College girls dazzle in fight-from-behind win

FOR a moment or two, Ballarat Clarendon College waited, unsure of what it had achieved and awaiting confi rmation.

College had reclaimed the Ballarat Associated Schools’ Patterson Shield – as girls’ Head of the Lake winner – which it last held in 2011.

The College girls’ fi rsts did so with an impressive fi ght-frombehind win to edge out highly fancied rival Ballarat Grammar.

Even Loreto was in hot contention before slipping to third.

College girls’ captain of boats Madeleine Ross said it was coxswain Ellie Dowling who made all the difference in the strong comeback.

“She is the one who told us we were still in it with a chance to win. She could see where the other crews were on the water and kept telling us that we could do it,” Ross said.

“It was an absolutely amazing end – we didn’t even know we’d won it at first, until we heard (the course announcer), because we really didn’t have it until the very end.”

Ross, Dowling, Marion Peters, Hilary Jones and tenacious stroke Sarah Maher stopped on a spit midway back to the College sheds and disembarked their boat as heroes to crowds of schoolmates and supporters.

It was strictly business-like arriving back at the sheds. But they stopped for a moment, just the crew, to cheer and celebrate together.

College girls fi rsts coach Ross Henderson, who has coached the five year 12 girls for a combined 10 years, said it was a rewarding fi nish, particularly after a variety of small setbacks made for a horrible three weeks leading into Boat Race.

“The way the girls won it, to stay so composed, was incredible.

“To execute the race they did, under that much pressure, was pretty amazing.”