THE women’s novice eight crew provided a grandstand finish to Bewdley Regatta for the home club by securing a rousing victory at the weekend.

The oar-some eight of Laura Hewitt, Kim Martyn Smith, Rachel Randle, Sally Gittins, Jill Stones, Marissa Jones, Sarah Ray, Cath Allen and cox Richard Ray dived into the River Severn to celebrate winning the novice eight category.

Regatta organiser Simon Collingridge explained the crew had also been working hard over the weekend to help with the popular event’s smooth running, before taking to the boat to race and secure their first silverware.

“I think the highlight of the weekend was our women’s novice eight crew winning,” commented Collingridge.

“We had quite a few wins over the weekend but this one stood out. The girls had been working very hard over the weekend and then they went out and turned on the style on the water.

“It’s a big thing to win your first pots so when they came towards the club every member there gave them a round of applause.”

The event also proved to be popular with clubs across the country, despite other regattas struggling to attract many competitors this year, with 220 crews in action on Saturday and 269 racing the following day. The action was also watched by generous crowds over the weekend.

This was despite a scare on Friday when the River Severn had risen too high.

However, the water levels returned to normal and allowed the racing to go ahead.

Collingridge added: “We had a bit of a scare on the Friday because the river was high.

“But Environmental Services said that it would drop half a metre, which turned out to the perfect height for the event.

“And it all went really well, the weather, apart from a few showers, was lovely and it was particularly stunning on Sunday.

“We had a very good turn out as well. It was up on two years ago and only a little down on 2009’s numbers.

“That’s a really good sign because other clubs have either had to cancel their regattas or continue with low numbers.

“But Bewdley is one they clearly mark down in their calendar as one they would like to attend and that’s every encouraging.”

The host club also savoured more success, when the foursome of Helen Downer, Helen Bargh, Kat Carlyle and Sarah Bastida, coxed by Felicity Gunn, beat Stourport in the final of the intermediate two coxed fours event.

In the Masters Category B event, Serena Gammond, Jane Trickett, Sue Page and Emma Hinton were steered to victory over Northwich by their cox Ali Macrae Gammond.

Bewdley’s men’s masters eight crew, whose average age is 55, were forced to race a young category C crew on Sunday.

Despite the lack of a handicap, the home crew held their lead all the way down the course and beat Loughborough by a half length.

David Merchant, Jon Hinton and Nick Hinton were joined by Paul Carpenter of Ross in their intermediate one coxless four race and rowed to victory over Bridgnorth Rowing Club.

Ashley Pain and Ben Prince defeated Bristol City by three quarters of a length in their final of the intermediate two double sculls.

Richard Jackson of Bewdley teamed up with Jamie Wrafter of Stourport to win in their senior pair against Ross on Saturday.

Bewdley’s men and the women teamed up in the mixed events where they had further successes.

Laura Ray, Jenny Merchant, Ben Prince and Mark Jinks won their straight final of the coxless quads against Gloucester by two lengths.