Dan Clarke, the captain of St Neots Dragon Boat team, has welcomed the competition that will come with the formation of a new club in town, the breakaway Cambridgeshire Royals.
The Royals, who are so-called because of the county’s connection to the royal family, will be only the second dragon boat team in East Anglia after it was formed by 12 members of the first club in April.
The chairman of the Royals, Brian Samuel, said: “There has up until now only been one team in East Anglia and in order that we can grow and promote the sport in this region we started up this new club.
“I am very excited to be part of the Cambridgeshire Royals. I have never been involved in a club that has so many members which are so passionate about their sport.
“The club is growing fast and I am happy to say that the new members that we have already recruited have been openly welcomed, which is testament to the enthusiasm and friendliness that surrounds this club.”
The Royals are based at St Neots Marina in Eynesbury and are now actively recruiting members to add to their already growing team. Thirty members have already signed up.
Kitted out in Cambridgeshire blue, the Royals are members of the British Dragon Boating Association and are planning to make their competition debut at the BDA race being hosted by the original St Neots club on July 6.
Clarke, the captain of the St Neots Rowing Club based originals, said: “It’s good for the sport to have more teams – our focus is on growing the sport in the town and offering as many people an opportunity to enjoy the sport on our great stretch of river.”
The news came while the original St Neots club was hosting the best paddlers in Great Britain.
The GB National Senior Squad (for paddlers of 40 years and above) held their last full weekend of training in St Neots and the team’s senior coach, Allyson Butterfield, said: “We had a wonderful time at the venue and were looked after so well.
“The members of the club were there all weekend making sure we had everything we needed and nothing was too much trouble. They made a massive contribution to the success of the weekend on and off the water. We cant wait to come back”
Clarke told The Hunts Post: “We have had a massively busy weekend, with the GB squad here.
“Our membership numbers have rocketed in the last two months, with members who have left feeling there is no better time to come back, and several new people joining the ranks.”