A ‘clean sweep’ in Cardiff at the GB v France Junior Match

The sun didn’t shine and racing conditions were not easy but this year’s match saw a comprehensive win for Team GB athletes.  As is becoming a feature of the match once again this year’s racing was very close with many exciting duels giving the large number of supporters around Cardiff Bay something to cheer for. Race results saw Team GB winning the girls trophy 5 – 1 and the boy’s trophy 4- 3 thus taking the Overall Match Trophy by a comfortable margin.

On a dark and windy summer’s day (sadly not unusual for this July!)  the racing was as exciting as anything seen so far with individual displays of technique and courage from both sides. An example of the closeness of the racing was seen in the very first race when the WJ 8+ from GB (City of Oxford and Headington) piped their opponents by just 1/3 of a length after a neck and neck battle down the course. True to the nature of this event both sporting crews generously acknowledged each others efforts. As conditions worsened umpires suspended racing and eventually the match was re-started over a shorter course.

The most emphatic win of the match was for the JW2- (Haberdashers) powered down the course to win by 5 lengths. There were also impressive wins for the JM 4x (Tideway Scullers) by 4 lengths and the JW2x (Maidenhead) by 3 lengths. The final race of the match the boys eights was so close that the officials could hear the cheering at the top of the course as the JM 8+ (Westminster, Maidenhead, Molesey and Hampton) fought heroically stroke by stroke to win the race by a canvas and secure the boy’s trophy. Our reserve scullers played their part throughout the preceding training camp supporting individual athletes and crews. This year the Entente Cordial Cup for sporting attitude and determination went to our JW Reserve Sculler (Trentham) who demonstrated classic capsize drill technique in the waters of the bay, righting her single and continuing with the race.

The sun eventually came out as Medals were presented to winning crews by the French Delegate, Lionel Girard and Vice-Chairman of the ARA, Garry Harris. 

This has been our first visit for the match to the stunning setting of Cardiff Bay with its many facilities and I would like to express thanks to all involved from Cardiff Harbour Authority for making the event and training camp so enjoyable. The match and the three day training camp that preceded it allowed the athletes to not only enjoy the competition but also to become friends with their French counterparts and it is true to say that the atmosphere this year was very convivial and warm even though the weather for the match was somewhat challenging! 

Congratulations to all coaches, athletes and the hard working team manager CD Riches and assistant team manager Kate Callaghan. Next year the training camp and match will be in Nantes. 

Pam Davies,
Match Organiser

Photos of the event are available from Birdman Photography

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