Leander Club in seventh heaven as they equal best trophy haul
LEANDER CLUB won seven out of eight finals that it competed for at Henley Royal
LEANDER CLUB won seven out of eight finals that it competed for at Henley Royal Regatta’s finals on Sunday.
This included a sixth consecutive win in the Prince of Wales Cup and a win for their composite crew with Molesey Boat Club in the day’s headline race â?? the Grand Challenge Cup.
The composite crew, the Great Britain men’s eight, beat the German men’s eight, racing as Ruder Club Hansa von 1898 e.V. Dortmund, by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
It included four Leander oarsmen in Will Satch, Alex Gregory, Pete Reed and Matt Gotrel, as well as cox Phelan Hill.
The win means the British eight leads the German crew 2-1 in head-to-head races this year and they could meet again at the World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland this weekend.
Gregory, an Olympic gold medallist, who rowed in the six-seat, said: “It’s great to win but we can’t rest on it. The Germans are going to come back at us even harder at Lucerne.
“We made a move on them and then we just kept going. The improvements we’ve seen as a group are really pleasing and it’s a really enjoyable project.
“The atmosphere here at Henley has been electric and it’s great for the sport of rowing that they’ve got it on the BBC. It’s putting our sport in the public eye and that’s the right way to go.”
Satch, who lives in Duke Street and rowed at stroke, said: “I’m ecstatic! We didn’t expect to get it by that much. I think it was just really great determination from the whole crew.
“It’s not done yet though â?? we’ve got the rest of the season. We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s really nice to do it on your home water with your girlfriend and mum and sister here as well.”
Hill, a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics, added: “It was a really, really good race and I really enjoyed that. It was great to see the Germans over here. I was thinking it was going to be a lot tougher but the second 500 we really committed to it.”
As the crew came through the finish Hill slammed the water and stood up in the boat with his fists clenched.
Gotrel, who rowed at bow and lives with Satch, said: “It’s a really good step further into the season towards Lucerne.
“We wanted to put a few things we had been working on into practice and I think we did that.
“We had really good rhythm through the middle and that’s when we did our damage.
“The Germans are quick starters so it was good to stay with them and then we stepped on it and pulled away.
“It’s nice to be here at Henley with friends and family around and I had the best seat in the house, at bow, when we got the win.
“Leander have had a lot of winners today and there is pressure on, especially on finals day, because the club is big.
“Because of the skill and level of athletes we have got here we are confident all the crews can deliver.”
It was a Leander and Imperial composite against Leander in the intermediate men’s quadruple sculls Prince of Wales Cup final â?? with the latter sculling to victory by a length-and-a-half.
The four, made up of Harry Leask, Nick Middleton, Jack Beaumont and Andrew Joel, made sure Leander kept their hands on the trophy for another year.
Beaumont said: “It’s fantastic. The crew we were against are a top class crew, all credit to them.
“I don’t think the result did them justice but for us we played to our strengths which is being the heavier crew, being the stronger crew.
“I always love winning at Henley. I’ll never get bored of it because it’s so unique.”
There was success for the Leander and University of London composite in the Stewards’ Cup.
The coxless four GB crew beat the Greek national four, racing as a Nautical Club of Ioannina and Nautical Club of Kastoria by two lengths.
During their race the British crew were warned for their steering but still managed to win the final.
Alan Sinclair, who rowed with fellow Leander oarsman Tom Ransley in the boat, said: “I was responsible for the steering and we said before [the race] that it was important for me to focus on that in the windy conditions and for the other boys just to focus on their rowing. I would say we got a fairly clean start.
“You know when you come to Henley, with the river traffic and a bit of wind, it can affect your race.
“We tried our best to develop our race and perform in the right way. Now we are looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Christian Felkel, who coaches the quad, said: “It’s always very difficult conditions here at Henley but you have deal with everything and get on with the race.
“I’m very impressed with the boys, they were quite aggressive but in the right kind of way.
“I’d told them beforehand about the windy conditions and the umpires were shouting at them, but you have to just deal with it and not let it affect your approach.
“The boys gave a mature performance and worked as a team.”
Another Leander composite, made up with Agecroft Rowing Club, beat a German composite to win the Queen Mother Cup in a straight final in the open quadruple sculls by five lengths.
Leander’s Angus Groom and Peter Lambert were joined by Graeme Thomas and Sam Townsend to beat Rostocker Ruder-Club and Potsdamer Ruder-Gesellschaft e.V., from Germany.
Groom, who rowed at bow in the crew that won by a comfortable five lengths, said: “We executed our race plan perfectly and I thought it was a really good step to the Lucerne world cup.
“It was really good how we kept on going away. It was pretty difficult conditions because there was a bit of a head wind. It felt a bit tense off the start but I felt we dealt with that quite well and we got into a nice rhythm.
“We had a really solid race plan which we have been trying to affect for this season. We wanted to make a statement to the rest of the world.
“With all the coverage on the Internet it was on the world stage. It was a really good opportunity to show what we could do.”
Jonny Walton and John Collins, who won the Double Sculls, felt they “put things right” after being chased down by a French crew in the same final last year. They beat a pair from the University of Pretoria in South Africa by two-and-one-third of a lengths.
Collins said: “It’s fantastic for us to win here after what happened last year. When you lose here it can make you a bit nervous coming back.
“To win is a real relief â?? it feels so good to come back and put things right. It was a very hard race, we were committed off the start.
“We tried to get into our race as early as possible but we could not shake them off until the end.”
Matt Langridge, Leander, and Chris Foad, Molesey, won the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Cup by beating Oliver Cook, University of London, and Stuart Innes, also Leander by five lengths.
Before the result was called Langridge was made to answer questions about his steering to umpire Richard Stanhope.
Speaking after the race, Langridge said: “The umpire felt I might have been doing it on purpose, but I wasn’t. It wasn’t a close race, I didn’t need to do it on purpose.
“I just didn’t steer the course as well as I could have done. I think maybe he felt we were being unsportsmanlike.
“It wasn’t our best race. We didn’t really get into our rhythm. We had a lot of steering issues so I take the responsibility for that.
“We were getting knocked about by the wash. It took the edge off the win a little bit. We were by far the quickest crew, but as we’re the selected crew for Great Britain it was very much ours to lose.”
Jess Leyden was the Leander representative in the Imperial College London and Tees Rowing Club that won the Princess Grace Cup. The women’s quadruple scull crew beat Molesey Boat Club by two lengths. On Saturday an all-Leander crew was knocked out of the competition by the losing finalists.
The only finals day loss for Leander was for the GB women’s eight, racing as a composite with Imperial College London.
A crew racing as Western Rowing Club, made up of the Canadian women’s eight, beat them by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Victoria Meyer-Laker, who raced for Leander in the five-seat, said: “I think it’s a very disappointing loss. We raced really well last week but we didn’t get into our stride against them. It was hard to keep our nose in the race.
“We have a race to look forward to as part of the World Cup in Lucerne next week where we can try to put things right. The conditions here are difficult on parts of the course â?? it’s a bit blustery but it’s the same for both crews.”
On Saturday Leander were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Ladies’ Plate for intermediate men’s eights and Thames Cup for club men’s eights, by Yale University and RTHC Bayer Leverkusen respectively. Both Leander crews in the Fawley Cup for junior men quadruple sculls were knocked out before the weekend in an event which was eventually won by Marlow’s Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School.
Seb Devereux raced in the men’s open Diamond Sculls for Leander but was knocked out by Olympic gold medallist Mahe Drysdale, from New Zealand, in the quarter-finals. Dysdale went on to secure his fifth Henley title. On the same day Leander’s DM Evans went out of the competition to M van Blokland of Delftsche Studenten Roeiver-eniging Proteus-Eretes of Holland.
In the Princess Royal Cup for women’s single sculls, Polly Swan made her exit on Friday, losing to J Van Der Meulen of Algemene Rotterdamse Studenten Roeivereniging Skadi of Holland.
There was no repeat of last year’s double trophy win for Upper Thames Rowing Club.
All their crews were out by Friday evening as they struggled to match last year’s Wyfold Cup and Britannia Cup successes.
Club captain and director of rowing Justin Sutherland said despite not matching last year’s trophy wins the club was “still punching well above its weight”.
He said: “It would be nice to win trophies every year and have international athletes at the club but we’re a regular rowing club with regular people who have regular lives doing normal jobs.
“We really enjoy our rowing and those who competed this weekend are a great credit to our system.
“It shows we’re on the right track with the way we’re developing our rowers.
“We’re are doing more and more with technology to try and get the best speeds out of our boats and trying to be at the forefront in that aspect.
“Before we were on a 50 year cycle to win our first trophies at Henley, we’re hoping to make it two or three year cycles but racing at Henley is always difficult.”
The crew of Sam Barnes, Michael Nagi, Josh Davidson and Luke Wootton, who were all part of winning Upper Thames boats last year, were knocked out of the Visitors’ Cup for intermediate coxless fours by Newcastle University in the quarter-finals. They lost by two-and-a-half lengths.
Barnes, who was in the coxed four that lifted the Britannia Cup at last year’s regatta said: “We tried to get out in front and they just completely outclassed and outgunned us. They were a very high quality crew and a great bunch of guys, very humble and modest.”
He added they were proud of their achievements, having become the fastest coxless four Upper Thames has ever had.
Upper Thames A crew made it through to the Friday in the Wyfold Cup for club men’s coxless fours as they looked to defend their title, but were knocked out by Molesey by a length.
Elsewhere, the Upper Thames women’s quadruple sculls crew lost to Brown University in the Princess Grace Cup, after coming through the qualifying rounds.
Upper Thames’ coxed eight were knocked out of the Thames Cup for club men’s eights by Thames Rowing Club’s B by one length.
Henley Rowing Club’s quadruple sculls junior women went out of the Diamond Jubilee Cup in the quarter finals where they were beaten by Marlow Rowing Club by two-and-a-quarter lengths.
Marlow, who include Henley College student Molly Harding in seat three of their boat, went on to lose in the final to Gloucester Rowing Club.
On Friday Genevieve Bailhache-Graham lost out in the Princess Royal Cup to Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova of VK Slavia Praha, Czech Republic, who went on to win the competition for her fifth Henley title.
Shiplake College, who triumphed on the opening day of the regatta in the Princess Elizabeth Cup for junior men’s eights, lost out on Thursday to Radley College by two lengths.
Over the course of the regatta three records were broken.
ASR Nereus, from Holland, who won the Temple Cup for student men’s eight, set the time of six minutes and three seconds in the quarter-finals on Friday to smash the old record by nine seconds.
The crew, who sang the Dutch national anthem on the winners podium, also set the fastest time recorded at this year’s regatta.
Glasgow Academy broke the record in the Fawley Cup by one second with their time of six minutes and 38 seconds against Sydney Rowing Club, Australia.
Another Scotland-based crew set a new record in the Prince Albert Cup as they knocked three seconds off the 2011 time. The men’s coxed four from Edinburgh University set the new landmark with their time of six minutes 54 seconds.