Scotland and England celebrate HIRR success
Scotland and England were the big winners at this year’s Home International Regatta – claiming bragging rights in the Senior and Junior matches respectively.
England took both junior men’s and women’s Matches at this year’s event, held at Ireland’s National Rowing Centre in Cork, while Scotland were victorious in both men and women’s senior Matches. It was Scotland’s best-ever result at this event, and included convincing wins in both men’s and women’s eights.
The women’s junior racing was exciting throughout, with the eventual Match-winning nation, England, only emerging in the very last race.
Single sculler Holly McMullan from Runcorn opened the English junior women’s account with a win in singles sculls, ahead of Scotland’s Madeleine Dobson from Maidenhead, but Scotland evened things up with a victory by their Glasgow Academy pair over Fiona McDonald and Bronwen Hulme of King’s School Chester.
In the women’s junior coxless fours, Aberdeen Schools and Henley battled stroke-for-stroke all the way down the course. When the Scots caught a crab with just metres to go, Henley grabbed the win – and four precious Match points – by just a quarter of a second.
Next up were England’s double scullers Robyn Armstrong and Lottie Bruce from Bedford School for Girls, who could only finish second behind Scotland’s George Watson’s College duo, sisters Laura and Katy McDonald, levelling the Match score again.
Scotland pushed ahead when their Glasgow Academy/ George Watson’s composite coxed four won the next race ahead of a Haberdashers crew for Wales and a third-placed five-club composite for England. England closed the gap, though, with a win by Eton Excelsior in the quadruple sculls – pushing the Match into a thrilling eights’ race decider, with Scotland one point ahead of England.
England’s composite eight went on to claim the crucial race ahead of Ireland, with Scotland third and Wales fourth, sealing the Match for England by just one point.
The Junior men’s Match was a more comfortable win for England, with victories in four of the seven races – Jordon Simon and Lucas Rodd of Tideway Scullers in pairs, Northwich’s quadruple scullers and composite crews in coxed fours and eights.
England’s senior men’s team only had one win in their Match, by lightweight double scullers Sam Tuck and James Gossage of Durham University, while Match winners Scotland had five individual race victories. In this Match, Ireland were second while England were third ahead of Wales
There was only one individual win for England in the women’s senior Match, by the quadruple scullers from Wallingford, and Match winners Scotland won seven different events. The English women finished their Match in second place, ahead of Ireland and Wales.
The event was held in fair conditions with light wind, and enjoyed a light-hearted family atmosphere, with many parents and friend of all four countries creating lots of noise and encouragement.
Con Cronin, President of Rowing Ireland and Chair of the Regatta Committee, spoke about the event afterwards: “the Home International presents an opportunity to showcase our wonderful facilities her at the National Rowing Centre, and I would like to congratulate all the athletes and coaches – they put on a great show”.
For Scotland, this was a best-ever total of sixteen individual race wins. The majority of their senior men’s team was drawn from Edinburgh University, which has recently started an ambitious high-performance programme. Speaking about this, Scottish Rowing Head of High Performance Lee Boucher said: “this is just the beginning. We now want to go on and establish a clear pathway for Scottish rowers to the GB teams”.
The Home International moves to Scotland and Strathclyde Park next year.
Senior men: Scotland 34 points, Ireland 29, England 20, Wales 17.
Senior women: Scotland 34 points, England 28, Ireland 20, Wales 17.
Junior men: England 25 points, Ireland 17, Scotland 15, Wales 13.
Junior women: England 24 points, Scotland 23, Ireland 13, Wales 10.
Full results are available via www.homeinternationalregatta.org.
By Mike Haggerty