Saturday, April 1, 2023

Water-load of success as local regatta makes waves

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Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent

Spectators, supporters, coaches, and team members cheered loudly from the banks of the Clarence River near Memorial Park as more than 50 skilled athletes made a splash on the water when they competed in the 2022 Grafton Rowing Club Regatta on December 11.

While plenty of sunshine saw the mercury shoot towards 30 degrees and increasing wind bursts created a slightly choppy surface atop the river, rowers were extremely complimentary of conditions with many praising the Grafton Rowing Club for hosting the event, describing the day as a lot of fun with lots of entertaining racing.

As a number of Queensland based athletes enjoyed plenty of success throughout the program, local rowers from Grafton, South Grafton, and the Lower Clarence also demonstrated their strength, durability, and endurance on the water, winning several races during the day.

Zoe Rayward powered to the line to give South Grafton High School the trifecta in Race 2, the Women’s Novice Single Skull over 1000m, winning in a smart time of 4:27:93 from Lillie Tasker and Elise Berry.

Grafton rowers including Treasurer of the Grafton Rowing Club Don Noble, Ron Chaffey, Dennis Clancy, and Karl Cooksley, combined to win the Men’s Master’s Handicap Quad Skull over 1000m in a tight finish, defeating a gallant Murwillumbah/Manning team by four seconds as they charged to the line.

After stopping the clock at 4:52:00 in the hotly contested Men’s Master’s Handicap Single Skull. Murwillumbah rower Gary Betts was awarded the prestigious Greg Thompson Memorial Trophy, named in honour of the former Grafton Rowing Club life member, who sadly passed away six years ago.

As the last boats were carefully guided from the water following the last race shortly after 1pm, Mr Noble said the Grafton Rowing Club was very pleased with how the event had progressed, and thanked the athletes for their support and attendance.

After inclement weather and flooding forced the cancellation and postponements of regattas and other local events on the Clarence River during the year, Mr Noble said the club was very relieved to see the regatta finally go ahead, adding he was especially pleased to see competitors enjoying themselves on the water. The full results from the 2022 Grafton Rowing Club Regatta can be viewed online at


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