raw time of 17.57 and a handicapped time of 19.56. The JOG 2x of Aaron and Kieran, although taking a great racing line between the aqueduct and the buoy, were thrown around like a rag doll in the waves as they attempted to return to Gaunt. They still managed to post an excellent (but suspect) time of 18.05 and a handicapped time of 21.22, earning them second place for the event.

The Mas.D 4x+ of Phil, Martin, Phil and Glenn with rising star, super cox Dylan had a great first Red Rose together, posting a time of 17.57 and a handicapped time of 21.34, earning them third place. This handicap was calculated as an open crew and without the Masters status taken into account meaning potentially they could have ranked higher.

Posting the fastest raw time of the day was the LUBC Men’s 1st VIII who rowed a very respectable 16.34, handicapped to a 21.50. Hopefully they can use this result to their advantage in planning for their upcoming events.

JOG/LSRA decided to put out two women’s quads, the faster of the two featuring Laura, May, Annie and Amy who, on their second attempt at starting the race, were able to post a very pleasing time of 19.31, despite Amy rowing with a slight alcoholic impairment. Given the first quad’s greater experience and power, the second quad with Chloe, Rhianne, Hannah and Ellie were not too far behind, posting 20.53, subsequently handicapped to 23.19.

Not much separated the final two crews on raw time with the JOG 4x- of Andy, Florian, Robin and Ian besting the novice LUBC 2nd VIII by a mere eight seconds. The resulting handicaps were 24.51 and 25.38 which closed the event and allowed everyone to get back in the warm and dry, away from the windswept turbulence of the Lune.

Everyone would like to thank Billie for timekeeping and John O’Gaunt wishes LUBC the best of luck at BUCS Head next weekend. With head season close to an end and everyone getting tired of long distance ergs, roll on the regattas and with them, much more pleasant weather.

Head of the Mersey - February 2011

By Aaron Sims

On an exceptionally cold and wet 5th February, John O’Gaunt journeyed to Warrington RC to race in the ‘Head of the Mersey’. The club entered six crews over 5 events in the race, consisting of two legs of 1.8km.

The first crew to race was the Lancaster Schools Rowing Association W.Nov.4x+ crew of Hannah, Ellie, Shona, Chloe and cox Jess who with very limited time together as a crew placed a respectable 3rd of 4 crews, coming only 32 seconds behind the winning home Warrington crew. The next crew to race, also a novice coxed quad was the LRSA/JOG composite crew of Andy, Tom, Ben and Kieran with cox Shona came 2nd in their category, once again behind a Warrington crew.

The fourth division saw the IM2 4x- of Matt, Aaron, Steve and Kieran race. After getting to the start first and supposedly meant to be the first crew to start the division, some severely flawed start marshalling meant the crew was the last start, chasing down the women’s junior doubles that had already started, causing steering issues in an already challenging course. After further steering issues on the return journey, the quad crossed the finish line soaked, knackered and frustrated. Despite all this and having no opposition in their category, the quad placed 6th of every crew racing that day.

Sunlight was fading and the rain remained relentless as the final three crews took to the water. The W.IM3 4x- of Laura, Chloe, Ellie and May felt they had a great row and gave a performance they were proud of. Once again, however, the club fell behind in the times behind two crews from Warrington who had sent out senior crews, the girls were happy as being juniors; they were able to hold their own to deliver a close result.

Matt and Aaron took on not only took on Andy and Tom for the title of fastest Nov 2x but also a crew from Mersey RC. Both JOG doubles raced well and posted some good times but there could only be one winner. Matt and Aaron clinched the title and the club’s only win for the day by finishing almost a minute faster than Mersey with Andy and Tom finishing narrowly behind, despite being faster on the second leg.

As soon as the doubles made it off the water, everyone worked hard to get the trailer loaded as quickly as possible and flee the scene to get back in the dry. With everyone pleased with their performances, the club can be satisfied with the results as the final races of head season rapidly approach.

Head of the Float - December 2010

By Aaron Sims

On the 4th December, the John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Liverpool for the annual ‘Head of the Float’ Race; a processional time trial pitting quads and eights from local clubs against one another over a 2.6km course.

John O’Gaunt, in conjunction with the newly formed Lancaster Schools’ Rowing Association, entered 5 crews for the event in 4 different categories, returning an impressive 3 wins. The club claimed the titles for fastest Men’s Intermediate 2 Quads, Women’s Intermediate 3 Quads and Men’s Novice Quads. These results are all the more impressive given the lack of recent water training due to the River Lune freezing over for the past couple of weeks.

The club would like to thank the Lancaster District Local Strategic Partnership for its recent contribution of £1550. This facilitated the purchase a new set of 8 sculling oars for club use. These, undoubtedly, helped the club’s junior rowers, who will be their predominant users, to victory this weekend.

With many more races scheduled after the New Year, the club is aiming to continue their successful run that has seen them win 6 events in the past 5 races.

Northwich Head - November 2010

By Hannah Blamire

On Sunday 14th November, five crews from John O’ Gaunt rowing club travelled down to Northwich RC in West Cheshire, to race in the 2.5km Northwich head. The weather was clear (and even some sunshine), with steady, calm water, however there was a slightly cool breeze.

The day was definitely successful for two of our crews; The IM3.x4 consisting of Kieran, Ben, Theo and Aaron who came 1st in their race with an unbeatable time of 09:02:12 minutes, beating another JOG crew (Danny, Tom, Adam and Andy, who also made a strong opposition and came 3rd).

Congratulations to Amy, Annie, Mary and Laura who also won their W.IM3.x4 race, with a time of 09:57:53 minutes.

Next to race were the J15.x4 – May, Hannah, Rhianne and Chloe (with Jess coxing) who came a pleasing 4th out of 7 crews (almost completely overtaking Royal Chester in the last 200m).

And finally to compete was Phil and Martin in the MasC.2x who came a well-deserved 2nd, and just lost to Northwich, with a fantastic time of 09:38:27 minutes.

All in all it was a very rewarding day for the Warrington club who received 7 wins out of 14 entries.

Well done to everyone that raced for competing brilliantly and accomplishing some absolutely outstanding results, hopefully we can continue or begin to win some more medals!!

Red Rose Head - November 2010

By Aaron Sims

Full Results

Although the conditions were quite cold, the sun was still shining on the second Red Rose Head of the season. Unfortunatly due to high waters down in Halton, LUBC were not in attendance and so for the second time, it was a purely Gaunt affair.

All sectors of the club were out in force with 11 crews taking part. Steve once again topped the board in his single clocking an impressive 17.05, an improvement on his last time. More of the seniors raced in the form of Phil and Phil, and juniors Ben and Kieran. They posted a time of 16.58 which gave them a comfortable 4th place in the handicapped rankings.

Two Junior/Student crews entered in the form of Aaron and Kieran in a double (A HWT one to be precise, as the LWT double was away for repairs) and Laura, Amy, Mary and Ellie in a quad. Despite not racing side by side, the handicapped scores were very close, with the quad stealing away the 2nd place spot by a mere 2 seconds, posting a raw time of 18.54 against the boys score of 18.05.

The student quad of Danny, Andy, Tom (Sanders) and Adam also raced, posting a raw time of 17.30 giving them the 5th place spot. Both this crew, the womens quad and Aaron and Kieran (along with Ben and Theo in a quad) will be racing next week at Northwich Head, so this made for good practice to see where they are at in terms of racing quality.

The two WJ15 4x+s of May et al. and Elspeth et al. entered the Red Rose. The first, hoping to build on their previous time but ended up posting a time almost 30 seconds slower than last time putting them in 6th. The second, racing for the first time, set a time of 32.25, which considering it was their first time racing the event, should be pleased with that result earning them 10th place. Then a junior novice singles race broke out with both Caiden and Oliver entering singles. Oliver’s experience at the event shone through with his posting of a time of 23.26 compared to Caiden’s first ever effort of 28.48 putting them in 7th and 8th respectively.

Finally the learn-to-row rowers entered two crews, one being Ian and Howard in a double and the second being Steve braving it in a single. For a first attempt in these crews, they fared well with the double placing 9th with a raw time of 27.40 and Steve posted a time of 36.37. Their aim was just to finish and lay down a time to build on so with that objective complete they can be happy enough.

Agecroft Head - October 2010

By Annie Barsoum

On Saturday 16th October 2010 John O’Gaunt travelled down to Agecroft rowing club in Manchester to participate in Agecroft head. For most participants this was the first race of the season and therefore experience was the most important aspect of the day. The club put forward two women’s quads for the 3050m event.

The J15 coxed quad of Chloe, Jess, May, Shona and cox Kieran put in a great effort and looked extremely strong but were up against difficult opposition, they may have placed 4th in their category but definitely look positive for future events.

The student/junior women’s Im3 quad won. This victory was all the more sweet due to beating Agecroft’s women on their own course. John O’Gaunt started before Agecroft and gradually increased the distance between the 2 crews. Until, another crew, not in the same category, crashed into the boat forcing the John O’Gaunt to stop temporarily, allowing the other crew to overtake. However, the lead had already been established and the girls did not let this defeat them, so by increasing and maintaining pressure until the very end managed to win convincingly by 50 seconds.

Red Rose Head - October 2010

By Aaron Sims

Sunday 10th October saw the first Red Rose of the 2010/11 head season and conditions couldn’t have been better. With minimal wind, sunshine and very calm water, the fact winter was round the corner couldn’t have been further from the racing crews’ minds.

The competitive focus of the day was on the two women’s student/junior coxless quads, both using the same boat and blades would give a definitive result on the ability of both crews. Especially as both crews were entering the following week at Agecroft Small Boats head. First to set off was the crew of Laura, Ellie, Annie and Amy. Their combined experience and strength shone through to give them a time of 18.46, a time they were very pleased with. Following that was the quad of May, Chloe, Jess , and Shona, who set a cracking time of 20.14 which as a J15 crew, they can expect to improve over the season but still be happy with at this early point.

The junior boys raced a quad of Ben, Robin, Keiron and Luke who, despite near collision issues at the end of the trail with a certain Phil/Phil double setting off, managed to clock a very fast unadjusted time of 16.49. If they decide to keep this crew together then expect that time to get even faster as the season progresses. Oliver also decided to try his hand at the event for the first time in a single, setting a time of 25.40, something he can be happy with but should look to improve on next time.

The usual small boat entrants of the Red Roses came in the form of the classic Phil and Phil double and Steve and Aaron in singles. Phil and Phil managed an 18.35 which they were happy enough with, having just got back into long distance training. Steve topped the pack as usual with an impressive 17.29, the only time of the day that, when adjusted, remained under 20 minutes. Aaron was particularly elated with his time of 18.42 (JOG’s founding year no doubt) as it marked a full 90 seconds off his previous best at the event. The reason for the vast improvement either being down to training for last month’s 50km Boston Marathon or the possibility he crossed the start line at 10.10:10 on the date 10/10/10 incurring some divine mystical luck.

The event also saw 2 other new crews enter the event; this was particularly pleasing as these 5 rowers were all from the new generation of learn-to-row rowers. The women’s coxed quad consisting of Becky, Laura, Emma and Chloe set a pleasing first time of 23.58 with Ian being brave enough to attempt a single and setting down a first time of 30.40. Considering this was the first attempt at any racing for both crews, they can be quite proud of these times and know that they have a lot they can improve on in the near future.

As usual the event was a success with some good times being laid down ready to improve on as the season continues. With the next time trial being pencilled in for the 7th November, it is hoped the University and the Grammar School will be fielding crews and so the level of competition can increase.

Runcorn Head - September 2010

By Jess Pearson

No article submitted

North of England sprint championships - September 2010

Lancaster John O Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Rochdale to race in North of England sprint championships on the 4th of September. 7 juniors and 2 seniors raced the 500m sprint and all did very well.

By Shona Barnish

The first event for John O Gaunt meant a very early start for some. At 8.51 Amy Nichols (bow) Shona Barnish (2) Chloe Watson (3) and Laura Parkinson (stroke) raced an Im3 coxless quad. Considering that Shona and Chloe are both novices they did very well. They won the semi finals against Liverpool Victoria, keeping a strong lead throughout but unfortunately faced a tough race and couldn’t keep up with the opposition in the final and came third. Shortly after this was Jess Pearson and May Jarvis’ J15 double scull. They did well in their semi final and were gaining on the leading crew but hit a boy towards the end and unfortunately finished 2nd.

Next in the day was supposed to be Amy Nichols and Laura Parkinson’s Im3 double sculls, however they misread the draw and thought that they were racing in Phil and Phil’s category, therefore missing their race.

Phil and Phil did not however make the same mistake. In their first race, (Im3 double sculls) they unfortunately lost in their first heat. However they had more luck in their second division, (masters D/E 2x) winning their first heat and coming 2nd in the final.

Next up to race was Kieran Bell in his novice single. He did well in his first heat, winning it easily, winning him a place in the final; however, this was a tough race as he came 2nd/6th overall. After this was Rhianne Bell in her J14 single. Unfortunately she lost her first heat after hitting a buoy.

Chloe Watson and Kieran Bell put up a fight in the novice mixed doubles. This was a straight final after Royal Chester did not turn up; they came 2nd out of 3.

Last in the day was J15 coxed quad, Shona Barnish (bow) Jess Pearson (2) Chloe Watson (3) and May Jarvis (stroke). This was a straight final against Royal Chester and Tyne. Unluckily the girls finished 2nd finishing just after Tyne - this was a very close race.

The day, although producing no wins, was a relatively successful day as all crews felt that they have improved since the last race and lots of the day’s races were extremely close.

Summer Training Camp - July 2010

By Chloe Watson

The summer training camp was held from the 31st July until the 3rd August. It was organised to be at the club from 10am until 2pm, and was for any members who wished to participate. Each day consisted of different activities, this was doing an activity in the morning stopping for lunch and then another in the afternoon.

On the Saturday morning we went out on the river in a number of different crews. We were coached by Iain who was in the launch and also by Steve as he was out on the water in his single. Also in a single was Kieran Bell, who managed to capsize as one of his gates was not done up properly, meaning his blade came out! In the afternoon we were put into two teams and had training boat relay races. We had to row up to a marker in the water, round it and back again. The two teams were, Team 1-Kieron, Chloe, Laura and Rhianne. Team 2-Kieran B, Lindsey, Oliver and Pam. In the first round, Team 1 had an early lead however Team 2 were quickly catching them up. In the end, Team 2 won, as Kieron from the other team capsized. In the second round, Team 1 had an early lead again however managed to keep it up throughout the round, and brought the scores level to 1-1.

On the Sunday more juniors turned up, as in the morning it was just the normal Sunday session. We did the same as the day before, however the more advanced crews followed Steve(in his single) up to the motorway bridge. Whichever crew got there first would shout ‘Turn’ to the next crew down and so forth, Then we rowed back down to the boathouse. The other crew that did not go up to the motorway bridge, were being coached by Iain. In the afternoon we played another game, it included training boats, but this time it also included tennis balls! The aim of the game, was to collect as many coloured tennis balls/ footballs which were in the water, that each team could. Each type of ball was worth different amounts of points. However it was not as simple as just collecting them, you had to pass them to other people in your team to get them to the landing stage. There were two teams, which were Team 1-Rhianne, Lindsey, Pam and Oliver. Team 2-Kieron, Laura and Jess. Both teams were very competitive however, Team 1 won all except one round and had collected the most amount of points, so it looked as though they were the winners.

On The Monday and Tuesday the weather was really nice, so we spent most of the two days out on the water, in various crews. We were put into new crews that we never usually go in. This enabled us to learn new skills, for example, sitting at bow and steering etc. By the time we got back in to the boat house, it was nearly the end of the session. So once all the boats were away we had lunch then we went home.

As at the Easter training camp in April, everyone who took part thoroughly enjoyed themselves and I know for sure that another camp in the future would not go a miss and be extremely popular throughout the club.

Lancaster Sponsored Row - July 2010

By Aaron Sims

On Saturday, Lancaster John O’Gaunt raced against the Heysham Atoms Rugby League Team on the ergs in a team sponsorship event. The money raised in sponsorship by the JOG rowers would be put to new equipment whilst the money raised on the day from the collection pot was to be donated to Cancer Research UK. The race distance was set to be the full length of the River Lune (71km), held in Lancaster Market Square and would be in the form of a team relay. The three teams competing were JOG Seniors/Students, JOG Juniors and the Atoms.

Racing began at 9am and from an early stage, the Senior/Student team took the lead, they held onto this throughout, covering the full distance in a time of 4 hours, 41 minutes and 41.6 seconds. Opting for a 2km piece relay (the girls decided on 1km for themselves), the team of Steve, Lorna, Dave Hodbod (on loan from LUBC), Big Phil, Aaron, Jade and Emma (with brief guest stints from Iain and Will) covered the distance quite efficiently, keeping themselves well on the target of a sub 2 minute split. The last 13km was broken down to 1km and 500m sprints to make the finish as efficient as possible on the tiring legs of the team.

The Rugby Team were the next to finish in a respectable time of 5 hours, 8 minutes and 34.6 seconds. Opting for improvisation over tactics, their relay distances covered ranged from 600m to 2km (when they were peer pressured into it). The Juniors closed the day, finishing in a time of 5 hours, 39 minutes and 1.7 seconds. Consisting of Kieran, Laura, Amy, Jess, Eleanor, Hannah, Alice, Shona, Izzy, Chloe, Oliver, Elspeth, Shannon, Billy, George and Thomas the team pulled hard and despite some adorable marital disputes within the group, worked together well. The one criticism to their two minute slots would be the very slow changeovers from which they lost a lot of time. For most of the race, they kept a close 2km behind the rugby team but as the long day went on, the attention spans drifted.

Overall the event was a success, with sponsorship money still being collected in. Although the weather was not great, with overcast skies and gazebo launching wind, no one seemed to mind and it appeared everyone enjoyed themselves (even Steve who was on his back in the middle of the Market Square after each piece). The format will be looked into again with hopes to include LUBC or LRGS teams in the future.

Talkin Tarn Regatta - July 2010

By Kieran Bell

The regatta was held on Saturday 3rd of July. It looked a promising day as the sun was shining and there were lots of races that John O Gaunt had entered. To start off the day was Aaron who raced in his single in the novice category at 09:15 in the morning. It was a big race as there were 3 heats, Aaron convincingly won his heat over Tee RC and Chester le Street to proceed to the semi final where his opponent, from Queen Elizabeth BC, was a tough one and unfortunately, Aaron just lost out to him. There was a short break for us as the next race was at 10:06. This was a straight final in the J13B single sculls, Rhianne raced for us in this event and stormed ahead to win by about 200m! It was our first win of the day. Six minutes after, Kieran Bell and Phil Bell were against each other and another from Talkin Tarn ARC in the IM3 1x. It was an easy win for Talkin Tarn but a very close race between the two Bell’s who finished 2nd and 3rd. Again, 6 minutes later, we were racing. This time it was our Women’s J14B 4x+. In the quad was: Chloe Watson, May Jarvis, Jess Pearson, Shona Barnish and cox, Laura Parkinson. Wanting to win this one as it would be there first ever win as a quad, the girls put everything they had into it. Unfortunately, they were beaten by a good Chester le Street side.

Now in the afternoon, we returned to the water with Steve Sullivan racing in the Elite 1x category at 12 minutes past 12. It was a 3-way final between Steve, one from Talkin Tarn and the other from Tyne. Although it was a very fast and good race, Steve did not win, so another close loss there. After Steve, at 12:48 were the two Women’s J14B double sculls, with both doubles racing in the same event, it was going to be interesting. The first of our two doubles, May and Jess, rowed a great race as they beat their opposition by a massive 6 lengths! And it didn’t stop there. Ellie and Hannah in the other double also won their heat by 6 lengths having only been rowing for a few months and it was their first ever race - an incredible and very promising victory for them! So both doubles progressed to the semi finals, both racing a Chester le Street crew. May and Jess raced in the first semi final and, in an extremely close race by about 6 inches, they lost, right on the finish line - extremely unlucky! The next double, after a great first race, seemed a bit tired in their semi final as Chester le Street kept a lead of about 1 length up until the last 75m where they pulled away, to make it a Chester le Street final. Despite their loss, Ellie and Hannah, enjoyed their race and their first victory and will be looking to race at the next regatta in hope of success. That was the end of the day for John O’ Gaunt and with one win; they had a good time and are looking forward to the next regatta and winning more races.

Durham Regatta - June 2010

By Aaron Sims

Hopes were high as John O’ Gaunt headed up north to the “Henley of the North”; Durham Regatta and despite some subconscious efforts to try and get lost (Dan’s decision to take the M6 Southbound), the club arrived in one piece ready to race. A couple of the crews opted to have some brief outings on the river that evening then everyone made camp and waited for the big day.

As Saturday dawned, the first race of the day was the Im2 4+ of Dan, Nigel, Tom Bibby (On loan from Liverpool Vic), a stereotypically high spirited Dave Abel and Jane Reid manning the little hole in the bow with wires. Having not trained together as a crew, the 4 were not expecting great things but after only losing to a DUBC crew in the first round by a length over the 1800m long course, they were hopeful for the races the next day.

Jane then swapped the cox box and life jacket for a set of C2 blades as she and Lorna took on the daunting task of elite W2x. Although competing way above their normal category, the girls put up a good fight against the DARC/Tyne Utd crew but were bested before the line.

Onto the smaller boats, Aaron Sims was the next to step up for his first ever race for Gaunt after moving from LUBC to pursure sculling. And what a race it was, some quick starts, another stroke, another one.....then a wall. Unable to recover from the crash, Aaron kept up the race pace down the course for pride’s sake but that was his racing for the weekend over.

Some more ex-LUBC rowers were up next in the form of James, Alan, Andy and Danny with Ana coxing racing in the ever competitive novice 4+ category. Unfortunately some close racing saw them loose to the eventual winners of the event in the first round.

Tom Sanders, having received a bye in the first round of novice singles, raced the sculler from Durham school who was winner from the previous heat and after showing a lot of effort off the start was unable to keep up the pace with an evidently more experienced sculler; thus he found himself getting knocked out.

The last race of the day saw Steve Sullivan racing in the elite singles category attempting to take the pots he was so narrowly robbed of during last year’s racing. Unfortunately an uncharacteristic swamping of the event by DUBC scullers ended his hopes for Saturday.

That night saw some action as the Im3 4x+ of Annie, Ana, Becca and Emma coxed by Tom, whilst on an outing, collided quite spectacularly with a DUBC 8+ out on the river by the short course finish. This left the quad slightly damaged and the girls shaken enough for them to decide to withdraw their entry the following day, thankfully no one was injured.

Sunday rolled around and the blissful sunshine from the previous day was lost to very threatening storm clouds, but still racing continued.

The first crew to race was again the scratch Im2 4+ and after some excellent rowing, surpassed their performance the day before to beat their DARC opponents in excellent fashion. The final saw the boys face a strong Doncaster crew who despite being down the whole race took them on the last corner by a length. Although gutted that they had been robbed of a pot, they were happy with their races and as a plaque somewhere in Dan’s room says: “not bad for a scratch crew”.

Steve was next to race and after being given a row over to the final of the Championship long course singles, was beaten. Later Steve managed to overcome two opponents in the elite lightweight singles, the event he won last year. However, upon making the final against Dodd of DUBC, an opponent he has previously beaten, he wasn’t able to match Dodd’s mid pace having to settle for second place.

The surprise performance of the weekend came from the ex-LUBC 4+ who having got a feel for the course the day before, beat two crews in the heat and the semi and progressed to the final where a close race ensued. Unfortunately the boys were marginally out-rowed; however the potential that the crew showed indicates promise for next season.

As the rain doused the racecourse and only the hardcore supporters remained, the last JOG crew of the weekend took to the stake boats. The scratch Im3 W4x- of Lorna, Jane, Laura and Amy fought through the elements and their two rounds to take the club’s only win of the weekend. Still, with five events that day and five finals, despite the dismal weather John O’ Gaunt’s potential shone through. Laura and Amy stayed to collect the pots at the award ceremony whilst Lorna and Jane fled the scene to find some warm clothes.

Other winning results that weekend saw Tom Southworth winning Im2 8+s on the Saturday with Tyne RC. LUBC were also on form with the Women’s squad winning WIm3 8+s on both days and the Men’s 2nd 8+ claiming novice 8s on the Sunday having been so narrowly robbed the day before in the final.

Metropolitan Regatta - June 2010

It has been agreed that this event shall never be mentioned again in the annals of JOG history!

Northwich Regatta - May 2010

By Aaron Sims

The morning of Northwich Regatta was sunny and warm and as a result, spirits were high and the John O’Gaunt rowers were optimistic for the day of 500m sprints ahead. The first to race was the Im3 2x of Matt and Dan who burst out at the start to take an early lead of a length on their opponents from Bradford ARC but were unable to monopolise due to a boat stopping crab mere metres from the finish line. This led to Matt healing his hurt with a giant plate of sandwiches Tom had brought from a party the night before.

The next to race was Nigel in the Im3 1x, once again against Bradford. The start was good and he led off the line but started to pull to one side and the unfortunate placing of a barge on the edge of the river meant he too was knocked out in the first round. He failed to hide a smile of amusement as he passed the Lancaster cheering close to the end of the line.

Two Lancaster crews squared up for the straight final in the Novice W2x category as the junior double of Laura and Amy raced the student double of Annie and Ana (aka The A-Team). The students shot off the line gaining a good lead on the juniors but after a mishap with hand heights and a crab, the A-Team were forced to relinquish the lead to the juniors who just about held off the students to a 2 length lead at the finish.

The next 3 races saw Lancaster bring out the quads with the first to race being the Im3 4x of Danny, James, Tom and Alan, all new to the club coming from LUBC and only having a couple weeks of sculling experience. After being given a bye through to the final, they were pitted against a Liverpool Victoria quad containing former JoG rower Tom Bibby. This much more experienced crew dispatched the novice guys with little trouble although the Gaunt crew kept their cool as they calmly and cleanly crossed the line.

The two women’s doubles from the previous race joined forces in the next event to race Im3 W4x and raced well considering their limited time together. They however were bested by the opposition from the Grange school by 2 lengths, ending their run for the day.

The last race of the day for Lancaster saw Steve race at an unfamiliar Im2 level. Bowing the quad with Dan, Matt and Nigel, they were set to face Trent in a straight final. After an excellent start seeing them take the lead, they then pushed on to widen the gap for an emphatic victory to claim the clubs second win of the day.

An excellent day’s racing gave the clubs newer members a taste of racing and once again provided a good day out for everyone concerned. And for the record, Matt apparently ‘loved it’.

Red Rose, Ralph Cup and Francis Russell Trophy Sprint - May 2010

By Jane Reid


Eleven crews from LUBC and JOG turned up to compete in a baking 24 degrees last Saturday. High expectations were resting on four boats pre-selected in contest for the Francis Russell Trophy; LUBC W8+ and 2-; JOG 1x and 2x. Crews composed tactics and traded banter in the shade before starting the 1k time trial, from "the fence" down to the aqueduct. Individual times were then adjusted according to gold medal records, giving a rank order for racing to commence.

With the exception of the JOG M4+ everyone raced side-by side twice to give a final order. Congratulations to Steve Sullivan, who continues to be fastest boat on the Lune, and pocket-rocket Kieran Bell for being the quickest junior. The LUBC women's eight put in a strong performance on the time trial and in their heats to finish third overall. This was followed by the up-and-coming JOG female student quad and the unknown combination of Phil and Glenn in the double. Sadly the LUBC men's pair, who have been pre-selected from their senior squad had an off-day and finished ninth, conceding the Francis Russell trophy to John O' Gaunt. There were some promising times from both the juniors and the students, proving that their hard work and growing enthusiasm is paying off.

Finally, special thanks go to Dan and Dom for organising the event and ensuring everything ran smoothly.

BUCS (University) Regatta - May 2010

From Mason Durant (Newcastle University)

BUCS was mixed for me, on the first day I was just doing the champ 8 and one of our guys was ill that day so we had a sub in and came a disappointing 4th. We hoped to beat Durham but we struggled with the conditions and crew change.

The next day I raced in the champ 2x and champ 4-, qualifying both straight to the final from the heat. We came 3rd in the 2x which we werent happy about as we hoped to win or be close to the winners, who are both GB u23 and senior scullers. The 4- final was 30 minutes later and I can't say I felt very well. We started slow but wound it up to 39 in the second half and rowed through Brookes on the line to take silver by 0.05 seconds.

Monday was the champ 2- and champ 4x. Again we qualified straight to the final from the heat and had time to recover between races. By this time I was feeling pretty rough and so the start in the 2- was a bit sluggish, however another push in the last 750m brought us close to the Durham pair that had led the race, before pushing past them in the last 10 strokes with what can only be described as a savage burst, taking the gold by 0.23 seconds. The 4x was another 40 minutes later, enough time for the go-gels and energy drink to make a reappearance in the boating area. The quad final was tough, leading off the start but struggling with the meat of the race and crossing the line second behind Queens Belfast.

The weekend was successful for the club as a whole, coming second in the Victor Ludorum and picking up plenty of medals across the board.

Tom and Chris (Northumbria University)

Both Tom and Chris were in the intermediate 4+ that came 4th at BUCS (by 1.96 seconds). As they crossed the finish line, both tom and the other stroke side guy crabbed and all 4 of them fell in the lake! It was believed that this didn't affect their time though. They were knocked out in the first round of the Intermediate Pairs.

Danny Bellion (Imperial College)

Danny came 6th in the Championship 8+ and won the Im4x.

Merseyside Regatta - May 2010

Lancaster John O Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Liverpool to race in Merseyside Regatta on the 1st May. This would be the first regatta of the year where 12 crews from the club would race over 500m. The club sent 10 members of its growing student squad and 7 from the similarly expanding junior squad plus 4 experienced senior members.

By Rhianne Bell

At 10.36 on Saturday morning Shona Barnish (Bow), Emma Peel (2), Rhianne Bell (3) and Chloe Watson (Stroke) with Jessica Pearson coxing Doug Melvin (Quad) raced their first race in the semi-finals against Grange School. The John O’Gaunt crew started off extremely well and maintained a lead for the first 400m. With less than 100m to go, Grange School started to pass them. Ultimately, Grange won by one boat length. The John O’Gaunt crew paddled back up to the start for the Third/Fourth place race-off. As before, they managed an amazing start that kept them in the lead for 300m, until Northwich managed to find a little bit more energy and passed us in the final seconds. The crew did really well coming in fourth overall.

Half an hour later Kieran Bell, in his J14 single event, sculled a very tightly fought race. Like the girls quad, he had a terrific start and pushed hard to the last 100m, but the Liverpool Victoria opposition had just a little more energy and managed to inch his way past Kieran. The result being a win for Liverpool Victoria by a mere 15 cm!

Later in the day, May Jarvis and Jessica Pearson raced in the J14 double sculls. They had a strong start but unfortunately couldn’t hold it to the end. The Grange School crew won by around a length.

Overall we had a great day and learnt a lot. We have managed to develop our technique and have good starts, but need to practice more sculling at higher ratings in order to press home our advantage.

By Dan Reeve

Next to race was student Becca Doney (Cumbria Uni) in the women’s Im3 1x. The event was a straight final against a strong Warrington sculler. Becca rowed well but was unable to break past and finished second.

Meanwhile the student double of Dan Reeve (Lancaster Uni) and Matt Bush raced in Challenge Senior 2x race against the host club. Both crews were neck and neck swapping the lead all the way down the course until the Liverpool crew got their bows ahead to win by 1ft. This race served as a warm up for Dan and Matt’s Im3 2x race to take place minutes later. They got off the start ahead of their competitors from Northwich and maintained a comfortable lead down the course. The boys look set for an easy win until less than 50m from the line they found themselves slightly off line and collided with a safety launch sitting on the course. This completely threw them out of balance, and almost out of the boat allowing the Northwich double to cruise past to take the semi final.

In the same event, veteran scullers Phil Bell and Phil Payne saw off their competition from Liverpool Victoria easily and moved into the final where they raced the lucky Northwich crew who got off the line ahead of Phil and Phil and managed to maintain a comfortable lead for the whole race. This left the Phil’s and Dan & Matt disappointed that the event win did not go to John O Gaunt, when victory had looked so likely.

Novice student scullers Tom Llyod (Cumbria Uni) and Nige Coburn (Queens Uni, Belfast) were racing for the first time. Due to illness the two had been put together only that morning without any previous training. They proudly saw off 3 Liverpool crews to win the Novice 2x event, moving up to intermediate 3 status. After this vicory the two scullers were joined by Matt Bush and J15 sculler Kieran Bell in the Novice 4x event. Again, due to illness the crew was a scratch crew rowing together for the first time. They easily saw of a Liverpool crew in the first round, putting them in the final against Warrington. The final proved a close race. Lancaster got ahead, both crews suffered from steering issues but Lancaster remained ahead until the final 100m where Warrington began to come back hard. The win went to Lancaster by only 1metre. This moved Matt and Kieran up to intermediate 3 status and was Tom and Nige’s second victory of the day.

Phil and Phil raced again in the Vetern D, E, F category seeing off their equivalent Vet E 2x from Liverpool but could not keep ahead of a Vet D 2x from Runcorn who took the lead in the final stages of the semi final.

The afternoon brought the first race of the season for novice students Annie Barsuom (Lancaster Uni), Emma Pilgrim (Cumbria Uni) & Ana Yong (Surry Uni) who were joined by Becca Doney to race in the women’s Im3 4x event. The girls raced very well having only spent two weeks in a boat together but were overcome by a stronger and more experienced crew from Liverpool. The girls thoroughly enjoyed their first race and will training hard to achieve some wins later in the season.

As the day drew on, two final chances for success were due to take place. Matt Bush raced in Novice single sculls against two Liverpool scullers. He displayed his usual lack of technical prowess but using sheer brute force and power he passed the leading Liverpool sculler in the closing moment of the race to win by 10cm. Finally, experienced scullers Jane Reid (Cumbria Uni) and Lorna Sullivan raced in the women’s Im3 2x. They saw off their Liverpool competition easily in the semi and were due to face another Liverpool crew in the final. Unfortunately the women were forced to wait until the end of the day where they raced Liverpool in the final race of the event. Frustrated by having to wait so long, Lorna and Jane stormed off the start line and increased their lead along the course to win several lengths at the finish in a dominating display of power (considering their lightweight status).

The club returned to Lancaster pleased with 4 wins consisting of 9 trophies or medals, 8 of which were obtained by the clubs student squad, making student coach Dan Reeve proud and enthusiastic about the season ahead.

Indoor Rowing Competition - April 2010


Lancaster and Morecambe College hosted the second round of the Lancaster Schools' Indoor Rowing competitions in late April. Ripley was the only school that was able to attend; the rest of the students raced as Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club or Lancaster and Morecambe College.

At the end of the day May Jarvis topped the group of 31 athletes that competed in the Gold Standard Sprint Event by clocking a score of 1000m over 4 minutes to record a gold standard percentage of 98%. Ripley dominated the overall standings with 9 students placing in the top 13. During the day many of the students from Lancaster and Morecambe College competed in 200m, 500m or team sprint events.

Thanks go to Dan Hetherington (Northwest Regional Development Officer) for running the event and Lancaster and Morecambe College for hosting.

Lancaster Red Rose - April 2010

By Aaron Sims

Full Results

In the wake of The University of York Boat Club’s withdrawal from Roses 2010, and with BUCS and Merseyside Regattas fast approaching, LUBC and JOG agreed to a Red Rose Sprint. With a week until their upcoming races, it would provide some excellent preparation and some friendly competition between the clubs. Under the title ‘The Lune World Cup’, the event would pit four crews from each club against each other over three 500m sprints in a two lane handicapped regatta format. The handicaps were calculated in a joint agreement between the two clubs, and were based on differences in world record times between boat classes.

JOG’s fleet consisted of two Lwt 1x (Steve and Myself), a Lwt W2x (Jane and Lorna) and a VetE 2x (Phil and Phil) while LUBC sent the 1st 8+ (Francis Russell), the 2nd 8+ (Sir Christian Bonnington), the W8+ (Tom McNerney) and a Lwt 2x (Matt and Ollie).

LUBC named their 1st VIII as their top seed, whilst John O’Gaunt selected Steve; these crews were placed on opposite sides of the draw, the rest were randomly assigned a partner and racing began. In the first round, the winners of each race would progress to Division A which would make up places 1 to 4 in the final results, while the losers would progress to Division B which would make up places 5 to 8.

The first race of the event saw Steve racing Matt and Ollie and after some high paced starts, Steve went through to win comfortably. The next race saw the W2x race the Women’s 8+ and after a miscalculation from the start officials, Paul and Dan (typical), the Women’s double crossed the line first. The next race saw me pitted against the 1st VIII and after some very shoddy rowing from my end and a lightning fast start from theirs; the Francis Russell passed me after 400m and proceeded to take the win. The last race of the round saw Phil and Phil take a comfortable win from the University’s 2nd VIII, propelling them to the next round.

The second round saw the Sullivans square off as Lorna and Jane took on Steve. With a half a second head start turning into a chivalrous 5 second head start, Steve overtook the girls to progress to the final round in the 1st/2nd place race. The LUBC 1st VIII was not as fortunate as, after being unable to catch Phil and Phil after their start, they had to settle with going through to the 3rd/4th place round. A strong start from the 2nd VIII and a mistimed wind down from myself saw a very close finish as I crossed the line just ahead to earn a place in the 5th/6th place race. In a similarly tight race, the Women’s VIII pipped Matt and Ollie at the post to win by a mere 0.6 seconds, thereby winning a place in the same final race.

The final round of the day saw another miscalculated start with Matt and Ollie taking full advantage to take 7th place from the 2nd VIII, a strong performance from both crews. Some snappy starts made for a close encounter as I crossed the line just short of a length ahead of the LUBC girls to claim 5th place. The 1st VIII made a strong push in their final race to take the Women’s double by a comfortable lead of one and a half lengths and claim 3rd place overall. The final race of the day saw Steve surge past Phil and Phil in the latter half of the race to take the overall title for the event.

In closing, the event was deemed a success, serving its purpose as both clubs gained some needed race experience with regatta season looming. The setup used for the event with handicaps and tournament format were experimented with for the first time and although some changes will most likely be made, it provides a basic template for future events.

Easter Training Camp - April 2010

By May Jarvis

From Saturday the 10th of April to Tuesday the 13th a training camp was held at the club for all members. This consisted of rowing and helping tidy up the club. Each day ran from 9am to 3pm with a BBQ at 1ish.

Everyday we rowed in the morning being coached by Dan, Steve, Jane or just rowing on our own. Everyone went in crews they didn’t normally or had never been in before. The beginners had their first goes in quads which they enjoyed.

On the Saturday after rowing first thing we first sanded then painted the railings on the balcony blue. Amazingly all the students had somewhere to go and something to do when we started doing jobs! Jess won the award for the most amount of paint to get on your-self which earned her a talking to from her mum.

Sunday was the same again but painting the railings on the steps and the day was finished with capsize tests in singles for the beginners and a water fight amongst the juniors. Monday was the same again but, amazingly, the students finally decided to help out by painting the railings on the ramp.

For the last day Dan decided to do something different and suggested we have a race. Names were drawn out of a maoam box to decide the crews for a coxed quad and two coxless fours. Team captains Jane, Aaron and Gareth pulled the names out. Jane went one of the coxless fours with Shona, Izzie and May. Aaron in the other with Emma, Alice and Hannah. Finally Gareth in the coxed quad with Eleanor, Laura, Chloe and Rhianne as cox.

There were three races in total which Dan judged the winners of from the launch. All three crews raced above the aqueduct from the ‘metal pipe’ to the M6 junction. In the first race Jane’s quad had started to pull into the lead but due to Izzie falling off her seat shortly fell behind causing the other two crews to pull ahead. Both teams were level at first but Aaron’s gained the lead and stayed in first place earning them one win.

The second race started evenly but unfortunately Shona ‘let go’ of her blade so that crew had to stop. Again Aaron and Gareth’s pulled ahead but this time Emma fell off her seat! Even though she kept rowing strong Gareth’s crew had the higher advantage and won the race.

Finally in the last race the starts for all the boats was clean and quick but this time Jane’s crew had no accidents and slowly began to pull away from the group and into first place!!

Overall the long weekend was highly enjoyable and all members had fun, tried something new and improved their overall rowing. Also, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we should do this again in the summer.

Northwich Spring Head - April 2010

By Laura Parkinson

On Saturday 3rd April nine crews travelled down to Northwich to compete in the Spring Head. Four of the crews were successful: E1x (Steve), Women’s Im2 4x- (Jane, Rachael, Angela and Lorna), Vet E2x (Phil and Phil) and Women’s J14 2x (May and Jess). The forecasted bad weather didn’t turn up and we had really good conditions for racing.

Division 1 saw Steve, Robin and Kieran compete. Steve won Elite 1x beating his only competitor Craig Morgan of Agecroft RC by 0.9 seconds. Leading off Steve watched as Morgan moved up on him in the first 500m, but then a push in the last few hundred metres allowed him to win the category with a time of 8:56.4. The fastest sculler was Peter Warman also from Agecroft who posted a time of 8:54.0. Steve was pleased with his result as he was amongst the scullers from Agecroft that won the Brit at Henley Royal Regatta in 2009. Robin competed in J17 1x, however he had some difficulty with steering and finished the 2300m course with a time of 11:33.8. Kieran (J15 1X) also competed in the first division with a time of 10:34.3 coming 4th out of 6. He competed in a tough category and was pleased with his time.

In division 2 Phil Payne and Phil Bell raced in Im3 2x gaining a time of 9:27.0, knocking 0.7 seconds off the time that they posted in the Autumn Head. They came 2nd out of 3 being beaten by a stronger crew from Hollingworth Lake. Also in this division the newly formed junior double of May and Jess competed in their second race. With a very strong performance throughout they went on to win their category consisting of 6 crews with an excellent time of 10:09.6. They are the first junior winners from the Ripley recruitment drive through the Lancaster Schools’ Rowing Association.

Another four crews raced in division 3. Phil and Phil competed again in their double racing in Vet E2x. They were very successful and won their category with a time of 9:34.2, beating their only competitors from Liverpool Vics by 25 seconds. Amy and Laura competed in the women’s novice double. Even though they improved their previous time by 11 seconds, they were beaten by their only competitors from Trentham BC. They are hoping with some more training that they’ll have a successful regatta season. The newly formed junior quad of Chloe, Emma, Rhianne, Shona and Jess (cox) also competed in their second race together. They performed strongly with a time of 10:22.0. However they were unfortunately beaten by stronger crews, finishing 4th out of 5. Jane, Rachel, Angela and Lorna competed in Im2 W4x- winning their category after a big push from their only competitors Liverpool Vics who had a momentary clash with Grange School. They posted a time of 9:28.7.

Overall we came 7th out of the 15 clubs that had entered. Well done to everyone!

Red Rose Head - March 2010

By Dan Reeve

Full Results

On Sunday 29th March 2010 John O' Gaunt rowers competed in the final Red Rose head race of the season. Five crews completed the 4km time trial in rough water conditions.

First to set the standard was Steve Sullivan in the single who tackled the rough conditions well to finish is a time of 17’33” (19’32”) which gained him an easy first place over the field.

Next to compete were veteran scullers Phil Payne and Phil Bell in the double scull. They produced good boat speed on the first leg, with a strong tail wind but felt the effects of the headwind and rough waves on the return leg. They completed the course in 19’03” (22’20”) and finished in 3rd place.

Meanwhile the clubs top junior double of Laura Parkinson (LGGS) and Amy Nicholls (Ripley) completed the course in a time of 21’08” (22’35”). This was outstanding work by the girls, who were only 14 seconds slower than the time they set in October under perfect conditions. By comparison Steve Sullivan was 90 seconds slower than his best. Considering the large time effects of the rough weather, the girls have shown great improvement and finished in 4th place against more experienced senior rowers.

Ex LUBC rower and Novice sculler Aaron Sims completed his second red rose head in 21’28” (23’27”) finishing in 5th. He was disappointed with the result but tough water conditions for a single sculler are made harder for a novice and he should be pleased with how he coped. He will be working hard to improve his speed and technique aiming for regatta wins in the single this year.

Finally the top student boat of ex LUBC rower Dan Reeve and ex grammar school student Matt Bush tackled the course in their recently formed double; the event was their first competitive row. They set off with some rhythm which was promptly lost as they produced very scrappy rowing. Up at the half way point where conditions were at their worst, with waves coming into their boat they had little confidence in getting a successful time. Their pace improved in the last 1km of the course as they produced more boat speed in calmer waters. They finished in 2nd place in a time of 18’19” (21’36”). The two students were very impressed by the time after such a poor row and will be training hard to get closer to elite sculler Steve Sullivan as regatta season approaches.

LUBC were not present at the event since the university is in their Easter break at the moment. However the club has recently set club records at both men’s and women’s head of the river races on the tideway. No doubt had the club been able to take part in this event they would have posted strong times.

From this point, crews will be focussing on improving their sprint work, training over shorter distances in preparation for regatta season. Based on the improving results over the last few months, the club looks set to achieve strong results this summer, especially from the growing student and junior sections.

Student Members at Heads - March 2010

Images sourced from Bird Man Photography

The 2010 Head season came to its climax this weekend as 388 crews competed at the Head of the River Race on the River Thames.

Scott Durant, post-graduate at Oxford Brookes University, stroked his university’s first crew to 5th place to win the Senior Pennant (2nd division of 6 in rowing) and the Bernard Churcher Trophy (awarded to the fastest university crew). Following an easy victory over second placed Durham University at BUCS Championship Head earlier in the season, and placing as the 10th pairing at GB trials in February Scott looks set for another excellent season.

Danny Bellion is in his second season at Imperial College; he has already started to push for GB selection with a 20th pairs placing in this year’s early trials. Danny’s “first” crew set off in 12th place losing four places to end up in 16th place; talented individuals seemed to have been split between the first and second crews as the “second” lightweight crew raced to an 8th place. Despite this, Danny’s crew paddled away with the Intermediate 1 Pennant (3rd division).

Mason Durant narrowly missed out on GB U23 selection in 2009 after representing GB in 2008; following an 18th placing in this year’s sculling trials he looks to be back on track. At last year’s Head Newcastle University finished in 37th place; this year Mason’s crew raised the bar in the Intermediate 2 category by placing 22nd taking the Intermediate 2 Pennant (4th division) and the Halladay Trophy (awarded to the highest university crew of Im2 status or below).

Tom Southworth and Chris Booth are both studying at Northumbria University, spending most of the season rowing for Tyne Rowing Club. Tom has consistently made the first crews for Tyne gaining some good wins in the Northeast, prior to a 77th placing at the Head; unfortunately Chris has been out for most of the winter season due to a back injury.

Tom Bibby has returned to the Float in Merseyside to row with a fairly experienced crew of young people, a placing of 221st will have pleased the crew as they had been aiming for top 250. Joelle Hartley has been coxing a variety of crews at Durham University including a high standard women’s crew – unfortunately she was unable to compete at the Head due to work commitments.

Lancaster University’s first crew finished in 160th place at the Head despite a gate popping open just before the finish! This is a promising result for the men as they strive to qualify a crew in July's Henley Royal Regatta.

The overall winner of the Head was Molesey taking the win from Leander by three seconds; apparently Leander suffered a boat stopper when one of the crew caught a crab.

Finally, Chloe Peach has been rowing on and off throughout the season but returned a few weeks ago for Women’s Head; her crew placed 17th to take the Intermediate 3 Pennant (5th division); Lancaster University’s women finished 86th at the same event to establish themselves as the strongest crew at the University.

Junior Trials - March 2010

By Andy Peach

Sat 6th March, Inter regional trials, Northwich. 9 juniors from the club travelled down to Northwich to scull at the North West Regional Trials. Keiron competing in the J151x and sculled well coming midway in his division, Laura competed in the JW151x also performed very well, although coming in towards the end of her division, time wise it was very close to the winner. Jess and May competed in JW142x racing extremely well in a tough field coming mid way in their division. Finally we also had a JW144x+ of Chloe, Rhianne, Emma and Shona with Evie coxing. Again another tough field they competed really well, although finishing towards the end of their division again they were not far from the winners time wise. A tremendous effort from all of them. I would also just like to say that their behaviour and commitment was brilliant, it was a pleasure to be part of a team on Saturday. They represented the club impeccably and it was remarked upon by the organisers.

Trafford Head - February 2010

For the second year running Steven Sullivan headed the scullers at Trafford Head; last year he took the headship and the Senior 1 title. This year Steven raced in the Elite event and would have raced against Chandler of Trafford. Unfortunately, Chandler withdrew leaving Steven to top the event over junior entrants.

Warrington Head - February 2010

Somebody, who shall go unnamed, forgot to put the entries in by deadline! Fortunately, Warrington were very understanding and allowed our late entry.

The only success for the Club was the fastest time by a sculler. The women were unfortunate to come up against a strong Runcorn crew, but soundly beat all crews in the division below. The junior quad raced a category up as Laura was J15 - some more practice needed there. Phil and Phil beasted the course but were beaten by, erm: quicker crews! Robin went out in a single, after not much practice, to be beaten by quite a bit - a few months in a single will turn this around.

LSRA Indoor Rowing Competition - December 2009


Article copied from The British Rowing website.

On 7th December The Lancaster Schools Rowing Association ran its first ever indoor rowing event at Ripley St Thomas High School in Lancaster.

The schools in the Association are linked by the work done in the local area by British Rowing HSCT coach, Amy Ward, who has been working with Lancaster John o'Gaunt Rowing Club and the local schools over the past year.

At this inaugural event only two schools were involved on the day (unfortunately a third had to pull out at the last minute) and ran with races in years seven to nine. Ripley St Thomas High School, who hosted the event, competed against Central Lancaster High School, and it was the hosts that came out on top winning overall.

A few weeks prior to the event, club officials and members of staff from schools that have been benefiting from coaching met together to look into formalising the links through the creation of the Association.

With more schools working in partnership with Lancaster John o'Gaunt Rowing Club the Association has plans to spread out into the local area in order to offer the sport of indoor and water rowing to more young people.

With this initiative, Lancaster John o'Gaunt has seen the benefits of new growth in its junior section. Help from local students from Lancaster and Cumbria Universities coaching at the club has been gratefully received.

Christmas Regatta - December 2009

By Laura Parkinson

On Saturday 5th December 8 juniors competed in the Christmas Regatta at the club. We raced in 2 coxless quads, starting from the aqueduct and finishing at the boathouse. There were 4 races in total, with the crews being changed before each one. For the first time in a while the rain had stopped, but it was a bit on the cold side.

The first race involved Jess, Chloe, Beth (all from Ripley) and Laura (LGGS) in one crew and Amy, Shona, May (all from Ripley) and Kieran (LRGS). Jess’ crew had a few difficulties with steering and stuck close to the trees all the way down. Amy’s crew soon took the lead and ended up winning the race.

After experiencing steering, there was some moving about to avoid bow, whilst the crews were changed. In the first crew there was Amy, Laura, Kieran and May, in the other crew, Jess, Shona, Beth and Chloe. Again Amy’s crew soon took the lead, as the other crew were having a few problems with the steering. Amy’s team went on to win the second race.

As time was running out the third and fourth races were shortened, starting at the end of the wooden pier near the aqueduct. Beth, Laura, Kieran and Jess were looking quite good and expected to win, but unfortunately Beth got her blade stuck and the boat was slowed down. Nevertheless the crew carried on, determined to win and were catching up in the last 100 meters, but May, Amy, Chloe and Shona won the race.

The crews for the final race were Chloe, Shona, May and Kieran in one and Beth, Jess, Amy and Laura in the other. This race was very close to start with, but Beth’s crew managed to pull away and win the race.

Overall the scores were Amy winning all four races, May winning 3, Kieran, Shona and Laura with 2 wins and Jess, Beth and Chloe with 1. All the juniors who competed would like to thank Amy (coach) and Steve for organising it and all the other adults, Phil, Adrian and Lorna. We all had a fun day and look forward to next year! Hopefully the fluorescent theme will have been forgotten by then and we’ll be a bit better with the steering, if we can be persuaded to have another go!

Boston Marathon - November 2009

By Sue Palmer

Four members of the Lancaster John O'Gaunt Rowing Club presented a cheque for £1,623.00 to Cancercare Northwest on Saturday 5th December. The funds were raised when the Mixed veteran 4X crew of John Holmes, Sue Palmer, Corinne Whitty and Phil Bell competed in the Boston Rowing Marathon on 21st September. The course covered 31 miles on the river Witham between Lincoln and Boston and included carrying the boat over a lock. The crew completed the course in 4hrs 40mins, all had a few blisters but enjoyed the race and the challenge on what was one of the sunniest days of the year. The money raised goes to continue the great work done by CancerCare Northwest in supporting people with Cancer and their families.

Receiving the cheque on behalf of CancerCare is Iona Price. Contributions to cancerCare can still be made on the team's Justgiving page, justgiving website.

Northwich Head - November 2009

By Amy Nicholls

On Saturday members of John O’Gaunt including 8 junior members travelled to Northwich in order to complete in the Northwich Winter Head. During this time the weather had a slight wind along with a down pour of rain. The race was over a distance of 2300m on a course which contains two minor kinks in it. During the race, as a club we had a representative within each division. Division one being scullers and Division two and three being crewed boats.

The first competitor of day was Robin Ely (LRGS) within division one. This was Robin’s first ever race during which from the start he carried a steady pace managing to hold off opposing teams whilst containing this pace to finish well and in a good position, along with gaining the best time of the day from John O’Gaunt Club.

Within division two, Laura Parkinson (LGGS) and Amy Nicholls (Ripley) completed in the women’s novice double. They managed to pull away from some opponents from the start in order to then finish 3rd out of 5 overall. This was their first head race. Also a WJ14 coxed boat containing Jess Pearson (Ripley) Beth Hay (Ripley), Chloe Watson (Ripley), Shona Barnish (Ripley) and cox Kieran Bell (LRGS). They finished 4th out of 7 with this being their first head race. They also had a strong, consistent performance throughout.

Division 2 also consisted of Phil Bell and Phil Payne racing in a double. They raced within Im3 gaining a time of 9.27.7, where they came 7th. They then raced within division 3 whereby they raced as Veterans they pulled through having a successful race however taking 10 seconds longer overall with a time of 9.37.1, they came in 2nd out of 3.

Unfortunately the women’s quad who had previously been looking a promising crew had to pull out due to illness.

GB Trials - October 2009

From Mason Durant

The trials went okay, I got a PB on the ergo of 6:14.6. I was hoping for a bit better but I didn't feel too good before it. The singles trial went better but the conditions weren't very good in the second 2km. The going was particularly tough with a cross wind and I faired reasonably well coming in 10th overall and the 6th U23. The result also got me a bronze medal, just behind fellow teammate Andrew Corrigan in the British Universities event which was run alongside the trials. The afternoon division saw me compete in a pair in the British Universities event and pick up a bronze medal over the shortened course because of the worsening conditions in the first 2km. I have been invited to the closed trial at Dorney Lake in mid November from this performance to test my speed over 2km.

Scott and Danny were both absent through illness. Danny did manage to complete the ergo posting a PB of 6:19.

Red Rose Head - October 2009

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club hosted the second of the season’s Red Rose Handicap Time Trials on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back.

Conditions were favourable for quick times with little stream and only a minor headwind on the outward leg. Prior to the start City sculler Steven Sullivan was the favourite to take the overall handicap having won the previous four events. Of the female crews the City’s Quad was likely to clock both the fastest time and take the headship on handicap as the returning University women’s squad was weakened as a number of their better athletes have now graduated.

The City’s women stormed off the start maintaining a nippy tempo all the way to the half way point. On the return leg they lost their tempo as the pace started to become sluggish. At the end of the race they took up the rating to record a time of 17’30” (19’56”) - the fastest time ever recorded by a women’s crew boat from the City. This was a particularly good performance as their time was only seven seconds slower than the fastest time that a Women’s Eight (Lancaster University in April 2009) has covered the course. With a handicap time under 20 minutes the women can look forward to many victories at open events.

On the first leg Steven Sullivan set a strong rhythm with enough left in the tank to lengthen out on the return leg. Coming through the arches he upped his rate of striking to clock a time of 16’18” (18’17” on handicap - this is the second fastest handicap ever recorded on the course).

Lancaster University fielded two Men’s Eights and a Women’s Four. All the crews set markers for the season but will no doubt be disappointed with their performances. The Four finished in third place in a handicap time that placed them one minute and thirty two seconds slower than their opposition from the City. The First Men’s Eight clocked a poor time that was only one second faster than the Club’s sculler - all the University crews looked neat but lacked any race pace. The University’s Head Coach will have to go back to the drawing board if he is to qualify a crew for Henley Royal Regatta in July 2010.

Representing the City for the first time was the Double of Amy Nicholls (Ripley) and Laura Parkinson (LGGS). Both put in a good effort to place sixth in a time of 20’54” (22’21”), five seconds ahead of the University Men’s Second Eight. Also competing were Phil Payne and Phil Bell (4th) and Dan Reeve (8th).

Community Fund for Lancaster - October 2009

Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club had recently purchased five indoor rowing machines in support of junior rowing through the local School Sport Partnership. This would not have been possible without the financial support of the Community Fund for Lancaster which donated £3,232.00 towards this project.

The five indoor rowing machines will now be placed in local schools to encourage juniors to sample the sport through “dry taster” sessions. One machine has already been placed in Lancaster and Morecambe College’s Performance Analysis Suit as part of the Club’s growing partnership with the College - the College’s rowing coach (Steven Sullivan) assists the Club’s professional coach (Amy Ward) in recruiting and coaching children through the local School Sport Partnership.

Already junior rowing in the Lancaster area has increased as junior membership of the community rowing club has trebled to 30 in the last 12 months. Of particular success has been the links with Ripley St. Thomas High School (11 have joined), Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School (4) and Lancaster Royal Grammar School (4). The Club is currently investigating a link with Central High School and continues to work with Skerton High School.

Runcorn Head - October 2009

Steven Sullivan travelled to Runcorn on Saturday to compete over the long course time trial course. Having no direct opposition in the Elite category he was intent on covering the course in a time that would take Sculling Headship. Off the start he rapidly moved away from the pursuing lower category scullers to then move rapidly on the double scullers that lead off. Following a sequence of close overtaking manoeuvres through some tricky bends, Sullivan pushed further ahead of the trailing scullers. At the end of the race Sullivan posted a time which was 20 seconds faster than the second placed sculler to take the Headship.

British Bouldering Team Trials - September 2009

Article copied from BMC website

The British Bouldering Team had their second Team training session at the Climbing Works in Sheffield last weekend.

Saturday involved members of the Team and Squad completing a variety of power, strength and power endurance based fitness tests. The tests involved the use of campus boards, finger boards, system board, pull up bars, rowing machines and a standing jump test.

The results of the testing will be used to identify individual strengths and weaknesses in order to set training goals. The team will be retested in February in order to assess improvements gained from their pre-season training.

Sunday involved the Team and Squad climbing six boulder problems that were set to a World Cup Semi-Final standard. Gaz Parry (men’s coach) and Domonic White MSc (Sports Scientist) also gave an overview of the September and October phase of the Teams/Squads periodised training plan.

The Team and Squad would like to thank all of the management and staff of the Climbing Works for their continued support. They would also like to say a special thank you to Percy Bishton for setting excellent problems. Finally they would also like to thank Steve Sullivan of Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club for allowing the team to use their rowing machines.

Chester Long Distance Sculls - September 2009

Steven Sullivan raced at Chester Long Distance in his first Elite long distance race. He set off directly behind Morgan of Agecroft (last year's winner) and ahead of Coleman of Notts and Union he new that he would have his work cut out for him to challenge for the Elite success.

Off the start Coleman rapidly closed on Sullivan through the narrows before drawing level through the central strait; Sullivan Burried himself by staying alongside Coleman which backfired in the latter section when he started to backpeddle! Sullivan's finish position was 5th overall - you live and learn!

European University Championships - September 2009

From Mason Durant

The European University Championships were held in Krusicwa in Poland, with the course being part of a series of very large lakes that streched throughout a national park.

I raced in the coxless four, with heats starting on the Wednesday with a very strong tailwind. We finished 4th in our heat in a time of 6:20 with a dissapointing row, good enough to get us into the repechage but not straight to the final. The repechage was held the next day in much calmer conditions. We finished 2nd, clocking a similar time and were much happier with the way we rowed.

The final saw a strong crosswind that separated the race into effectively two races, one for the top 3 places and the rest fighting out for 4th, 5th and 6th. Unfortunately we found ourselves racing for the gentlemens positions towards the back of the pack, rating 39 for the first half of the race as our strokeman misread the markers and called our halfway push 500m in. We then pushed again at halfway, vying with the other three crews in a tough battle for fourth. Despite this, we had a good rythm that lead us into the final 500m overlapping with the other two crews on the otherside of the course. In the burst for the line, we were edged out by the crews from Poland and Holland, with two Polish crews and a German crew getting the medal slots. On the whole, we were pleased with our race and felt better that we had defeated the Bristol University crew that had narrowly pipped us on the line at the BUCS event in May. It wasn't long before most people were celebrating and with a cocktail of free beer and a marquee, it is unlikely that Poland will ever want to hold the European Rowing Championships ever again.

Red Rose Head - September 2009

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club hosted the first of the winter season’s Red Rose Handicap Time Trials on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back. The record handicap time for the Red Rose is currently held by Steven Sullivan (18’07”); previous record holders include Richard Shirley who won a Silver Medal at the National Championships in 2002.

Conditions on Saturday were favourable for quick times as there had been little rain and there was very little wind. Prior to the start Steven Sullivan stood out as the likely winner - Under 23 representatives Mason and Scott Durant were away on training camps with their respective university squads.

Steven Sullivan set off first to settle into a lively pace, this proved a little unwise as his return speed suffered as fatigue set in. Approaching the finish Sullivan increased the stroke rate to clock a very respectable time of 16’28” - the fourth fastest handicap time in the ten year history of the event. Despite this Sullivan was slightly disappointed as his mid-week training indicated the possibility of challenging for the fastest handicap. A second outing later in the morning saw Sullivan clock the ninth fastest handicap.

Also competing was Lorna Sullivan who was hoping to break her personal best time of 20’36” which was set in March 2004. Settling into a solid rhythm she soon passed a junior 14 quad to then use them as a moving target for the remainder of the race. Approaching the finish she started to tire but held a solid pace to clock a personal best time of 20’25” and take the title as best women’s crew.

Juniors from the Club’s partnership with Ripley St. Thomas High School and Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School combined to race a junior 14 quad and a junior 15 quad – much valued race experience was gained as both crews recorded times that they will look to improve on in future months. Also competing was a veteran double of Phil Payne and Glenn Stevens posting a time of 18’29”.

North of England Sprint Championships - September 2009

On Saturday Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale to compete in the North of England Sprint Championships.

At last year’s event Steven Sullivan beat the athlete that went on take the title of the North of England Sprint Champion; however, this was in a lesser category event. This year Sullivan lined up alongside last year’s Champion (Clark of Tees) and Brown of Bradford in the Elite Championship event. Conditions were ideal for Sullivan as there was a brisk tail wind which suited his high rating style. Off the start Sullivan eked out a minor lead prior to settling into a high tempo mid pace. Approaching the finish Clark started to inch back initiating a rating increase from Sullivan that saw him cross the finish line first, taking the title of the North of England Single Sculls Sprint Champion.

Sweep oarsmen Tom Southworth, Chris Booth, Tom Bibby, Dan Reeve and Joelle Hartley (cox) had the Club’s title as Fours Champions to defend. In the Intermediate 2 Fours event they easily dispatched Liverpool Victoria in the first round prior to lining up alongside Salford University in the final. In a moment of confusion the Lancaster crew was lining up the boat as the umpire called the crews to race. Bibby missed the first stroke which had Lancaster trailing to a slower moving Salford. Approaching the finish Lancaster pulled through to cross the line first. In the premier Fours event Lancaster lined up alongside Sheffield; off the start their opponents fell behind allowing Lancaster to coast to victory, retaining their Sprint Championship status.

Lorna Sullivan, Joelle Hartley, Angela Park and Rachel Crawford were a crew that was late in formation; they were bidding to take the Championship title in the premier Quads event. Sprinting off the start Lancaster easily moved ahead of their Tees opponents prior to settling down and enjoying the remainder of the race as they went on to take the Sprint title.

The Club’s partnership with Ripley St. Thomas High School and Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School meant that newly recruited juniors Amy Nicholls, Laura Parkinson, Jess Pearson, Chloe Watson, Shona Barnish and Beth Hay competed for their first time at the Championships. Racing across a number of junior and senior events the girls gave a good account of themselves as they were beaten by more established crews. Other Lancaster scullers that were defeated in their events included Kieran Bell, Phil Bell, Glenn Stevens and Dave Dunk.

A famous victory for John O’ Gaunt Veterans - August 2009

By Colin McDermid

On August 10th 2009 a veteran crew from JOG competed for and carried away the much coveted and highly prestigious Best Dressed Crew award at the annual Windermere Steam Launch Festival. The crew comprised of Messers Heise, Pugh and McDermid accompanied by their lady wives, dressed in the style of “Edwardian Boating” aboard the steam launch “Vesuvius”. The gentlemen had a particular advantage in that owing to their advancing years and a disposition to dress in the fashion that was a la mode at the time of their youth wardrobes held garments that were not too far distant from the period required. The ladies of the party also held a particular advantage having a preternatural propensity to elegance, attired themselves in a manner befitting the most fashionable assembly. Thus prepared the crew set out with eyes fixed firmly on the glittering prize.

The first leg of the voyage began when Mr Heise, proprietor Captain and convivial host of “Vesuvius” declared that a head of steam was up and that it was time to take to the lake. It was not only the crew that was the epitome of sartorial elegance but “Vesuvius” shone like a beacon, brass, copper and teak aglow having been polished personally by the proud proprietor and adorned on the stern with a charming arrangement of flowers and her “red duster” flying bravely in the wind.

As “Vesuvius” proceeded southwards with Mr Heise attending to the machinery and Mr McDermid at the helm, Mr Pugh carefully attended the ladies in the after salon reassuring the more timid members of the party, if any there were, that they were in no peril whatsoever as they steamed in a very workman like manner into a rather squally headwind. For the benefit of those readers with an interest in the machinery of the craft, “Vesuvius” is furnished with a vertical, coal fired fire tube boiler driving a Stuart Turner compound engine recently fitted with a sort of thermal tea cosy around the cylinders which Mr Heise assures the writer has had a very advantageous effect on the performance of the equipage. As the voyage continued another piece of steam powered apparatus was deployed, namely a species of integrated kettle, from which was dispensed a fine pot of Earl Grey to fortify the jovial party on their way.

In due course and with a distinct improvement in the weather the first port of call was made at the Swan Hotel. Outer clothing was doffed and the crew emerged butterfly like as if from a chrysalis and stood resplendent for photographic likenesses to be taken and if any judges were present for their critical inspection. Further refreshment was taken in the Swan where the opposition was discretely but thoroughly appraised. Victory was almost assured. The crew, in time, returned to their mooring to find, alas, “Vesuvius’” fire was at a critically low level! Was this due to a contrary wind? The shallowness of the water? Too much time spent in the hostelry? Who can tell? Captain Heise set to heroically breathing life, dragon like, into very furnace. Soon steam was raised but where was the crew? Ladies ready to go but the gentlemen were in the gentlemen’s, hurry hurry, all aboard and away we go. Next stop Fell Foot to inspect the other craft, their crews and their attire and for them to inspect “Vesuvius’” and her crew.

The fire now at it’s height the safety valve blowing, Captain Heise declared “We must either steam away or make more tea!” The former course of action was decided upon as this was the final leg, there was wine yet to be taken cakes to be consumed and no stopping places! Onward they steamed, victory in their grasp, but what was this, a craft bearing down on them carrying a personage clad as the Statue of Liberty? She had been seen at the Swan clad as Uncle Sam! Was this contrary to the rules? Were there any rules? Can one change costume in mid stream? Onward the usurper sailed exceeding our heroes velocity giving them a nasty wash. Undaunted in the face of this effrontery the Lancaster crew posed for all they were worth, this was, after all, a contest of the best dressed not a sordid speed trial. Composure was retained, beauty and elegance exuded at a prodigious rate, the Lancaster crew prevailed! Once again the cry was “Gaunt to the fore”

Lottery funding supports sport for local teenagers - August 2009

By Dan Reeve

Lancaster John O' Gaunt Rowing Club had recently purchased a new quadruple sculling boat for use by its growing junior squad. The purchase of this much needed boat would not have been possible without the help of the National Lottery Fund’s Awards for All scheme, which provided £8000 towards the purchase of the boat.

The new boat was much needed to accommodate the growing junior squad’s needs. Racing boats are very expensive investments that can cost over £20,000 for an eight seated boat. Without the generous help of the Lottery Fund and the hard work of the clubs committee members who secured the funding the new boat could not have been afforded so quickly.

Rowing has enjoyed growing publicity in recent years and has become one of Britain’s most successful sports, as shown by the results of the 2008 Olympic Games where Great Britain topped the medal table in the sport. Continued increase in success will, in the future stem from growing participation in the sport at a junior level.

Participation in the sport not only greatly improves fitness and wellbeing but also promotes teamwork and enhances mental strength. The sport requires a different approach to the likes of football or cricket and some children who are not so successful at ball sports find rowing a sport at which they can succeed.

At John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club a greater emphasis is being placed on developing an interest in the Sport within the teenage population of Lancaster. The Club has had a relationship with its neighbouring school, Skerton Community High School, over the last 3 years and has housed a fleet of boats belonging to Lancaster Royal Grammar School since 1985. Over the last year the club has begun to rapidly expand reaching out to Ripley St. Thomas Church of England High School and Lancaster Girls' Grammar School offering unrivalled coaching and facilities to local teenagers. This achievement is thanks to the hard work of a small group of the Club’s senior members who give up their time every week to coach. A special mention must go to Amy Ward whose position is funded through the Henley Stewards’ aiming to increase participation in the sport. Her time has been used to visit schools and actively raise awareness of the sport in the local area before working hard to coach the interested children.

Ex junior members of the club have gone on to represent Great Britain at international events as part of the GB U23 squad. Perhaps some of the clubs current junior contingent will achieve at this level. But one thing is certain, no matter how far they go in the sport they will enjoy the route they take, as the sport is immensely rewarding to be involved in.

The clubs new investment is to be put to good use over the next few weeks as the junior squad prepare to take part in for many of them their first race at the Hollingworth Lake Sprint Regatta near Rochdale on the 5th September.

The club had won in senior events at every race it has attended over the summer period and hopes this success will continue and soon be matched by the promising junior squad who currently train on a Sunday morning at 10am and a Monday afternoon at 3.30pm. Interested local teenagers aged 13 or above are always welcome to join the club.

Peterborough Regatta - August 2009

Over the weekend Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Peterborough to compete in two days of racing at the end of season “party regatta”. The race course is a 1000m artificial lake that sits next to the river Nene.

After disappointment at the World Under-23 Championships Mason Durant (narrowly missed out on a space in the final squad) and Scott Durant (finished a disappointing 11th in the GB Coxless Four - a loaded event) were hunting for domestic victories in the Elite Coxless Pairs and Intermediate 1 Coxless Quads.

The Durant duo hadn’t raced together in a Pair since their successes at Junior 18 level in 2006. Both were confident of their chances over the 500m short course despite having to borrow an unfamiliar boat from Peterborough City Rowing Club. In the first round a rapid Thames Tradesmen Pair pressed them all the way to the finish with Rob Roy falling away towards the finish. Prior to the next round they made a few changes to the boat to give a smoother transaction from the sprint start to the middle phase. In the final all four crews went off rapidly but Lancaster managed to maintain their opening sprint for longer to gain a commanding position to hold off Thames Trademsmen’s final sprint.

Looking to gain an easy victory in a sculling event the Durants joined Danny Bellion and Steven Sullivan to contest the Intermediate 1 Coxless Quads over the 1000m long course. The day before the race the Lancaster crew caught wind of a loaded composite crew which contained a couple of pedigree scullers - Lancaster decided to go for a quick outing on the narrow and very winding river Nene to ensure that any deficiencies in the start sequence were smoothed out. In the race Lancaster stormed off the start to rapidly gain a length lead over the composite crew with a leading overlap over Norwich. Through the center of the race Lancaster consolidated on their lead prior to the chasing crews moving closer towards the finish - a controlled finish held off these late challenges.

Sullivan, smarting after a poor performance at National Championships, lined up in the first round of the short course Elite Single Sculls. During the umpires call to start the stake boat boy switched off and moved Sullivan’s scull off line meaning that his start sequence was disrupted as Sullivan’s blades smacked a few buoys. Settling into a snappy middle sequence brought him alongside the leading Peterborough Sculler prior to pulling through to win in the last few strokes. In the final a rapid starting burst had Lancaster leading by half a length over the same Peterborough sculler; the other two scullers trailed further behind. Approaching the finish a late surge from Peterborough was too little too late as Sullivan recorded his second Elite victory of the season, this promoted him to Elite status.

Also competing over the weekend were Chris Booth, Tom Southworth, Tom Bibby, Dan Reeve and Joelle Hartley (cox) in the premier Coxed Fours event. A second place in the first round progressed them to the final where they finished a creditable second behind a much more established crew from 1st and 3rd Trinity, Cambridge. Danny Bellion competed in the Intermediate 2 Single Sculls where he finished second in the first round to progress to the semi-final; in the semi a late surge from a sculler in an outside lane lost Bellion a slot in the final. Lorna Sullivan gained a place in the semi-final on Saturday by beating Selby of Newark in the first round; a rapid semi-final meant that Sullivan was off the pace. On Sunday she was unable to make it past the first round. Joelle Hartley raced in her first sculling race making it into the semi-final where she narrowly missed out on a place in the final.

Under 23 World Championships - July 2009

From Scott Durant

I was selected in the coxless 4 for the U23 World Championships with the same line up that came second at Essen regatta. We had high hopes for the championships following Essen regatta. The Dutch crew that beat us by a fraction of a second at Essen performed well at one of the world cups and we had produced some good times in training.

However, we did not have a good start to the regatta. In the heat we faced Canada, USA, Russia and Bulgaria. We had a decent start but our rate of striking was a couple of pips too low and as a result we came third behind Canada and USA, meaning we would have to race in the repechage the following day. We needed to come in the top 3 to qualify for the A/B semifinals. We won the race fairly comfortably in quick conditions beating the French putting us back on track with other leading crews in the competition. The next day we lined up against Canada, Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania. We knew the race was going to be close and with the top three going through we would have to produce our best performance. However, as we went under starters orders, the bows of our boat were caught by a gust of wind and we did not start staight. This cost us half a length in the first few strokes and we had to work hard to stay in contention with the field. We finished fourth in what we had predicted to be a close race finishing half a second behind the Slovenians. The next day we raced in the B-final and knew that we had the capability of winning the race having already beaten all of the other crews during the course of the regatta. However, having raced everyday, fatigue was starting to show and we did not have the power to match the rate and ended up finishing fifth.

Despite the bitterly disappointing overall result of 11th, we felt that we had raced to our maximum potential in the semifinal in an extremely strong field.

A Good Year to be a Red Rose - July 2009

Article copied from The ARA website about Lancaster University BC.

Change is always a hard thing to overcome; it is an especially common obstacle in university rowing; experienced members graduating, new people to teach every year and constant changes in coaching staff. Lancaster University is one of those clubs, constantly an underdog at most competitions as a result. This year has set the mark for progress away from that stereotype.

The club has had its fair share of change in the past year but has come out of it stronger than ever. Starting the year saw a small return to the club in the form of 7 guys, 6 girls and 3 coxes, hardly the composition for a winning club. A new coach was also arranged with the departure of the previous who has since moved onto bigger and better things. This then fell apart with clashes in timing and LUBC were left hanging by a thread.

One desperate phone call changed everything with the club captain contacting a former blade convincing her to coach. This good fortune was accompanied by the hard work of the novice captain, the executive committee and the rest of the senior squad in the recruitment drive during fresher's week which brought over 100 new novices to the club as well as a few experienced rowers.

Bad weather and consequently cancelled water outings didn't prevent the club doing well with the men's squad returning a win at York small boats and a gold medal in a team event as well as a silver and bronze at English Indoors and a 9th place at British indoors in the men's student category.

Second term once again tested the clubs commitment with the cancellation of BUCS regatta; this would have been the novice's first race and a test for how the winter training had prepared the club. It was then decided to hold a fun regatta dubbed ‘Head of the Lune' where the crews could test their strength and skill against each other, an event that is going to be kept on for the foreseeable future as a way to take some of the pressure out of the first race.

The flagship of the club and the main source of its success have been, without doubt, the women's senior IV which composes of the stern 4 of the also successful women's VIII. The girls have had quite a year with the VIII taking gold in the IM3 VIII's at the north of England head in Chester, coming 5th in IM VIII's at BUCS regatta and earning a top 200 place at WeHorr, not bad seeing as it was the first year of rowing for 5 girls in the crew and the first ever race for 6 of them. At the end of the year, the 9 girls were awarded with one of the highest sporting accolades in the university by being given full colours and being named Lancaster University's ‘Team of the Year'.

The IV went on to take the club's first BUC's medal with silver in the IM IV's, they also went on to win IM3 IV's on the Sunday at Durham regatta with the 2nd IV making the semi final and the final the day before. To round off the year, the IV went on to make the quarterfinals at Henley Women's Regatta, matching the clubs best ever Women's Henley Regatta result.

After a few hardships and setbacks in the summer term, the men's squad were able to hold their heads high walking out of the season having made a final and multiple semi-finals at Marlow regatta thus keeping them optimistic for next year.

LUBC are looking to continue their success into next year's season. This is looking likely with 2 new boats on the racks, a larger returning senior squad, continued support from their sponsor Cityblock, a new head coach and an introduction of a second novice captain to accommodate the predicted fresher intake.

With plans to enter IV's head and even start up a lightweight squad, the club is developing rapidly and with the increased experience in the club, the Henley qualification dream has potential to be fulfilled soon.

National Championships - July 2009

On Saturday Steven Sullivan competed in the lightweight single sculls at the National Championships, Nottingham.

He hoped to follow on the form that saw him through qualifying at Henley when competing against 27 other scullers in the first round time trials on Saturday morning. Opting to scull a steady race against the solid head wind he unfortunately only clocked a time that placed him 14th; two away from qualification.

Perhaps a more aggressive style would have seen him progress further; the forthcoming winter training will see him hit the weights and practice in head wind conditions!

Talkin Tarn Regatta - July 2009

On Saturday Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club competed at Talkin Tarn Regatta, near Carlisle.

Lorna Sullivan faced a field of four in the intermediate 3 women’s single sculls. In the first round against Cambois Rowing Club, Lorna started strongly putting three boat lengths between herself and her opponent. A superior racing line saw Lorna through to the final. The second finalist, from Nithsdale in Scotland, had gained a comfortable victory over Doney from Chester-le-Street in the semi-final. Both finalists started strongly, however, the Scottish sculler’s lack of experience became apparent as she struggled to overcome the choppy conditions. Lorna powered through the waves to win by a considerable distance. This is Lorna’s second victory of the season.

Competing for the first time were Chloe and Shona from Ripley St.Thomas High School in the under 14 double sculls. The girls have only been rowing for a couple of months as part of the partnership between the school and club. This first race had promising start, with the Lancaster double taking an early lead of two lengths. However, lack of experience meant that their opponents rowed through to victory. Keiran Bell competed in his second race, although this was his first attempt to race in a single scull. Unfortunately, he was not successful in the junior 14 event.

Tom Bibby and Adam Gilbert hoped to continue their winning streak at intermediate level. Tom made his premier appearance in the single scull. However, the field proved too strong. In the doubles event, Adam and Tom came against a well known double from Nithsdale, Dumfries. The more established Scottish crew flew off the start, leaving the Lancaster double in their wake. Also competing at intermediate level was Phil Bell, who was also defeated in the single scull.

Racing at Veteran level were Sue Palmer and Phil Bell. Palmer came up against a sculler at least 10 years her senior. This age difference is reflected in a handicap of 11 seconds towards the older competitor. Palmer approaching the finish clawed back the lead; however, a detour round the edge of the tarn negated this lead to allow Tees the victory. Bell completed in the Veteran D single sculls, but was unsuccessful.

Steven Sullivan appeared fresh from his exploits at Henley Royal Regatta. Unfortunately, he came up against Thompson of Chester-le-Street, a long-time adversary of Sullivan’s who has proved the better over short distances in recent years. The 750 metre course of Talkin Tarn proved no different!

Henley Royal Regatta - June 2009

Between Wednesday and Sunday five members of Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club competed at Henley Royal Regatta across five of the 19 different events.

For the second year running the name Durant appears in the annals of Henley history; but this year Scott, rather than Mason, has his name etched on the plinth of the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for Student Coxed Fours. Earlier in the season Scott’s Oxford Brookes’ Crew was destined to enter the Temple Challenge Cup for Student Eights after placing 6th (fastest student crew) at the Head of the River Race, River Thames. A number of weak results in the approach to Henley meant that the crew was disbanded and a Coxed Four was formed with British Under-23 representatives. This tactic proved a success: they easily dispatched East Anglia in the first round, posted a two and a half length win in the quarter-final over Newcastle, four and three quarters over London in the semi-final, and finally they tore away from Yale University, USA in the final for an easily verdict. Scott and his crew mates will hopefully look forward to even more success later in the season at the Under-23 World Championships.

Steven Sullivan represented Lancaster as one of only sixteen oarsmen competing in the Diamond Sculls. This year’s entry was one of the strongest in the event’s history; four of the 2008 Olympic finalists, including the Olympic champion, were seeded to avoid each other until the semi-final. In the first round Sullivan drew Sivigny of the USA; a sculler that had beaten the World Champion earlier in the season. Off the start Sullivan rapidly pulled away to a minor lead for Sivigny to pull through and consolidate past Temple Island. Down the course Sivigny’s lead varied from three-quarters to a length and a half as Sullivan out rated the American. Approaching the finish Sullivan increased his rating to post the closest result of the event as he lost by only one length. At the end of the first day’s racing only one Brit (Alan Campbell - beaten finalist) made it through to the quarter-final stage of the event - even Lawson (last year’s Diamond Sculls winner and National Champion) was knocked out in the first round by a New-Zealander. Sullivan will now concentrate on the National Championships later this month.

Chloe Peach’s semi-final-making Women’s Henley crew combined with Tethys to race as a composite in the Remenham Challenge Cup for Open Women’s Eights - this is an event that attracts international entrants. In the first round Peach’s composite crew lined up alongside a combined Leander and Molesey crew - this was predominantly a lightweight crew including GB athletes. After a gutsy performance the GB crew proved the stronger by five lengths. After winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for Student Fours in 2008 Mason Durant entered the Visitors’ Challenge Cup for Intermediate Coxless Fours; to bolster the crew two members of Dukla Praha were drafted into the crew. In the first round they beat a crew from Oxford Brookes by two lengths; however, in the next round they came up against a tight crew from Molesey Rowing Club who beat them by two and a half lengths. Finally, Daniel Bellion’s Imperial College raced in the Temple Cup for Student Eights. Earlier in the season Imperial College finished 12th (2nd University) at the Head of the River Race; this unit was broken up as crew members either had international representative commitments or had won at entry level in previous years. With a weakened unit Imperial College eased past the first round by defeating Exeter University. Unfortunately, the next opponents were Melbourne University, Australia; fighting to the finish Bellion’s crew recorded a loss of one length.

Henley Royal Regatta Qualifiers - May 2009

For the first time since 2004 “Gaunt to the Fore“ was heard along the Henley Royal Regatta course as Steven Sullivan of Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club took part in the qualifying races to progress into the Diamond Sculls - the premier sculling race in the country. 23 scullers entered to vie for the 16 available spaces; this is one of the strongest fields in the event’s history including 2008 Olympic Finalists: Olaf Tufte - Norway (Gold), Dreisdale - New Zealand (Bronze), Mensch - Belgium (fourth), and Campbell - Great Britain (fifth). All four have been allocated the seeded places; thus, avoiding each other until the semi-final stage. On Friday Sullivan, along with eight other athletes that had not pre-qualified, had to time-trial over the Henley course to claim one of the four remaining slots. It was fair to say that Sullivan was ruing rowing up the bank two weeks previous whilst leading the qualifying event at Durham.

Sullivan was third last to set off in the processional time-trial which meant that he could only measure his progress against the two athletes that followed directly behind. After passing Temple Island Sullivan noted the rapidly closing Takahashi (Mitsubishi Boat Club, Japan) and Taylor (Bedford) but did not change his rhythm as he opted to race his own race rather than a reactive one. This approach paid dividends during the central portion of the race as he maintained a solid pace when the two trailing scullers started to flag. Approaching the finish Sullivan closed rapidly on the faltering Loeffler (Georgia, USA) to give him one of the qualifying places. In the first round he will face Sivigny of GMS Rowing Center, USA; a sculler who was knocked out in the first round of the 2008 event by the beaten finalist. Should Sullivan make it beyond the first round his next likely opponent will be the three times Single Sculls World Champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand!

In recent years Lancaster has produced a strong group of young rowers; four other members of the Club will also be competing for their respective universities at Henley Royal Regatta.

The previous weekend Chloe Peach’s crew reached the semi-final of the University Intermediate Fours at Women’s Henley Regatta. Following this success Chloe’s crew joined forces with Tethys Boat Club to enter a composite crew in the Remenham Challenge Cup for Women’s Eights - a premier women’s event with international entrants. Due to the late formation of this crew they had to race the qualifying races in which they had to clock a time that was faster than eight other crews. Fortunately the late formation of this crew did not detract from their potential boat speed as they managed to take one of the three available slots. They now have a tough first round race as their opponents are a composite crew of Leander and Molesey - two of the premier clubs in the country, and likely to be the GB Eight.

Following Newcastle University’s success in winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for Student Fours in 2008 Mason Durant’s coach drafted in two Europeans to bolster his premier crew’s chances in the Intermediate Visitors’ Challenge Cup for Coxless Fours. Opting to avoid the tough course at the pre-qualifying Durham Regatta Mason’s crew went for an all or nothing approach as they managed to pre-qualify with a good performance at Marlow Regatta. In the first round they have been drawn against a crew from Oxford Brookes.

A quick email from Mason:

"We got into our four about 3 weeks ago with Murray Wilkojc, my pairs partner from this year and the 2 man from the four last year along with Jakub Zof from Dukla Praha in the Czech Republic and Filippo Cozzi whos in the Italian Police team. Both have rowed internationally at Senior World Championships with Jakub winning the U23 World Championships and European Championships.

We raced at Marlow and came 5th after a visit to the repechage and some dodgy steering in the heat. We have changed the crew order since then and hopefully it is running smoother and quicker. It remains to be seen if we can catch up the 8 seconds that Isis beat us by at Marlow. We are now staying in Henley at a house with a swimming pool and almost every other unnecessary but warmly recieved luxury you could think of."

Scott Durant will compete alongside other GB Under-23 Oxford Brookes teammates in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for Students; he will hope to match his brother’s performance of 2008. Scott’s crew has a stronger unit than the Brookes’ crew of 2008 standing them as one of the favorites in 2009. Finally, Danny Bellion’s Imperial College Eight time-trialed over the course on Friday despite having performed well at Marlow the week before. As expected Danny’s crew successfully qualified, going on to draw Exeter University in the first round. Danny’s crew has a good chance of progressing through several rounds due to a reduced entry from the States.

Durham Regatta - June 2009

At the weekend Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club competed at Durham Regatta. Known as the Henley of the North; this is the main focus for many clubs in the North East of England, with many of the top crews racing Elite Championship events - the 1800m long course events are pre-qualify for Henley Royal Regatta in early July. The Durham long course is one of the more challenging on the northern circuit due to the infamous Elvet Bridge half way down the course; crews have to race through a narrow arch at the apex of a near ninety degree bend!

Steven Sullivan was hoping to pre-qualify for the Diamond Challenge Sculls (Henley Single Sculls event) by winning the Championship Elite Sculls. In the semi-final Sullivan lined up alongside Kessell of Yarm School; they traded stroke for stroke down the opening 800m with honors even as they approached the bridge; reducing pressure Sullivan found himself four lengths down as both scullers exited the sharp bend. On the next strait Sullivan took up the rating to haul Kessell back in and then lead by a length coming out of the final bend; on the final strait Sullivan came a cropper as he drifted into the bank allowing Kessell to go on and win the event. Sullivan will now have to try and qualify for Henley via the qualifiers in a week’s time.

On Saturday Sullivan competed in the Open Elite Singles; he knocked out a Durham University sculler in the semi-final prior to racing Kessell in the final. In the final Sullivan was half a length down going into the final sprint, but again was undone as he drifted too close to the banking where returning crews had parked up; calls of “ahead sculler” aided in Sullivan avoiding a full collision but his rhythm was gone as he clashed blades preventing him from truly contesting the sprint finish.

On Sunday Sullivan made amends as he cruised through the semi-final of the short course Elite Lightweight Singles. In the final he came up against a nippy senior sculler from Durham School Boat Club. Blitzing the start sequence Sullivan soon found himself a length and a half up; Kirkwood’s final burst brought him back to a length down but this was too little too late as Sullivan went on to win. This is the Club’s first Elite victory since Richard Shirley, national silver medalist, won the Elite Singles at Tees Regatta in 2004.

Also competing for Lancaster was the student crew of Dan Reeve, Tom Bibby, Karl Mulcahy, David Abel and cox: Joelle Hartley - they were competing against 9 other crews in the Intermediate 3 coxed fours. Smarting after their grudge match defeat by Lancaster University’s first crew, the weekend before, the crew put in the extra miles to improve their technique under the expert guidance of club coach Andy Peach. At Durham they were on a mission; they nailed all their starts and managed to maintain boat speed through the centre of their races - an area of weakness in the previous week. In the second round they defeated Collingwood College, Durham; in the third round they finished off Hild/Bede College, Durham; prior to dispatching St. Aidans College, Durham, in the final. This is the crew’s second successive victory at open events.

The surprise package for the weekend was the Novice single sculls victory by Adam Gilbert; after only one month in a single he lined up in the final alongside a sculler from Durham Amateur Rowing Club. Apparently undaunted by the crowd of near 8,000 people Adam hammered off the start at a rating that many elite scullers would be proud of; leaving his opponent for dead Gilbert steered a near perfect course as he went on to easily win the event.

Also competing were Lorna Sullivan, Anna Southall and Becca Doney in the Women’s Intermediate 3 single sculls. Both Sullivan and Southall were defeated by the eventual winner of the event with Southall pushing her to a length and a half in the final. In the Intermediate 2 double sculls Sullivan and Southall easily defeated their semi-final opponents from Leeds University prior to lining up alongside Northumbria University in the final. Off the start Lancaster pushed to a solid lead; however, a poor course and failure to respond to a mid-race push by Northumbria meant that they recorded a loss of two lengths.

Red Rose Sprint - June 2009

On Saturday Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club reinstated the Lune based Red Rose Sprint; this is raced over a course of 800m from the Acqueduct to the Club, at Skerton. Attendance from the Club was strong with the male students forming a coxed four, the women put together a late quad and the remainder of the club jumped into singles and doubles. Lancaster University entered an eight with all other crews out through injury, illness and exams. Lancaster Grammar School was unable to participate.

In the first division Lancaster University lined up alongside the Club four and the top Club sculler. Off the start Steven Sullivan got the jump on the two crew boats but couldn’t maintain his lead as the two larger boats started to stride out. The eight predictably proved the stronger as it continued to pull ahead of the trailing four and single. Approaching the finish Sullivan pushed back on the four but was unable to pull through.

In the second division the women’s quad lined up alongside the veteran double of Phil Payne and Phil Bell. The more established pairing proved the stronger as they pulled ahead off the start and maintained their lead to the finish. In the third division Richie Smith found himself alongside a very novice junior double who were entered from the Club’s new partnership with Ripley St. Thomas High School. Rather than stomp all over them Richie sportingly sat in front of the girls and coached them away from the bank!

It is usual for crews to be promoted and demoted for a second and third round of racing; however, the University eight had to pull out due to a bent rudder, the Club four pulled out due an injury and other crews withdrew due to deteriorating weather conditions. Hard core racers Sullivan and the two Phils found themselves at the start with no other competition so they agreed to race each other twice more with a handicap to the double. On both occasions Sullivan rowed the double down after the halfway mark - the double later questioned his ability to self-time a handicap!

On Sunday Lancaster University’s rowing students recovered from Saturday’s ailments as a flotilla of boats plowed up and down the river prior to their disembarkation to join the Club in support of their respective first men’s fours in the annual match between the two clubs. Distant sprays of white water indicated the start of the race with both crews pulling wide around the long sweeping bend. Into the strait it looked like the University had a lead with the Club pushing back; the final verdict went to the University by two feet.

Essen International Regatta - May 2009

An update from Scott following the first GB Under-23 representation of 2009 (Pic - Mason 2nd on the left):


I was in a four on the Saturday and we came second by 0.26 seconds to the Dutch. We were fairly comparable in speed off the start but then they pulled away to about a length lead until 250 metres to go. We put in a strong finish but they just beat us by about a foot. We were disappointed about losing, but we were over 4 seconds ahead of the crew that came 4th and our time was comparable to the top senior German fours. Mason won in the eight on Saturday beating the Polish eight by just over half a second and coming in 3 seconds behind the Polish senior eight.

On the Sunday, the four that I was in moved into the eight, it was a straight final as there were only 7 boats. We got out of the start fast and were leading, however, we were unable to get a good rhythm going through the middle of the race and we ended up coming 4th behind the Germans, Dutch and Poles.


Article including Danny Bellion copied from Imperial College Website.

Essen International Regatta 2009: Gold for ICBC cox Henry Fieldman for the U23 GB 8+ eased the pain of IC’s Danny Bellion, Henry Goodier, Josh Yerrell and Leo Carrington, who were defeated last weekend at the elite Essen International Regatta in Germany. The four have become the pride of Trapmore’s heart and have been elevated into celebrity status around the club. The crew were not expected to medal at the regatta but were instead sent to gain experience against top senior crews. They faced elite national squads and raced well offering promising hopes for the future. Trapmore (with no son’s to his name) has in recent weeks spent hours tweaking the crew in private outings with a view to getting the four onto the U23 GB squad next year. This would be a great test of their character and speed as the current U23 GB 4- was competing in the same race. But Bellion became suddenly and dramatically ill on the flight meaning Trapmore had to substitute for the race.

On Saturday morning there was no change to Bellion’s condition and Trapmore excitedly borrowed the afflicted rower’s lycra for his first 2 km race in five years. Due to the average age of the crew dramatically rising with the new crew member, they were only eligible to enter a senior category (SM 4- A). Seat two Leo Carrington was making the calls and could tell by 500 metres that Trapmore had blown. “1500 metres with dead weight... It was hard pulling him along.” The crew came fifth in 7:40.51, over forty seconds behind the next boat and nearly a minute behind the German heat winners (6:48.89).

On Sunday Bellion was feeling better and Trapmore had no further desire to race having been mocked by Oxford Brookes coaching staff after his race, with taunts along the lines of “washed up ex-Olympian” particularly hurting. He is believed to have cried. Bellion was just about OK to race but still reports feeling tired after rowing up to the start. Despite the disadvantage the crew raced hard and finished in 6:41.85, still last, but nearly a minute faster than the previous day. The IC rowers in fact led the GBR U23 crew for the first 750 metres before they were rowed through. The GBR U23 crew finished third in 6:19.81 behind France and Germany. Their average 2km ergo time is 6:06, 15 seconds quicker than the ICBC crew’s average. Having convincingly won his seat race over Trapmore, every member of the crew concurred that Bellion was a better strokeman.

Mason's Newcastle beats Durham - May 2009

Article copied from ARA website.

Mason is pictured on the far right. Luke Birkill, an old boy of LRGSBC, is on the far left.

In an afternoon of high drama on the River Tyne, Newcastle University scored an historic first victory, winning the 13th University Boat Race by three races to one, in an afternoon which saw some of the most closely fought races in the history of the event.

Newcastle were victorious in the Fresher Men, Senior Women and Senior Men races, giving them the overall trophy for the first time ever.

Strong winds and a fast current delayed the start of the races by half an hour, but the waiting crowds were not disappointed once the action on the river got underway.

In the precursor to the University races, a schools' race between Tyneside and Wearside saw the Tyne crew, made up of rowers from Queen Elizabeth High School and Tyne Boat Club, race to a two length victory over a composite crew of rowers from Durham and Chester-le-Street Amateur Rowing Clubs.

The University races got underway with the Fresher Women eights, with Newcastle rowing on the Newcastle side of the Tyne and Durham rowing from the Gateshead station. Coming out of the Swing Bridge, Durham's women were ahead by a length. With a strong current clearly affecting both crews, Newcastle worked hard to close the gap, but Durham held on to their lead, and crossed the finish line ahead by a length.

Next came the Fresher Men's eight. Newcastle took the lead in the early stages of the 1,800 metre race, rowing from the Newcastle station, and stormed ahead to win easily.

Durham University went into the Senior Women's race as hot favourites to win, but as the crews emerged from beneath the Swing Bridge, it was clear that the race was neck and neck. Newcastle's women, coxed by Ruaridh MacPhee, put in an enormous effort to pull off the most dramatic and unexpected victory of the day, winning by the narrowest of margins. The drama didn't end there, as Durham's boat, which had taken on a lot of water during the race, sank just beyond the finish line.

With Newcastle now leading by two wins to Durham's one, the pressure was mounting on the senior men's crews. With both crews racing towards the finish line, it was neck-and-neck, but disaster struck the Durham boat when one of their rowers caught a crab, knocking the crew off their stroke and causing them to pull up within sight of the finish, leaving Newcastle to race to an historic victory.

An ecstatic President of Newcastle University Boat Club, Mason Durant, said: "We have waited a long time for this, and it is pretty special."

Durham's President, Olly Offord, could only say: "I'm gutted, just gutted".

Chairman of the Boat Race Executive Committee, Colin Blackburn, said: "This has been a tremendous afternoon of racing, and has reaffirmed why the University Boat Race is such a highlight in sporting calendars of both universities. The quality of racing we have seen today, under difficult conditions, is a credit all of the rowers and their coaching teams who work so hard all year round, and to the fantastic support we receive from Gateshead Council's Events team and our sponsors, including Northumbrian Water, Port of Tyne and the Environment Agency", he added.

Results in full:

  • Schools Eights: Tyneside
  • Fresher Women Eights (the Taylor Trophy): Durham University
  • Fresher Eights (The Renforth Trophy): Newcastle University
  • Senior Women Eights (the Chambers Trophy): Newcastle University
  • Senior Men Eights (the Clasper Trophy): Newcastle University

Report from Melanie Reed, Newcastle University

War of the Roses - May 2009

Lancaster University Boat Club conceded the rowing element of the annual match between York and Lancaster by 12 points to 8. At the time of writing York was dealing out a bit of a thrashing across most of the sports so the rowers did well to win so many points!

A number of the men’s squad have recently withdrawn from rowing during the final term so a weakened squad travelled to York. In the mornings racing the men lost the First Eight (4 pts), First Four (4pts), Novice Four (2pts) and Novice Eight (0pts). The freshers managed to return a little pride with a victory over their counterparts in a non-pointed event.

The women were obviously still on a high following a good performance at the University Championships the weekend before. The women won the First Eight (4pts) and the First Four (4pts); unfortunately they were unable to match these performances in the Novice Four (2pts), Novice Eight (0pts) and the Freshers Four (0pts).

The women look well set to put in a good performance at Women's Henley in a few weeks time.

Previous Results

BUCS Championships - May 2009

A number of students from Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club have achieved success representing their respective universities at the British University Championships in Nottingham.

Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes) and Mason Durant (Newcastle) competed in the Championship eights; this is the blue ribbon event. In most years Brookes would be clear favourites; however, this year Cambridge sent a strong squad with members from their losing Boat Race crew and the reserve Goldie crew. Brookes comfortably made it through to the final, posting similar times to Cambridge who progressed strongly through the other side of the draw. In the final Scott described his crew’s row as awful resulting in them finishing seven seconds behind Cambridge and only three seconds ahead of Durham - a university that they comfortably beat at the Head of the River Race in March. Newcastle were knocked out at the semi-final stage.

For Scott things went much better in the coxed four despite atrocious weather. His crew won their first heat, crossing the line 18 seconds ahead of Newcastle with their boat half full of water due to the horrendous head wind! The semi-final was cancelled due to worsening conditions and several boats sinking. The final was raced at a later time, which Brookes won beating University of West England by 18 seconds and Bristol by 25 seconds. Chloe Peach, also competing for Oxford Brookes, won the Intermediate eights - a respectable performance in her first year at university.

For Mason the rest of the weekend’s racing proved productive. In the Championship coxless pairs his crew won their heat to move straight through to the final; here they won silver behind a Cambridge pairing that contained Fred Gill - Mason’s 2008 World University Bronze winning pair’s partner. In the Championship coxless quads Mason’s crew placed second behind Reading sending them through the repechage, which they won. In the final Reading was again the dominant force with Newcastle winning silver. In the Championship coxless fours, Mason’s crew placed second to Bristol in the first round and then won bronze behind Brookes and Bristol in the final.

Danny Bellion, of Imperial College (London), competed across a number of events with particular success in a sixth place finish in the Championship coxless quads and a gold medal in the Intermediate coxless pairs. Tom Southworth and Christopher Booth, both racing for Northumbria, made it through the qualifying time trials of the Beginner fours and eights; they were knocked out in the first heat of the fours but made it through to the semi-final of the eights. Lancaster University’s women won silver in the Intermediate fours and placed fifth in the Intermediate eights.

In the Victor Ludorum Durham dominated for another year as they drew on its breadth of collegiate rowing. Mason’s Newcastle placing second and Danny’s Imperial College placing third. Oxford Brookes placed 10th, Northumbria were 23rd and Lancaster finished 26th. In future weeks both Scott and Mason will represent Great Britain in the Under-23 squad.

Merseyside - May 2009

A squad of 14 rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Merseyside on Saturday to compete in the first 500m sprint event of the season. Most of the squad were hoping to lose their novice status and advance into the Intermediate 3 category (there are 6 divisions of racing from Novice to Elite).

New recruits from Lancaster University Tom Bibby, Dan Reeve, Karl Mulcahy, David Abel and Joelle Harley were first to race in the premier coxed four event of the day. In the first round they successfully overcame a Kings School Chester crew as they applied long and powerful strokes. In the final Lancaster took an early lead over the host club to go on and win the Intermediate 3 event promoting the crew to Intermediate 2.

Bibby and Reeve also represented the club in the novice double sculls; they successfully dominated the event besting four crews from Liverpool. Joining Bibby and Reeve in the novice coxless quads Tom Wharfe and Glenn Stevens lined up alongside Liverpool and Runcorn. Off the start Liverpool were left behind with Lancaster and Runcorn exchanging the lead throughout as Lancaster failed to steer a straight course. At the finish the crowd keenly awaited the result to groan as the verdict was adjudged a tie; both crews about turned and returned to the start. In the re-row Lancaster steered a much better course as they eked out a lead whilst steering a straight course; unfortunately one of the opposition took a bad stroke allowing Lancaster to row over the finish with relative ease.

Veteran scullers Phil Payne and Phil Bell entered the Veteran D double sculls and the Intermediate 3 double sculls. In the veteran event Lancaster and Rex Boat Club (Chester) quickly moved away from Liverpool with Rex trailing Lancaster into the last 100m. With Rex pressing hard Lancaster held on to record a win over a crew that had beaten them twice earlier in the season. In the Intermediate event Lancaster was dropped early by Runcorn and Northwich prior to the two leading crews recording a tie for first place; Lancaster did not contest the re-row.

Not to be left out Lancaster’s women boated in a new line-up of Lorna Sullivan, Becca Doney, Anna Southall and Corinne Whitty for the women’s novice quad. Off the start Lancaster gained a small lead prior to pushing strongly through the middle portion of the race; a bad stroke by one of the Liverpool women confirmed a fifth victory for the Lancaster squad.

Anna Southall, Lorna Sullivan and Becca Doney also competed in the novice single sculls. Pollard of Liverpool proved to be the downfall of all three women as Doney was knocked out in the first round, Southall pushed her to a canvas following a slow start in the semi-final and Sullivan succumbed in the final.

In challenge events Steven Sullivan and three Liverpool scullers were beaten by a Queens Park High School quad after they relinquished an early lead. Bibby and Reeve were also defeated by a Liverpool crew when boating with two Liverpool scullers.

Following the weekend’s racing the club has now recorded the same number of victories as all the victories for the whole of last season.

Annual University Boat Race challenge is issued - April 2009

Article copied from The ARA website; features Mason Durant.

Rowers from Newcastle and Durham University Boat Clubs will meet in Baltic Square on the banks of the River Tyne on Wednesday 29 April for the traditional challenge to compete against each another in the annual University Boat Race.

In a change from its normal Sunday, this year's University Boat Race takes place on the Tyne on Saturday 9 May, with races between the University freshmen's and freshwomen's eights, and men's and women's first (senior) eights being battled out over an 1,800 metre course from Dunston Staithes to the finish line under the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The event also includes a school race, between composite crews from schools in Northumberland, Newcastle and Durham.

This year is the 13th anniversary of the event, and Newcastle University Boat Club will be hoping that it won't prove to be unlucky for them, as they prepare to try to overturn their defeat in all four of last year's races at the hands of their Durham arch-rivals.

Dave Clasper, rowing historian and great great nephew of Tyne rowing legend, Harry Clasper, will preside as Mason Durant, President of Newcastle University Boat Club issues the challenge to Olly Offord, President of Durham University Boat Club, by handing over the ceremonial oar blade.

Mason commented: "Our preparations are going well for the Boat Race this year. The senior men's eight have had a change of crew since earlier races in the year and have found some extra speed."

"I wouldn't say we are a superstitious club, but we do feel that we have a very good chance as a club this year at the Boat Race as we have good novice men and women's squads. We will race the eights at the BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) regatta in Nottingham this weekend against some of the other top universities in the country, which will give us some valuable racing experience", he added.

Olly Offord said: "After last year's remarkable achievements, we're really excited about the coming race. The team has some of the strongest athletes yet and has worked incredibly hard. Newcastle always provides stiff competition but we are determined to uphold our reputation and are expecting another victorious year."

The Senior Mens race compete for a trophy which is named in honour of Harry Clasper.

Mr Clasper said: "It is more than 140 years since Harry Clasper took part in his last competitive event on the River Tyne, in 1867. Back in the mid 1800s, when a major race was taking place on the, crowds of upwards of 100,000 would gather on the Quayside."

"Thanks to the University Boat Race, and the commitment of all of the outstanding young athletes in both University Boat Clubs, the North East is steadily regaining the reputation for rowing excellence it once enjoyed. I am sure with the support and backing that these races are now receiving, we can move on to recreate those times," he added.

The resurgence of rowing on the Tyne is set to continue this summer, with the 175th Tyne Regatta on 7th June, when the two universities will be in action again competing in the Championship of the Tyne events alongside club crews. The Tyne Regatta, which began in 1834, is the second oldest regatta in the country.

National Selection - April 2009

An update from Scott following selection:

Just got back from a training camp in Devon with Brookes, spent four days doing 1500m pieces in preparation for BUCS regatta this coming weekend. The days spent at Caversham were to do testing for Essen Regatta in mid May.

After final trials in Hazewinkel, a number of athletes were invited back to Caversham to take part in seat racing and 'combination testing' for Essen Regatta in May. Having come 3rd out of the U23 pairs and with the top U23 pair taking part in the senior seat racing, myself and my pairs partner Matt were put in a coxless four with the pair that came 2nd. We spent most of the week training and doing pieces alongside the other fours that were seat racing. Mason won both of his seat races; however, due to the high standard of the bowside rowers, he was not raced against the top bowsiders. On the final afternoon at the lake, we did a time trial in the coxless four and then did another in a 'top' eight to see if it was fast enough. Mason was in a coxless four for the second time trial as he had not been given the opportunity to race any of the other bowsiders.

A few days later we were informed that we would be doing a 'top' four of myself, Matt, Will Satch and Will Laughton on the Saturday of Essen along with a 'top' eight on the sunday. Due to some rowers not being able to make Essen due to exams, Mason will be in the eight on sunday. The results from this regatta will determine which boats are sent to the World Championships in July.

Red Rose - April 2009

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club hosted the last of the season’s Red Rose Handicap Time Trials on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back. The record handicap time for the Red Rose is currently held by Steven Sullivan (18’07”); previous record holders include Richard Shirley who won a Silver Medal at the National Championships in 2002.

Conditions on Saturday were favourable for reasonable times as the stream was slow but a disruptive wind caused a slow outward leg for all crews. Prior to the start Steven Sullivan and Danny Bellion - returning student from Imperial College, London - were likely to contest the overall title of handicap winner. Great Britain Under-23 representatives, Mason and Scott Durant, were not present as they were training at Caversham with the GB squad.

At the previous Red Rose Time Trial the Club’s women had combined to form a strong quad; on that day they not only clocked the fastest time recorded over the course for this boat type but they beat the previous record time recorded by a women’s eight. It had been hoped that the women would re-form this crew to go up against a strong Lancaster University eight; however, the Club’s women decided to split this unit into other craft.

The first representative of the Club to set off was Steven Sullivan who settled into a quick rhythm approaching the Aqueduct; this was difficult to maintain into the head wind as the resistance proved greater than expected. Approaching the half way point Sullivan dropped the rating to make sure that his technique did not start to deteriorate on the return leg. On the final approach he was not able to take up the boat speed as the previous 4km had taken their toll; he crossed the line clocking a time of 16’39”; 18’38” on handicap. Danny Bellion’s challenge for the overall title started rapidly but soon diminished as an increase in the wind sought to undo him as he clocked a time of 17’40”.

For the second race in succession the Club’s women underperformed as the select double clocked a handicap time of 20’50”; this was 20 seconds slower than the handicap time for the quad in March. The other crew didn’t fare any better as they clocked a handicap time that was a further 30 seconds behind. The University’s women produced a time that knocked 53 seconds off the previous record time for a women’s eight; this was 11 seconds faster than the handicap time that the Club’s women produced in early March - an impressive result as the University’s squad is not as experienced as the City’s.

Other competitors included 7th placed Lancaster University’s first eight - 16'00", 8th placed David Dunk - 20'10”, and 9th placed Lancaster University’s four - 20’29".

National Trials - April 2009

An update from Scott following the trials:

Trials went well thanks. In the 1900m time trial on Sunday morning my pairs partner Matt Tarrant and I came 12th out of 19 pairs, meaning that we qualified for the A/B semi finals in the afternoon. Mason came in 18th and so had to race for the C or D final. All the times were very close with just 3 seconds separating me and Matt from 5th.

In the semi final we were drawn against Peter Reed and Alex Gregory who had recorded the fastest time in the time trial. With the top three going through to the A final we tried to get out in front to give ourselves the best chance of putting the other pairs that were close to us under pressure. We were leading for the first 250 metres but the other crews race pace was stronger than ours and we finished 5th in a time of 6:36, 5 seconds from making the A final. In Mason's semi final, they were in contention up until the last 500 metres when they started to struggle in the tailwind and lost their rhythm, they came 3rd and ended up in the D final.

In the B final on Monday morning, we were drawn in lane 2 with an aim of beating the other U23 pair in the race and finishing 3rd. Once again our start was strong but we struggled to keep our boat speed when we got onto pace. We were in 6th place going through each 500 metre mark until the last 250 metres when we took it up and ended up finishing 4th, 2 seconds from the other U23 pair. Mason finished 2nd in the D final with the other Oxford Brookes pair beating them on the line by only a couple of feet.

This was a very good result for myself and even though Mason was quite disappointed with his final placing, it still put him 6th out of the U23s. For the rest of this week, we are seat racing and testing at Caversham for Essen Regatta in May.

Results of the finals can be found here, results of the semi-finals here, and first round time trial results here.

Northwich - April 2009

Rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Northwich on Saturday to compete in the Northwich Spring Head. The racing line at Northwich is technically easier than most rivers as there are only two minor kinks in the 2300m course; on the day the flow was not particularly strong with a minor tail wind.

Steven Sullivan had his work cut out defending the title from earlier in the season; on that occasion he beat Johnston of Warrington Rowing Club who in turn beat Sullivan at Runcorn and Warrington. To make the task even harder the pre-race line-up included three elite entrants; Morgan of Agecroft, Manchester – a national medallist, Heffernan of York City – a Henley winner, and Sykes of Hollingworth Lake, Rochdale. Fourth in the processional start Sullivan’s race plan was to concentrate on holding the usually rapid starting Johnston (starting in fifth place) over the first half of the race then push away in the second half; this would hopefully place him within ten seconds of the elite entrants. Getting into the race Sullivan’s lead over Johnston was maintained through the first half, with sufficient left in the tank to accelerate towards the finish to record a time which was seven seconds faster than his Spring Head time. Upon release of the times Sullivan was pleased that his increases in training had placed him within 3 seconds of all the elite entrants and well ahead of Johnston. Post- race analysis indicated that some minor technical deficiencies in his stroke would further develop boat speed into the start of the sprint season.

One of the key entrants for Lancaster was the new line up of Lorna Sullivan, Angela Park, Rachel Crawford and Corinne Whitty, replacing Anna Southall, in the Coxless Quad event. Two weeks previous this crew posted the fastest time recorded by a women’s quad on the River Lune’s Red Rose course, also managing to beat the best time recorded by a women’s eight. As there was no direct opposition in their event at Northwich, the girls would be measuring their performance against Grange School and a number of women’s eights; a faster boat type but a useful point of reference for boat speed. At the start of the race the girls were immediately called to stop due to the slow boat speed of the Eight that set off directly ahead; the umpire clearly had high expectations for the Lancaster contingent! Once re-settled Lancaster settled into a pace that they felt comfortable with, but failed to take it up once Grange started to close from behind. Their finishing time was thirty seconds slower than they would have expected for this distance; this gives them plenty to work on prior to racing at Tees in May.

Other crews racing included Phil Payne and Phil Bell in a senior men’s category for doubles, Phil Payne and Andy Peach in a veteran category for men and Tom Wharfe in the novice sculls event. This was Tom’s debuts in a single at an open event; Tom only learned to row at the club’s first Learn to Row last summer. The Club is currently recruiting for this summer's Learn to Row Programmes.

Messing about on the Lake! - March 2009

At the weekend fledgling Lakeland Rowing Club invited Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club for a touring row on Lake Windermere. Five touring novices ventured up the M6 to get lost on the winding roads down the west side of the lake – fairly difficult to do considering the number of roads there are! Once they re-found their bearings they arrived at Cunsey Mill where they received a warm welcome from the host club.

Unlike the narrower boats that John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club use Lakeland had two touring boats; these are much shorter and wider which is more suitable for rowing on open water. One of the gains of such a craft is that the bow compartment makes it an ideal boat for taking a sizeable picnic when going for long paddles on the Lake. On this occasion the plan was to venture to the ferry-crossing, turn about, and return to the boating point prior to seeking out the Wagon and Horses back in Lancaster!

Off the start conditions were judged as awkward due to the waves that were breaking on the shore – strangely the Lakeland crew seemed to be more enthused by the conditions; not to be undone Lancaster boated first to show the locals how it should be done!

Once boated Lancaster re-adjusted equipment and went for a “practice paddle” which pulled them well ahead of the pursuing Lakeland Rowing Club to arrive at the destination with sufficient time to recover and look nonchalant!

A short discussion between the two crews indicated the desire to push on around Bell Island; Lakeland proceeded to get the jump on Lancaster as they sharply turned around the Windermere Ferry. Taking a wider line Lancaster went in pursuit to hear what sounded like “we’ve slowed down to let you catch up!” Moving out into open water Lancaster came to a halt as the motion of the boat became unfamiliar as the swell started to take affect.

Another brief chat between the two crews indicated that a shortcut between the moored yachts would make for a smoother line around the isle; a good idea until open water was encountered again where conditions became even rougher. Lancaster, thinking that Lakeland was slowing, carried on taking a long sweeping ark at speed. Perhaps discretion was the greater part of valor as Lancaster proceeded to take a series of broadsides from the Lake with command of the boat falling into disarray as bow called to the cox to turn into the waves whilst a more commanding voice demanded that the crew carry on turning away. On the sheltered side of the isle Lakeland found Lancaster bailing out their craft and looking a little bedraggled!

On the return leg both crews settled into a comfortable pace as the swell evaporated with the slackening wind. At the end of the days paddle both crews agreed that the outing should be repeated with Lancaster perhaps thinking a summer’s day would be more to their liking!

Danny's World Record - March 2009

Article copied from The ICBC website; features Danny Bellion at bow.

Eton Lake, Dorney: ICBC have broken the world record for the fastest time for a waterskier towed by a rowing boat to travel 100 m. The record previously stood at 19.9 seconds held by a French club and was smashed by waterskier Stuart Marston (UK) and “Steve Trapmore’s team of eight professional rowers”. The new record now stands at 19.58 seconds. The event was recorded live by Sky TV and will be broadcast in the spring season as part of the “Guinness World Records – Smashed” series of shows which will have an estimated audience of 2 million viewers. Officer Duffy reports.

Head of Rowing and Olympic Ambassador to Imperial Steve Trapmore MBE has been challenging club members to “Dare to Dream” since his appointment in 2008. Dreams could not come any larger than attempting to break a world record and the crew (Ole Tietz, Josh Yerrell, Dom Meyrick-Cole, Leo Carrington, Adam Seward, Richard Winchester, John Davey, Danny Bellion, Alex Gillies, Gareth Brown & cox Henry Fieldman) have had their dreams nurtured by ICBC staff in the build-up to the attempt. A successful trial-run took place on the Thames from Imperial’s boat house on Putney Embankment as well as a visit from Sky TV’s video recording team. Professional water skier Stuart Marston, whose latest water-skiing achievements include gold in all disciplines of the British National Open Men (Slalom, Jump, Trick, Overall), was pulled along by a rope which had been fastened around all eight riggers. Tangling of the ropes became an issue early on and as suggestions for improvements flooded in Trapmore was repeatedly overheard asking “But will it make the water skier go faster?” Marston adapted impressively quick to the drive-recovery motion of the rowing boat which is very unlike the smooth dynamic of a motor boat, to which he is accustomed.

Coaches Steve Trapmore and Stuart Whitelaw accompanied the ICBC crew and were met at Dorney Lake by “Guinness World Records – Smashed” show presenters Konnie Huq and Steve Jones. Both presenters spent the morning learning to water-ski in an attempt to break the record themselves. The presenters had three attempts each starting with Huq, who already a world record holder for pinning the most Blue Peter Badges (17) onto her fellow presenter’s shirt in one minute, was unable to hang on to the rope because of the jerk. Channel 4's T4 presenter Steve Jones was more of a sea-anchor than a water-skier and could not manage to lift himself out of the water when the boat started moving. With failure on all attempts for the presenters it was time for the professional to take over and Marston was granted three attempts to break the record by the Guinness official who remained speechless throughout the day.

The ICBC crew were phased by the “On your marks. Get ready. Go!” start call but managed a smooth take-off nonetheless. Cox Henry Fieldman was given the challenge to include as many inspirational sound bytes in his twenty-odd seconds of coxing as possible. For once it was the rowers who had the vantage view and could watch Marston being dragged along behind while Fieldman urged the crew to look for those inches and don’t stop believing. On the first attempt IC coaches clocked a time of 19.3 seconds, but the Guinness adjudicator disagreed and had recorded the attempt 2 seconds slower. Trapmore took things into his own hands: “After pointing out that we were perhaps more experienced at timing crews on the course I invited the Adjudicator to time from the truck rather than from a boat following the skier. This did the trick, and although we timed the run faster the official verdict was 19.58s, breaking the previous World Record by almost 0.5s.”

Following the hysteria it was interview time: “I’m here with Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Trapmore, current head of Rowing at Imperial College. SO! STEVE! How fast would the pro’s move the boat WITHOUT a water skier?” Steve did his best celebrity impression to camera while behind him the boat was on trestles and the crew had to “act naturally” as the video panned along the boat. This involved fiddling with the slides and checking the gates were closed; both of which involved full bicep tension to camera. The interview was repeated over and over and by the time they had got what they wanted John Davey had tightened his foot plate beyond recoverability; in the wrong position. High fives were doled out after achieving these small tasks, of which at least one must have made the film. Although none of the students were interviewed Steve had the crew well warned beforehand; “Be prepared to be interviewed on camera. Please be sensible with your answers, promote the club and don't come across like a posh rowing t*at.” Unfortunately the latter faux pas has never been a problem for the club. The Sky TV filming crew had to record footage of the post-record celebrations twice due to an unexpected outburst from Danny Bellion who shouted “F*ck My Life!” to camera after the initial attempt.

The record-breaking crew are only too aware of the doors of opportunity that will now open for them. Even at this early stage sponsorship deals are underway, fixtures for public speaking at local water-skiing clubs have been organised and autobiographies are being drafted. Steve has offered counseling to the crew for coping skills and techniques for dealing with press releases while trying to maintain a normal student and training lifestyle. It has been leaked from internal sources that Leo Carrington has already been offered a position as Head of Towing and World Record Ambassador to Imperial; new roles announced by Sport Imperial this term. His defining motto; “I believe in IC.”

The record breaking success attempt will be broadcast during a live interview with the crew in late April on “Guinness World Records – Smashed”. The details will be posted on the The ICBC website as soon as they are available.

Head of the River Race - March 2009

Three members of John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club competed in The Head of the River Race, London, at the weekend. This race is the premier race for British racing eights during the head season. Most clubs submit at least one entry with many Thames based clubs entering at least three crews to make a combined field of 409 crews (3272 athletes).

Members represented their respective universities – Danny Bellion (Imperial College setting off in 2nd place), Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes setting off in 7th place) and Mason Durant (Newcastle University setting off in 37th place). Lancaster University were also present with their first crew setting off 232nd and second crew setting off 384th.

Prior to the start Danny’s Imperial crew found themselves lining up near Leander Club, the premier rowing club in the country with five Olympic medallists sat in the crew – looking across Danny found that his counterpart was Alex Partridge of the Beijing Silver winning Eight! Crews start the race based on the previous year's placing – Imperial College’s first crew in 2008 was filled with foreign internationals; this year the coach went for an all undergraduate crew allowing them to compete for the University Trophy. Off the start Danny’s crew rapidly lost ground to the lead Leander crew with the classy Tideway Scullers’ crew moving swiftly from behind. The Tideway crew was filled with individual international superstars including Olaf Tufte (Olympic Singles Champion 2004 and 2008), Ondrej Synek (Silver in Beijing), Mahe Drysdale (Olympic bronze in 2008, three times world champion) and Alan Campbell (fifth in Beijing); this crew drew even with the Cambridge Boat Race crew in a mid-week private match. Following a long hard race Danny again found himself looking across to find that his counterpart was Olympic fourth placed Tim Maeyans of Belgium! In such fine company the Imperial crew managed to push themselves to a commendable 12th placing overall, second placed university. They were 4 seconds off winning the Senior 2 Trophy (2 less than Elite).

Scott Durant’s crew had plenty to prove this year; in 2008 they were narrowly beaten by Durham University for the University Trophy, this dislodged Brookes off their traditional pedestal as the top undergraduate crew in the country. Setting off immediately behind Durham, Brookes had a target to aim for; this was aided by an internationally flavoured crew from Molesey following directly behind. During the race Scott’s crew managed to close down on Durham to beat them by 16 seconds. The Molesey crew reduced the gap to finish four seconds ahead of Brookes in 4th place, Brookes finished in 6th place overall taking the University Trophy. On the first release of the results it was recorded that they had also won the pennant for the fastest Senior 1 crew (1 category less than Elite); unfortunately a count-back re-categorised Scott’s crew as Elite and so the Senior 1Trophy was re-awarded to Reading University who finished in 8th place. Scott’s crew will now aim to win the Student Eights at Henley Royal Regatta; this weekend’s results indicate that they are well on the way to not only compete with but beat the strong American entries.

In last year’s Head Mason Durant’s crew won the Senior 3 Pennant (3 less than Elite); unfortunately Mason’s successes of last year (GB Under-23 representation) almost single-handedly moved his crew up to Senior 2 status; an event where a crew has to break into the top twenty to have any chance of winning, so this was their coaches’ target for the race. On the day the crews that set off immediately behind Newcastle were not of the standard as they rapidly went backwards – this gave Newcastle little chance to truly monitor their performance and thus break into the top echelon of crews. Newcastle finished in 37th place, confirming their starting position.

Lancaster University’s seasonal goal is always to qualify a crew for Henley Royal Regatta; the entry for this event is 32 crews; between 6 and 13 crews are usually foreign. The Head of the River gives a good indication of how a university is progressing towards this goal with a top 150 placing putting a crew in the picture. At the end of racing the University’s first crew placed 288th.

The overall winner was Tideway Scullers taking the win from Leander.

Red Rose - March 2009

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club hosted the third of the season’s Red Rose Handicap Time Trials on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back. The record handicap time for the Red Rose is currently held by Steven Sullivan (18’07”); previous record holders include Richard Shirley who won a Silver Medal at the National Championships in 2002.

Conditions on Saturday were favourable for quick times due to a slow stream and very little wind. Prior to the start Steven Sullivan stood out as the likely winner despite returning from illness - Under 23 representatives Mason and Scott Durant were away competing at the Head of the River Race, London. Despite the absence of top male competition the highlight of the morning's racing revolved around the female crew of Lorna Sullivan, Angela Park, Rachel Crawford and Anna Southall; coxed by Adrian Lees. This is a new line up for the women's squad; Sullivan had previously concentrated on her own sculling, Park and Crawford have had a season out after racing together in a double, and Anna has recently moved into the area. Due to the strength of the squad the pre-race target was to break the record time for the boat type (18'42").

Steven Sullivan set off first, settling into a conservative pace to allow himself to monitor his performance prior to tackling the return leg; this proved a wise approach as his pace slackened on the return to post an overall time of 16'51". To break the 17'00" minute barrier is a good posting for the season but he had hoped to go under 16'45".

Third to set off was the newly formed women's crew. During the first leg the crew maintained the sort of pace that they will need to take into the main season. On the return leg fatigue and lack of time in the crew took its toll as technique suffered. Despite this the crew recorded a record time of 18'04", which is a promising start for a crew who feel that there is plenty of room for improvement. Their ambition is encouraging, particularly as their time not only smashed the previous record for this boat type but beat the fastest time recorded for a women's eight! They have now established themselves as the dominant women's squads on the Lune.

Other competitors included 3rd Glenn Stevens - 19'44", 4th Declan Murray - 19'47", 5th Bell and Payne - 18’47" and 6th Tom Wharfe - 20'17".

Looking ahead the City will compete at Northwich Head in two week's time; this has been a happy hunting ground as Steven Sullivan finished as the fastest sculler earlier in the season.

Trafford - February 2009

Rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Trafford on Saturday to compete in the Trafford Head on the Bridgewater Canal. The course covers 3200m with three straights and only two minor bends over three divisions. 71 crews set off in two minute intervals to prevent crew from catching each on a course that offers little opportunity to overtake.

The first competitor off the start from Lancaster was Steven Sullivan, who relished the opportunity to compete on a relatively straight course following tours into the bushes in his last two races. Taylor of Trafford Rowing Club set off immediately behind with sufficient space in-between to make it difficult to gauge progress. Sullivan settled for a pace that allowed him an increase in pressure down the final 1250m, he recorded a time of 12 minutes and 4 seconds; this placed him 14th overall and one minute ahead of the nearest other sculler.

Phil Payne and Phil Bell also set off in the first division in the Veteran D Double Sculls; unfortunately their opposition was to set off in the Second Division so they didn’t have an immediate opponent to work off. Nevertheless they set off with a solid rhythm feeling that they had worked hard to record a time of 13 minutes and 35 seconds. This eventually placed them second behind the duo from Rex Boat Club, Chester.

The big event for the Lancaster Club was the race between their two mixed crew entries and the Runcorn/Agecroft composite. Setting off first from Lancaster was the combined crew of Payne, Bell, Angela Park and Sue Palmer. Off the start the crew settled into a mid-pace rhythm with sharp pulses of power which was maintained throughout the race. In the final stretch the crew had the added incentive of holding off a fast moving quad from Liverpool Victoria Boat Club to record a time of 14 minutes and 33 seconds, this time was 1 minute and 10 seconds slower than the Runcorn/Agecroft crew.

Knowing their target time in advance the younger second crew set of in the third division. With few sightings of other crews during the race Lorna Sullivan, Anna Southall, Tom Wharfe and Glenn Stevens opted for a higher tempo which they managed to maintain throughout. Approaching the finish they increased the rating to record a winning time of 12 minutes and 38 seconds.

The Club has already recorded more wins to this stage of the winter season than they did in the whole of last season, which bodes well for the coming summer sprint events.

Mason and Scott Durant did not compete in the third round of GB Winter Trials on medical grounds. This does not put them out of the hunt for Under-23 GB selection as many other talented athletes were out through injury and illness.

Warrington - February 2009

Rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Warrington on Saturday to compete in the Warrington Head. The course features a long left sweeping bend followed by a long right sweeping bend over 1800m, reversed on the return leg. On the outward leg the strong stream made navigation around the bends difficult, but much easier on the faster return leg. Six divisions of racing featured Junior 15 to Veteran athletes competing in categories that varied from singles to coxed fours. Representing Lancaster was senior oarsman Steven Sullivan and novice oarswoman Lorna Sullivan.

Steven Sullivan set off second in the fifth division behind local favourite Johnston – honours have proved even to this stage in the season as Steven proved the better at the straight 2300m Northwich course but struggled with the bends at the meandering Runcorn course. The Warrington outward leg was to prove a miserable affair as Steven struggled to smoothly manoeuvre through the bends, especially the sharp right hander in the approach to the first leg finish. A final spurt to the finish proved his undoing as he failed to move his boat away from the bank and went gardening – the second week in succession following the home Red Rose event the week before. In the second leg Steven steered a much better course only having to fight the return right hander; he went on to record a second leg time that was less than two seconds slower than his opponent. Unfortunately most of the damage had been done in the first leg as Johnston recorded an overall winning margin of just under thirty seconds.

Lorna Sullivan also raced in the fifth division in the Novice Single Sculls category; she was guilty of pacing too well during the first leg feeling that she hadn’t committed sufficient effort. However, she rectified the situation during the second leg. By increasing the stroke rate, Lorna managed to overtake another sculler to record a combined time of eighteen minutes dead to win the event; particularly encouraging for Lorna was that her time was faster than the winners of the Novice Coxed Fours event, which is traditionally a quicker boat type.

Also competing from Lancaster was Lancaster Royal Grammar School recording a victory in the Senior 3 Single Sculls. The School lost the Junior 18 Coxed Fours by seven seconds, lost the Junior 15 Double Sculls by 34 seconds and lost the Junior 15 Coxed Quads by one a half minutes.

Looking ahead to next weekend Great Britain Under-23 competitors Mason and Scott Durant will trial at the GB Winter Trials; at the October Trials they placed 14th and 15th. The City Club will next compete at Trafford Head on the 28th of February.

Red Rose - January 2009

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club hosted the second of the winter season’s Red Rose Handicap Time Trials between the City, Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Lancaster University. The Red Rose events are a series of races on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back to the Club. The fastest time recorded over the course is 14’31” by a Lancaster Royal Grammar School crew in 2003. The record handicap time for the Red Rose is currently held by Steven Sullivan (18’07”); previous record holders include Richard Shirley who won a Silver Medal at the National Championships in 2002.

Conditions on Saturday were not favourable for quick times due to the stream and a blustery head wind on the return leg; on the handicap bad weather suits the larger boat classes as they are able to plough through waves and wind. Prior to the start two crews stood out as likely winners; Steven Sullivan representing the City in a single scull and Lancaster University’s First Men in a coxed sweep eight. Great Britain Under-23 Mason Durant was not present to retain the title due to training with Newcastle University.

Of the favourites Steven Sullivan was the first to set off challenging Lancaster University Women’s First Eight by midway, at the buoy he was able to take the inside line and move rapidly away from the slower turning big boat. Coming into the home straight Sullivan struggled to contend with the side wind and was blown into the bank; this blew any chance he had of winning the event. Lancaster University’s First Men included the erg monster Sebastian Miller who placed ninth in the student event at the British University Indoors (the first non-Oxbridge based student). The University had a solid start as they forged through the rougher sections and steered a good course in the return leg; their finishing time of 16’14” (21’30” on handicap) was not a blistering time but good enough to lead the event.

Not satisfied with recording a time that included several minutes untangling himself from the bank Sullivan lined up to do the course again. Settling into a more conservative row Sullivan returned to the Club on a better line allowing room to manoeuvre when the cross wind hit. Sullivan clocked a second time of 17:43 (19’42” on handicap) to win the overall handicap.

The winner of the women’s event was the University’s First Eight in a time of 18’57” (21’53”); their rivals, a coxless quad from the City finished in a time of 21’47” (24’13” on handicap) – the City crew was a first time crew which failed to row to their potential. Crew changes and more regular outings together will vastly improve this crew’s future performances.

Other competitors included City Double (Bell and Payne) – 19’53” (23’10”), City Quad – 18’55” (23’32”), Second University Eight – 18’36” (23’52”), School Quad – 20’30” (25’07”), and City Sculler (Russell Sharp) – 24’48” (26’47”). This final performance was remarkable as it is only a few months since Sharp suffered multiple injuries when he was knocked off his bike near Lancaster University.

Looking ahead both the School and the City will compete at Warrington Head next weekend, the University will race at the University Championships in two weeks time, and both Mason and Scott Durant will compete at the GB Winter Trials on the 14th of February.

Head of the Float - December 2008

Rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Liverpool on Saturday to compete in the annual Head of the Float. There were seven divisions; all comprised of crews that were either male, female or mixed in the disciplines of coxless quads, coxed quads or coxed eights. Unlike most head races the race consisted of two 1300m legs with a small period of rest in-between; the first leg directed crews towards the boathouse, the second leg was rowed in reverse. On the day there was very little wind with conditions being almost perfect for the processional races.

The highest status crew from Lancaster was the mixed crew of steersman Glenn Stevens, Steven Sullivan, Corrine Whitty and stroke Lorna Sullivan. The crew set off last in the forth division catching the Salford University Women and Queens Park High School despite a ropy row in what was a first time line-up. On the return leg the crew allowed the lead crews a larger margin prior to chasing and steered a better line; this culminated in a much more adept row to finish in a combined time of 9:16.67. Rivals from Liverpool Victoria set off in the fifth division; they looked a more proficient outfit from the bank; however, they only proved the better over the second leg narrowly beating the Lancaster crew by 4 seconds.

The men’s crew was also a scratch crew with new member Tom Wharfe, who started rowing in the summer; steersman Glenn Stevens; Philip Payne; and stroke Philip Bell. The opening leg was described as high rating and low power; remedied in the second leg with lower rating and more gusto, this proved to be of some value as the crew clocked a much quicker second half. The combined time for the crew was 9:21.92 placing them third behind the Queens Park High winners.

At least one of the members managed to return with a medal after the days racing. Kieran Bell and Benjamin Clegg are two of the latest juniors to join the Club and were invited along to race in yet another scratch crew. Two crews raced in a challenge match for junior beginners; the winning crew clocked a time of 11:12.92 with the trail crew clocking 11:40.62. This is the first win for the junior section this season. Both boys have taken advantage of the Club’s professional coach who is willing to coach junior beginners on Sunday mornings (10:00 – 12:00am).

The fastest time of the day was clocked by a men’s eight in a time of 7:50.48.

Thanks have to go to Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club who provided all the boats for the Lancaster crews to race in; this harks back to days of yore when it was traditional for crews to travel the length and breadth of the country to race in the boats that were provided by the host club.

Northwich Head - November 2008

Rowers from Lancaster John O’Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Northwich on Saturday to compete in the Northwich Head. There were three divisions; the first was for single scullers, the second and third divisions were for crew boats. Unlike most head races the racing line at Northwich is technically easier than most rivers as there are only two minor kinks in the 2300m course; on the day the flow was not particularly strong and there was a minor tail wind.

Steven Sullivan set off first in the first division - this was by virtue of being the highest status sculler; setting off first allows the lead sculler to travel through water that has not been disturbed and monitor the progress of other scullers. Off the start Sullivan settled into a good rhythm maintaining the gaps between him and the scullers that set off directly behind, applying a little more pressure through the middle 1000m allowed Sullivan to move ahead of the trailing scullers prior to raising a final sprint to forge further ahead. Sullivan clocked a time of nine minutes and one second to finish as the Head of the River.

Lorna Sullivan also raced in the first division in the novice single sculls category; she managed to pass an opponent prior to finishing 36 seconds behind the winner of her category. In some years her time would have been sufficient to win the event.

Phil Payne and Phil Bell competed in the Senior 4 Double Sculls and the Veteran Double Sculls. In the second division they won the senior event. In the third division a better row meant that they clocked a time which was two seconds faster; unfortunately this improvement was not enough to win the Veteran event.

A highlight of the days racing was the appearance of Mathew Langridge who won a silver medal in the GB Eight at the Olympic Games. Langridge sportingly returned to the North West to compete for Northwich Rowing Club with three other athletes that have moved from the area to row at Leander Rowing Club, the base for current and aspiring GB athletes. This composite Leander and Northwich crew set off first in division two in a coxless Four and first in a Quad in division three; unsurprisingly they won both of their events.

National Trials - October 2008

Brothers Mason and Scott Durant of Lancaster John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club travelled to Boston to test themselves against other athletes in the first of the 2009 rowing trials. In 2008 both represented Great Britain in the Under-23 Eight competing against the German, and Chinese Senior Olympic Boats on their way to fifth at the Under-23 World Championships.

Aspiring athletes in 2009 have to attend three trials between October 2008 and February 2009 at Boston; the first trial often excludes the mainstay of the current GB squad as they concentrate on their regular training; this gives an opportunity for members on the edge of selection to come to the fore. This year has proved to be no different with Olympic Gold medallists such as Tom James, Steve Williams, Pete Reed and Andy Hodge, from the Olympic winning Coxless Four, not attending.

Pre-selection for these trials has traditionally comprised of a land based test over 2000m using the Concept 2 indoor rowing machine; the model of choice in most gyms. The pre-selection time for a senior oarsman is 6:10; 6:20 for the Under-23 category that Scott and Mason compete in. This year took a slightly different format with Saturday designated as the pre-selection land based trial and Sunday as the water based trial; perhaps selectors were more confident in their own ability to measure pre-selection times rather than the athletes’ own coaches! In the Saturday trials Scott clocked an impressive 6:11 (62nd); which is an outstanding time for an athlete with a couple of more years left competing in the Under-23 bracket.

On the Sunday both Scott and Mason took to the water. Scott usually has the upper hand between the two brothers in most trials; however, Mason didn’t read the script this weekend as he managed to put one over on his sibling by finishing in a time of 19:07.80 (14th); Scott clocked a time of 19:08.85 (15th). This placed them 5th and 6th in the Under-23 category. The old adage that rowing machines can’t float has particular pertinence as the two brothers leaped up the pecking order when the measure of performance was on the water; a key measure for the selectors later in the selection process. The fastest time of the weekend was recorded by Ian Lawson (18:09.68); he competed for Great Britain in the single scull in the Sydney 2004 Games and he is the current national champion.

Having already completed two challenging trials in as many days the two brothers then competed in a third trial in the Sunday afternoon Small Boats Head for university students. Both Scott and Mason showed their class by finishing 1st and 2nd in their pairs specialism; they both competed with athletes from their respective universities rather than each other.

For the rest of the year Scott will be rowing at Oxford Brookes University; this is the premier undergraduate university rowing club in the country; last year’s key success was the beating of Leander Club (premier senior rowing club in the country) at the Ghent International Regatta. Mason Durant spends most of his time on the water with Newcastle University Boat Club; last year a number of impressive wins throughout the season climaxed in a win at Henley Royal Regatta in the student Fours. Following the weekend’s performances both have excellent chances of not only gaining selection into the Under-23 squad but they will probably find themselves vying for places in the premier boat class.

Red Rose - September 2008

Full Results

On Saturday John O’ Gaunt Rowing Club started the first of their monthly Red Rose Handicap Time Trials. The Red Rose is a race on the River Lune from the Club (Skerton) to the Motorway Bridge (Halton) and back to the Club. The record time for the Red Rose is currently held by Steven Sullivan (18’07”); previous record holders include Richard Shirley who won a Silver Medal at the National Championships in 2002.

Conditions on Saturday were not favourable for a record time due to the quick stream, slight head wind on the return leg, and the racing line through the central arch of the Aqueduct was blocked. Prior to the weekends event there were three crews that stood out as likely winners; these were Scott Durant and Mason Durant in a Double Scull, Mason Durant in a Single Scull, and Steven Sullivan in a Single Scull. Unfortunately Scott Durant had to pull out prior to racing due to illness leaving Steven and Mason to contend for victory in the singles.

Steven was the first to set off, managing to quickly settle into a strong rhythm if not necessarily the best course. He went on to record a good opening marker for his season with a time of 16’45” (18’44” on handicap); at this early stage a time of sub 17’00” is considered good. Mason Durant set off next with a blistering opening pace that few thought he could maintain. As he came back into sight he still sustained a long and solid stroke; approaching the Club he took up the rating to finish in a time of 16’35” (18’34” on handicap). For both Steven and Mason these times bode well for the coming season.

Looking ahead Scott Durant will now return to a strong Oxford Brookes Eight with the seasonal goal of beating American and Canadian opposition to win the Temple Challenge Cup (Student Eights) at Henley Royal Regatta. Mason will return to Newcastle University where he is likely to form a composite crew for Henley following his victory in the Student Fours event at Henley 2008. Again, both are likely to represent Great Britain at the Under 23 World Championships.

Other competitors in Saturday’s event included Veteran Glenn Stevens, Veteran Double Phil Payne and Phil Bell, and Veteran Female Double Angela Park and Rachel Crawford.