Wednesday, 06 July 2022

Henley clubs out in force at record-breaking royal regatta

Henley clubs out in force at record-breaking royal regatta

ATHLETES from Leander Club, Henley and Upper Thames Rowing Clubs will be represented in 41 boats at this year’s six-day Henley Royal Regatta that gets under way on Tuesday.

Once again Leander have a large entry of international and club athletes competing in 22 boats as they try to emulate last year’s performance that saw them win eight titles.

There will be 14 all-Leander crews competing along with eight composite crews in this year’s event that has attracted a record entry of 739 crews.

The GB men’s eight, consisting of Leander and Oxford Brookes University athletes, will contest the Grand Challenge Cup while in the women’s eights, the Remenham Challenge Cup, Leander are involved in three boats — two composite crews with Imperial College London and The Tideway Scullers’ School and one all Leander boat.

A Leander and Oxford Brookes University coxless fours boat will contest a straight final with Rowing Club Australia on Sunday for the Stewards’ Challenge Cup while in the women’s equivalent, The Town Challenge Cup, trophy holders Leander have three crews entered as well as a composite with Cambridge University.

Leander will also be defending their titles in both men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, with an all-Leander crew in the men’s event, The Queen Mother Challenge Cup, and two Leander crews and a composite with Edinburgh University competing for the women’s event, the Princess Grace Challenge Cup.

In the other open events, Leander have representation in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup for men’s coxless pairs in the women’s event, the Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup. In the Double Sculls Challenge Cup Leander have two entries as well as one entry in the women’s event for the Stonor Challenge Trophy. Leander have just one entry in the Diamond Challenge Sculls for men’s single scullers.

In intermediate events Leander have men’s entries in the Ladies’ Challenge Plate eights, Visitors’ Challenge Cup for coxless fours and the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup for quad sculls. Leander also have a junior men’s quad scull crew racing in the Fawley Challenge Cup.

Leander also have a women’s club eight competing in the Wargrave Challenge Cup.

Henley Rowing Club has 10 crews entered in this year’s regatta.

The men’s squad have crews in The Thames Challenge Cup event for eights, Britannia Challenge Cup men’s coxed four and a composite with the University of London in the The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup for men’s quads.

The boys have two crews entered in the Fawley Challenge Cup.

The girls have two eights in the Wargrave Challenge Cup and a third eight in the junior girls’ event, the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy, and a quad in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup which the club won the inaugural event of in 2012, a crew stroked by Pippa Devereux (nee Birch) who this year is racing for Upper Thames and will be racing in a composite with Maddy Pollard of Henley in the Stonor Challenge Trophy.

The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup crew is comprised of three Henley Rowing Club ex juniors who have all represented the club in the Fawley Challenge Cup multiple times as well as GB J16s along with Nathan Antonissen, a member of Univeristy of London BC who raced at the Coupe de la Jeunesse as a junior.

All members of the crew competing in the Britannia Challenge Cup were in the club’s men’s first eight that placed 48th at the Head of the River race earlier this year.

This crew raced in championship coxless fours at Wallingford regatta where they narrowly missed out on the A final in their heat, and at the Metropolitan Regatta, where they finished 16th overall in the coxed fours on the Saturday, and 11th overall on the Sunday. They then raced Reading Amateur Regatta losing out to Bristol University's top ranked Prince Albert coxed four by three lengths.

Due to work commitments, illnesses and multiple injuries, the Thames Challenge Cup eight has not been able to race yet this season but has some significant experience in the crew with 51 Henley Royal Regatta appearance between them.

Three of the crew — Elliot Cole, Gus Gregg and Nick Friend (Thames Cup winner 2005) were in the Head of the River crew that placed 48th, while Jack Maynard (finalist for Abingdon School in the Princess Elizabeth Cup in 2009), Robbie Kennedy (finalist in the Temple Cup in 2001, 2002 and Brittania Cup in 2007), Tom Jost (finalist in the Fawley Cup in 2001 and junior world representative), Toby Jones and Dan Landau have all been training hard, and have raced in fours where possible. Landau, Friend, Cole and Gregg raced at Wallingford regatta in in the championship coxed fours, finishing fifht in heat A.

In The Fawley Challenge Cup, the stern three of the A quad raced last year in this competition as a seeded crew. They reached the Friday, losing to Windsor Boys School, who lost in the final. The bow, RN Lamont was stroke of the Sir William Borlase School quad which reached the Thursday last year.

The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup crew is a relatively young quad — all only 16 — but have won every J16 event they have entered so far this season and they are the first J16 quad to ever go under seven minutes. This was done at Wallingford in non-record breaking conditions where they finished second in open womens quads giving a more experienced Leander crew a run for their money. The crew also won National Schools’ Regatta J16 quads by a massive 27 seconds. The A boat in the Wargrave Challenge Cup is also a young crew with the majority being 16 but, at the schools head, they were in the top junior boats and in an all J16 combination were the clear winners of J16 eights at the National Schools’ Regatta.

The B crew has some returners from the eight that raced in the same comeptition last year and it won the girls’ second eights event at the schools’ head of the river and in a similar combination girls second eight at the National Schools’ Regatta.

This girls eight competing in the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy is unbeaten this year having won all the major events to date — the schools’ Head of the river, women’s head of the river (by 20 seconds), Wallingford Regatta and the National Schools’ Regatta. Upper Thames Rowing Club have 47 athletes entered into this year’s regatta in nine boats. The club have spent more than £100,000 on new boats and training equipment over the past year to support the growing senior squad.

The club’s top crews are the Wyfold Challenge Cup for coxless fours of Dale Buckett, Tom Hole, Steve Griffiths and Matt Cummings and the Wargrave Challenge Cup women’s eights A crew of Rebecca Abbott, Yasmin Ryman-King, Beth Arscott, Mary Bryant Jeans, Meghan Jackson, Eve Wright, Penny Hamand Lucy Ryan and cox Sam Royston.

The Wyfold crew were a seeded crew in 2021 following strong results at the Metropolitan and Marlow build up regattas but were very narrowly and unexpectedly knocked out on the first day of the regatta by a crew from Nottingham.

This season they have won open coxless fours at Nottingham City Regatta and under the guidance of coach Johnny Woodiss-Field will be aiming to progress much further.

Mark Shimmin coached the Wargrave Challenge Cup A crew is a combination of the club’s best athletes who are raded in different crews at Henley Women’s Regatta last weekend.

Upper Thames also have a strong entry in the Britannia Challenge Cup of Mike Scott, Henry Pearson, Matt Swiss, Rob Leech coxed by Zoe Thomas. The crew were winners of the open coxed fours event at Nottingham City Regatta and put in a strong performance at the Metropolitan Regatta.

The Wargrave Challenge Cup B crew of Sophie Lane, Teuntje Tijssen, Emma Lister, Izzy Pullinger, Ella Wandless, Daisy Hampton, Alice Pickthall, Claudia Adams coxed by Bea Crossley have several athletes from the quad that won the open quad event at Nottingham City Regatta and finished third in the open eights event.

The club has two entries in the Thames Challenge Cup. The senior squad crew coxed by Bea Crossley and from stroke Lachlan Reid, Dai George, Sam Diserens, Chris Gilligan, Alistair Harsant, Mark Lucani, Lachlan Jones and Cameron-Martin combines a combination of experience and youth.

This will be the first time at the regatta for four of the athletes, while Chris Gilligan will be competing for the seventh time.

The B crew consists of masters athletes Dan Sadler, Pete Jacobs, Mark Tritton, Tim Senior, Matt Richardson, Andy Green, Oli Collinson, Luke Moneley, coxed by Zoe Thomas.

At the 2021 regatta, at 59 years of age, Pete Jacobs became the oldest person to win a race at the regatta when the crew progressed through the first round against a crew from Northwich. This year with the larger entry, just qualifying for the main draw from today’s qualifying races will be an achievement for the crew with an average age of close to 50.

Another crew of masters athletes is entered into the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. The quad of Adam Rennie, Eric den Besten, Hamish Floyd and Hugh Mackworth-Praed had a good win at Reading Amateur Regatta in the masters event and are one of three crews vying to qualify for the two available spots today.

Naomi Holland will represent Upper Thames in the Princess Royal Challenge Cup for single scullers. Holland finished fourth in the lightweight category at Metropolitan Regatta and 16th overall. Pippa Deveraux will be racing in the Stonor Challenge Cup in a composite crew with Madeleine Pollard from Henley Rowing Club.

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