East End's crack IRB crew of Andy Cronin and James Moorwood plan to be back on the water soon.
The pair missed the North Island IRB championships at Ohope Beach at the weekend but have their sights set on competing in the next round of the BP series in Taranaki next month, which coincides with the Central Region surf lifesaving championships at Oakura Beach.
And Cronin said the pair would defend their premier title at the nationals at Waipu in March.
"James has been away for work in Thailand and I've got a three-month-old boy, so we gave it a miss," Cronin said yesterday. "We haven't done any race training since the nationals back in March. The plan is to race at the central regionals in January and have another go at the nationals."
Cronin said it was the first time he had missed the North Island champs. "It's been going 12 or 13 years and I've competed in every one apart from this year."
East End sent seven crews to the North Island champs. "They were mostly new combinations and they did pretty well."
Three crews were placed, with Steven Rolfe, Scott Nelson, Jessica Cox and Lisa Cox second in the senior mass rescue; Campbell Begg, Scott Busing, Geoffrey Cronin, Nelson and Lisa Cox second in the open teams; and Begg, Cronin and Lisa Cox third in the premier single rescue. Waimarama's top crew of Mike Harman and Ben Cross dominated racing in the premier division at Ohope.
The pair won five golds, with victory in the assembly and single rescue finals underlining their dominance.
The Hawke's Bay club's second premier crew of Tim Cox and Jason Harman finished second in the mass rescue and picked up two fourth-placings on the final day.
St Clair sisters Carla and Steph Laughton led the South Island charge, nearly collecting a clean sweep themselves, only to be thwarted in the women's single rescue final by United North Piha's Katherine Reardon and Grace Joseph. The sisters still finished with three golds and a silver. Overall supremacy at Ohope went to Sunset Beach.
They took home their first overall club title after collecting 62 points over the two days.
Based at the mouth of the Waikato River, Sunset fielded three under-21 crews and three women's crews, holding off Waimarama.
Final points: Sunset Beach 62, Waimarama 60, St Clair 51, Paekakariki 48, Papamoa, Muriwai and United North Piha 36, Taylors Mistake 30, East End 24, Otaki 22, Westshore 21, North Beach 15, Kariaotahi and Mairangi Bay 4, Palmerston North 3.
- Taranaki Daily News
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