The domination of under-16 boys' events by the Invercargill Rowing Club and the return of school-aged rowers to competition in the Riverton Rowing Club colours were features of the Lake Dunstan Regatta, hosted by the Southland Rowing Association on Lake Dunstan at the weekend.
The Riverton Rowing Club has boasted several national masters' titles and indoor ergometer record holders over the last three years and can now add a novice title. The crew of Jack Mennie, Jacob Brown, Nic Cleaver, Caine Anderson, coxed by Faye Brinsdon, won the only heat and straight final of the novice men's quadruple sculls on Lake Dunstan on Saturday.
This result will be a small return for the efforts of the club's masters members who have worked hard to see a return of the sport to Riverton harbour.
The regatta commenced in near perfect conditions on Saturday morning but was postponed mid-afternoon to be held over an early start on Sunday. With a 7am start awakening some rowers, only a few races were fitted in before the gusty conditions forced a hold to the regatta.
With the final for the U-16 boys' single falling within the cancelled events in Sunday's programme, Invercargill Rowing Club's Rowan Haveron, Cameron Perkins and Blake Green rowed to first, second and third in heat one of the under-16 age group single.
These boys will have to wait until this weekend's Legion Regatta to go head-to-head with their club mates and beat two second and third place-getters Dylan Milford and Scott Radka. This coming weekend's regatta on the Oreti River will be a prime opportunity for the boys to determine who may have come out on top if a final had been held at Lake Dunstan.
It comes as no surprise that the well-performing Haveron, Milford, Radka and Thomas Elder combined with coxswain Matthew Milford to win the U-16 men's quad also. Two further Invercargill quads in the event placed third and fourth and an eight selected from these crews, including Haveron, Green, Milford, Radka, Brodie Crooks, Scott Pulley, Riley Chilton and Thomas Elder, again coxed by Matthew Milford, took out the men's club eight in the first race on Sunday morning.
This is an exciting result for the second year rowers.
The Invercargill club's girls' squad also chimed in with a streets-ahead win in the novice women's eight. With experienced coxswain Katrina Allen in charge, the crew of Hannah Lilley, Charlotte Whitaker, Nakita Tupoutoa, Moira MacDonald, Nicole Chalmers, Jennifer Baker, Lily Vanzduivenvoorde and Rosie Finn, coached by Joseph Findley, took a four-length win over Columba College and Oamaru Rowing Club crews in fine style for novice rowers.
Waihopai Rowing Club's senior squad continued to show the rewards of hard work, with Scott Barnsdale holding off a fast finishing Simon Smith, of Dunstan Arm Rowing Club, in the heat of the open men's single to ensure the early season honours remain within the club.
The men's squad, including Scott Jones, Barnsdale, Hayden Kerr, Guy Redpath, Tim Yaxley, Ben McLeod, Josh Hayes, Adam Carter and Tom Jenkins managed to win the open eight, open quad, open pair, U-18 double and U-18 quad from various selections within the squad.
The Waihopai women's squad had wins in the open and club eights and quads. Although there was some surprise with both classes started in the same race and the club eight selection winning over the more fancied open eight selection.
The Legion Regatta on the Oreti River this Saturday will enable these crews to further tune up their race plans ahead of the Otago championships, which are being held on December 15-16 at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel.
- The Southland Times