Charity no 1161250
Charity no  1161250 Water Row, Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne NE158NL
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Rutherford Head rerun rerun great success

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Part of a Tyne/Hexham composite  W.IM3.4x-, who won their class

On Saturday 31 January the Tyne upriver from Scotswood at last saw the running of the Rutherford Head over a 4.5km (3 mile approx) course. This is usually Tyne Amateur Rowing Club’s largest event of the year with maybe 130 boats racing both morning and afternoon.
 
But high winds and flood water had seen two previous attempts from running, in December and the day before. So it was a depleted field of 48 crews in the morning and 60 in the afternoon that finally got under way. But to compensate the weather was beautiful, with sun and almost mirror calm waters in the early morning and little wind all day.
 
The event normally attracts top crews from north eastern and Scottish universities, lots of Durham University colleges trying out their established and novice rowers, and clubs from all over the region and again Scotland. Although limited to older junior (16-18 year olds) rowers, there was a good turnout from schools too, including Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association.
 
In the past Newcastle and Durham Universities have fought for top honours, but Edinburgh University has become increasingly competitive over recent years. This year Durham could not field all their best boats due to the changes in date, so the premier men’s event in the morning Division 1, the Elite open eights, was a three way fight between Newcastle A and B crews and Edinburgh.
 
Newcastle B crew won this tussle in a time of 15 minutes 25 seconds, about 20 seconds ahead of their A team and 32 seconds ahead of Edinburgh. There was clearly some thinking to do in the Newcastle camp afterwards, with the B crew winning! Other fast eights in lower categories came from Durham and Edinburgh Universities and two excellent rows from Agecroft Rowing Club (from Salford). St John’s College won the pennant for the fastest Durham Colleges open eight.
 
In Division 1 the women’s crews generally rowed in boats for four people. Fastest was a Newcastle University Elite coxless quad in 18:27 and their coxed four won the pennant for that class (the iconic type of boat for racing, if you go back far enough). The home team of Tyne (rowing with a Hexham crew member) had a good win in the women’s IM3 coxless quad category with five competing.
 
Over lunch the crews made good use of Tyne’s brand new clubhouse with its large social areas and hard-working kitchen, staffed (as with everything else) by willing volunteers. The weather held up and for Division 2 the women’s eights and men’s quads and fours got on the water. Edinburgh University were fasted overall and took first blood as their Elite men’s coxless quad beat their Newcastle University opponents in 15:52. Fastest women’s eight (though with no direct opposition) was Newcastle University in 16:57.
 
Edinburgh University women won the Novice eights and Hatfield College the pennant for fastest Durham College women’s eight. Another notable academic win was for Northumbria University in the men’s Novice coxed fours. Other good wins came from Agecroft, Durham Amateur Rowing Club, Tees Rowing Club and Tyne United Rowing Club (whose home is opposite Tyne’s, on the south bank of the river).
 
Overall Tyne was very pleased with the day and event secretary, Colin Percy, said “This was a great day in our club’s history, being the first event run from our brand new clubhouse here at Newburn. Numbers were down, but those who came enjoyed themselves hugely. We look forward to our next organisational challenge with the BUCS Head * on 20/21 February.”
 
* BUCS stands for British Universities & Colleges Sport – for BUCS Head event details go to
www.bucs.org.uk and search for ‘4s and 8s Head’ nearer the time.
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