The South Coast Rowing Championship Regatta

Image of the South Coast Championships

Wimbleball Lake, situated in the middle of the picturesque Exmoor National Park in Somerset, was the venue for the 54th South Coast Rowing Championships which took place on 11th September.  Clubs representing the three participating Associations from the Coast, Hants + Dorset and West of England regions all took part.

The annual event was hosted by the Wimbleball Rowing Club for the very first time in its history and involved clubs from all along the South Coast from the likes of Herne Bay in Kent right down to Falmouth in the south west of Cornwall.

It was the first time that these championships have been held at the location and much of the organisation was down to the hard working efforts of a small band of workers from the small Wimbleball club led by Steve and Andrea Worley.

Although conditions were somewhat overcast at the start of the days
racing, the weather improved steadily, with crews
enjoying ideal water over the 1000 and 2000 metre buoyed courses laid
down especially for the days racing.

One highlight of men’s racing saw the BTC Southampton crew of Wes Grominak, Ben Goodridge, Matt Bailey and Simon Bailey take the honours in the Senior A fours. They claimed the much sought after Bideford Bowl trophy from Ed Coode MBE at the end of the days racing.

Southampton and hot pre-race favourites from Bexhill were level with 500 metres to go, but a final burst over the closing stages by BTC left the Sussex club unable to respond who eventually conceded defeat by one length.  There was a similar type of race in the corresponding Ladies Senior A event, where both Greenbank Falmouth and Southampton Coalporters were locked together at the front of the remainder of the field. The Southampton crew had the strongest finish to cross the line with a one length verdict.

The Coalies crew have dominated the H & D and the South Coast for several seasons with Sil Wallach and Sarah Inskip who have been the mainstay of the squad for many seasons, Caragh McMurtry who joined the club as a Project Oarsome  junior and is a Junior European Championship gold medallist, together with Liz Cruse who has progressed from novice to senior champion in just 2 seasons.  Such is the strength in depth at the Coalporters club that their B crew also took the top spot in the corresponding open race

The Hants and Dorset region also provided the winners of the men’s Junior/Senior and Veteran over 40 races, together with the Ladies Junior event, whilst the West of England, through the efforts of the Dart Totnes youngsters, took their solitary victory in the men’s Junior fours.  Leading for most of the race were the Dart Totnes four of Steve Clarke, James Lovering, Sam Pettitt and Meyrick Tooley were put under pressure during the closing stages by both Bexhill and Christchurch, and survived an appeal by the Christchurch crew.

Leading Results – Championship Events

Men’s Races:
Senior A coxed fours:  BTC Southampton  2 Bexhill  3 Southampton Coalporters 
Junior/ Senior coxed fours:   1 Southampton Coalporters  2  Exmouth  3 Poole
Junior coxed fours:  Dart Totnes   2  Christchurch  3  Bexhill
Veteran (Over 40) coxed fours: 1 BTC Southampton  2 Christchurch   3  Eastbourne

Ladies Races :
Senior A coxed fours:  1 Southampton Coalporters  2 Greenbank Falmouth   3 Worthing
Junior coxed fours:  1 Lymington  2 Bexhill  3  Exeter

Open Events:

Men’s Races:
Senior A coxed fours:  1 Itchen Imperial  2 Christchurch   3 Ryde
Junior/ Senior coxed fours:   1 Westover and Bournemouth  2 Newport (Isle of Wight)
Junior coxed fours:  1  Southampton ARC  2 Itchen Imperial  3 Christchurch
Veteran (Over 40) coxed fours: 1  Poole / BTC  2 Bexhill  3 Bideford Reds / Blues

Ladies Races:
Senior A coxed fours:  1 Southampton Coalporters  2 Exeter  3 Christchurch
Junior ladies:  1 Christchurch  2 Bideford Blues  3 Shoreham

In addition to the main championship races there was also a full programme of junior races which were held on the Saturday morning and featured a comprehensive series of races over the shorter 1000 metre course for Junior 13’s right up to those at Junior 18 level.

This is the 5th year that a separate Junior Regatta has been included as part of the main Championships and has now become integral part of the day racing, with participation increasing on an annual basis.