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ASRA at the HIR and the Coupe de la Jeunesse

At this year’s Home International Regatta, hosted by England on the 22nd July at Strathclyde Park, Abigail (15) and Megan (16) , as the Scottish select in  Women’s Junior Pairs , and Seth Turner (15),  Conrad Forbes (17) Theo Stott (17) and Aidan  Graham (16), with cox Emily Murdoch, in Men’s Junior Coxed Fours, did ASRA proud as always , but found the going predictably hard against opposition in almost every case one or two years above their own age level. It was of course a particularly savage reality check for Abigail, Megan, Seth and Aidan, who had medalled so outstandingly in J16 events at the British Junior Rowing Championships at Nottingham just a week earlier.

There is however consolation in the fact that all of this year’s Scottish caps are eligible to do it all again in 2018 and we have every reason to believe that some, if not all of them, given their present level of commitment, can equal, if not surpass, ASRA’s HIR successes of the past.   

Just a week later, at the annual Coupe de la Jeunesse Regatta, held this year in Hazewinkel, Belgium, on the 29th and 30th July, in which 13 European nations took part, our ASRA boys - not to be outdone by the girls’ J16 GB v France success -  won  yet another gold medal in a GB vest  - this time at J18 level. Miles Beeson and Robert Powell, having taken bronze in the “A” final of Men’s Junior Eights on the Saturday, snatched gold in a time of 5.56.78 in the same event the following day, pushing Switzerland with a time of 5.57.37 into second place and Saturday’s gold medallists, the Czech Republic, into third. The last time a Coupe medal went to an ASRA rower was back in 2000 in Switzerland , when David McNeill won bronze in the Pairs event.

 

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Home Countries International Regatta

At the Home Countries International Regatta in Cardiff on Saturday 26th July, the ASRA Women's Junior 16 Coxless Four - Rosie Morton, Catriona Bain, Iona Riley & Jamie Steel - recorded a resounding victory over the other home nations to win gold for Scotland in the opening race of the regatta. Having dropped the girls from England & Wales by the 1000 metre mark, our girls fought stroke for stroke with a determined Irish select for the remaining 500 metres of the race to run out in the end deserved winners by a length. This was the culmination of three weeks of intensive preparation and competition at the highest level for the girls from Aberdeen. On the 13th July, they were capped for Great Britain in the GB v France Match in Valenciennes and a week later on the 20th July they were winning gold in Women's Junior 16 Coxed Fours & silver in Women's Junior 18 Coxless Fours in Nottingham at the National Rowing Championships of Great Britain. Two days at home in three weeks for arguably the most talented Women's Junior Under 16 quartet in the history of ASRA!

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Home Countries International Regatta

At the Home Countries International Regatta held on Lough Innescara, Cork, on Saturday 28th July, only two boat classes were contested by Scotland's Junior Women - WJ18 4+ and WJ 2-. Aberdeen Schools' R.A. represented Scotland in both.

In the WJ 2- race, British Champions Claire Innes & Maud van den Broeke of England led our Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies from the 500 mark and never looked like being caught, but in the race for second place against the Irish Pair from Galway RC and the Welsh from Haberdashers Monmouth, our girls beat both handsomely to the line... but not across it! Unbelievably our girls (both blondes) heard the klaxon, stopped rowing at what was the vaguest of finishing lines and were duly overtaken by the Irish!

In the WJ 4+ race, Lucy & Joy were joined by Jamie Steel, late substitute Catriona Bain for Iona Riley and cox Robert Hamlet and led the race again to 500 metres. There the Irish composite from Cork & Coliaste Iognaid Rowing Clubs put in a massive push and left us playing catch-up the rest of the race. Our girls made repeated heroic efforts to close the gap, but to no avail, finishing however a comfortable second ahead of England and Wales.

The girls were a little disappointed but should not have been. As always they did ASRA proud. Given the amount of travelling they had done between the Nat. Champs. and the HIR, the lack of a real rest period had to catch up with them in the end.

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Gent Spring International Regatta

At the Gent Spring International Regatta 2007 in Belgium on 14th & 15th April ASRA crews put in a series of fine performances in scorching conditions to win two Silvers and two Bronzes rowing against first class opposition from France, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the UK.

  • Womens' Junior 18 Coxless Pairs: Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies (Silver & Bronze)
  • Mens' Junior 16 Double Sculls: Gary Wilson & Atholl Wallace (Silver)
  • Womens' Junior 16 Single Sculls: Catriona Bain (Bronze)

Elsewhere our Girls' Junior 15 Coxless Quad rowing in the Under 16 category - Catriona Bain, Rachael Hadjitofi, Iona Riley & Jamie Steel - were more than a little unfortunate to see themselves placed just out of the medals over the two days for the second year in succession despite a dramatically improved performance on the second day. Our Boys' J14 Quad - again rowing at J16 - also put in a magnificently defiant performance on the Sunday against impossible odds. Special congratulations to Atholl Wallace, Daniel McSherry , Blair Sorbie and Niall Rundle.

Following an excellent camp, all our rowers showed significant improvement over the weekend's racing and were a credit to our colours and our coaching staff. Given continued commitment we can look forward with some confidence to SPR and beyond.

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Gent Spring International Regatta

In Belgium on the 15th & 16th April at the Gent Spring International Regatta, the 11 ASRA rowers who had previoussly attended our 5-day rowing camp at Blaarmeersen acquitted themselves with distinction against superlative opposition in their age categories from Belgium, Germany, England & France.

Our J16 Girls (Lucy Bonnamy, Beady Rice & Joy Davies plus Seonaid Crosby - fresh from GB Camp at Hazewinkel - won Bronze in JW18 Coxless Fours against formidable opposition from Lady Eleanor Holles but this sole medal success does not reflect adequately the series of excellent individual and team performances strung together by our athletes over the weekend.

In WJ18 Pairs, Lucy Bonnamy & Joy Davies came 9th in a field of 16, as did Johnathan Lockhart in JM 16 Sculls and Atholl Wallace came an extremely creditable 10th out of 29 in MJ14 Sculls. Our J14 Double - Iona Riley and Jamie Steel - came to within a whisker of winning bronze on the Saturday, 0.09 the time difference between themselves and the girls of TVK Essen in third place and on Sunday three of our J14 Quad took first 10 places in a field of 29 in WJ14 Single Sculls - heat winners Iona Riley and Jamie Steel coming 5th and 9th respectively and Catriona Bain 10th in the overall rankings. They then turned about and joined star newcomer Rachael Hadjitofi to come again a nail-biting fourth in the final of Women's J14 Quads, this time only 0.41 of a second away from bronze.

Complaints from our German opposition based on Belgian local rulings led to our J14 scullers having to abandon their accustomed "big blades" and to row at considerable disadvantage, it must be said, with borrowed Macon blades on the Sunday. Our gratitude nevertheless to the coaches of local Belgian Club - KRSG - for sportingly supplying us with the necessary blades on the day.

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Belgium International Junior Championships

At the Belgian International Junior Championships of 2005 in Ghent on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th April, our senior girls - Beady Rice, Lucy Bonnamy, Seonaid Crosby & Rowena Burrows - came second on both days in the singularly underpopulated but fiercely contended Women's Junior Coxless Fours event and were consequently awarded silver medals for their efforts. Lack of crew practice in the run-up to the event and disastrous steering on the day made them come in a poor second to Moseley's GB hopefuls on the Saturday, but a much improved performance on Sunday - 17 seconds faster in fact over the 2K - kept them in touch with their Belgian national squad contenders for most of the race. Jamie Steel(13) had attended an intensive sculling training camp at Blaarmeersen run by chief coach Jim Ferguson of George Watson's College, Edinburgh, in the week prior to the event and came 9th out of 42 entries from Belgium, Germany, Spain & GB in WJ14 Single Sculls. She recorded the fastest British time and with partner Morna Spence of Watson's did the same again when she came 7th out of 24 entries in WJ Double Sculls.

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