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Sports review of the year: July to December 2012
Published 07/01/13

LEANDER won two cups and Henley Rowing Club one event at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta finals day.

The Leander intermediate men’s quad of Jack Hockley, James Fraser-MacKenzie, Nick Middleton and Dave Read lifted the Prince of Wales Cup for a record-breaking third consecutive year while their double scull counterparts, Alan Sinclair and John Collins, won the Double Sculls Cup.

In the inaugural junior women’s quadruple sculls event, the quad from Henley Rowing Club which featured Jo Unsworth, Maddy Wynn Jones, Pippa Birch and Alice White triumphed with a two-and-a-half-length victory over Canford School.

With no British Olympians competing at this year’s regatta due to the Olympic Games next month, it gave the record overseas entry of 133 crews the chance to lift silverware. The National Rowing Centre of Excellence, Australia, led the way with victories in the Stewards’ Cup, Queen Mother Cup and Princess Grace Cup. In all overseas crews triumphed in 10 of the 20 finals contested.

Host club Upper Thames won four events and Henley Rowing Club one at the Henley Masters Regatta. In the Town and Visitors’ Regatta, eight wins was not enough for Henley Rowing Club to secure overall victory.

The club was bidding to win the Victor Ludorum Trophy for the second year running but two wins in eights and one in fours was enough for Osiris, the Oxfordshire University women’s club, to take the award.

Wet weather wiped out almost all of the league cricket fixtures in the first two Saturdays of the month. Henley suffered further frustration on the third Saturday of the month as their fixture at Potters Bar was the only match in the league to fall victim of the weather.

When play did eventually get under way Henley beat Welwyn Garden City by six wickets at the Brakspear Ground with Michael Roberts top scoring with 72 in his side’s only Home Counties Premier League match of the month.

Kidmore End drew with both Bagshot and Sonning to finish the month third from bottom in the Thames Valley Lague Division 2B table, just one point above the drop zone.

AUGUST was dominated by the London 2012 Games where Leander rowers won 12 medals at Dorney Lake to take the club’s Olympic medal tally to 111.

They contributed to Great Britain’s overall rowing medal haul of four gold, two silver and three bronze which made the games Great Britain’s most successful regatta ever.

There was gold for Anna Watkins, who competed with Marlow’s Katherine Grainger in the women’s double sculls. The pair stormed into the final with an Olympic best time of six minutes, 44.33 seconds in the heats.

It was a two-way race in the final, with GB building up a length lead over Australia at the 1,000m mark. From then gold was inevitable, and the women finished a length-and-a-half ahead of their rivals in a time of six minutes, 55.82 seconds.

Gold also came for Leander’s Alex Gregory and Peter Reed, who, competing with Andy Triggs Hodge and Tom James, won the final of the men’s coxless fours. The win, in a time of six minutes, 3.97 seconds, takes Britain’s Olympic tally in the men’s coxless four to seven golds.

Leander’s Mark Hunter and Marlow’s Zac Purchase had to settle for silver in the men’s lightweight double sculls after a dramatic start to the race. The duo, who came into the Olympic regatta on the back of two consecutive sixth-place World Cup finishes, looked strong in their heat and semi-final races.

They got off to a good start in the final until they stopped racing close to the 100m mark. Hunter looked around while Purchase held his seat up, indicating that there had been a breakage. The race was started minutes later, and once again GB were impressive. For more than 1,500m it appeared as if the British crew would retain their Olympic title, until Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist of Denmark snatched the victory from them.

There was more silver for the lightweight men’s four, featuring brothers Richard and Pete Chambers, Chris Bartley and Rob Williams. They finished behind South Africa, in a time of six minutes, 3.09 seconds.

For Henley’s Will Satch, winning a bronze medal at a home Olympics was a dream come true. The 23-year-old was originally gunning for a place in the GB team for Rio 2016, but his moment came early.

Competing with George Nash in the men’s pair, the duo came close to taking silver until the final strokes of the race. They finished third in a time of six minutes, 21.77 seconds. New Zealand took gold with France in second place.

The men’s eight, featuring Leander’s Ric Egington, Matt Langridge, Alex Partridge, Constantine Louloudis and cox Phelan Hill picked up bronze in an event that was won by Germany. Canada took the silver medal.

GB hockey player Sarah Thomas picked up a bronze medal. The 31-year-old Welsh international, who lives in Upton Close, Henley, had a starring role in the team’s 3-1 win over New Zealand in the third/fourth place play-off. Thomas scored the third second-half goal, to help secure the first GB women’s hockey Olympic medal in 20 years.

Christmas Common’s Lawrence Clarke narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal after coming fourth in the final of the 110m hurdles. Clarke, 22, ran a personal best time of 13.31 seconds in his semi-final to qualify for the final as the fastest loser.

In cricket Henley suffered further from the adverse summer weather as their Home Counties Premier Division match with Oxford was washed out. Elsewhere in the month Henley beat Harpenden and Tring and drew with Banbury to finish the month in fourth place in the table.

Bjorn Mordt ended his sixth season as Berkshire captain on a winning note as he led his side to a five-wicket win over Dorset in a match that saw the Henley player hit 60 runs.

In Thames Valley League Division 2B Kidmore End eased their relegation worries with wins against Burnham 2nds and Reading 2nds. Kidmore also drew with Boyne Hill and lost to Thatcham Town.

In football Reading drew their opening Premier League match 1-1 at home to Stoke City while their away game at Sunderland was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Henley Town found the going tough as they lost all five of their opening Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 matches, scoring just one goal and conceding 24 in the process.

In bowls, Watlington ran out winners of this season’s Plomer Cup.

LEANDER athlete Pamela Relph became a Paralympic rowing champion with the LTA mixed coxed four at Eton Dorney. Her crew was the only British boat to win a medal in the rowing events.

The pressure on the GB four had increased after Germany set a new world best time in winning their heat. In the final Germany got off to a flyer and led to halfway, but Relph, David Smith, and the Caversham-based rowers Naomi Riches and James Roe and cox Lily van den Broecke, reeled them in and hit the front just before the grandstands for a memorable finish to the Paralympic regatta.

Meanwhile Leander rowers and Goring’s Olivia Carnegie-Brown helped the GB rowing team win its best-ever haul of five medals at the European Championships in Italy.

The Leander trio of Monica Relph, Victoria Meyer-Laker and cox Zoe de Toledo, all from Henley, and Carnegie-Brown, picked up bronze in the women’s eight with the final stroke of the race on Lake Varese to pull past Belarus.

The women’s and lightweight squads won five of GB’s nine medals at London 2012 and in Italy continued to make the podium with Carnegie-Brown and her partner Caragh McMurty winning silver in the women’s pair, before doubling up in the women’s eight to win bronze.

The lightweight men’s four, stroked by Leander’s 23-year-old Jonathan Clegg, won silver while the lightweight men’s double scull featuring Leander’s Chris Boddy and Michael Mottram took bronze. GB also won bronze in the women’s double scull.

In the men’s pair Leander’s Kieren Emery and his partner Matthew Tarrant came fourth.

David Barnes hit an unbeaten century as Henley defeated Bishop’s Stortford in the Homes Counties Premier League. In their final match of the season the Brakspear Ground side defeated Burnham to finish fourth in the table.

Kidmore End drew with Yateley and Newbury to finish seventh in Division 2B of the Thames Valley League.

A cricketer from Harpsden has hit more than 1,000 runs this season — the majority of them using a home-made bat. Horatio Cary has hit four centuries and five half-centuries with it this season and was dismissed twice. The 24-year-old created the bat in a workshop at home from a piece of willow given to him by his godfather.

Henley Town’s poor start to the season continued as they were knocked out of the FA Vase first qualifying round where they went down 5-0 at home to Amersham.

In the Uhlsport Hellenic League the Lilywhites went down 8-0 to Headington Amateurs and 8-1 to Penn and Tylers Green to remain rooted at the foot of the Division 1 East table.

In the Premier League Reading finished the month in 19th spot after picking up just one point from a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle United. Earlier in the month the Royals lost at home to Tottenham Hotspurs and away to West Bromwich Albion.

The Royals progressed to the fourth round of the newly-named Capital One Cup thanks to 3-2 victories against Peterborough United at home and QPR away.

Henley Hawks made a good start to the season with a comfortable win over a Shelford in a game that featured a hat-trick by right wing 18-year-old Liam O’Neill on his league debut for the Hawks. The Dry Leas side followed their opening day win up with victories over Lydney, Southend, Clifton and Taunton Titans to finish the month top of National Division 2 South.

A CRICKETER from Henley signed a one-year deal with Hampshire. Michael Roberts, 23, won the contract after a successful summer in the club’s second XI.

The former Henley player will now try to force his way into the County Championship side’s first team and said he is looking forward to using the experience to improve his game.

Roberts, of St Andrew’s Road, said: “I can’t wait to get started. Being given a senior contract at a first-class county is something I’ve been working towards for the past few years. So to be given the opportunity by Hampshire to take my cricket as far as it can go is very exciting.”

Berkshire’s Gurveer Singh picked up the Eddie Pickford Trophy, an annual prize given to the player who has shown “determination to improve his game” at Berkshire Cricket Club’s annual presentation evening.

The 20-year-old Henley slow left-arm spinner secured a regular spot in the county team and bowled more than 160 overs, taking 17 wickets at a cost of 30 runs.

Shiplake College student Tom Howe was called up to the England U18 rugby squad. The upper sixth form pupil’s selection came after a successful August camp where he finished first amongst the aspiring players over both the 10 metre (1.61 seconds) and 40 metres (4.83) trials.

In rowing Nick Mead was named as the new captain of Henley Rowing Club.

Reading’s winless run in the Premier League continued as the Royals picked up just two points in the month with draws against Swansea and Fulham. The Royals’ other league match in the month saw them lose 1-0 away to Liverpool.

The Royals were involved in an extraordinary Capital One Cup match against Arsenal at Madejski Stadium. The hosts raced into a 4-0 lead before the Gunners pulled a goal back just before the interval. With almost the last kick of normal time the visitors equalised to make it 4-4 before going on to win the tie 7-5 in extra time.

Henley Town’s losing run in Division 1 East of the Uhlsport Hellenic League continued as they ended the month bottom of the table having lost all nine fixtures. The Lilywhites also crashed out of the AM Print and Copy Challenge Cup.

Henley Hawks maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with victories over Launceston, Bournemouth and Barking as they remained top of the National Division 2 South table.

In hockey Henley 1sts beat Staines, Ashford and Old Merchant Taylors and lost to Oxford while Henley Ladies 1sts beat Brighton and Hove 2nds, Banbury and High Wycombe as well as picking up draws with both Tulse Hill and Dulwich and Southampton.

NATIONAL League Division 2 South leaders Henley Hawks suffered their first defeats of the season as they went down 49-5 away to promotion rivals Worthing Raiders and 17-11 at Redruth. Elsewhere in the month the Hawks beat Canterbury and Chinnor to hang on to top spot in the table.

Shiplake College’s rugby player Tom Howe, 17, was selected for the senior England development squad at a training camp in Dubai.

Henley Town Football Club’s Mark Coles left his manager’s post after refusing to step aside and take up another role at the club.

The 48-year-old said he felt he could have turned his side’s fortunes around if he had been given more time. Coles said: “I’m gutted that I lost the job and that I wasn’t given at least until Christmas or until the end of the season because at the end of the day we all knew it was going to be a hard job.

“The league they are in this year is really tough. No one at the club had expected it to be so tough as it has turned out to be.”

The former reserve team boss was promoted to the senior side last summer following the departure of David Tuttle but failed to win a game this season.

Roy Hanley and Chris Sumner were both put in charge of the side on a caretaker basis. In their first game in charge, Hanley and Sumner guided the Lilywhites to their first Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 East point of the season as Henley drew 2-2 at Milton United. However, the Lilywhites lost the remainder of their matches to remain firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

In the Premier League Reading picked up their first win of the season as they defeated Everton 1-0 at Madejski Stadium. Elsewhere in the month the Royals drew with both QPR and Norwich and lost to Wigan and Aston Villa to remain second from bottom in the table.

Harpsden cricketer Horatio Cary was announced winner of this year’s Henley Standard Best of the Week award for the John Searby Trophy. Cary featured 10 times in the summer’s Best of the Week table as he put on 1,000 runs in 21 innings, most of them with his own home-made bat.

In hockey Henley Men’s 1sts beat Slough, Sonning and Wallingford while losing to Eastcote to end the month in fourth place in the MBBO Regional League Division 1 table.

Meanwhile Henley Ladies 1sts beat Wycombe, Spencer and Eastbourne and lost to Oxford University to end the month in third place in the South Clubs Women’s League.

Leander retained the overall title at the Fours Head in London. Four of the club’s crews finished among the first five places and five Leander crews won pennants for being fastest in their division.

Hosts Henley Rowing Club won seven events at the Henley Sculls while Leander’s junior athletes, competing as Star and Arrow, won the J18 quad sculls.

The chairman of Henley Cricket Club retired after 33 years with the club. Paul Bradbury stepped down after seven years in the role during which time the club won two Home Counties Premier League championships as well as building a new pavilion at the Brakspear Ground. Former treasurer Brian Kenworthy was appointed as the new chairman.

Henley Standard reporter Sian Gordon, representing England at the World Bowls Championships in Adelaide, saw her triple tumble out of the tournament after losing to Spain.

HENLEY Hawks boss Nigel Dudding remains confident his side can secure promotion this season despite a downturn in form over the last couple of months.

The Dry Leas outfit were quick out of the starting blocks by winning their first nine games in National Division 2 South.

The Hawks had mixed fortunes this month as they beat promotion rivals Hartpury College 22-20 at Dry Leas but surprisingly lost at Dings Crusaders. Their match at Lydney was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Head coach Dudding said he was disappointed with the Crusaders’ loss but insisted his focus had not changed. He said: “There’s only two points separating the top four, which you could say is half a game’s worth.

“We’re in a better position than we were this time last year. Whilst we’re only fourth, we’re still very much in the hunt.”

The Henley Bulls crashed out of the Oxfordshire Cup after losing 28-20 away to Chinnor in the quarter-finals.

Reading ended the year on a high note as they defeated West Ham United 1-0 at Madejski Stadium in their final match of the year. Elsewhere in the month the Royals drew with Swansea City but lost out to Manchester United, Southampton, Arsenal and Manchester City. The Royals went into the New Year second from bottom in the Premier League and five points from safety.

Henley Town’s disastrous season continued as they ended the year bottom of the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 table with just one point to their name. The Lilywhites lost all their matches this month as well as crashing out of the Wycombe Senior Cup.

A Leander Club member and former Lord Mayor of London was elected a steward of Henley Royal Regatta. David Wootton is one of four new stewards that were elected at the annual stewards’ meeting in London.

In 2009 Mr Wootton was elected Sheriff of the City of London and in November last year became the 684th Lord Mayor of London. The other newly elected stewards include Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless, Andrew Crawford and Neil Chugani.

Meanwhile Olympic medallist Miriam Luke has been named the new chairman of Henley women’s regatta.

Henley Standard reporter Sian Gordon’s four lost out to South Africa in the World Bowls Championships held in Adelaide.

Henley College student and hockey player Liam Sanford was selected for the U18 England squad. Sanford joined Henley College’s hockey team this academic year and to date has scored an impressive 11 goals.

On hearing of his selection, a delighted Sanford said: “It has been really exciting being chosen for the U18 England squad. I played for the U16 team but sustained an injury, so to be able to recover from that and be selected again was great. The college has been really supportive, particularly in helping me to attend training.”

Elswhere Henley 1sts beat Aylesbury and lost to Oxford Hawks while Henley Ladies 1sts drew with Marlow and Wallingford.

Published 07/01/13

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