Rowers needed for boat race challenge

THE two competing teams in Waveney Valley’s very own version of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race are readying themselves to take to the water once again.

The Beccles versus Bungay boat race will be run for its fourth year on a 1,000-metre course on the River Waveney this April, and Beccles Rowing Club (BRC) are looking for two teams of four adults – male or female – from the areas surrounding Bungay and Beccles to take part.

The crews do not need any previous rowing experience and coaching will start from the last Sunday in January, through to April, as BRC captain Mark Taylor – who had not rowed before the first race in 2007 – explained: “I was a complete novice when I first did this and now I am club captain and have stuck with rowing.

“A lot of our members are people who used to play sport before, like football, and are now too old or have a few too many injuries.

“It is a nice way to get back into sport and it’s fun to be out on the water as well. It’s quite addictive.

“We’re looking for anyone who is interested of any age, really, but above 16, I suppose, as they need to be fairly strong.

“But we have a young lad who is 10 who will hopefully be the cox for one of the crews this year and our oldest member is in his 80s; so it really is for anyone who fancies giving it a go.

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“Everyone who takes part in the race gets an enormous sense of achievement and it is surprising how quickly a group of complete novices can get a boat moving.”

The boat race has survived from the Beccles and Bungay Challenge events that were set-up with the backing of the Beccles and Bungay Journal in 2004 and ended in 2008. It provided some good fun for people from both towns and Mr Taylor is hoping that the boat race can help to keep some of that light-hearted rivalry alive.

“The race started a few years ago with the Beccles and Bungay Challenge that was a bit of fun with things like tiddlywinks against each other,” he added.

“The crews come together and then are split up really. I live in Ringsfield and got put on the Beccles team, so most of us know each other and there is a good bit of rivalry there.

“What we are also hoping is that, if this goes well this year, then hopefully we can get a schools race going between a Bungay and Beccles school as well.”

Training sessions will be run on Sunday mornings and the times will be confirmed once the crews have been allocated coaches.

Anyone interesting in getting involved with the boat race please call Mark Taylor on 01502 710794 for more information.