Falmouth do the double double in Newquay

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Falmouth Gig Club once again showed their dominance in domestic Gig rowing, securing the title of Men’s County Gig Champions for the second year running.

The triumph was also the second consecutive year that Falmouth crews have claimed both the ladies’ and men’s county gig titles – a remarkable show of strength from the reigning world champions.

The forecast had been threatening poor weather, with crews expecting tough conditions and high winds over the weekend of 22/23 September.

However, close to 80 crews turned out at Newquay for the opening day’s racing to find flat seas and sunny weather.

By the end of the day, the field was down to the final 24 crews ready to race in the quarter finals. Sunday brought with it rain and constantly-changing winds.

The Newquay weather changed considerably between the two semi-finals, and claimed a high-profile casualty in Looe’s top crew – who were runners up at the World Championships in May and had been posting fast times worthy of a top three finish in previous rounds.

Falmouth, Mounts Bay, Caradon and Par took their typical positions on the start line for the final, where they were joined by Charlestown and Helford – both crews enjoying their best Newquay run in many years.

Falmouth took the early lead in the final, with Par – notorious for their brave challenges on the buoy turns – pushing them hard at each mark, and testing the nerve of the new Falmouth coxswain.

The Falmouth crew (featuring all but one of their World Championship-winning crew) showed their class as they pushed hard on every leg, increasing their lead on the second gruelling lap of the course to finish 21 seconds ahead of Par in a time of 31 mins and 28 secs.

The Caradon crew in third place held off several threats in the first lap from Mounts Bay, but pulled away well clear during the second lap – finishing just over 30 seconds behind Par.

Helford and Charlestown enjoyed a battle of their own throughout the final with Helford threatening to overtake several times, and making the Charlestown crew work extremely hard for their 5th placing.

Olympic Gold medallist Helen Glover presented the medals at the prize giving, and spoke of her admiration for the crews after giving gig rowing a try herself a fortnight previously at the Cornish Rowing Challenge.

The competition signifies the end of the 2012 gig season, leaving clubs planning their winter training for 2013. With the new season already on the horizon, only one question remains – who can defeat Falmouth?

Rhiannon Halliday

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