THERE was an exciting finish to the 70th North of England Head on the River Dee.
Saturday’s race, organised by Royal Chester Rowing Club, saw Durham University beat Shrewsbury School by 21 seconds. Agecroft, who have won the title for the past four years, saw their run ended as they finished two seconds behind in third place.
Almost 140 crews raced from Eccleston Ferry to Dee Lane, with Durham covering the 5km course in 17 minutes and five seconds on a slow-flowing river.
It was Durham’s sixth win since Agecroft foiled their hopes of completing a hat-trick in the 60th race in 1990. But they continued to win and ended their run of success in 1996. Royal Chester intervened to win twice in 1997/8. Durham responded with wins in 1999/2000 before the 2001 race was cancelled due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
Agecroft resumed their domination in 2004, with an interruption by Royal Chester in 2005, but subsequently Agecroft added four more wins to complete 16 wins in the past 27 years.
Although Grosvenor and Royal Chester were not among the pennant winners on Saturday, King’s School had four wins and Queen’s Park High School and the veterans of Rex won single pennants.
The Mayor of Chester, John Ebo, presented the trophy and winners medals in his capacity as Admiral of the Dee.