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Top left clockwise: Evie Norton; Harry Carpenter; Josh Connolly; Finn Parkinson; Jacob Huxter; Thea Carpenter; Anya Trollope 

Bridport’s Youngest Gig Rowers impress at Junior Championships
Written by Finn Parkinson, 14 years old

One of Bridport Gig Club’s youngest members was keen to share his experience of racing in the Junior Championships in Cornwall. Finn Parkinson is 14 years old and part of a mixed gig of boys and girls. Youngest crew member, Thea Carpenter is aged 12. Bridport’s Junior crew have won all four Regatta’s this season. They were hoping for some great results at their very own Junior Champs. Finn tells his story….

On Sunday 7th July 2019, the Bridport Junior under 14 crew, set off on the 144 mile journey to Hayle, in deepest darkest Cornwall. We arrived at around 9:30am and didn’t have long to wait until our first race. We were placed in the second heat against Cadgwith E and Newquay B and we won. Our winning streak would only build throughout the day.

The Champs is a special experience for us because it is exclusively under 14s and we didn’t take our own boat down. We borrowed a gig from the 34 native Cornish clubs that we were racing against.

After the win against Cadgwith and Newquay, we had a long rest, as we weren’t rowing again until the 12th heat. Between races, we all made sure that we didn’t eat too much, but had enough energy for our next race. Our second race of the day yielded much the same results with another win, this time against Helford and Mevagissey.

Not long after the second race, we were in the Quarter Finals and the hardest race yet. We all seemed small next to the other crews of all boys. Although it was the hardest race so far, we still managed to win again, this time against Cadgwith A and Mevagissey.

Now we just had to wait for the Semi Finals. If we had won our Semi Final, we would have been in the running to win the whole Championships! Unfortunately we didn’t win our race, as Rame beat us by mere seconds! Our final result was 4th out of 35 clubs.

The atmosphere of the Champs was an incredible hive of activity and noise, which only added to the anticipation of the races and the fun of the day, all together.

At the end of the day, we had the awards ceremony, straight after the finals. We were awarded with a cup for Best Sportsmanship and Bridport Gig Club won for doing the most to promote Junior Rowing, which made us very proud.