Shanklin Sandown Rowing Club enjoyed an excellent end to the season, with two wins, two second places and some other excellent performances at the South Coast Championships in Swanage.
The South Coast Championships have been the season finale for over fifty years, with the Hants and Dorset joining both Coast Amateur Rowing Association (CARA) and the West of England Amateur Rowing Association (WEARA) to compete in both Championship and Open events, to decede which crews, are the overall south coast champions.
The club arrived with high hopes, having the Mens Junior Four A boat selected to represent the Hants and Dorset in their respective championship race, as well as high hopes for the B boat in the open even. There was also two Ladies Novice Fours entered, a Mens Novice Four and two J16 quads (one boys, one girls).
The clubs first event of the day was the Mens Junior Four Open Heat. The crew of Joe Robertson, Henry Gove, Harry Hopper, Harry Miselbach and cox Anja Bennett went afloat in some tough conditions, with high winds causing choppy seas. After being made to wait for almost an hour, the crew had an excellent heat, in which they took a comfortable win in order to qualify for the afternoons final. In the final, the crew had a slow start but soon got into their stride and were sitting on the tail of the leading Christchurch crew. In the last three hundred, Christchurch looked like they might just hang on, before they crabbed and let the Shanklin boys right back in, with a big push they lads were gaining all the time and crossed the line level with the Christchurch boat. After the officials debated, the victory was agonisingly awarded to Christchurch. The result was still incredible however for the boys, whose form has sky rocketed in the recent weeks.
The clubs next result came in the Mens Novice Fours, where Andrew Swallow, Tom Leaver, Will Allsopp, Sam Mabey and cox Lesley Walters had a fantastic race, coming fifth out of seven in their heat. The result made even more impressive when considering they had rowed together just once in the weeks building up to the event.
The clubs then had their two Ladies Novice crews. The B boat of Dasiy Faithful, Lisa Robertson, Sophie Swallow, Amber Pierce and cox Garry Walters had a slow start but quickly found their rhythm and rowed through Coalporters and Bexhill to take fourth place, very close to qualifying for the final. The A boat managed to win their heat, and in the final, they took an early lead in the race. Disaster almost struck the girls when one of the crew members crabbed, but after a quick recovery and a good row into the finish, Juliette Wrixon, Hannah Cusworth, Amber de Landro, Rebecca Nigh and cox Jaimey Wain were left South Coast Ladies Novice Fours Open champions! The first South Coast win for the club in over a decade!
The club then looked towards the Championship Mens Junior Four crew. It was the first time since 2009 that Shanklin have had a crew selected to represent the Hants and Dorset ARA at the SCC. The crew lined up in the same formation as it had for the BTC victory, with Alex Robertson in the bow, Matt Miselbach in two, Sam Miselbach in three, Joe Murray in the stroke seat and Newports Anja Bennett coxing. They faced CARA, WEARA and H&D champions as they lined up on the start. The crew were the slowest out of the blocks and lost over two lengths on the leading Deal A crew. Despite this, they quickly rowed through Bideford Reds and BTC to gain an overlap on Poole and Deal B by the halfway mark. After catching a big wave, Shanklin rowed hard through Poole and Deal B and straight onto the tails of Deal A. In a final dash for the line, they closed in with every stroke, but just as it looked as though they might do it, Deal A caught a wave to safely take them over the line, just under a length ahead of the Shanklin boys. A result hard to take, considering the close finish, but nevertheless a fantastic result for the guys in a race they had never expected to take part in.
The clubs final race of the day was the boys J16 quad. With members of both Mens Junior crews involved, the boys were looking for some solace after two agonising second places. Joe Robertson, Matt Miselbach, Harry Hopper, Harry MIselbach and cox Alex Robertson took a comfortable second place in the heat to qualify for the final. In the final, they took an early lead and had a strong race throughout the middle of the race. In the closing stages, Deal pushed the boys to the line, but never looked like going through the ultimately dominant Shanklin crew, who took a one length victory. Earning the club their second win of the day.
The regatta was a fanastic showing of the clubs depth in talent, with both Mens and Womens rowing enjoying its fair share of excellent performances. The club may have had further successes, had ther small boats and junior regatta the next not been called off. It was however a great end to the Hants and Dorset season for the club who celebrate two Hants and Dorset championships, one Hants and Dorset representative crew and twenty four race wins across the fourteen regatta.