Rowers had an oar-some time at the first flatwater rowing regatta in Wales in three years.

The two-day Monmouth Regatta, which dates back to the early 1930s, saw nearly 400 boats from 32 clubs launch out on the Wye to race over 1500m on Saturday and 750m on Sunday.

And there was success for local junior boats with Monmouth Comprehensive School landing four trophies, Monmouth School for Girls two, and Monmouth School for Boys and Monmouth Rowing Club taking one each.

Rowers came from as far away as London, Nottingham, Exeter, Swansea and Abingdon to compete, and all were impresse with the efficient and friendly organisation, which saw the 260-race programme even finish ahead of time,

Westminster Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston, who was at the regatta to support his two children racing for Evesham RC, congratulated the regatta volunteers saying it was brilliantly run and set in a beautiful location.

On the water, the Blue Riband 8s races on Saturday saw some great racing over the 1500m downstream course, with Swansea University winning an epic semi-final battle with Bath University by just a 1/4 of a length in the men’s 8s.

And in the final, they then beat Bath’s B boat by 1.5L to take the Phil Mathew Claret Jug 8s, named after the former Monmouth School teacher and regatta commentator

In the women’s 8 for the Alec Woods Ladies Plate, named after Monmouth RC’s former president, Bath University beat Bristol Ariel and City of Bristol beat City of Oxford to make it through to the final.

The Monmouth School for Girls 8 take on Oxford. Photo: Oarstruck Photography/ www.oarstruck.co.uk
The Monmouth School for Girls 8 take on Oxford. Photo: Oarstruck Photography/ www.oarstruck.co.uk (Oarstruck photography )

And in another epic battle to the line, it was the students who prevailed by just 1/2L.

But Bath couldn’t deny Monmouth Comprehensive’s senior girls Beth Crossley, Ella Miles, Laura Willis and Megan Clifton who took the women’s open coxless fours crown in their final with a commanding win over the Avon crew.

Ffyn Parry and Max Hole also added the U16 doubles with a 4L win over Staines, while club captain Peaches Hale had too much power for her Hartpury College opponent in the women’s U18 singles.

Monmouth Comprehensive’s U15 quad scull on their way to victory. Photo: Oarstruck Photography.
Monmouth Comprehensive’s U15 quad scull on their way to victory. Photo: Oarstruck Photography. (Oarstruck Photography. )

James Probert, Samuel Chilton, Hector Futcher, Archie Cowton and cox Arthur Dennant were also on song in their U15 coxed quads final, staying strong to the line to land a 2.5L victory from Evesham.

And Monmouth School for Boys pupil Ollie Smith also took U14 singles, beating a school mate in his final.

There were some near misses as well, Monmouth Comprehensive’s U15 double losing by just over 2L to Dart-Totnes, and their U18 quad pushing Staines to a 3L verdict.

At Saturday’s prizegiving, club president John Jenkins was also delighted to present a new trophy in his name to the winner of the U15 girls’ singles from AB Severn Boat Club.

On Sunday in the sprint regatta, back from racing at the 2012 Olympic lake in London in the National Schools’ Regatta the previous day, MSG’s women’s open four beat Evesham in the semi-final before racing one of the closest finals of the whole weekend, losing by just a canvas to City of Oxford.

Oxford again had the better of the school students in the women’s 8s final, this time by just over a length.

But the four of Hannah Jones, Cerys Lewis, Carys Faulkner, Eva Hutchings and cox Abbie Morgan took the U15 girls’ title beating a crew of club mates in the final, while Ailsa Whitehead beat her Falcon, Oxford opponent to land the girls’ U14 singles.

Monmouth School for Girls J15 winners with their medals.
Monmouth School for Girls J15 winners with their medals. (Nick Hartland )

Monmouth RC’s George Coates also beat Upton and Falcon opponents to land the U15 singles, winning his final by just over 3L.

Monmouth RC thanked its sponsors who made the regatta possible – Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools, Towergate Insurance, Hancocks Butchers, Monmouth Clinic, M&M Ices, Monmouth MoT Centre, Roscoe, Rogers & Knight Estate Agents, Monnow Eyecare, Tod Security and Fire, Kingstone Brewery, Monmouth Canoe & Activity Centre, Monnow Voice, Savoy Theatre, Icon Creative, Kilsby Williams Chartered Accountants, Brunel Marine, It’s Covered Marquees, Paul Jarrold Tyres, Launch Bikes, Five Acres, Car, Van and Truck Hire, Girl on the River, James and Louise Allison, Helen Campion & Peter Scott, Barbara and Brian Atkins, Anne and Mike Butler.

Winning Mon School Girls sculler Ailsa Whitehead
Winning Mon School Girls sculler Ailsa Whitehead gives the thumbs up. (Nick Hartland )

For full results and more information, go to www.monmouthrc.org.uk

Race photos can be seen at www.oarstruck.co.uk