Cospicua were the protagonists in this year’s Freedom Day Regatta after managing to complete a memorable double when topping both the Open and the ‘B’ category in this year’s edition held at the Valletta Grand Harbour.
It was a hard-fought victory for the Cottonera outfit who had to fend off the strong challenge of the improving Vittoriosa and Senglea in both categories but in the end the fact of having a more experience pool of rowers made the difference to yesterday’s success.
It was far from plain-sailing start for Cospicua in the Open category.
There was a dramatic start to the opening race, reserved for Dgħajjes Tal-Pass, when favourites Cospicua and Kalkara were disqualified after the opening metres when they hit each other, paving the way for Senglea to storm into the lead and manage to preserve their top status till the end. Vittoriosa placed second ahead of Birżebbuġa.
In the second race of the Open category, reserved for Frejgatini, Kalkara were off to a storming start and raced ahead of Cospicua and the green-shirted crew kept up their high-tempo throughout to complete a stunning victory.
Cospicua finally secured their first win in the Open category yesterday when, as expected, they dominated the Dgħajjes Tal-Pass C race as they led the race right from the outset through their formidable duo Dennis Thornton and Clive Casha.
Marsamxett tried to mount a serious challenge but could not their more-quoted opponents and had to settle for second place with Vittoriosa taking third place.
Cospicua then took a giant stride towards winning the shield in the Open category when they managed to prevail in a fierce duel with direct rivals Senglea in the Kajjiki race.
The Blue-and-white-shirted team were pushed all the way by Senglea but somehow managed to hold on to their lead, just ahead of Senglea to extend their lead at the top to eight points ahead of the final race.
The concluding race turned out to be a real thriller where the photo-finish was needed to decide the winner after a three-way fight between Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Birżebbuġa.
In the end, Cospicua were declared as the winners of the race to seal top spot in the overall standings with 64 points
The B category turned out to be a thrilling battle Cospicua and Senglea with Vittoriosa entering the fight in the late races.
There was little separating these two neighbouring clubs with Cospicua winning the Dgħajjes Tal-Pass race with Senglea coming out on top in the second race for Kajjiki.
However, Cospicua managed to edge Senglea in the Dgħajjes tal-Midalji race before all but securing the shield with victory in the Frejgatini race with Senglea failing to secure a top-three placing.
Cospicua sealed their overall win in the B category when they managed to bag another victory when topping the final race – Dgħajjes B Tal-Pass b’Erbat Imqadef, as they strolled ahead of Vittoriosa with Senglea only managing a third-place finish.
After a lengthy delay to the start of proceedings, it was the women’s class first on the water with Vittoriosa producing a storming performance in the Frejgatini race as they cruised to a comfortable victory in seven minutes and 27 seconds. Kalkara were a distant second just ahead of Senglea.
Race 1: Women’s class – Frejgatini: 1. Vittoriosa; 2. Kalkara; 3. Senglea.
Race 2: Category B – Dgħajjes Tal-Pass: 1. Cospicua; 2. Vittoriosa; 3. Senglea.
Race 3: Category Open – Dgħajjes A Tal-Midalji: 1. Senglea; 2. Vittoriosa; 3. Birżebbuġa.
Race 4: Category B – Kajjiki: 1. Senglea; 2. Marsamxett; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 5: Category Open – Frejgatini: 1. Kalkara; 2. Cospicua; 3. Senglea.
Race 6: Category B – Dgħajjes tal-Midalji: 1. Cospicua; 2. Senglea; 3 Vittoriosa.
Race 7: Category Open – Dgħajjes C Tal-Pass: 1. Cospicua; 2. Marsamxett; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 8: Category B – Frejgatini: 1. Cospicua; 2. Marsamxett; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 9: Category Open – Kajjiki: 1. Cospicua; 2. Senglea; 3. Vittoriosa.
Race 10: Category B – Dgħajjes tal-Pass: 1. Cospicua; 2. Vittoriosa; 3. Senglea.
Race 11: Category Open – Dgħajjes B Tal-Pass: 1. Cospicua; 2. Vittoriosa; 3. Birżebbuġa.
CATEGORY A: 1. Cospicua 64; Vittoriosa 38; 3. Senglea 32; 4. Birżebbuġa 14; 5. Kalkara, Marsamxett 12.
CATEGORY B: 1. Cospicua 76; 2. Vittoriosa 42; 2. Senglea 38; 4. Marsamxett 8.
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