In the first two events of the Kent & Sussex coastal rowing calendar (www.coastara.org – for more info), Shoreham Rowing Club have thrown down the gauntlet to their opposition, winning more races than any of the other 11 clubs competing at Worthing and Worthing Town Regattas last weekend.
The first races of the season are always nervy affairs, as crews test how well their winter training programmes have prepared them for competition. For Shoreham, a sense of excitement has been building, with a number of potentially strong crews looking to challenge for championship titles this year, so it was with some trepidation, but with great hope for success that the club travelled to Worthing on Saturday and Sunday. However, nerves were not required as Shoreham’s rowers lived up to the expectation of their club, coaches and supporters alike.
Taking a total of 11 wins over the two regattas (more than any other club) it was an almost faultless start for Shoreham and once again it was the ladies squads who really stole the show. The most impressive victories came from rising stars Beth Buchanan, Phoebe Mercer, Amelia Balthazor and Delphi Coombes-Cowell (coxed by Sally Hills) in the Ladies Junior Four, who won by such a margin on both days that the second place crew could barely be seen as they crossed the finish line. Mercer and Buchanan then went on to take a well-deserved, and easy victory in the Ladies Junior Pair on the Sunday. Mercer and Coombes-Cowell were also joined by Verity Millar-Sarahs and Portia Smith to take a convincing victory in the under-16 Quad Sculls event on both days and look like they stand a good chance to retain Shoreham’s title in this event for a second year running. The Senior Ladies squad of Sarah Faith, Gemma Stoner, Charlotte Pigg, Roxanne Addison and Sally Hills were also on top form, continuing their winning streak over the last three years by winning all four of their races over the weekend, in the four and pairs. Ezra Hulme and Sarah Faith then joined forces to take a win in the Ladies Double Sculls on the Saturday, while Mercer & Buchanan took the win on the Sunday, with Hulme and Faith in an easy second place over the rest of the field.
While Shoreham’s wins over previous years have been dominated by the womens squads, Shoreham’s men are now on the rise with a strong mens Junior Four of James Tilley, Cian Kennedy, Max Huxtable and James Mouland, coxed by Sally Hills taking victory over Deal on Saturday and Mouland on his own taking a very impressive win in the rough in the Novice Single Sculls event on Sunday. The under-16 boys almost added to the winning haul, but instead added only drama as they capsized their quad within 20metres of the finish line whilst leading their race.
The fantastic results see Shoreham currently ahead in the race for the Coast Amateur Rowing Association Grand Aggregate trophy (awarded to the club which wins the most races over a season) – but it will be a hard-fought battle over the coming regattas with strong competition from Bexhill Rowing Club and Deal, Walmer & Kingsdown Rowing Club.
The next events to look forward to are Bexhill and Hastings Regatta weekend on the 21st and 22nd May in Bexhill and subsequently, and most excitingly Shoreham’s home regattas at Beach Green, Shoreham on 28th May and in Hove on Sunday 29th – supporters are encouraged to join the fun on the beach, where they’ll be able to grab some food and drink whilst helping their local club and hopefully enjoy some sunshine.