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The Junior Academy from Ross Rowing club attended Wallingford Scullers Head on Saturday, racing over 4000m in a processional time trial. This event traditionally attracts the premier clubs wishing to bench mark themselves against each other in order to get an early indication of relative boat speed early in the winter training cycle. The Ross squad have been working on their base cardio fitness for the last 3 months and so it would provide an excellent review of progress made.

In the WJ15 double sculls class the Club had two entries with Ellie Grindle & Amy Surman and Rosie Brandram-Jones & Abi Beddard. Up against a strong Wallingford crew in the same division it was Ellie and Amy who prevailed, winning the event in 16.34, over 15 seconds ahead of Wallingford who pipped Abi and Rosie into 3rd place by just a couple of seconds. The time posted by Amy and Ellie was the quickest ever in their age group since records began in 1991.

In the afternoon division, the doubles teamed up to create a quad and were competing in a very large field with crews from many of the top schools in the country, including Monmouth Haberdashers and St Georges College, Sir William Borlaise and Wallingford themselves. The crew distinguished themselves, winning the event over their nearest rivals from Sir William Borlaise by 16 seconds. Again this was a record setting result and in no small way due to the excellent coxing by Morgan Bayham-Williams.

In addition to the doubles, the womens J16 single scullers of Ellie Blackwood and Lucy Jones competing in one of the largest fields of the day came home in 8th and 12th places respectively out of 20 scullers. Again these constitute excellent early season results.

Junior Performance coach, Ian Howell commented, 'The squad has been focusing on the quality of sculling and key performance metrics by learning to race to deliberate race plans and strategies. Combining this with the excellent cardio work completed, the result is to deliver the outcome we all so enjoy - winning! The team have taken yet another step forward in the development journey and we will return to training to become even stronger, fitter and faster.'

Amy Surman and Ellie Grindle.

Ellie Grindle, Abi Beddard, Amy Surman and Rosie Brandram-Jones with Cox, Morgan Baynham-Williams.


Ross's unbeaten start to the season was brought to an abrupt halt on Saturday, as they were unable to break down the home teams defence and Matson eventually ran out 15-3 winners. Two unanswered tries in the second-half gave Matson the points after a lacklustre Ross failed to keep their cool.

Both teams started off quietly but a few back-line moves from the home team saw them in front of the posts and after Ross were penalized for diving in, fly-half Aaron Fowke capitalized and Matson were 3-0 ahead. As Ross went on the attack, the back-line tried to get the visitors back in the game and when Matson were penalized for being offside, Ross thought they had their chance. But, Ross scrum-half James Hughes pushed the ball to the left and Ross were still left trailing.

Ross kept attacking and their work finally paid off when they turned the Matson scrum in the Matson half. The ball went through the hands of the Ross forwards before centre Bas Parker took the ball to the floor and Matson were penalized for going over the top. This time Hughes didn't miss and levelled the score at 3 - 3 which remained at half-time.

Matson came out fighting in the second-half, determined not to lose in front of their home fans. A period of pressure on the Ross defence saw the Matson forwards push for the line and prop Leighton Correia carry the ball over to put the home team back in the driving seat. Fowke couldn't convert and a penalty 10 minutes later for playing the ball on the floor before the ruck was formed was also missed by the fly-half to keep the score at 8 - 3.

Tempers blazed and a fight broke out between the two teams, seeing Ross captain Gavin Oates sent to the bin for backchat after claiming he was having his eye gouged by a Matson player. Both teams kept trying to find holes in the opposition defence but it was Matson that managed to capitalize after the referee missed a knock-on. Matson were on the attack and as Winger Matt Callaghan passed the ball to fullback Vince Vanciano he knocked on. But the mistake was missed by the ref and Vanciano passed to number eight Dean Miller who went on to score in the corner. This time, Fowke didn't miss and gave the home team a 15-3 win and two points.

The Ross-on-Wye Walford Timber Man of the Match was Tara Barnett.

Next Saturday, 10th October, Ross are at home to Old Colstonians from Bristol. Kick off is at 3pm.

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