Gold, Gold for Talkin Tarn Rowers
The rowers of Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing club are right in the
peak of the “Regatta Season” at this time of year, with events every weekend,
and some major ones at that.
Hexham Regatta was held on 1st June, at Tyne Green,
just above the bridge into the town. This is two lane racing on a relatively
narrow part of the River Tyne, with the finish pretty close to a weir
underneath the bridge to catch out the unwary… After the rains of the last few
weeks, the river had quite a lively flow, but luckily the racing was
downstream. The current both aided and hindered, as in places the flow can take
boats off course into the trees, as some of us found out!
Talkin Tarn entered several crews in all categories with some
fierce battles through quarter and semi-finals. Masters coxless quad crew of Jon Britton, Alan
Cook, Dudley Smith and Dave Harte won the semi-final against home crew Hexham,
then went on to beat Lakeland Rowing Club in the final by an easy 3 lengths.
Then the women’s Masters coxless quad of Hannah Rigby, Katie Robinson, Linda
Watson and Gill Houston won their semi-final against Lakeland, and then charged
on to beat a Tyne United crew in the final.
The weekend after was supposed to be the prestigious Durham
Regatta; this event is known as the “Henley of the North” and is a last hurrah
for many college crews before they go down for the summer. Unfortunately, the
rain on the Pennines in the days before flowed down, and the River Wear rose
dramatically making it unsafe to row on both Saturday and Sunday, so the whole
event reluctantly had to be cancelled.
Last weekend however was one of the pinnacles that we all
train for – the British Rowing Masters Championships. This is usually held at
the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, but occasionally moves around
the country, so this year was held at the Scottish equivalent, Strathclyde Park
just south of Glasgow. Relatively convenient for Talkin Tarn, but impressive to
see so many crews travelling from distances such as London, Devon &
Cornwall. In all 444 crews from 81 rowing clubs took part.
Strathclyde Park is a purpose-built facility, which held the
Commonwealth Games in 2014. The course has 8 straight buoyed lanes over 2000m,
but luckily for the Masters (rowers over the age of 27) there is an
intermediate start at 1000m. The venue does have a reputation for weather, and
this weekend was no exception, with tricky cross winds on the Saturday, and
heavy rain and even a short thunderstorm on the Sunday.
Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club entered 11 crews in women’s
single scull, women’s & men’s double scull, women’s quad scull and four and
men’s quad scull and four, so were competing throughout both days. All crews
put up a good fight against some serious competition in sometimes challenging
conditions, but one group of ladies came out on top.
The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Hannah Rigby, Katie
Robinson, Linda Watson & Gill Houston have trained together 4-5 times a
week over the winter, and this really paid off with the stamina to complete
these hard races. In the women’s quad event on Saturday, they were in a 4-boat
final with a very close finish – gaining their first ever Gold at Masters by
squeezing a second ahead of Eton Excelsior, with Tees just a second behind
them. On the Sunday, they were able to enter the same type of boat in a
“non-championship” race, this was close competition all the way with Cambois
and Warrington crews, but Tarn powering on in the last 250m to take a second
Gold by 4 seconds.