After a lengthy drive up to Strathclyde, which saw some venture over 9 hours, the group of Juniors composed of Ollie, Alex, Harry, River, Evie, Ava, Lucy and Chloe were itching to get the racing underway.
We started the day off with Ollie in the J14 1X. After a commanding row in the time trial, he was informed that he would have to row the time trial again owing to the times not being recorded. Meanwhile, Alex and Harry in the J15 2X rowed through to a 3rd place spot in the time trial, a relieving result after what they thought was a fairly unimpressive row. They were followed by the girls in the J14 4X+. A hotly anticipated event in which they had been fiercely competitive all season. Competing against some familiar faces like Bristol and Henley, they cruised through to secure a spot in the A/B semi. A short while later, they were off again to do their semis and in Ollie’s case a second time trial. Alex and Harry rowed a superb semi leading all the way only to relinquish their lead in order to conserve energy for what was to be an exciting final. The Girls J14 4x+ rowed for their lives against some of their toughest rivals. They raced as though their lives depended on it with esteemed Cox Chloe screaming at them all the way, an impressive feat considering their boats lack of any speakers. However, they just missed out on the A final coming 4th. Disaster struck again for Ollie as for a second time the timing team failed to release an accurate set of results.
Finally, the time of the finals came about. It was our boys double setting off first, and nerves were running high. Having come second last year to a crew who were also in this tightly packed A final, the time for the rematch had arrived. The boys did not disappoint. After being led by a length at the 500m mark, the boys fought valiantly in the last 500m crawling back at the leader crew of Hexham with every stroke. However, they ran out of course, losing by an agonisingly close margin of less than a canvas. The girls quad then followed coming in an amazing 8th in what was one of the toughest categories of the day. After that, Ollie raced for the 3rd time in what would be a timed side by side races to decide the medals. His rotten luck would not change and after being held at the start for 7 minutes the wind had picked up to such an extent that despite winning his race with utter ease his time had him put in 6th place. With that, we ended our first day of racing with mixed emotions. But would Saturday bring anything different?
Indeed, it did. With Evie being our only race of the day in the WJ14 1X, hopes were high for a better day than the one that had preceded it. Evie pulled a blinder of a time trial, overtaking a crew and achieving a spot in the A/B semi. With the wind picking up, she raced with pride coming back from behind to come in an impressive 2nd place. Being ERCs second A final of the competition, fingers were crossed for a medal. And boy, did she deliver. With a nail biting finish, which included 4 boats for just 3 medals, she pulled through to claim ERCs first and only gold. Ethan, another ERC junior racing under Hartpury, raced in the J16 quads and was placed in a very commendable 6th place.
With the delight of Saturday still resonating amongst those remaining in Scotland, River and Ava took to the water in the WJ14 2X. With the wind at an all time high (over 30mph) the officials made the not so difficult decision to cancel the semi finals meaning that the pressure to perform in the time trial was immense for the girls. They performed well, sticking to their plan and pulling away from the crew that had set off around the same time as them. However, after an anxious time spent waiting for the results, they were disappointed to see that the times didn’t seem to reflect this and the girls missed out on the opportunity to race in those sought after finals. With that, the last of our number departed back to Devon.
Congratulations to all the rowers and even more so the parents who had to take the brunt of the lengthy journey.
Report by Alex