YOUNGSTERS represented the district at the British Rowing Junior Championships in Nottingham.

And the members of Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School Rowing Club made a good account of themselves at the event, which marked the end of the club’s regatta fixtures for the season.

No fewer than 30 rowers took part in 11 boat classes at city’s National Water Sports Centre last Saturday and Sunday. And they excelled, despite competing in rough, sea like conditions with fierce winds, which dominated the second day.

The WJ17 coxless quad of Ellen Stith, Emily James, Liv Holtham and Susie Oliver competed in the WJ18 event, and negotiated their way through both time trial and semi-final, before performing well in the 2000m B final.

The QEHS J15 twins Nicole and Grace Manning, and the J16 composite of Eve Tancsik and Charlotte Payne also impressed.

The Manning twins were third in the B final, receiving praise on their rowing technique from the race commentator, while the composite crew were fifth in their final.

With conditions worsening, the J18 coxless four of Tom Archer, Tom Smith, Tom Mawson and Abe Parkin were fourth in their semi-final, and led the final for 1,800m before losing out to Thames RC.

The composite J16 Pair of Andrew Smith and Dan Coleman also progressed to the finals, and brought QEHS supports to their feet as they rowed from fourth place to pass a Worcester boat, and come within half a length of catching Aberdeen SRA in second place.

The ever improving Dan Jones, rowing in the J16 single sculls, had 47 rowers in his event with many of his competitors already on the GB performance pathway.

Despite his lack of experience in extreme conditions, his time trial performance earned him 12th position and automatic progression to the finals.

After securing fifth position in a tough semi-final, he progressed to the B final. A great start saw him competing for the lead up to 500m, before the Stratford and Tideway scullers began to create clear water from the rest of the field. Dan achieved clear water between himself and Trent and Burton Leander, before finishing a creditable third in the B final, and ninth overall in his first national single sculls event.

Injury saw a late change to the WJ15 coxed quad of Rebecca Read, Jessie Stith, Abi Cowley, Grace Wilson, and cox Lucy Stith. Grace had to drop out and was replaced by Harriet Hobrough.

The crew only had only one previous outing together, and the conditions slightly got the better of them. Their time trial performance would have placed them in the E final, but as the overall event was running so far behind time due to the weather, the minor finals E and F were cancelled.

The J15 boys coxed four of Lewis Blair, Ryan Walton, Ridley Mitchell, and Oscar Knapp, coxed by Ciaran Ball, also competed, and with no J15 event, they raced up a year and entered the J16 category.

They made it through to the final, finishing 10th overall and gaining valuable experience of multi lane racing in extreme weather.

Ben Wilkinson entered the J18 single sculls event, and had a long wait to start his time trial. He witnessed two scullers capsize, and for the first 500m his main priority was to remain upright.

The WJ15 doubles of Aimee Mather and Freya Powell, Liv Milburn with Eve Smith, also endured dreadful weather, with high winds, before boating was suspended for safety reasons.

There were no medals this time for QEHS, but coaches were proud of the way the rowers met the challenging conditions.

The exemplary behaviour of QEHS rowers and opportunity to organise and support each other at a big national event demonstrated that there are far more benefits to involvement in sport than winning.

The Shepherds at Stragglethorpe accommodated the full QEHS team for evening meals on Saturday and Sunday evening.

QEHS Rowing Club are running Learn to Row courses during the summer holidays for children already at QEHS or about to join the school in September.

Courses start on Sunday, August 11. Contact Pauline Higgins on (01434) 230687 for information.