COMPETITORS from across the country are set to take part in Worcester Rowing Club’s annual small boats head of the river race this weekend.

More than 130 crews will tackle the 4.5-kilometre River Severn course from the Camp at Grimley to the club’s training centre in Grandstand Road on Sunday. Among them, will be several from the host club as well as local entries from Stourport, Bewdley, RGS Worcester and the University of Worcester.

Run as a time trial, the first division begins at 11.30am with the second division due off at 2.30pm. It is the first head race of the season, with competitors taking part in single sculls, doubles or quads, and is one of the better entries of recent years.

Newly-elected club captain Matt Norman, who has taken over from Steen McCollin, said: “There are more crews than we have had in the past so we are happy and are trying to run it as well as we can.”

Norman is also aiming to improve the quality of rowers at the club so they can make their mark on the national stage.

The skipper is planning to convert people disillusioned with other sports because they will already have a good level of fitness.

He added: “Steen has done a good job in increasing our membership and we have converted a few into senior rowers. But we need to strengthen to get back to the levels we were at so we can compete at Henley and national championships.”