With their meteoric rise up seven places through Division 2 and well into Division 1, the Rob Roy BC W2 crew was not only the most successful crew on the river in this year’s Town Bumps but also probably the youngest. With three fifteen-year olds and a sixteen-year old all just back from competing at the Junior National Rowing Championships plus another sixteen-year old and three seventeen year olds, the girls showed that youth can triumph over experience.

Their young counterparts in the Rob Roy M4 crew had an unluckier run, after a first night triumph bumping one of their coaches in the Xpress M3 crew. Again, everyone in the Rob Roy crew was under 18, with three fifteen-year-old scullers competing having had just 3 outings using sweep blades before racing.

All of the Rob Roy crews included members of their junior squad; M2 working hard (and pretty successfully) to protect M1 from attack from behind; and the W1 and W3 crews enjoying a mixed bag of bumping up, bumping down and rowing over. The only crew without juniors in the boat was M3, who attracted fines on Day 3 for a hugely enthusiastic but under-age bank party of their children – Rob Roy juniors in the making –  who helped M3 maintain position by bumping Peterborough back.  

Teamwork Triumphs at Try Rowing Boat Race Day

No-one fell in but everyone jumped into the water at Milton Sport Lakes to celebrate a very close contest between pupils from Parkside Community College and Chesterton Community College at their Try Rowing Boat Race Day this week, watched by a large crowd of parents and friends.

The two schools had been invited to take part in ‘Try Rowing’, a project introducing rowing to pupils who would otherwise be unlikely or unable to try the sport, funded by the Oxford and Cambridge Rowing Foundation and organised by Rob Roy Boat Club. Two Chesterton pupils who took part last year have gone on to win several medals already this year.

Presenting medals to the winning crew, Rob Baker, Head Coach for the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club, commented, “I saw some really good rowing today and I’m very impressed by the encouragement all the pupils gave each other – it is that teamwork which wins the Boat Race.”.

The event organiser, Jo Burch of Rob Roy BC, said, “We’ve all had great fun! I think most of the pupils who have taken part want to keep rowing, which is fabulous! Everyone has learned new skills, gone out of their comfort zones, and worked together to tackle the challenge of preparing for a rowing relay race in just a few sessions.” She added, “I am particularly proud of the pupils who overcame real fear of water in order to take part and not let their team down.”.

Earlier in the week the project’s parallel Try Rowing Boat Race Day took place between North Cambridge Academy and Trumpington Community College. Everyone stayed dry that time, though NCA Headmaster Martin Campbell looked dangerously wobbly when he took to a boat, inspired by his pupils, and discovered that rowing is trickier than it looks.

The results:

Both NCA crews beat their opponents from Trumpington

Parkside 2 beat Chesterton 2

Chesterton 1 beat Parkside 1

NCA beat all three other schools in the cumulative rowing machine challenge.

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Strength in Depth at National Rowing Championships for Rob Roy Boat Club Juniors

While medals were hard to come by at the 2017 British Rowing Junior Championships last weekend, five crews formed from Rob Roy Boat Club’s Junior Squad made it into the top 12 crews in the country in their categories. Fifteen-year-old Brett Taylor won a bronze medal in the J15 single sculls – just a week after flying back from Taiwan where he trialled for a place at the 2017 Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualification Regatta.

Alongside Brett, five boys, all from Chesterton Community College, who were complete novices in September, and were introduced to rowing through the Try Rowing outreach programme for local schools organised by Rob Roy, came an astonishing eighth in the country in their coxed quadruple scull.

Two other Rob Roy youngsters, Levin Graf and Flora Turnbull came fifth and eighth respectively in their events, while squad fellow Charlotte Knapp came eleventh in a composite double scull with Lucy Whiteside from King’s Ely – and another eight juniors from the Club made it into the top 24.

Jo Burch, the Club’s Junior Squad Coordinator said, “I couldn’t be more proud of the achievements of our juniors. All of them raced their hearts out and did everything we asked of them – and were unlucky to miss out on medals. We took half our squad to the Championships and just about all of them came in the top half of their categories, which shows fantastic strength in depth”.

[Note: Photos of each of the mentioned crews, with two of the coxed quad, one as they go over the line and one at about 300m before the finish showing how close the competition was.

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