Grammar, Scotch and St Pat's ready for Head of the River

Home grown: Lilly Slater, of St Patrick's College, at the Launceston and Henley Regatta on the Tamar last week. Pictures: Neil Richardson
Home grown: Lilly Slater, of St Patrick's College, at the Launceston and Henley Regatta on the Tamar last week. Pictures: Neil Richardson

Three Launceston independent schools have plenty of grounds for optimism heading into Saturday’s annual fight for state supremacy at the Head of the River.

Lake Barrington will again host the keenly-fought climax to the Sports Association of Tasmanian Independent Schools’ rowing season with a full program leading up to the blue ribbon eight races.

Scotch Oakburn College, Launceston Church Grammar and St Patrick’s College have all had busy seasons which included last weekend’s Launceston and Henley Regatta on home water.

Scotch director of rowing Jamie Breden said more than 100 rowers had been involved in their program.

“We won eight trophies at Henley which was fantastic and we would love to continue that at the Head of the River,” he said. 

“It’s going to be a close tussle with Hutchins in the open boys eights. They’ve been just ahead of us this year but we’ve been slowly closing the gap so it should be very closely contested.

Heave-ho: Bronte Kendell rowing for Scotch Oakburn College in the schoolgirls under-15 single scull.

Heave-ho: Bronte Kendell rowing for Scotch Oakburn College in the schoolgirls under-15 single scull.

“Our girls are steadily improving and closing the gap on Collegiate, Grammar and Friends who have dominated the school season so we’re hoping to upset the applecart in the senior girls eight.”

Grammar director of rowing Katie Duncan said their team would span from first-year under-13s through to seniors at their last regatta and the culmination of five years of training.

“We’ve had some great results from juniors and seniors and are looking forward to seeing how they are rewarded for their hard work and training,” she said.

“It’s been wonderful to see the spirit and camaraderie shown this year with the rowers helping each other out.

“We’re looking forward to the eights but we’re more about trying to achieve overall success for everyone across all the age groups, girls and boys.”

St Patrick’s College rowing co-ordinator Andrew Smith said his crews had come on in leaps and bounds.

Focused: Coco Thyne competing for Launceston Grammar in the schoolgirls under-15 single scull.

Focused: Coco Thyne competing for Launceston Grammar in the schoolgirls under-15 single scull.

“We had a fairly successful Henley program last weekend and we’ll be hoping to back that up,” he said.

“We have two Tasmanian champions in the club – Lili Wrigley won the under-19 single scull during the pennant season and at the Tasmanian all-schools and Rebecca Bye was the under-17 champion.

“Oscar Birtwistle and Laurie Dean won the under-15 boys double scull at all-schools and our junior crews won the aggregate shield at Henley so we are pretty evenly matched across the club which is very good for the rowers and also our coaches.”

Racing starts at 8.30am with the eights scheduled for about 3.30pm.