HEXHAM Rowing Club’s young athletes produced an impressive performance against some of the country’s biggest clubs when they turned out at the British Junior Rowing Championships at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham.

Despite only sending a two-boat squad, the club was rewarded with A and D final placings, putting them amongst the best crews in Britain.

First on to the water was the ever-improving pairing of Hayley Hannant and Lucy Thorpe in the highly-competitive WJ15 2x category.

There were no fewer than 60 crews competing in this event, so the girls had to complete a 1,500 metre rolling start time trial for a place in the semi-finals. The first 12 went through automatically, and they put in an impressive performance to come seventh.

The Hexham girls did not have the best of starts in their semi-final on Sunday morning however, and were sitting last after the first 250 metres. They managed to recover their composure, gaining steadily on the other crews. They came in third, good enough to put them into the A final later in the day.

The weather had been challenging all weekend, with some races cancelled on Saturday due to high winds, heavy rain and thunder and lightning.

The Hexham double again had a slow start, battling against the headwind, but settled to the task and once again powered their way back into contention. Battling against the best junior doubles crews in the country, the girls gave it their all but ran out of water and finished fourth.

However, fourth place out of 60 crews and an A final placing represents a fantastic achievement for the girls, their coach Chloe Slipman and the Hexham club.

The other half of the Hexham squad was the WJ15 2x crew of Gabe Wells-Johnson and Aidan Wright. Gabe had been away during the run-up to the championship, so thanks go to Archie Stewart who had substituted during training sessions.

Gabe and Aidan completed their time trial on Saturday afternoon during the worst conditions.

They managed 20th place out of 41 crews, just one second away from going into the C final. They won the D final, again in challenging weather, with a time which made them 13th out of the entire field. Again, no small achievement for such a small club. Both crews thanked their coach Chloe, who put together their training schedules and ran extra sessions in preparation for the championships.