Silver medals for St Ives men after classy British Masters Championships performance

The St Ives Rowing Club Masters 'D' crew show off their silver medals.

The St Ives Rowing Club Masters 'D' crew show off their silver medals. - Credit: Archant

St Ives Rowing Club’s star men were pipped to major glory by the narrowest of margins last Saturday.

The Masters ‘D’ quartet of Gary Gilbey, Tony Bennett, Pip Woodford and Paul Ashmore had to settle for silver medals at the British Masters Championships.

The locals stormed to victory in their eliminator at Holme Pierrepont, the national watersports headquarters in Nottingham, by one-and-a-half seconds to earn a place in a six-crew showpiece.

St Ives were left to rue a slow start in the 2016 final, when they found themselves six seconds off the pace at the halfway point before recovering to clinch bronze.

There were much quicker through the opening 500m this time around with the five leading crews covered by less than two seconds.

St Ives eased into the lead approaching the final 250 metres with Durham, who had the considerable benefit of rowing in a more sheltered lane in extremely windy conditions, in hot pursuit.

The two crews were neck and neck as they crossed the finish line with Durham declared the winners by five hundredths of a second in a time of 3.48.93 with St Ives clocking 3.48.98.

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“It was a great row and we’re very pleased with how we performed on such rough water,” said Ashmore.

“We were determined to better our third-place finish from 2016 and it’s fantastic to have taken the next step up the ladder with silver.”

Runcorn took third spot with Christchurch, who won the other elimination heat, back in fourth. Reigning champions Bewl Bridge could only manage fifth with Molesey bringing up the rear.

The St Ives Rowing Club focus will be much closer to home this Saturday as they stage their annual Town Regatta.

The action takes place on the River Great Ouse with spectating welcomed at Nobles Field, which can be reached via the Thicket Path.

The event, which was successfully relaunched in 2015 after an absence of more than 20 years to mark the club’s 150th anniversary, has attracted more than 130 entries from across the eastern region.

Racing will get underway at 9am with the final division scheduled to take place around 5pm.