Enniskillen Royal Boat Club tested itself against England’s top schools in London last Thursday, along the same 6.8km course from Mortlake to Putney that Oxford and Cambridge will do battle on this weekend in the annual university boat race.
As the last crews boated and spectators started to gather by the finish line along Putney Embankment word of a shortened race began to filter out. A strong headwind from the North East resulted in conditions being deemed unsafe for racing in the middle half of the racecourse. Therefore racing was conducted over the first 1500 meters of the racecourse.
First down for the Boat Club, racing in the top event of the day, the Championship Eights, was the boy’s first eight. Improving on last years 14th place they finished 7th overall – the highest ever finish by a junior team from Rowing Ireland. Their time of 5 minutes and 1 second was nearly 12 seconds better than that of domestic rivals St. Josephs Galway, giving the club a breath of confidence as regatta season looms.
Only a further 5 seconds behind St. Josephs Galway was the boy’s second eight racing in the Junior 16 First Eights event. Not to be outdone, the crew of Robbie Mills, Jack Kennedy, Jack McDade, Sam Balcombe, Matthew McBrien, Rory Blake, Connor and Michael Stewart, and coxed by Ben Corrigan Stormed down the course to win their category by 2 seconds. In what was an exceptional and aggressive row they illustrated the strength of depth within the club at the moment. They too can look forward to the regatta season with confidence.
On the girl’s side, the girl’s first eight racing in the Girl’s Championship Eights completed the course in 5 minutes and 56 seconds to finish 5th in their category. 35 seconds behind them was the girl’s second eight racing in the Girl’s Junior 16 Championship Eights. They too finished in 5th place.