Thursday, 20 September 2018

Barnes’s treble not enough as Upper Thames lose their town regatta crown

UPPER Thames Rowing Club narrowly missed out on retaining the Victor Ludorum at this year’s Henley

UPPER Thames Rowing Club narrowly missed out on retaining the Victor Ludorum at this year’s Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta.

The club took seven victories in total on Saturday, but it was not enough to hold off Wallingford Rowing Cub, which claimed the Peter Sutherland Challenge Cup.

Upper Thames were crowned the overall winners last year for the first time in five years after a close battle with Wallingford, with the clubs neck-and-neck with 10 races to go.

This year the club’s former Henley Royal Regatta winner Sam Barnes took three wins, which included a senior doubles composite crew where he teamed up with Leander’s Louisa Reeve.

Barnes was also triumphant in the Intermediate 3 singles where he beat Oliver Whitfield of Star and Arrow Club — Leander’s development squad — and in the elite pairs, where he took the win with fellow royal regatta winner Ed Couldwell.

In the junior 15 doubles Madeleine Pollard and Carla Russell beat Henley Rowing Club’s Caoimhe O’Donohue and Ruby Borg.

In the Intermediate 1 doubles Ciara Buckley took the win with Sally Pollok-Morris, beating two crews from Wallingford. The club also won the Masters open G coxless fours and the mixed senior fours.

Justin Sutherland, captain of Upper Thames and director of rowing, said: “Our main focus is on Henley Royal Regatta so it’s a quieter time for us leading up to the Town and Visitors’, but it’s always good to support it and the seven wins show we are still able to compete.”

Mr Sutherland called Barnes’s performances “exceptional”. He competed for Tideway Scullers’ School at this year’s royal regatta and Mr Sutherland added: “It’s nice to see him back at the club — he’s done us proud. I think all of them were good wins.

“It’s nice to see the women’s squad of Ciara and Sally keeping the flag flying over the summer and it’s nice the juniors won, especially over Henley Rowing Club. Anyone who can beat Henley Rowing Club’s junior women is doing a pretty good job.

“I think Henley are excellent for juniors and they dominate the junior racing, not just locally but nationally, so if we have got victories in excess of their impressive record then we’re doing extremely well.

“We must avenge our narrow defeat in 2017. We can’t have Wallingford beating us, especially in something called the Peter Sutherland Cup – it’s an outrage!”

Henley Rowing Club, meanwhile, took five wins.

These included the junior 14 doubles of Euan Turnell and James Swinburn, the junior 14 singles where Grant Taylor took the win and the junior 16 singles where Bruce Turnell won.

In his semi-final he overcame a strong Maidenhead sculler, who had recently represented Great Britain. He established an early lead, and fought off repeated challenges to win a quick and exciting race by a third of a length.

His final was more comfortable, coming home a length up on his nearest rival in a three boat race.

The club also won the elite coxless fours where a crew of Rebecca Lister, Alice Redman, Grace Johnson and Alice Jones beat Fulham Reach and the mixed quads where Fiona Walsh, Anna Stevens, Miriam Braham and Philip Kiely, coxed by Sam Agass, beat their team mates.

Star and Arrow Club also claimed a victory in the junior 16 doubles in a composite with Reading Rowing Club.

For the fourth year running, the regatta was held on a shortened 800m section along the Henley Royal Regatta course and featured events for men, women, mixed crews, juniors and seniors.

The day saw 263 crews compete in 137 races throughout the day, with entries slightly down on last year’s record entry. Racing was held on a three-lane course from Old Blades to Phyllis Court at four-minute intervals throughout the day.

Trophies were presented by president Fred Smallbone as well as race sponsors.

Regatta chairman Mike Williams said: “We have had an excellent day of racing. I cannot recall as big a crowd as we had on Saturday, and the weather was nearly perfect. We look forward to welcoming everyone back again next year.”

The 2017 regatta will be held on Saturday, July 29. The regatta committee also organises a number of social events to support the running of the event, including the annual dinner which is to be held on Friday, November 25 at Leander Club.

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