Senglea were declared winner of this year’s Freedom Day Regatta in the Grand Harbour on Friday.
An impressive string of four wins saw them end the Open category with 74 points and a massive 34-point gap over rivals Cospicua. The latter did, however, take home the B category title, ending the afternoon with 50 points, two ahead of runners-up Kalkara.
It was in fact the first Open category race ‑ Dgħajjes A Tal-Midalji – which paved the way for Senglea to win their first honours since their previous title 11 years ago. Favourites Cospicua and Vittoriosa had sped to the front initially, but a red flag disqualified the pair after a crash. With Marsa four lengths behind, Senglea took the surprise win to kickstart their road to overall victory.
Senglea celebrated again in the next race – Dgħajjes A Frejgatini – when Clyde Mizzi and Davison Micallef dominated ahead of Marsa and Kalkara in another disqualification for Cospicua.
20 consecutive wins
Victory Day Regatta winners Cospicua found solace in the Dgħajjes A Tal-pass bi Tnejn race when Clive Casha and Dennis Thornton’s consistent rowing gave the duo their 20th consecutive win together.
“This was our 20th consecutive win for us together and it’s something we enjoy. The race was quite regular today, we came out strong immediately, and we won again,” Thornton said after the race.
“The race was a good one, you’ve always got that one team you’ve got to be wary of more than others. This year, Vittoriosa and Kalkara have become very good, but we won nonetheless.”
Casha added that due to their experience together, their teamwork became much better.
“Rowing for 12 years with the same partner is a big thing. The result show as 20 consecutive wins is not something that happens coincidentally. I believe it is due to determination and staying humble,” Casha explained.
Senglea sealed their victory in the Dgħajjes A Kajjikki race when they were mathematically confirmed champions after Micallef and Andre Gauci sped to the finish first ahead of Vittoriosa and Cospicua.
While the final race held no significant importance with regards to points, Senglea took bragging rights with yet another win in the Dgħajjes A Tal-pass b’ Erbgha race whenRedeemer Rapa, Glenn Zammit, Russell Bugeja, and Gauci fought past Cospicua as Marsa followed in third.
Cospicua take Category B honours
In the second category, Cospicua started in the worst way possible, finishing last in the Dgħajjes B Tal-pass bi Tnejn, but made up for this in the second race – Dgħajjes B Tal-Medalji – when they edged past Kalkara.
Their shield was confirmed in the Dgħajjes B Tal-pass b’ Erbgha race when they took first place, while closest rivals Kalkara lost out to Birgu for second place and so, could not amass enough points to stay in contention for the title.
In the women’s race, Vittoriosa came out as winners this time, taking their sixth consecutive win, ahead of Kalkara and Cospicua.
Race 1: Women’s class – Frejgatini: 1. Vittoriosa; 2. Kalkara; 3. Cospicua.
Race 2: Category B – Dgħajjes Tal-Pass (2): 1. Senglea 20; 2. Kalkara 12; 3. Cospicua 6.
Race 3: Category Open – Dgħajjes A Tal-Midalji: 1. Senglea 20; 2. Marsa 12.
Race 4: Category B – Kajjiki: 1. Kalkara 12; 2. Senglea 8; 3. Birzebbugia 4.
Race 5: Category Open – Frejgatini: 1. Senglea 12; 2. Marsa 8; 3. Kalkara 4.
Race 6: Category B – Dgħajjes tal-Midalji: 1. Cospicua 20; 2. Kalkara 12; 3. Senglea 6.
Race 7: Category Open – Dgħajjes Tal-Pass (2): 1. Cospicua 20; 2. Vittoriosa 12; 3. Senglea 6.
Race 8: Category B – Frejgatini: 1. Birzebbugia 12; 2. Senglea 8; 3. Kalkara 4.
Race 9: Category Open – Kajjiki: 1. Senglea 12; 2. Vittoriosa 8; 3. Cospicua 4.
Race 10: Category B – Dgħajjes tal-Pass (4): 1. Cospicua 24; 2. Vittoriosa 16; 3. Kalkara 8.
Race 11: Category Open – Dgħajjes Tal-Pass (4): 1. Senglea 24; 2. Cospicua 16; 3. Marsa 8.
OPEN CATEGORY: 1. Senglea 74; Cospicua 40; Marsa 28; Vittoriosa 20; Kalkara 4.
CATEGORY B: 1. Cospicua 50; Kalkara 48; Senglea 42; Birzebbugia 16; Vittoriosa 16.
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