HENLEY Rowing Club’s junior section led the Thames Upriver region to victory at British Rowing’s Junior Inter-Regional Regatta at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham at the weekend.
Competing against 11 other regions from across the UK, the Henley contingent claimed six victories as the Thames Upriver region took the boys’ and girls’ cups as well as the overall Victor Ludorum trophy.
Racing over a 1,500-metre course, Henley were representing the region in eight events across three age groups.
The boys’ J16 quad of Charlie Rollet-Manus, Harry Farley, Alexander Meyer-O’Kane and Alasdair Roy were racing against old adversaries Tiffin School from the Thames London region.
With a heat time of five minutes and 13 seconds, Henley were drawn in the first lane in the final where they eased to a 10-second win against second placed East Midlands.
The boys’ J14 double of Nick Spicer at bow and Jack Broadbent sculled a fine heat race in the morning with the third fastest time overall. In the afternoon the double narrowly missed out on a bronze medal.
The WJ14 quad of Ruby Brown, Georgina Robinson Ranger, Lottie Orr, Issy Jonsson and Gemma Sarney as cox won their heat race in style leading the field by more than 17 seconds.
They repeated their success in the final by defeating Ross RC, representing West Midlands, by 15 seconds to win the second Henley gold medal of the day.
The third win came from the WJ15 coxed quad of Ella Morgan, Clare Pearson, Katy Claridge, Florence Wiggins and cox Rebecca Lister.
Their final time of five minutes and 41 seconds put them ahead of the entire field by more than 12 seconds and pushed the Thames Upriver girls’ score further ahead of the other regions.
Henley contributed their fourth win to the Thames Upriver tally with a fine performance in the WJ15 coxed fours event. The boat of Lauren Kay, Georgia Edwards, Maisie Turner, Anna Roe and cox Emma Lister won their morning heat easily, and following a clean getaway at the start, the coxed four led from the front to win in a time of six minutes and 11 seconds, five seconds ahead of the Eastern region in second place.
The WJ16 coxed four of Katie Beale, Iona McNab, Alicia Redman, Ella Wandless and cox Anna Roe were all rowing up a year from their usual WJ15 events and were competing against older girls including last year’s British champions, Queen Elizabeth High School.
The Henley crew finished second in their heat with a time of six minutes and 27 seconds. Starting the final strongly, Henley were rowing well in third place at the 500-metre mark when the umpire stopped the race and ordered a restart.
The Henley girls started well again but could not regain their third place and raced valiantly to fourth place.
The WJ16 quad of Lauren Edwards, Maddie Orr, Ellie Thompson and Hattie Orr retained their title and demonstrated their superior sculling on the national stage in advance of the National Schools Regatta at the end of May.
The quad won their heat with clear water in a time of five minutes and 38 seconds, a massive 30 seconds ahead of the second placed boat.
The afternoon final was a repeat performance, the Henley quad were a boat length ahead within 100 metres of the start, and the quad accelerated away to win in a time of five minutes and 32 seconds, making them the fastest junior women’s boat of the day.
The sixth Henley win came in the penultimate event of the day in the WJ16 eights.
The boat was comprised mainly of Henley’s WJ15 eight that won at the School’s Head in March and so were rowing up a year to a higher standard.
Having won the morning heat easily, the Henley eight started well, edging a canvas within the first 100 metres. By the 500-metre mark, the Henley crew were a length ahead and left three other boats to compete amongst themselves for the silver and bronze medals.
At half way, the Henley crew of Lauren Kay, Lily Stimpson, Florence Wiggins, Maisie Turner, Hannah Gutteridge, Georgia Edwards, Ella Morgan, Emma Lister at stroke and sister Rebecca in the cox’s seat accelerated further ahead, winning in a time of five minutes and 33 seconds, some 13 seconds ahead of the second placed Thames London.
Speaking after the races, regatta secretary, James Lee said: “We had a fantastic day of racing. As a resident of Henley myself, I was particularly pleased to see such a strong performance from Henley Rowing Club.
“The regatta attracts some top-level crews who are taking their first steps on the performance pathway.
“For Henley to win six of the events was an outstanding achievement and contributed greatly towards their region winning all three of the trophies.”