Runcorn hosts successful Junior Regatta
Runcorn RC’s annual Junior Regatta took pride of place this weekend, amongst the country’s major sporting events. Merchant Taylors’ School BC took the Victor Ludorum with 34 points, followed by Trafford RC with 29 and Warrington RC narrowly behind with 26 points.
Whilst a nation keenly watched Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the British Grand Prix and Henley Royal Regatta, this support was nothing compared to the dedication of a group of proud parents and coaches watching their juniors compete at Runcorn’s Regatta.
This grass roots event was sponsored by The Ball Cup and the generosity of The Stewards’ Charitable Trust, with an aim, in the words of Andy Greenwell, Race Committee Chairman “to give the newer, younger recruits to our sport, some race experience against real opposition in fair river conditions.”
Nine clubs from all over the North West raced over 300m, in a round robin format, on two back-to-back courses, on the lower stretches of the Weaver Navigation. The goal of winning a gold, silver or bronze medal was forefront on the juniors’ minds. With true grit and determination, crews raced 196 races in singles, doubles and coxed quads throughout the day.
The weather conditions started off cloudy and slightly windy but changed to sunny and calm by lunchtime, with the only interruption to racing being caused by a small number of narrowboats cruising downstream to check out the delights of Marsh Lock and Weston Point Docks.
The lunchtime interval featured the regular invitational races, where novice juniors, who have only been in a boat for about six weeks, tried their hand at racing. Runcorn’s Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy raced against very new Runcorn RC recruits in coxed quads and doubles and gave some credible performances.
Club Chairman Anne Hignell described the day as “a great opportunity for junior rowers to enjoy the sport, be motivated to do their best and to form relationships to last a lifetime.”
Finally, like most clubs, Runcorn could not host such a fantastic event without the help of their dedicated volunteers. A group of 60 mums, dads, older juniors and masters rowers gave up at least 12 hours of their valuable time to register, launch boats, cook burgers, bake cakes and serve teas.
Andy Greenwell was especially grateful to the bunch of older juniors who filled in as starter assistants and at race control when these positions became unfortunately vacant.
All winners received their Ball Cup/Henley Stewards medals on the now famous Olympic-style podium and went home full of smiles. The Runcorn juniors ended it all with a massive water fight.
By Linda Butterworth
Photos by Faye Stewart