The 63rd Erne Head of the River organised by ERBC took place on Saturday in conditions that were perfect with no wind or flow.

Over 750 rowers from the four provinces took part in the event which had high standards in most classes, this number included 120 rowers from ERBC.

The female athletes rowed in the morning and the men in the afternoon. The volunteer support from the local community was enormous and a tribute to all concerned.

The race of the morning took place between the EnniskillenRBC Junior 18 and Castleconnell from Limerick.

At the end of 6 kilometres only four seconds separated them - with Castleconnell the winners - a miniscule difference that promises great racing in the months ahead. They say much is learned from such small margins and hopefully this will be the case.

In any case, the ERBC crew was third overall beating some adult crews so the standard is high.The Junior 15 eight were successful and beat St Michael's from Limerick - this crew was Meabh Murphy, Annie Fowler, Zara Welsh, Zara Lindsay, Sienna Howe, Naomi Robinson, Mya Morris, Hannah Armstrong and cox Abbey Wilson.

A different group of J15 girls in the octuple-rowers with two oars each - were victorious over Newry.

The crew was Molly Rice, Catherine McCaffrey, Katie McBride, Amy Lipscomb, Jessica Kingston. Errie Powell, Andrea Blake, Erin Trimble and cox Hannah Naylor. Finally the Junior 14 octuple won in a fast time that promises much for the future. They were Abbie Magwood, Grace Collins, Tori Davis, Brooke Davis, Caithlin Kelly, Abby Johnston, Natalie Turner, Isabella Wright and cox Emily Black.

At 1.30pm the men's race began and 55 crews were at full stretch from the top of the Killyhevlin Straight to the Boathouse. The local interest centred on the Junior 8 event where there were eight entries. In their new German boat the ERBC boys had an emphatic win over the Galway crew from St Joseph's College.

15 seconds separated the two crews with ERBC coming out on top.

This is a fine win by a new crew this season but complacency must be avoided. Jacob Halliday, Kyle Abraham, George Kernaghan, Oliver Khew, Oran Harty, Callum Timoney, Nathan Kelly, Marcus Davis-Kunze and cox Katelyn Fee.

A second ERBC crew also showed that there are athletes there who will push for places as the season pans out. Indeed there were many athletes in other boats who didn't win but there there will be reconfigurations within a number of crews as the season progresses.

In the J15 class there was an emphatic win for the following - Harry Coalter, Ryan Topping, Christian Timoney, Lorcan Sreenivasan, Andrew Cuthbertson, Austin Cassidy, Evan Donaghy, Luke Bailey and cox Grace Ralph.

St Michael's and Neptune from Dublin struggled to stay with these promising young athletes and they would have won the J16 event as well.

In the octuple class at the same age level, ERBC won against several crews from the other provinces - Joshua Ihnat, Cillian Donaghy, Jacob Woods, Harley Sheppard, Jake Sembhi, Bruno Maguire-Favro, Ethan Downey, Eoghan Cambell and cox Hannah Naylor.

At J14 Joel Crean, Oliver Jennings, Shane O'Donnell, Oliver Powell, Paddy Huang, Cameron Bell, Oliver McNeary, Dara McMurray-Taylor and cox Summer Armstrong beat another two crews from ERBC. To round out the day ERBC won the Waterways Ireland trophy for the top junior club and Queen's won the top senior club trophy with ex ERBC rower, Victoria Wilson, rowing for them.

In the Masters' category, the women’s and men’s squads from Portora Boat Club had a successful weekend, both being the fastest of the 50-55 year old 'D' category on home water.

In the morning race the Portora women’s eight coxed by Rory Farragher competed at an average 27 strokes per minute. In the initial 2,500m they were pushed hard by an older crew from Tribesmen Galway, in the later stages Portora relaxed and pulled away again. This battle helped Portora to beat Belfast Rowing Club /Portadown Boat Club composite crew, racing in the same age group.

The fastest women’s crew was an outstanding team from Belfast Boat Club. Interestingly in smaller boats Portora beat half of this crew in Newry recently.

In the afternoon race, the Portora men’s eight was very well stroked by new member Chris Allen and had the widest entry of any event at the Erne Head. They too were the fastest in the 50-55 category easily beating Old Collegians, former members of University College Dublin.

The overall winning Masters boat was from Commercial in Dublin racing in the 55-60 age category. Illustrating the high standard of Irish rowing, another group of masters rowers formed a composite crew from five clubs. This crew with one non-master competed in Senior eights and using a boat borrowed from Portora, finished well ahead of all the Masters including Commercial.

Portora Boat Club Chairman Sonja Cassidy had a busy weekend with her children Acorn and Austin also competing. Sonja commented: "This event is our local one and our men and women were determined to do well, our women were especially delighted to beat Belfast. We would like to thank all of the people who gave up their time to make the event function so safely and smoothly.”

Portora hope to travel back to Belfast in a few weeks time for a rematch at Lagan Scullers Head.