Bann Rowing Club’s next generation of young stars have been put to the test in the latest set of three Heads of the River races, and the great news is that Bann’s rowing legacy is being carried forward with good style.
The Lagan Head of the River races provided the first contest of the 2013 season and for the first time in many years Bann put out no less than three big racing eights. The Bann men’s veteran crew raced the course very well, coxed brilliantly by Trudy Strahan, and defeated a useful Portadown crew. Ladies coach, Geoff. Bones, was pleased with his Intermediate crews in both the coxed fours and the racing eight categories, giving some of his development squad the opportunity to race for the first time with Club Internationals Emily Hutchinson and Brook Edgar.
The men’s junior section saw not only stylish wins for the men’s J15 coxed quad, but also the men’s J16 eight. John Gordon added to his reputation and showed excellent fitness, strength and technique when winning the MJ18 sculls. Former Irish Champions James McAfee and Conor Logan raced to second place in their debut as an Intermediate pair. The Pairs category is where the Bann Club have established a tremendous reputation, currently being both the Irish WJ18 and mens Senior pairs champions, plus the recent World Level accomplishments of Joel Cassells and Christopher Black and their coach Seamus Reynolds.
The next week saw the Bann Club winning the MJ16 eight and the Senior pairs down in Carrick on Shannon. This encouraging win for McAfee and Logan in the senior pairs was the first Bann win at Senior level, since the Cassells and Black pair, aged just 18, won the 2012 Senior Irish Champs. Experienced Bann sculler David Whorisky raced exceptionally well and the Club made the long journey home very content with their two excellent pennants.
The following weekend was the trip to Enniskillen for the Erne Head races. Again the Bann Club raced three eights, and their men’s veteran crew showed great technical improvement in finishing well over halfway up the list in their category. The Bann ladies, boosted by the welcome return of Sarah Allen, went one better defeating Queens to win the Ladies Intermediate eights, with a young, developing crew which showed some real power and excellent Bann technique.
Bann men’s J16 eight completed their hat-trick of wins in the eights category to the delight of the whole club. Coach Jeremy Johnston said that he was taking nothing for-granted and that it had been a good start to the season from the entire squad. Everyone was competing for their places in the Craig Cup crew and that loads more hard training awaited everyone in preparation for the forthcoming Regatta season.
Bann Club captain Keith Leighton said that he was pleased that the conveyer belt at Bann, in managing, inspiring and training young rowers towards future glories, remained unstoppable. He concluded that this legacy was continuing, thanks to the help and support of all the willing volunteers at Bann Rowing Club.