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.