Waihopai club maintains supremacy

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012

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Waihopai Rowing Club's prowess in the open, club and under-18 age groups provided the edge over the Riverton and Invercargill Rowing Clubs at the Legion Regatta in the Oreti River on Saturday.

The Riverton Rowing Club won a handful of titles, including men's masters single winner Mark Day, who was fresh from the velodrome the night before.

Again, Riverton showed that the new tricks their old dogs have been learning are rubbing off on the young pups, with Jack Mennie, Jacob Brown, James Anderson, Sam Wallace, Caine Anderson, Nic Cleaver, Robbie Grove and Hunter Dawson showing the way in the men's novice eights and under-15 quads.

The Riverton club's 17 crews finished with a creditable 68 points overall for the regatta, a figure likely to grow with further development and kilometres under the belts of the club's new rowers.

With two of Invercargill Rowing Club's under-16 crews "rowing up" a level in the under-18 double age group, it was left to Cameron Perkins and Henry Deuchrass and clubmates, Blake Green, Brodie Crooks and Scott Pulley and Riley Chilton to fight out for the title of best of the young guns in the under-16 double.

Perkins and Deuchrass took the opportunity to hold the honour for now. Club compatriots and last week's Lake Dunstan under-16 double winners Rowan Haveron and Dylan Milford, fared well in the under-18 class, but couldn't hold Waihopai Rowing Club's time-toughened combination of Adam Carter and Tim Yaxley. Invercargill Rowing Club finished with a rewarding 127 points overall for its 41 entries in the regatta.

From that stage of the regatta programme onwards, there was little resistance to Waihopai's growing hold on Oreti River rowing supremacy.

Waihopai's 61 crew combinations at the Legion Regatta united to take away a hefty 213 points across a range of age groups and events.

Most heartening to see was the club's red, white and green colours taking top honours in women's novice, under-15 and under-16 events, with the Russell Everett coached squad of Rianna Maxwell, Kerri-Ann Sinclair, Georgia Smith and Maia Heggerty winning the under-15 quad. Townshend also went on to win the under-16 women's single, and Smith and Sinclair combined to win the first division women's novice double.

Waihopai's open and club combinations continued to lead from the front, with Scott Barnsdale and Hayden Kerr again, individually and together, winning the single, pair, double, quad and four titles.

Bragging rights may have been handed to Kerr after the club combination he was part of, incorporating Scott Jones, Tom Jenkins, Guy Redpath, Ben McLeod, Yaxley, Carter and Josh Hayes overtook and beat the combined experienced open eight composition of Barnsdale, Doug Hall, Dougal MacDonald, Shane Tinnock, Russell Jenkins, Heather Livesey, Kristen Froude and Nick Shields.

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The Legion of Rowers, a nonprofit organisation set up 54 years ago to foster rowing in the south and made up of Southland's patrons, masters and anyone interested in the sport, took the time after the last race of the day to award the past season's top points scorers with trophies and mementoes for the club's overall efforts in the 2011-12 season.

It was noted that many of those awarded for their efforts in the open and club categories are no longer competing in the sport locally, with some moving on to higher regional levels and others taking time away from the sport, though it is evident that the lack of the open level and aged rowers is balanced out by the influx clubs have seen at novice and younger age-group levels in the past year.

- The Southland Times

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