Queen’s Regatta, 9th May 2015
Last Saturday, in the scenic setting of Castlewellan Forest Park, crews from all over Ireland descended upon the lake to compete in the Queen’s Regatta. The conditions for racing were perfect, with bright sunshine and a gentle tail-wind following the crews down the 6-lane course.
The racing commenced with Harry Hetherington in the first race of the day, a heat of the Junior 16 1x. Off the start Harry got well into the race and dropped two boats from St Michaels, Limerick, and was racing closely with Three Castles, Dublin and Methodist College, Belfast. Over the 1,500 metre course no more than 1 length separated all three boats. Coming into the final 500 metres Harry made a push and moved up from third to second and started to challenge MCB for the lead, but in the closing 150 metres the Three Castles sculler attacked and moved swiftly from third to first. With only two crews making it through to the final Harry missed out by the narrowest of margins coming third at the line.
The next event was the Junior 18 1x of Nick Reid. Nick had won this event the previous weekend at Portadown, but knew the competition would have stepped up a level. In a heat of three boats, only the top two would qualify. Off the start Nick dropped to third and worked hard to find his rhythm. He finally found it and started to push back on the sculler from Commercial, Dublin. He was reeling him in over the entire course, but the distance lost at the start proved crucial, as RBAI missed out on a final spot again in agonising circumstances.
The Junior 16 coxed quad of Michael Honan, Harry Hetherington, Jamie Dickson, Tom Glynn and James Emery was the first Inst crew out after lunch and they were the first crew of the day to make it through some tough heats. Their race featured Portadown, Methodist and Three Castles. After a solid start they managed to competently pull away from Portadown to secure a top three finish and a final berth. In their final they faced the same Methodist and Three Castle crews, as well as Bann Rowing Club, Commercial and St Michaels. The boys opted for an aggressive approach and attacked hard from the start. They were up with the race pace initially but in the second half dropped back to unfortunately finish 6th. It is a good step forward for a young and developing crew.
Next up was the Junior 18 2x of Brent Whiteside and Angus Harley. This crew was disappointed to underperform in their final in Portadown and went off in suitably aggressive fashion to try and make amends. The race was very close, with the opposition from Methodist, Carlow and Commercial just managing to slip away over the distance. In the closing few hundred metres the crew were unable to pull back the margin and missed out on qualification by a single spot.
The last two events of the day featured three RBAI crews set on making up for their frustrations earlier in the regatta. In the men’s novice coxed quad, two Inst crews (Harry Hetherington, James Emery, Morgan Lavery, Daniel Lowry and Patterson in the “A” boat and Michael Honan, Conor Craig, Jamie Dickson, Peter Bowman and Darragh Patterson in the “B” boat) lined up against each other along with crews from Queen’s University, Belfast Rowign Club and Methodist College. After solid starts from both boats them found themselves ahead of both Queen’s boats and racing for podium spots. The “B” boat was trying to chase down the Belfast crew for second, but was being kept honest by the “A” boat in fourth. At the line the crews remained in that order in a very good performance from some young and inexperienced oarsmen.
The last event was the Junior 18 coxless quad of Nick Reid, Angus Harley, Brent Whiteside and Michael Gaston. After some earlier heartache the boys were set on putting in a good performance against some strong opposition from Commercial and Carlow, two powerhouses in Irish junior sculling. Off the start the three crews were dead-level and they remained like this for 1,250metres of the course. It was the tightest race of the day and it was anyone’s to take. At the line the boys final push brought them home in second place. A very good result at the end of a difficult day at the office, against some classy opposition.
Well done to all the boys over the day and thank you to all the supporters and coaches (Mr Warnock and Miss Piele) for their contributions.
The next event for the Club will be this Saturday, 16th May, at Belfast Sprints Regatta on the boathouse straight at Stranmillis. More details will follow later in the week.