HEXHAM Rowing Club once again were medal laden as they returned from a successful GB National Masters Regatta.
Three gold medals and a bronze capped a great weekend for the small Tyne Green club, their members making their marks against rowers from much larger establishments.
A particular highlight for Hexham came courtesy of non-championship single sculler Sue Burn, who was up against more experienced and accomplished rowers.
Her determination in the unsettling weather conditions shone through and she established an early lead, which she maintained with steady sculling while her opponents panicked. She held her nerve to take the title, an extraordinary feat for a supposed underdog.
Hexham’s mixed double of Kevin Oates and Catherine Bowman enjoyed a great weekend of racing too, leaving Holme Pierrepont, in Nottingham, with two medals.
They started with bronze in the mixed championship double, coming in third from their outside lane in North Sea conditions.
Joined by Berwick Rowing Club members Ian Black and Hilary Cairns, the team made a composite crew for the mixed championship quad and they beat all comers to take gold, winning a tight final by just a few strokes.
Completing the medal haul for Hexham was the men’s non-championship double of Graeme Wilson and Steve Ludman, taking their position on the start line in the ever-increasing waves.
There was no need to worry, though, as the crew jumped the start and grabbed an early lead which they consolidated as they breezed to the title.
But such was the poor weather of the weekend, the remaining races in the regatta were cancelled which denied Hexham’s men’s and women’s quads time on the water.
The winning crews were joined at the event by a number of their Hexham teammates, who performed well but were unable to clinch medals.
In action were Stuart Mullan, Barney Hawkins, Ben Haywood-Smith, Simon Aitkenhead, Elizabeth Waterman, Frances Fewster, Fiona Stephenson, Nat Geer, John Young, Bruce Howorth, Beverly Beatrice and Linz Charlton.
l The regatta classifications had changed from previous years, in which Hexham had been hugely successful. Last year, they won six gold and two silver medals.
The novice and intermediate classes had been rolled into one, meaning crews could now compete at non-championship level as a secondary category to the full open championship events.
Any rower who had previously won a gold championship or intermediate medal, however, was excluded from the non-championship events. As a result of past success, this ruled many of the Hexham squad out of the non-championship classes.