THE district’s rowing clubs are preparing for the start of the regatta season, and Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth Rowing Club hosted their annual club regatta and barbecue.

No fewer than 12 teams of six rowers took to the water at Tyne Green, and went head-to-head in four separate competitions, with the main attraction being the 400m side-by-side regatta.

The winning team was made up of Tom Mawson, Eve Tancsik, Nicole Manning, Nathan Muse and Millie Yorke.

There was also a rowing machine challenge and a quiz, while teams were also tasked with rowing the club’s new octuple boats.

The day co-incided with former QEHS rower Nick Ryan competing for Oxford University in the Lightweight Boat Race against Cambridge, on the Thames Tideway in London, with club members watching a live stream of Oxford’s victory.

Following the club regatta, QEHS rowers made an impressive start to their regatta season with six wins at the first local regatta hosted by Chester le Street Rowing Club.

In the J16 single sculls, Dan Jones defeated northern champion Ben Norman, of Talkin Tarn, in the first round.

After an initial dead heat, they returned to the start for a re-row. Another close encounter followed, and the umpire ruled that QEHS had won by one foot.

Dan’s final was another close race, this time against Mackinnon, of Loch Lomond, with Dan the verdict by less than a metre.

Other outstanding first place performances came from Tom Archer and Tom Smith in the J18 doubles; Tom Archer, Tom Smith, Tom Mawson and Abe Parkin in the J18 coxless quad event; Tom Mawson and Abe Parkin in the J18 coxless pairs; and Jacob Smith, Fin Howard, Oscar Knapp and Ridley Mitchell rowing up an age group and racing coxless in the J16 coxless quad event.

For the J14 rowers it was their first fully competitive experience of side-by-side racing. With a total of six QEHS J14 quads entered, the girls’ quad of Hannah Bowman, Hannah Forster, Stephanie Ellison, and Emily Hale, coxed by Ivor Evans, reached the semi-finals, where they lost to Durham.

The two QEHS boys quads reached their finals, and enjoyed success.

It was the crew of Christian Ryan, Robert Collen, Joseph Taylor, Ben Archer coxed by Ned Gibbard, who got the better of their clubmates Lucas Ord-Wilson, Ben Carter, Nathan Muse, and Daniel Curtis, coxed by Ben Ryrie.

Hexham Rowing Club have also been preparing for the star of the regatta season. Read about their winter programme, working alongside fitness guru Eddy Thompson, in next week’s Courant.