Saturday, 20 October 2018

Leander set to lift 200th regatta title in bicentenary year

Leander set to lift 200th regatta title in bicentenary year

LEANDER is celebrating its bicentenary with a record entry at this year’s regatta, including 89 club and international athletes across 29 crews in 17 different events.

With 199 trophies to its credit since the club first won the Grand Challenge Cup in 1840 Leander is set to record the 200th win to mark 200 years of history.

The milestone is guaranteed as the two GB men’s fours — the only entries in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup — both contain Leander athletes.

At a club level Leander is looking to extend its winning sequence in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup, a trophy which has remained in the club’s hands for all bar one of the last eight years.

On the sweep side Leander’s chances of success in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup will have been boosted by the four’s win at Marlow last weekend, when the Ladies’ Plate eight also won their event at the Eton Dorney event.

Lightweights Jonny Jackson and Ed Fisher also won the men’s pairs at Marlow, but will face much sterner opposition in the Silver Goblets and will first have to qualify this Friday, despite holding five world championship medals between them.

Also looking to match themselves against world class opposition will be Laura Meridew and Natasha Harris-White, the winners of women’s pairs at Henley Women’s Regatta last weekend. The opposition in the new Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup will include their clubmates, Rowan McKellar and Hattie Taylor, who won the bronze medal in women’s pairs at the World Cup regatta in Linz, Austria last weekend.

Linz also saw Leander success in the men’s double sculls where Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom took the gold medal to place themselves as odds-on favourites for the Double Sculls trophy at Henley.

In the Grand Challenge Cup the absence of the German national eight means that Australia will provide the main opposition to the GB men’s eight, with seven Leander athletes on board, who won the silver medal in Linz behind Germany.

In the Diamond Challenge Sculls former GB international lightweight Jamie Kirkwood is back in action despite his current role as assistant coach to the Oxford University women.

Leander captain Vicky Thornley is also looking to avenge last year’s defeat at the hands of Germany’s Anne-Kathrin Thiele. Thornley beat Thiele last weekend but will now have to look out for the world champion, Jeanine Gmelin of Switzerland, making her first visit to Henley under the guidance of her coach, former Leander athlete Robin Dowell.

Leander will boat two crews in the Fawley Challenge Cup, the highly competitive event for junior boys quads, where Windsor Boys’ School, Maidenhead and Claires Court School will provide the main opposition.

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