Three crews from Enniskillen Royal Boat Club made the journey to Henley Women’s Regatta last weekend with one crew reaching the semi finals of the competition and the other two crews the quarter finals which was a remarkable achievement.

The competition didn’t happen last year due to Covid so everyone was delighted that the organisers were able to hold a safe event this year.

The Junior Eight made it to the semi final, their crew comprising Nikki Kernaghan, Laura Turner, Niamh Cassidy, Chloe Thompson, Zoe Elliott, Katie Donnelly, Martha McBrien and cox Grace Ralph.

The draw after Saturday morning’s time trial set them up in a heat against Tideway Scullers School on Saturday afternoon which they won by 2 ½ lengths in a time of four minutes and 43 seconds.

The ERBC Eight led the race from start to finish down the 1,400m shortened course.

Sunday morning’s quarter final saw the crew race against Latymer Upper School and after a very exciting, close race ERBC crossed the line first, winning the race by three quarters of a length in an improved time of four minutes 28.5 seconds.

There wasn’t much time until the girls had to race Headington School eight, one of the top crews in the UK who had the advantage of one less race thanks to a favourable draw.

The girls raced well right to the end but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to take the win. Headington School went on to lift the Peabody Cup.

Nikki Kernaghan, Girls’ Captain said: “We had great races, not one of our races went badly.

“Our starts were exceptional which definitely helped us over the weekend. Racing at Henley Women’s Regatta was an unbelievable experience in itself. Making it to the semi-final and being beaten by the crew that went on to win the Cup made it easier to take, we knew we had put up the best race we could against Headington. The course was a lovely course to race on because it was a short sprint. We all loved every minute of it.”

Tough draw

Championship Pair of Zoe McCutcheon and Maeve Donnelly performed well in the time trial on Friday morning and then a tough draw saw them facing the crew from Oxford University BC in the quarter-final.

The girls rowed hard right to the line but unfortunately they were beaten. The girls have just been back to training together over the last couple of weeks having spent the last year rowing for their universities in the United States.

ERBC’s Coxed Four, Aine McCaffrey, Abigail Linton, Jenny Little, Niamh Campbell and cox Georgia Maxwell made it through their time trial on Saturday to qualify for the heats of the Regatta and then faced the crew from William Perkins School.

After an extremely close race the girls from Enniskillen Royal Boat Club were declared the winners in a time of five minutes 25.5 seconds.

The quarter-final draw gave the crew an encounter with Glasgow Academy which unfortunately saw an end to their dreams of lifting the Groton School Challenge Cup.

All in all, it was a weekend of top class performances from the Boat Club against the very top crews in the UK.

Derek Holland, Head of Rowing at ERBC was delighted with the performances: “The weekend went well and the girls eight now have time to get even better before the biggest event of the year for us, Henley Royal Regatta in August. They will travel along with the boys’ quad to compete.”