Junior Seniors miss out on Championship in row off

The last Coast Amateur Rowing Association race of the season saw Dover’s Junior Senior squad race off for the title against Shoreham. Dover’s crew of Ben Gomm, Jon Cook, Chris Hall, Tom Stothart were coxed by Nick Bailey as their regular cox, Freya Emmerson. was unavailable. They had complied the most wins and points in the season and qualified for the South Coast Championships. The CARA Championship is decided on overall club results and Shoreham crews ended the season level with Dover.

There was apprehension within the Dover crew as three of the squad were still heavy legged after rowing 21 miles on Loch Ness last week. The race started well with the boats neck and neck until Shoreham pulled ahead at around 600m. Through the turn Shoreham had a three lengths lead. Although the return leg had been the Dover crew’s strength during the season, the fatigue showed as they were not able to perform their normal charge to the line leaving Shoreham to take the title.

Dover’s run this season started at Dover Regatta where Jon Cook had joined his younger club mates to make a run at the Junior Senior competition. With diaries not matching during the season, other club veterans switched into the crew, with Paul Scrivener and Matt Barnett helping to take wins at Deal and Folkestone respectively. Steve Woods helped them gain points at Herne Bay. The strong club spirit was able to drive the crew to the edge of a championship but it wasn’t enough on the day.

Dover Rowing Club successfully Monster the Loch over a 21 mile race across Loch Ness

A large contingent of Dover Rowing Club raced in the ‘Monster the Loch’ event over a 21 mile course on the East Side of Loch Ness. There were 6 full Dover crews and a composite crew of two Dover, 2 Folkestone Rowers and a cox. 94 human powered vessels including rowing boats, kayaks and rafts took part. The event kicked-off with a mass start of all 94 crews in good conditions from Fort Augustus aiming for the finish line at Dores. Each crew was required to enter an individual crew name.

From the start Chris Hall and Tom Stothart as the ‘Cox Blocked’ set off in a double scull with the leading vessels aiming for a top 10 finish. At half way ‘Cox Blocked’ was the leading rowing crew before dropping to 2nd around the 14 mile mark. Fighting the conditions nearing the finishing line they were passed by a quad scull to finish 3rd amongst rowing crews and 7th across all competitors, in a time of 2 hours 47 minutes 16 seconds.

Dovers Ladies double sculls featuring Jo Johnston and Maria West-Burrows, competing as ‘Two Birds in a Boat’, would be Dover’s second crew across the line. The ladies, who have rowed internationally in coastal competitions, had a good race maintaining a consistent pace that saw them finish 42nd in a time of 3 hours 20 minutes 40 seconds.
Quad Sculls of Gem McKie, Freya Emmerson, Emily Harvey, Ella Day coxed by James Hale, competing as ‘Tony’s Angels’, had a really good row coping well in the conditions. They finished tired but happy in 52nd place; 3 hours 31 minutes 21 seconds.

In the composite sweep four crew, Dover’s Jon Cook and Jamie Smith were joined by Folkestone’s Becky Pleasted, Zoe Mond and cox Maddy Pleasted. Competing as ‘Scull and Backbones and Yellow Perils’ they were unable to keep up with ‘Tony’s Angels’ after initially maintaining contact. It was another impressive performance from Jon Cook who would feel the effort at the end of the race. The crew had a good race coming across the line in 57th, 3 hours 38 minutes 15 seconds.

The next 2 boats home had been involved in a to and fro battle along course. The predominately family crews of The ‘Hollyatts’ (a Quad Sculls crew of Canelle Ulyatt, Kevin Ulyatt, Holly Hannington, Brendon Ulyatt coxed by Felicity Uylatt) and the ‘McSawks’ (a Quad Sculls featuring Emma Sawkins, Emmerline McArdle, Matt McArdle, Alex McArdle with Pete McArdle as Cox) would finish only 32 seconds apart. ‘Hollyatts’ took the bragging rights with a time of 3 hours 46 minutes 04 seconds finishing 61st and ”McSawks’ in 62nd with 3 hours 46 minutes 36 seconds. There was a particularly impressive performance from Alex McArdle believed to be the youngest rower in the event.

Dover RC’s very own band the Ratzkins were racing as ‘Water Ratz’ competing as a sweep four. Chris Wong, Damion Napier, Laine Napier was joined by guest performer and club captain Tony Burrows with Sara Scrivens as the rhythm section. The challenge was made harder with Damion Napier injuring his back during the race. He struggled on to help the team finish in 80th place in a time of 4 hours 06 minutes 24 seconds.
The club would like to thank the coxes Sara Scrivens, Pete McArdle, James Hale, Felicity Ulyatt and Maddy Pleasted without whom Dover could not have fielded so many crews. Thanks, are also due to Jacky Silk for organising Dover’s entries and travel, Tony Burrows for pulling the boat trailer, Folkestone RC for the loan of boats and crew and Herne Bay for the sculling blades, re-enforcing the community aspect of coastal rowing.

Three Dover Crews compete at the 65th South Coast Championship

Dover Rowing Club were in action at the 65th South Coast Championship at Paignton, the annual event where the 3 divisions Coast Amateur Rowing Association (CARA), Hants and Dorset ARA and West of England ARA combine together for the traditional end of season event. The racing was over a 2km straight course across Tor Bay finishing at Paignton Pier. Dover had two crews pre-qualified for the Championships finals with both the Men’s Junior Four and Junior Senior squads being CARA top point scorers in their competitions.

First, on the unusually calm waters, were Sebastian Steele, Finn Cockrell, James Hale, Jasper Mallet coxed by Freya Emmerson in the Junior Championship final. The school boy crew faced experienced local crews from Paignton and Dart Totnes. From the start it was clear the Itchen and Coalporters crews would be the strongest, battling it out for the win with Coalporters victorious. Dover found themselves clear of Shoreham and fighting Paignton and Dart Totnes down the course. Dover finished in 5th having been unable to overhaul the local crew.

The Junior Senior crew of Ben Gomm, Jon Cook, Chris Hall, Tom Stothart coxed by Freya Emmerson got a great start to their Championship race and were comfortably in 3rd and chasing eventual winners BTC and runners up Itchen. At 700m a seat derailed slowing the crew and leading to Bideford and then Plymouth passing them. Bideford moved across the Dover line forcing themr to move to the outside to get a clear run. With the seat reattached Dover were one of the fastest crews in the final 1000m, rapidly closing on the field in a what was a tight race. Dover would pressurise Bideford, and were neck and neck with Plymouth at the line, losing out by less than a canvas, finishing 5th.
Dover Rowing Club are proud of all their rowers this year but there is particular pride in Jon Cook. Cook joined the club wishing to use the rowing machines to help continue his rehabilitation from a serious spinal injury which had left him heavily reliant on using a wheelchair. Over time his dedication and hard work meant the wheelchair become a crutch and the rowing machine, with help from Dover Rowing Club members, became a rowing boat. Cook’s progression to racing, moving from Novice to Junior level before this season then joining Dover’s Junior Senior squad and qualifying for this South Coast Championship, has been inspiring to all within the club.

Nick Bailey raised a composite crew to race in the open 40+ which was coxed by Freya Emmerson. The scratch crew would come home 5th.
Weather permitting members of Dover Rowing Club will be racing at Loch Ness over a 21 miles course on the 17th.