Christchurch Juniors Take Victor Ludorum Prize at Egham Regatta – 30th June 2019
Christchurch Rowing Club’s junior squad made its mark at Egham Regatta on the last Sunday in June by winning the Victor Ludorum Trophy for the regatta’s most successful club. Five wins and three runners-up finishes made sure of the ‘top of the table’ spot at one of the busiest junior regattas on the British Rowing calendar. A highly creditable team performance from this committed squad.
Thankfully for competitors and spectators the oppressive heat of the previous week had subsided and this stretch of the Thames at Runnymede, near Windsor, provided a perfect setting for a full day of exciting racing. The notorious Egham ‘S’ shaped course and constantly shifting wind speed /direction challenged the most experienced and were a stern test for those less so.
A two boat side-by-side knock-out format meant that just to reach a final could mean having to win up to three races over the 600 metre ‘sprint’ course. A careful eye on navigation was required because deviating from the tight course would at best mean added extra metres and at worst could earn a disqualification.
Many of the younger members of the squad were racing for the first time. This was the case for Joe Durward and Harry Pearson; each finding themselves against experienced opposition in their respective heats of the boys’ Junior 14 single sculls category. A first race in a single scull is quite daunting but both were up to the task and acquitted themselves well.
Arabella Ozanne, Indy Wills, Ava Hewitt, Izzy Price and coxswain Bay Hill contested the girls’ Junior 14 quad event losing out in their heat by only about half a boat length; a pleasing result in their first regatta. The girls’ junior 15 double sculls event attracted two Christchurch crews. Verity Leat and Amy Starks were just edged out at the finish whilst Mille Thomas and Emma-Jo Evans won their first heat only to find themselves against an exceptional Hinksey crew in the next. Rounding up the morning’s session for Christchurch were Annabelle Donaldson in girls’ J15 single sculls and the formidable pairing of Sol Hewitt and William Tate in the boys’ Junior 18 double sculls event. The boys recorded the club’s first win of the day against persistent opposition in the final.
Without doubt the best contest of the regatta unfolded in the boys’ J15 quad category. Oli Gillingham, Ben Ingrem, Cian Everett, Joshua Brangan and coxswain Bay Hill followed up a 3ft win in their first heat with a dead- heat against a quick Windsor Boys School crew in the next. They won the re-row but finished close runners-up to another Windsor Boys crew in the final. A real crowd-pleaser though and the boys can be proud to have been part of it. William Tate produced a solid performance to take the win in the J16 single sculls category to finish off an exciting afternoon session.
The last session of the day turned out to be the most successful for the club with several of the squad’s more experienced scullers taking to the water. Sol Hewitt, Joshua Brangan and Molly Morris all produced high quality performances to take wins in their respective single sculls events. Cian Everett and Ben Ingrem worked hard to reach the final of the Junior 15 double sculls category with just a minor steering deviation costing them a probable win. Ned Clarke finished as runner-up in the J18 single sculls event and Max Mills (Junior 18 single sculls), Miles Eddicott and Samson Pull (junior 15 double sculls) and Millie Thomas, Emma-Jo Evans, Annabelle Donaldson, Jess larner and coxswain bay Hill (girls’ junior 15 quad scull) all represented the club well in their respective categories.
The squad will now split for the last competitive outings before the summer break with some heading to the British Junior Championhips at the National Watersports Centre near Nottingham and some to Molesey Regatta in late July.