THE junior women’s squad of Henley Rowing Club continued their successful start to the season with another win in the coxed fours at the Fuller’s head of the river fours on Saturday.
The Henley squad was competing in the two junior women’s events, the coxed four and coxless quad, against a field of more than 48 junior women’s crews in the four-and-a-quarter-mile race down the Thames tideway from Mortlake to Putney.
The girls’ coxed four of Ciara Buckley, Kryssie Steiger, Emily Pimlott, Alexis Perkins at stroke and cox Emma Lister, went through the start line virtually level with the girls from St George’s College who forced the Henley crew into the slower waters of the Middlesex bend.
The more powerful rhythm of the Henley crew saw them get clear of the St George’s boat just after Barnes Bridge and allowed them to get into the stream with a good clear run for the rest of the race.
With cox Lister directing the boat in a fast line and the crew maintaining their power in the stroke, the Henley crew demonstrated their superior pace with a clear winning margin of seven and 13 seconds over local school rivals Sir William Borlase and Headington respectively.
The J16 girls of Lauren Edwards, Maddie Orr, Ellie Thompson and Hattie Orr raced up a year to compete with older girls in the coxless quad event. This British championship winning boat had been nominated as the ones to watch in race previews as they raced on the tideway for their first time against a strong field including an older boat from Marlow RC who had represented GB against last season.
The Henley quad was fast off the university stone at the Mortlake start and turned on the power to quickly catch the two Eton Excelsior and Borlase boats ahead of them.
The Marlow boat, starting behind Henley, was equally powerful and the two boats fought for the best line down the river.
Henley maintained their position and kept the Marlow boat off their stern for more than a mile. As the Marlow boat tried various tactics to get aside Henley, they caught a crab and the Henley boat accelerated away to spend the remainder of the race challenging the Borlase boat.
Borlase took a number of wayward lines, and with the Marlow boat fast approaching having recovered well from their earlier incident, the Henley crew built their boat speed in the final mile to get aside Borlase in the run towards the finish line.
The Henley boat finished a strong third position overall, 0.2 seconds behind Marlow and two seconds behind the winning crew from Eton Excelsior.
Other Henley crews racing at the fours head included a junior men’s quad who finished 27th in their event, the men’s intermediate one quad who finished 20th, and a women’s coxed four boat who were over-qualified for their event and had to race for a time only.