On 8 July 2017, a team from Lyons Davidson’s Leeds office (sponsored by Barnsley Rotary Club) took part in the ninth Annual Dragon Boat Challenge on what turned out to be a scorching Saturday at Pugney’s Country Park in Wakefield. The event was organised by the Rotary Clubs of Huddersfield and Wakefield Chantry to raise money for charity. There was a strong showing of participants and spectators for what was Lyons Davidson’s first time entering the event.
The day started at around 8am; Lyons Davidson’s team members joined 37 other teams, including businesses, local sports groups, emergency services, charities and other organisations. Each team was allocated their own space on the bank of the lake, which would act as base camp between each of the heats. While Team Captain Adam Abd El-Wahed attended the briefing by race control, the team set up and lit the BBQ.
Rhythm and timing
Each team contested three heats, with their two fastest times counting. The six teams with the fastest average time proceeded to the grand final to battle for the Dragon Boat Challenge Trophy. With up to 17 crew members allowed in the boat (16 paddlers and a drummer), it came down to rhythm and timing as opposed to sheer power. The assigned drummer had the important job of trying to keep everyone rowing in time with each other. After a quick practice on shore, involving lots of clapping and chanting, it was time for the Lyons Davidson team’s first heat. They returned with a close third place position and a time of just over 83 seconds: pretty good for a first attempt.
The wind had picked up by the time it came to the second heat. However, they still managed a similar time and a second-place finish.
The organisers decided to change things a little for the third and final heat, pitting Lyons Davidson against the other law firms in what would be a four-way battle. This race was probably the team’s best performance when again, despite the wind, they managed to maintain a consistent time. The race was a close-fought battle and the team was just pipped into second place on the line. Despite the consistent performance, LD’s average time was not enough to make it through to the grand final.
Between the heats, the team raised money for the Leeds office’s charity of the year, Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who had generously donated a prize to raffle. There was lots of interest in the VIP trip to Nostell Priory to see the Air Ambulance and the team managed to sell plenty of tickets on the day.
The team said that it was a really fun and enjoyable day and send out a big thank you to: the Barnsley Rotary Club for paying the entry fee; to the event organisers, The Yorkshire Air Ambulance; Lyons Davidson; the Charity Committee; everyone who participated; as well as all the spectators who turned to watch and support us.
The Lyons Davidson team consisted of: Adam Abd El-Wahed, Devmith Athulathmudali, Sharron Brown, Philip Edwards, Gemma Fletcher, Alex Garven, Adam Green, Mark Green, Michael Heanue, Dabeer Hussain, Jessica Moiser (and friends), Hannah Moran, Sophie Readman, Laura Speed, Steven Vettorel, and Steven Welsh.