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Head race abandoned once again
Published 07/04/14

FOUR Leander crews managed to complete the course, and all finished in the top 10, before Saturday’s Head of the River Race was abandoned due to rough water.

Despite calm conditions at the top of the tide a southeasterly breeze, blowing up from Putney against the ebb, soon produced waves and white water over the second half of the four-and-a-quarter mile course.

Leander 1sts led the 390 boat field and managed to increase their lead over Molesey, but then lost ground as their rivals found a faster route through the choppy conditions at the finish.

Molesey finished the course 11 seconds faster than Leander, who were some 20 seconds ahead of University of London in third, with Leander 2nds just four seconds behind in fourth place.

Leander 3rds, including the club’s GB lightweights, finished in eighth place, four seconds behind Leander’s fourth boat.

Times were recorded for the first 70 crews across the line before organisers called a halt to proceedings, so no prizes were awarded, and more than 200 crews were denied a race after weeks of preparation.

Leander chief coach Mark Banks was pleased with the overall performance of his athletes, despite the unsatisfactory end to the day’s proceedings. He said: “Our Ladies’ Plate squad did well to finish in fourth place, but with four crews finishing so high up the rankings it reflects well on our winter preparation.”

Leander 5ths, who were due to start in position 116, had to return home without a paddle after spending more than three hours sitting on the river.

It was the second year in a row that the race had to be cancelled, so the official reigning champions are still the Czech U23 crew which won the event in 2012.

Elsewhere both Henley and Upper Thames had crews complete the course.

Published 07/04/14

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