Boat bungle beaches rowers
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON'S veteran version of the 'Oarsome Foursome' ? Greg Thompson, Ken Maughan, John Brien and Tony Gallagher ? were left high and dry during the early stages of the World Masters Rowing Championships in Edmonton, Canada.
The Grafton Rowing Club quartet, fuelled with excitement and expectation, were stranded on land when an acute shortage of boats forced many visiting international teams to miss the opening day of competition at the regatta venue, LeDuc, Alberta.
Other Grafton Masters rowers Earl Cruickshank and Neville Doughan, who were aligned with crews from other areas, were in a similar position.
"There was a problem with boats, the organisers just didn't have enough boats for all the teams to compete," Thompson said. "We missed three races on the first day of competition."
When the Graftonians finally got a chance to show their wares on water the supplied boats were far from the sleek and modern craft available at home.
Undeterred and revelling in the spirit of competition and camaraderie on and off the lake, Thompson, Maughan, Brien and Gallagher, finished fourth in a quad scull heat and Thompson and Maughan combined for fourth in the double scull final for their age group.
The chance to meet rowers from around the world however, provided one of the major highlights.
More than 2000 rowers attended the World Masters Championships.
"We became very good friends with a lot of rowers from Alaska, San Diego, Alberta and other international teams," Thompson said. "Everyone really enjoyed themselves and we made a good deal of new friends."
The Grafton rowing shirts proved highly popular with visiting crews.
"They loved our shirts, we swapped plenty with other teams and brought back numerous shirts from other countries," Thompson said.
"But the biggest reaction came when we gave out booklets on the Clarence that were supplied to us by the Council before we left.
"Most of the people were simply amazed at what we have here (Grafton) and couldn't believe how great the Clarence looked.
"When they come to Sydney for the 2008 Masters a lot of people said they would love to stay in Grafton before or after the event.
"We made a lot of very good friends and contacts and had a great time."
Socceroos pay deal
SYDNEY. ? The quadrennial haggling over rewards for the Soc- ceroos should they make the World Cup has been settled earlier than usual, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement announced yesterday.
Unlike previous World Cup campaigns, when the CBA wasn't thrashed out until just before the final qualifying round, the new agreement was reached prior to the Oceania play-off against the Solomon Islands over the next week.
Socceroo defender Lucas Neill welcomed news of the agreement.
"I'm glad that somethings been sorted," he said.