Hartlepool Round Table ‘set the pace’ in Sink or Swim event

Hartlepool Round Table 1

Middleton ‘Power Graingers’ 0

(but it could have been a different story)

Two Hartlepool teams entered the Annual Hetton Dragon Boat Race over the weekend at Hetton Lyons Country Park. Hartlepool Round Table, popularly known for organising the Hartlepool Beer Festival, Santa Run and Boxing Day dip, and Middleton ‘Power Graingers’, led by former Round Table Chairman, Mark Rycraft. 

Neither team could boast any previous experience in Dragon Boat racing, however this didn’t stop both teams ‘rushing’ through the heats and into the final where they came up against the Sunderland Rotary 1 team, the newest Rotary team in the local area.

The event, now into its third year, is ran by Rotary North East on the back of Hetton’s Annual Family Festival, raising money for a swathe of local charities and good causes, and the crowds certainly turned up as the sun shone on the many participants.

Twelve teams entered the event, although it was nearly only eleven when on Wednesday both teams were in discussions to mount a joint challenge due to lack of numbers. In the end the fourteen strong ‘Tablers’ faced off the sixteen strong Power Graingers in a photo finish final.

All teams took part in three separate heats facing different challenges on each occasion. Into the third round, and all teams were struggling to gain ground on their previous times.

It was the second round times that made the difference for both Hartlepool teams, Round Table having the tiniest advantage with a 01:1734 over the Power Graingers 01:1772.

As the two sides took to the lake for the fourth and final time, foul play was suspected when Hartlepool Round Tables boat sprung a leak, however this was soon fixed and Table were soon paddling onwards to the start line. 

As the starter brought all three boats to attention, the team rivalry intensed as chants of ‘Where’s your Argos gone!’ could be heard being shouted from the Round Table boat. As the starters claxon sounded it was the SR1 team who got away the quickest, with both Hartlepool Teams holding on. As the strokes lengthened, the ‘Graingers’ took the lead with SR1 and HRT in hot pursuit. With less than 50m to go, all three teams looked to be set for gold medals as all members gave it their all.

The medal ceremony delivered the news, Middleton ‘Power Graingers’ 3rd, Sunderland Rotary one 2nd and Hartlepool Round Table 1st. The group ecstatic, with one ‘Tabler’ taking to the Lake with excitement.

Following the event, Hartlepool Round Table Chairman, Dominic Wheatley praised the event, ‘We’ve had a fantastic day in what has been a superbly organised event. It was an event we entered out of the blue, but everyone should be really proud of what we have achieved. Never did we think we would have won the event. We will definitely be back next year to defend our title’

Hartlepool Round Table is a Charity raising money for other local charities and good causes, to find out more information go to www.HartlepoolRoundTable.co.uk.