MONMOUTH Rowing Club members made the short trip up the Wye to Hereford Regatta as the 149-year-old event made its reappearance on the calendar after a three-year absence.
The historic regatta is thought to be the first one Monmouth RC attended, back in 1931, two years after the club’s foundation.
And after a troubled last 10 years saw the city event buffeted by floods and falling entries, with five events cancelled since 2006, this year’s date switch from early August to June looks finally to have done the trick of re-establishing the regatta, as nearly 300 boats from 25 clubs launched out over two days of racing in the shadow of Hereford Cathedral.
Monmouth RC rowers certainly made a splash, taking nine wins over the weekend.
On the water, club juniors Aaron Davies and James Allott, coached by John Jenkins and Chris Cowburn, took pride of place with three event victories in their double scull.
The duo, who only took up rowing last year, took the under-16 title by a length from Evesham over the 1,000m course on day one.
And the next day, in brilliant sunshine, they repeated the trick in the 500m sprint regatta, this time by 1 and 3/4 lengths from Wycliffe College, and also added the under-17 title, winning a close-run final by half a length from City of Bristol.
Rory Freeman, 17, also doubled up on day two, taking the Intermediate 3 sprint singles final by four lengths from his Evesham opponent, and the higher status IM2 title by a much closer half a length from another sculler from the same River Avon club.
Monmouth RC’s veteran men’s rowers were also on song, with four victories over the 1,000m course as they warmed up for the British Masters Championships in Nottingham.
The eight of James Allison, Eric Froggatt, Paul Bezani, Lenny Colling, Simon Lee, Mark Stewart-Woods, Steve Randell, stroke Laurence Morgan and cox Kathryn Lewis started their veteran final with a three length handicap against final opponents Bewdley, but overhauled them by halfway and came home to win by the same margin.
In the Masters coxless fours, again Allison, Colling, Morgan and Froggatt also overcame a giant handicap to beat Guildford by one length, while the coxed fours final was an all-Monmouth RC affair, as Randell, Colling, Stewart-Woods, Lee and cox Kathryn Lewis beat their four clubmates by two lengths.
Not to be outdone, Huw Williams, Harry Beech, Scott Hazeldine, Peter Scott, John Benson, Colin Lewis, Peter Kelsall, Paul Bezani and cox Kathryn Lewis landed the Masters F8s (average age 60+) by just half a length from Bristol Ariel.