Sunday, 01 August 2021

Leander aims for fourth win on trot in men’s quad sculls

THE decision by the GB internationals to compete at this year’s Henley, in addition to the club’s development academy, means

THE decision by the GB internationals to compete at this year’s Henley, in addition to the club’s development academy, means that there’s Leander interest in 20 crews at this year’s Regatta.

The GB men’s eight, competing in the Grand as Leander and Molesey, is packed with Olympic medallists including Leander’s Pete Reed, Tom Ransley, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill, as well as a recently recovered Alex Gregory.

The other two entries include the undefeated American student champions from University of Washington, and also the Polish national eight who gave the GB men such a run for their money in the climax to last weekend’s world cup regatta at Eton Dorney.

The second GB eight which competed last weekend, and came a close fourth behind France will compete in the Ladies’ Plate and includes multiple Henley winners such as Leander’s Tom Clark, Nick Middleton and John Collins.

The GB women’s eight will also reconvene for Henley after the disappointment of being denied a race at the world cup where theirs was the only entry.

Olympic finallists Katie Greves and Lou Reeve compete in the crew which also includes Katherine Douglas, Sarah Cowburn and U23 champion cox Zoe de Toledo.

Al Sinclair is the sole Leander athlete in the GB men’s four which will contest the Stewards’ Cup, competing as Oxford Brookes and University of London. The crew, who took the silver medal at Dorney, face the same New Zealand heavyweight four whom they beat last weekend by five seconds, as well as the South African Olympic champions in lightweight fours, competing as Tuks RC.

The Leander entry in the Visitors’ Cup has had a crew change in recent weeks and currently includes Henley veteran Tom Wilkinson alongside Dave Kempsell, Tom Marshall and Ben Duggan, who is recently returned from university in America.

Among the sculling events the Leander A quad in the Prince of Wales Cup is looking to win the trophy for an unprecedented fourth successive year. Kieren Emery, James Johnston, Stewart Innes and Jack Beaumont have won convincingly at Wallingford, the Met and Marlow, so the only unknown quantities in their event are overseas crews such as California RC and the Norwegians from Aalesunds and Moss. The second Leander quad in this event has also enjoyed considerable domestic success at IM1 status and includes Chris Friend, Ben Board, Rob Johnston and Lawrence McCafferty.

At international level the GB men’s quad in the Queen Mother Cup includes Leander’s Peter Lambert and Charles Cousins alongside Sam Townsend of Reading University and Graeme Thomas of Agecroft. The crew finished a disappointing fifth at Dorney, but will take heart from the fact that their sole opponents in Henley will be the New Zealand quad whom they beat convincingly three months ago at the world cup regatta in Sydney.

It’s not just the men’s quads where Leander athletes have such a strong presence. Ro Bradbury and Monica Relph compete in the leading GB boat, while world cup winners Vicky Meyer-Laker, Fran Houghton and Polly Swann have moved out of the double and the pair with Olympic champion Helen Glover to form another quad competing as Leander and Minerva Bath.

Leander will boat two junior crews in the Fawley Cup, their leading boat having gone from strength to strength in recent weeks.

The main challenge for Ollie Fedrick-Lees, Seb Devereux, Sam Mottram and Harry Leask is likely to come from the visiting Dutchmen from Hilversum, rumoured to be the national junior champions. The second crew will boat as Star and Arrow, the athletes not yet having gained the necessary proficiency to compete as Leander, and includes Oli Collinson, who last year achieved fame as a member of the eight which bore the Olympic torch through Henley.

In the Double Sculls Cup the GB men’s line-up includes Leander’s Matt Langridge and Bill Lucas of London RC, who are heading for another showdown with the New Zealanders, Michael Arms and Robert Manson, who snatched gold ahead of Germany and GB last weekend.

Pitting their skills against this heavyweight opposition will be the GB lightweight Olympic silver medallists, Pete and Richard Chambers, who took the silver medal in their own event last weekend.

Leander has three entries in the Diamonds, including Jonny Walton, the number two GB sculler, as well as Dave Read and lightweight international Chris Boddy.

The Leander entries are completed by the club captain Debbie Flood, who competes in the Princess Royal Cup after her win last weekend at Henley Women’s Regatta, and Vicky Thornley, who stroked the Olympic eight last year and finished just out of the medals in fourth place at Dorney.

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