Novice rowers wanted for Beccles and Bungay challenge

It is an annual contest that sees two crews compete over a stretch of water in a battle for pride.

The teams go oar-to-oar as they row it out for the honour of being champion of the water.

But this is not the University Boat Race, this is the Waveney's Valley's Beccles versus Bungay boat race.

Since 2007 the two market towns have gone head-to-head as teams of four adult novices are pitched against each other by the Beccles Rowing Club.

In the red corner is Beccles and in the blue corner, reigning champions Bungay.

The teams of four are given training on Sundays throughout February and March as they progress from complete novices to rowers ready to do battle in the name of their town.

On Sunday, April 1 they then race over a 1,000 metre course on the River Waveney at Beccles for a trophy, medals and town bragging rights.

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The first boat race took place in 2007 and many of the previous competitors enjoyed rowing so much they stayed on with the rowing club.

Current captain Mark Taylor, of Ringsfield, had his first taste of rowing in the build up to that event when he represented Bungay.

Mr Taylor, 39, said: 'Everyone who took part in the race had an enormous sense of achievement and it is surprising how quickly a group of complete novices can get a boat moving.'

He said that it was a good way to keep fit and found that it was one of the few sports he could actively take part in after injuring his knee.

He added that a strong team spirit grows, along with a will to win as the weekly training sessions take place.

Last year it was Bungay who took the glory as Chris Moore, Susie James, Paula Thomsen, Andrew Hurlimann and cox Laura Hind finished in just over five minutes.

Club chairman Robin De Vere Green said: 'I thought they all had a very enjoyable time. Last year's photos of the winners with their medals displayed the spirit of the whole thing, all very jolly.'

The win also meant that Bungay took a 3-2 lead in the series, which survived from the Beccles and Bungay Challenge events that were set-up with the backing of the Beccles and Bungay Journal.

If you are interested in signing up for the competition call Mark Taylor on 01502 710794 for more information.

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