ROWING: Paignton women finish the season on a high at Bideford
Paignton Rowing Club finished the regatta season on a high with two trophies at the 2012 South Coast Championship in Bideford.
The season finale, contested between rowing clubs from along the south coast of England, featured crews from Fowey to Deal.
Racing was spread across two days, with seniors vying for honours on Saturday followed by the juniors on Sunday.
Despite some early morning fog the River Torridge was beautifully flat and provided excellent rowing conditions.
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On an international length course of 2,000m, crews raced under the new bridge, past the brilliant crowds on the quayside to finish just before the old bridge.
Following their impressive season on the local circuit where they won the Novice Championship the women’s coxed four of Amy Plowman (bow), Charlie Martin, Rachel Cooper, Laura Tucker (stroke) and Rachael Tucker (cox) showed that following their promotion to a higher division that not only could the compete there but could also do so against crews from outside the region.
With three out of five to qualify from the heat the women cruised home, taking the win and psychological advantage without even working up a sweat.
Despite a favourable lane draw the final was to be more of a challenge.
As they passed the halfway stage they found themselves three lengths down and in third place but this was where the women made their move.
They increased the rate and power to overtake both crews, turning the deficit on its head within a couple of hundred metres.
They approached the quayside and final 500m in the lead and with the famous Paignton Roar bellowing out support there was to be no catching them.
They pulled further away from the field with every stroke to finish with a mightily impressive seven length lead bringing home the Senior C Open trophy.
The prizes were handed out by Team GB gold medallist Helen Glover and the girls gratefully received Paignton’s first women’s trophy from the Championship in 14 years.
The region’s women dominated the ladies events taking home four of the six trophies on offer.
Congratulations to Castle Dore, Bideford Blues and Greenbank Falmouth who impressively defended their Senior A Championship.
On Sunday attentions turned to the junior rowers where Paignton had two crews entered over the shorter 1000m course.
A WJ14 Quad of Aimee Christee (bow), Abbie Twaites, Jess Middleton, Rosie Nickells (stroke) and Jane Perry (cox) narrowly missed out on a medal by a matter of centimetres when they just ran out of course as the sought to overtake Southampton Coalporters in the closing stages.
Jess Middleton then featured in the penultimate race of the regatta the WJ14 Single.
As joint champion of the event at regional level (alongside George Jones, also of Paignton) expectations were high.
L.Booth a sculler from Christchurch, who was unbeaten in all her regional races gained an early lead with Rebecca Butchart of Plymouth in second.
As per her normal race plan Jess put the pressure at the halfway stage to overhaul first Butchart and then battle Booth for the lead.
Both girls received instructions from the umpire to move apart as they fought for the best water but it was Jess who pulled ahead and then managed to hold off a late surge from Butchart to take a memorable win and Paignton’s first ever junior trophy at the event.
At only 13 years of age she will have the chance to defend it next season in Deal.
A final mention is reserved for the men’s novice crew of Sam Falconer (bow), Pete Scoble, Mike Lister and Rob Harris (stroke) who missed out on a place in the final by a canvas.
However this season belongs to the women who have given the club their best season for several years. If you are interested in joining the club and helping it to build on this success then visit the club's website.