Local crews top of rowing event

2007-12-10 00:00

WO local crews raced on the Kowie River in Port Alfred on Sunday as the first half of the school rowing season drew to a close.

Rowing in the Old Mutual South African Schools’ Boat Race, Hilton College were able to take top honours in the first final, as their eight defeated the Midlands Rowing Club crew, made up of oarsmen from Howick High School and St Charles College.

The Hilton crew — captain Michael Wellbeloved, Andrew Wishart, Kyle Fyvie, Cameron Crouser, Jake Singer, Jos Singer, Tyler Bairstow, Luke Rattray and coxswain Chris Pappas — led a crew from Somerset College of the Western Cape by at least 10 boat lengths, as they finished the 6,4-kilometre course.

Somerset, in turn, led the Midlands rowers — Andrew Hayworth, Rodderick Ritter, Andrew Gebers, Darryn Grantham, Ryan Fourie, Warren

Little, Matthew Harrison, Tim

Freese and coxswain Logan Scott-Barnes — by about five boat lengths at the line.

Earlier in the race, the Midlands crew were involved in the kind of controversy that makes the boat race a special event in the school rowing calendar.

Nearing the halfway point and jockeying for position on the river course with Somerset, the local oarsmen clashed blades with their Cape opponents.

One of the Somerset rowers lost his oar in the clash and, as the rules permit, leapt from the boat into

the muddy river water to avoid penalising his crewmates with his weight.

The race was restarted at that point, but after a strong start by the Midlands boys, they began to lose ground to the Cape crew.

The boys’ A final was won by St Benedict’s College of Gauteng as they outrowed St Andrew’s College of Grahamstown by about four boat lengths.

The girls’ A final, raced in quad sculls, was won by St Mary’s School in defeating Holy Rosary, both of Gauteng, by a similar margin.

Local school rowing will resume in January.

A training course for rowing coaches is scheduled for the first week of the new year. The first local school regatta is scheduled for January 26.

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