July 17, 1978

Local Crew ‘Will Come Back’ - Coach

By Ron Barry, Staff Writer

Click here to see full size. Kennebecasis Rowing Club Lightweight Crew of (front-rear) Paul Plume of Saint John, Henry Flood of Kennebecasis Park, Ken Salmon of Saint John and Rick Cassidy of Renforth finished second in the lightweight division to the North Star Rowing Club from Dartmouth, Saturday at the Renforth Regatta. It was the first year the Kennebecasis Rowing Club finished anything but first in the Renforth Trophy race. It was also the first year the trophy was competed for in the lightweight division.

The Kennebecasis Rowing Club didn’t come up with a strong showing here Saturday during the rowing competitions at the Renforth Regatta like the local folks are used to.

But in the eyes of coach Keith Ratcliffe, the event was of great value to the club and will pay off in the long run.

"This is a young and inexperienced team on the most part," said Ratcliffe about the hosts, who managed just three wins in 12 events. "But the competition was good and the experience gained will help them greatly when they go to the Henley."

The North Star Rowing Club out of Dartmouth, N.S. was heads above heels over the rest of the clubs, copping seven of the 12 events, including the prestigious Renforth Trophy coxless four event, which the host club had never lost since its inauguration into the events six years ago.

But Ratcliffe, who is one not to make excuses, felt there was a just reason why the host club failed to keep the trophy on its shelf for another year.

"We changed the event to a lightweight race this year for the first time," said the coach. "We did this for the better competition and to give some of our young rowers a chance to get another race under their belt as well as learn."

He also added that that was the primary reason why the time was understandably slower than that of a year ago.

"Last year, our coxless four won it. On that crew were the Allen brothers, Mark and Dave, along with Wayne McConnell and Andy Messer (who replaced the injured Butch Gaunce). They won in three minutes, 15 seconds while this year’s winning crew had a time of four minutes, six seconds."

The Kennebecasis crew went on to win the gold medal at the Henley in the junior event while the Allen brothers won a gold in the junior doubles event.

Ratcliffe also felt that the strong head-wind also had a bit to do with the times. "It was blowing right into the faces of the rowers, which made it tougher for them on the water."

The crew that won the Renforth Trophy really didn’t expect to take it.

"We’re a lightweight crew and we didn’t know that it would be a lightweight," said 22-year-old Peter Vilks of the North Star Rowing Club. "We were confident that we could win, but never over-confident."

Other members of the crew were Steve Piggot, number three, Frank Benstead, number two and John Vilks, a brother to Peter in the number one position. Peter was the stroke on the crew.

But if the Kennebecasis heavyweights were a bit disgruntled that they missed their chance at winning the event, they sure showed it in the open coxless fours, storming to victory five seconds ahead of their nearest rival, the same North Star crew.

Members of the Kennebecasis crew included Dave Allen at stroke, Mark Allen at number one, Tom Chamberlain, number two and John Wagstaff at number three. Both Wagstaff and Chamberlain are first year competitors to rowing.

They are replacing Gaunce and McConnell, who are both taking a year off from competitive rowing. "When you’ve rowed and trained for three straight years seven days a week, you need a break," said Ratcliffe in defence of the men. "But they’ll be back."

LEGEND: Kennebecasis Rowing Club (KRC), Mic Mac Rowing Club (MMRC), North Star Rowing Club (NSRC), Fredericton Rowing Club (FRC).

Women’s Events (1000 metres)

Open Eight: 1. NSRC 2. MMRC 3. FRC. Time: 4:16.0.

Open Four: 1. MMRC 2. NSRC 3. KRC. Time: 3:53.0.

Coxless Four: 1. KRC 2. FRC 3. MMRC. Time: 4:06.0.

Men’s Events (1500 metres)

Lightweight Four: 1. KRC 2. MMRC 3. NSRC. Time: 4:12.

Open Four: 1. NSRC 2. KRC 3. MMRC. Time:4:06.

Open Lightweight Four, Coxless (Renforth Trophy): 1. NSRC 2. KRC 3. FRC. Time: 4:06.

Open Eight: 1. NSRC 2. KRC 3. MMRC. Time: 3:04.

Lightweight Single: 1. NSRC 2. MMRC. Time: 4:30.

Open Single: 1. NSRC 2. MMRC 3. FRC. Time: 4:40.

Open Four, Coxless: 1. KRC 2. NSRC 3. KRC. Time: 4:01.0.

Mixed Events (500 metres)

Open Eight Dash: 1. NSRC 2. KRC 3. MMRC. Time: 1:50.0.

Novice Single: 1. KRC 2. MMRC 3. MMRC. Time: 1:42.0.