Sunday, 23 September 2018

Henley RC’s seven wins not enough to secure top prize

HENLEY Rowing Club narrowly missed out on securing overall victory at Saturday’s Town and Visitors’ Regatta.

HENLEY Rowing Club narrowly missed out on securing overall victory at Saturday’s Town and Visitors’ Regatta.

The club was in the running to win the Sutherland Cup right up until the final of the Elite Eights, the last race of the day, but the local crew finished third after being beaten by Pangbourne Nautics Boat Club and runners-up Nonesuch BC.

A record-breaking 239 crews from 50 clubs competed in 122 races along the Henley reach.

This year, the course was shortened to 800 metres to make races more exciting for spectators and the regatta introduced junior races and primary events for those new to the sport.

Regatta highlights included the final of the Intermediate 1 doubles between Upper Thames and Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe which had to be re-rowed after the judges declared a dead heat. The second run was almost equally as close, with Royal Grammar winning by just one foot.

Strong winds caused morning races to be delayed after a launch became tangled in the buoys and several heats had to be re-started after crews struggled to stay in their lanes.

Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, who presented the Town Challenge Cup to Upper Thames’ Intermediate 1 coxless four crew with his partner, Catherine Allan-Notaras, said it was an enjoyable occasion to be a part of.

“It is a wonderful family-orientated regatta,” he said. “Although people take the racing very seriously, it is in a competitive but friendly spirit.

“To present the Town Challenge Cup is really special and for Upper Thames to win it is even better.”

Winning crews were ceremonially presented with trophies by race sponsors and received engraved tankards to keep.

Henley Rowing Club’s seven wins included four victories in the women’s events.

Georgia Edwards and Katy Claridge won the first final of the day in the J14 doubles. Their success was followed by victories in the J15 singles for Ellie Thompson, who was also part of the winning J15 quad crew which beat a fellow Henley Rowing Club crew by one length.

The club’s Intermediate 1 quad crew celebrated its first victory of the season after beating Marlow Rowing Club. Pippa Birch, 19, said: “We haven’t really raced much together at all and we didn’t have much of a warm up so we just went out for a bit of fun.”

Charlie Rollet-Manus cruised to victory in the J14 singles, easily beating competition from Reading Blue Coat and Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.

Henley Rowing Club’s Intermediate 2 quads crew beat Twickenham Rowing Club to secure its seventh victory.

Crews from Upper Thames won three events and finished in second place in five events.

Mark Shimmin won the Intermediate 1 singles, an Upper Thames and London Rowing Club composite won the Intermediate 1 coxless fours and Rob McAllister and Toby Mottram won the Intermediate coxless pairs. Other crews competing at the regatta travelled from much further afield. Members of Corio Bay Rowing Club travelled more than 12,000 miles from Geelong, near Melbourne, to race. Its crews won two Masters titles.

Thames Rowing Club won the Intermediate 3 eights race which was sponsored by the Henley Standard. Lifelong Higgs Group president John Luker presented the crew with the Remenham Cup and their tankards.

Diane Sutherland, who co-founded Upper Thames Rowing Club with her late husband, Peter, said she was “delighted” to present the Sutherland Cup to the most successful club in the regatta, Thames RC. Iain Reid, president of the regatta, said the changes to this year’s regatta had proved popular with both competitors and the spectators.

“The new primary events made a big difference and shortening the course always makes the races a bit more exciting as the crews always come in closer,” he said.

“The wind was quite strong, a brisk breeze, but it did not detract too much from the racing. It is always better if it is calm but rowing is an outdoors sport and I think competitors know the conditions.”

Dr Reid added that he was pleased to see so many spectators lining the course.

“It was wonderful to see so many people relaxing in the enclosure and enjoying the racing and the refreshments,” he said.

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