Solomon Hewitt (17) and William Tate (16) of Christchurch Rowing Club represented England in the junior double-sculls event at the Home International Regatta on Saturday 27th July at Strathclyde Park, near Glasgow.
The ‘Home International Regatta’ is the annual rowing match between the ‘home nations' of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Events are held for both men and women at junior (18) and senior levels. The race has been held since 1962 and each country takes it in turn to host the regatta. It is a team event with points gained from each event counting towards a final tally for each country in junior and senior categories.
Success at a keenly contested selection trial at London’s docklands a couple of weeks earlier handed the Christchurch RC youngsters the opportunity to represent their country at this prestigious event. Just to qualify is a remarkable achievement in itself.
A trip to Scotland two days in advance of the regatta for training with the rest of the England squad allowed the boys and their coach some time to prepare alongside athletes and coaches from across the country. A rare opportunity to mix with and learn from some of the nation’s top rowing talent.
Following a week of record-breaking temperatures across the UK the day of the regatta was thankfully cooler with little wind; perfect conditions for racing over the 2000 metre international rowing course at the Strathclyde venue. The junior double-sculls event is always one of the most competitive and this year was no exception with a class field assembled. The race was close with all crews in contention throughout. In the closing stages the Scottish crew led the field with the English boat pushing hard to stay in touch whilst feeling pressure from both the Irish and Welsh crews close behind. The Scottish crew took the honours but were pushed hard all the way with England closing them down right up to the line. And so second place by a small margin - an outstanding achievement for the Christchurch boys.
The England team manager noted that the entire squad was outstanding throughout the process, from the trials at London’s docklands through race preparations and into the regatta itself. He also noted that “the team shared the goal of performance through learning from each other. An experience the Christchurch pair will draw on to prepare them for further success when their racing season resumes in September.