Saturday, 21 July 2018

Henley athletes help England win

FOUR Leander athletes and three Shiplake Vikings junior girls helped England to victory at the Home International Regatta

FOUR Leander athletes and three Shiplake Vikings junior girls helped England to victory at the Home International Regatta last weekend in Cardiff where the strong westerly wind produced challenging conditions on the Taff Estuary course.

Seb Devereux was Leander’s sole representative at senior level where he raced all three sculling events on the card. A narrow defeat in the single at the hands of Josh Bugajski of Wales was followed by gold in the double where he partnered Dave Bell of Molesey.

At junior level Leander’s Tom Mortimer, Tom Placidi and Piotr Golawski joined forces with Matt Day of Broxbourne to form the England quad which led their race from start to finish and crossed the line with clear water ahead of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

Elsewhere Shiplake Vikings junior girls came away with two medals for their country.

The Shiplake crew of Maddie Orr, Lauren Edwards, Ellie Thompson racing with Layla Wheeldon from Molesey Boat Club in the stroke seat, represented England in the junior women’s coxless four and the junior women’s eight. This was the second successive year representing England for all four girls. Scotland threw the challenge down in the morning races with wins in the singles and pairs events. As the regatta progressed towards the bigger boats, the challenge was set for England to make their mark on the water, and the Shiplake/Molesey crew gave the other three countries plenty to think about.

Orr had been selected as England Junior Women’s captain, and all eyes were set on the Shiplake/Molesey boat to lead by example and extinguish the early lead that Scotland had made in the junior regatta.

England started well, leading within the first 100m and extending their lead as the race approached the half-way mark. With Scotland and Ireland fighting for second position, the four continued with their well-executed race plan, accelerating as the race progressed and extending their lead throughout the next 750m. As the crew crossed the line in the view of the cheering crowds lining the dockside at Mermaid Quay they had established a clear lead of two lengths over the second placed Irish crew.

The Shiplake/Molesey crew joined forces with the coxed four crew to form the England eight. With the crosswind gusts becoming more powerful as the afternoon progressed, the England eight lined up on the start with the Ireland crew on their stroke side. As the race started, the two crews battled the gusts and clashed blades several times. The England crew were more powerful though and as they gained speed through the difficult water, they established a clear lead towards the 500m marker ahead of the Irish boat.

The second half of the race was a battle between blade and water, the England crew focusing on their technique through the difficult conditions to keep the boat moving without any errors. During the last quarter of the race, the England crew accelerated ahead of the other three boats, finishing with clear water between them and the Ireland boat, followed by Scotland and Wales.

This win gave the England junior women their fifth victory of the day, earning the winning points to enable Orr to receive the Home International Regatta trophy at a match banquet in the evening.

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