Burton Leander, Masters of Rowing

On Sunday 13th June, crews from Burton Leander’s masters squads made the short trip to Holme Pierrepont’s National Watersports Centre near Nottingham to battle it out against the best of the UKs over 27 age group rowers in the British Rowing Masters Championship. Competing in 6 events over the 2-day event, the men’s and women’s squads were represented in doubles, quads, fours and eights.

Saturday’s racing saw newly formed double scull of Lizi Hunt and Barbara Delaney take to the water in the Women’s Masters A double sculls category. Unfortunately the poor weather was unrelenting all day and the double faced cross-winds and heavy rain. Despite the weather, the ladies made their mark on the race early on, dominating the field by 250 meters in. Thanks to their solid fitness base, they were able to set a high stroke rate all the way down the course, leaving their closest opponent over 3 lengths behind securing Burton Leander’s first Gold medal placing of the event.

Representing the Men’s squad, Simon Ludlow, Gareth Kirby, Paul Newman and Paul Smith took part in the Masters C quadruple sculls. The Burton crew faced tough opposition from Bewl Bridge, Cristchurch and Monmouth Rowing Clubs and unfortunately missed out on a medal position in the final. Kirby then partnered with club mate Peter Westwood to contend for the Mens Masters C double scull honours. A strong performance in the eliminator heat put them through to the final, where they missed out on a medal position by twelve seconds. Competing in the most senior event for Burton Leander’s squads, the Masters D single sculls, Louis Pinchbeck missed out on a place in the final to a strong field of scullers in two elimination races.

The ladies squad were represented in a further four events on Sunday. First to race were club captain Sam Shorthose and Kat Delaney in the Women’s Masters A pair. The experienced Burton ladies have competed together throughout the season and had their sights on a Gold Medal after doing well in previous regattas. Not to disappoint, the ladies had a strong solid start and opened up an early lead which their opponents were unable to close during the 1000m race. They took Gold ahead of crews from Gloucester and Bristol who took the silver and bronze positions respectively.

Next up were the Ladies Intermediate 3 quad of Sarah Elson, Katie Walker, Lizi Hunt and Laura Hunt, in what was expected to be one of the toughest races of the day against some strong London-based clubs. The race was well fought out amongst all six finalists, with everything still up for grabs over the closing 250 meters. The Burton girls put in a strong push and managed to move away from three opposing crews, opening up over a length lead. They battled side by side with Bradford Rowing club for the Bronze and Silver medal position, narrowly missing out on Silver by only one hundredth of a second.

The six ladies then joined club-mates Hollie Smith and Barbara Delaney in the Womens 8’s event, coxed by coach Paolo Iorio. In another thrilling stroke-for-stroke race, they narrowly lost out on a medal to Oxford Academic rowing club who managed to pull out a one second lead over the final hundred meters.

This is an excellent performance for the Burton club who last year came away with bronze medals for two crews. Club Chairman, Bob McDonald said “this is an absolute highlight for Burton Leander to have come away with 2 gold and one bronze medal at a national level competition. It’s wonderful to see that the over 27 age group are thriving and that we have some great coaches and a great squad whose hard work and commitment have all paid off this year.”

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