DESPITE numbers being lower than usual due to the October half term, Queen Elizabeth High School Rowing Club still managed to put out 25 crews in the latest round of the local long distance sculling events and small boats heads.

Each event was held using a time trial format over a distance of 3500m on the River Wansbeck, and attracted keen rowers from the Hexham school.

In the long distance event, QEHS was awarded with the fastest boat over all categories. The crew of Tom Archer, Tom Mawson, Andrew Smith and Ben Wilkinson were one of only two crews to beat the eight-minute barrier as they finished 1.8 seconds ahead of the much-fancied George Watson’s College, of Edinburgh.

The Queen Elizabeth crew was not just the fastest over the morning event, but also recorded the fastest time throughout both morning and afternoon events.

QEHS has not been particularly known for small boat successes so it was slightly unusual when it experienced three double sculls wins over the day.

The first was a win in the J15 age category for Nathan Muse and Daniel Curtis, who train hard in their double scull and are making technical improvements in the unforgiving boat category. Their dedication was rewarded and they were quick to collect their medals seconds after the results were posted.

The second double sculls win came in the J16 girl’s event with a new crew combination of Liv Milburn and Abi Cowley.

These duo are very proficient in other sports, (rugby for Liv and sailing for Abi) but have maintained a determined presence in QEHS rowing.

Their commitment was rewarded, although the other two QEHS crews of Jessie Stith and Rebecca Read and Aimee Mather and Hayley Hannant (Hexham RC) had to yield to a better crew on the day.

The final double scull win came in the afternoon small boats event with Ben Archer and Robbie Collen recording a dominant J15 category result, finishing 25 seconds ahead of second placed composite crew of Tees/ Tyne United and third placed crew Ivor Evans and Joseph Taylor from QEHS.

Queen Elizabeth had several other notable results. In the J16 single sculls event, Ryan Walton came second to Fairholm from Cambois RC but ahead of teammate Lewis Blair.

Also in the small boat event, Tom Archer and Tom Mawson swapped two oars for one as they entered the open pairs event. Archer, a national silver medallist in this category, has had to find a new partner as his silver medallist crewmate Tom Smith is now at York University, and the two Toms were just beaten into second place by 2.3 seconds by the Cheater-le-Street crew of Cleugh and Bowery, who are both GB junior trialists.

One other member from the fastest crew of the day, Ben Wilkinson put up a creditable performance in the J18 single sculls event to come second to another GB trialist, Demyanov of George Watson’s College.

The J16 girls’ coxless quad of Katie Chomse, Grace Manning, Nicole Manning and Liv Milburn were beaten by just a second into second place by St Leonard’s Durham.

A special note must also be made of the six J15 coxed quadruple scull girls’ crews which competed on the day. QEHS entered three crews in each event and the squad rotation currently favoured by coaches and the girls themselves means that one elite crew is not selected but the strength in depth is apparent when the crews finish less than a second apart.