Shoreham town centre once again played host to the annual Head of the Adur rowing race on Saturday.
Competing among over 65 crews from across the Kent and Sussex coast, Shoreham Rowing Club shone on home water to secure six wins, including the much-coveted fastest coastal sculler of the day title.
Organised by Shoreham Rowing Club, the race, held in two divisions either side of the high tide, saw crews racing a 3.5km time trial down the River Adur from Shoreham’s iconic wooden toll-bridge to the RNLI station at the entrance to Shoreham Harbour. The first event of the Coast Amateur Rowing Association’s 2019 calendar, the Head of the Adur offers the first chance for competing clubs to pitch themselves against each other and see how effective their winter training has been.
Sarah McCorry, Shoreham Rowing Club regatta secretary and race organiser said “Simply holding the Head of the Adur has been an achievement in itself this year, with the events in both 2018 and 2017 cancelled due to high winds. We’re delighted to be have been able to welcome so many other clubs to our stretch of river once again.”
For the home club, the day was particularly successful, with Shoreham’s ladies’ squads once again dominating. The first division saw the women’s pairs take on a fast in-flooding tide. Excellent rowing against a strong stream saw Shoreham’s senior ladies pair of Roxanne Addison and Melissa Shaw win their category by a comfortable margin over Worthing Rowing Club, with Shoreham also coming in third. In the junior women’s category the Shoreham pair of Anna Hollingdale and Bella Watton held their nerve in a close race with Worthing to take the win in their first competitive event together.
The second division, raced with the tide, offered more favourable conditions for the competing crews. Once again Shoreham’s senior ladies four showed their prowess, winning by over a minute against crews from Worthing and Herne Bay. Unbeaten in the last six years, this year’s senior line up of Melissa Shaw, Charlotte Pigg, Gemma Stoner and Roxanne Addison, coxed by Sally Hills, will be a force to be reckoned with as they enter the main racing season this year. There was also success for Shoreham’s newest members, with the novice ladies four of Annie Redfern, Aimee Graville, Jamie-Leigh Williamson and Linds Taverner, coxed by Toby Strevens, keeping cool heads to win in their first ever race.
Shoreham’s under-16 boys squad also showed their strength with the quad of Jack Bates, Dan Bates, Xav Grassie-Clarke and Kirkland Childs, coxed by Garry Saunders winning comfortably in the first division. Jack Bates, a recent GB junior trialist, then paired up with Grassie-Clarke to win the mens junior pairs category in the second division.
Fastest sculler of the day went to Shoreham’s Tom Faith in the second division, who completed the course in a time of 13:04. The fastest time of the day, 11:55, went to Bexhill Rowing Club’s Mark Mitchell and Kieran Cahill racing in a river double scull (a quicker class of boat than its coastal equivalent).
Saunders adds “Shoreham’s fantastic results are a testament to the hard work put in by all our squads over the winter. As an entirely volunteer-run club with no paid coaches it is down to each individual to take responsibility for their own training. “Having our novice women win in their first ever race is not only a fantastic achievement for the crew, but also for all the other club members who have taken the time to coach, cox and help develop our newest members. And with a strong under-16 boys squad pushing at the heels of out more experienced rowers we’re very excited to see what the rest of this season will bring.”
Author: Sarah Faith