Saturday, 13 August 2022

Henley crews dominate at national schools regatta

Henley crews dominate at national schools regatta

HENLEY Rowing Club had the second largest entry for last weekend’s National Schools Regatta with 26 crews competing in the largest and most prestigious junior regatta in the country.

Held at the Olympic regatta lake at Dorney racing is six or eight lanes with separate events run to a conclusion over each of the three days.

As the regatta attracts large entries the format for each event is first race time trial, top 12 crews to semi-finals, crews 13 to 24 minor finals, the rest eliminated.

Nineteen of the 25 Henley crews who raced reached the semi-finals and 12 crews reached A finals in what was one of the best performance of any club or school at the regatta.

The club’s medal tally was six gold, three silver and a bronze in the A boats and one gold, two silver and two bronze in the B boats — a clubs second boat in an event.

Henley’s position as one of the top junior girls’ squads of any club or school was confirmed on Saturday of the regatta when Issy Jonsson, Alice Jones, Georgie Robinson Ranger, Sophia Hahn, Mary Wright, Daisy Butterworth, Lottie Orr, Phoebe Fletcher and cox Ella Nolson broke Headington School’s nine-year winning streak to win convincingly the top girls’ event, the championship eights. This also made Henley only the second club after Molesey to ever win this event.

Earlier in the day the crew of Hannah Hills, Amy Howard, Millie Guida, Phoebe Snowden, Amber Weller, Georgia Brown, Charlotte Rowley, Carla Russell and cox Ella Nolson won the J16 girls’ eights. Prior to that Poppy Wilson, Georgina Segrt, Holly Thompson, Darcey Smith, Della Luke, Isabelle Cotton, Georgina Pollard, Holly Cookson and cox Madison Sturgess had won the J15 girls’ eights, the club picking all three of the girls eights events.

The next day Lottie Orr, Sophia Hahn, Georgie Robinson Ranger and Issy Jonsson cemented the club’s top position by winning the second top girls’ event, the championship quads. They won their time trial, semi-final and final with clear water.

The J16 girls of Georgia Brown, Hannah Hills, Charlotte Rowley and Carla Russell had also earlier won the J16 quad event while the B boat of Phoebe Snowden, Millie Guida, Amber Weller and Amy Howard also made the A final making them the fastest B boat.

On Friday the J15 and J14 girls couldn’t quite make it a clean sweep of the sculling events as they both picked up silver. The J15s had to beat 63 other crews in what was the largest entry at the regatta. Georgina Pollard, Izzy Cotton, Della Luke, Holly Cookson and cox Ella Nolson won the time trial and semi-final but in a closely fought final just lost out to Headington School.

The J14 crew of Natalie Schoenmakers, Laoise O’Donohue, Mia Roullier, Ella McKay and cox Daisy Rolstone finished a respectable fifth out of 51 crews in the time trial before finishing second in the A final with the B crew finishing third in the C final.

The J15 coxed four of Holly Nave, Gina Segrt, Holly Thompson, Emilia Fulford-Dobson and cox Chloe Beeton, who won their time trial, and semi-final were hindered by Twickenham who crashed into them stopping both boats in the final. A gutsy row saw them pull back to third place. Due to the clash the umpire ordered a re-row, but in this the girls were beaten into second place by 0.2 seconds by St Edward’s School.

On Sunday and in the third top girls’ event, the championship coxless fours, Grace Johnson, Daisy Butterworth, Mary Wright and Phoebe Fletcher took the bronze medal losing out to a good Lady Eleanor Holles four and just pipped on the line by Glasgow Schools.

The standout performance for the boys’ squad was the gold medal won by the J16 coxless quadruple sculls on Sunday. The crew of James Swinburn, Seth O’Connor, Ed Roy and Euan Turnell won the time trial by five seconds before being led out strongly in their semi-final to beat Clydesdale by eight seconds with Sir William Borlase third. In the final Claires Court School were a potential threat as their semi time had almost exactly matched Henley’s.

However, Henley had a powerful first 500m taking a three second lead over Claires Court. Settling into a strong rhythm, Henley maintained a length’s lead through to 1,000m where Claires Court began to try to push back, but through the third 500m Henley gave virtually no ground, and then turned on their power in the final 500m to break away to clear water, coming home for the gold by 4.73 seconds with Claires Court second and Tideway Scullers third.

On the Saturday, Henley’s championship coxless quadruple scull of Ethan O’Connor, Bruce Turnell, Balthasar Issa, and Lewis Howlett qualified into the A final but drew the least favourable lane six in strong cross headwind conditions.

Despite the lane handicap they raced strongly coming home fifth behind Leander in fourth place with Maidenhead as winners.

The J16 coxed four of James Wallace, Grant Taylor, Dan Crick, Alex Carr and cox Charles Washbourn similarly qualified into the A final, but also had to struggle with the least favoured lane six. They too raced well, coming home fifth.

On Sunday Bruce Turnell in the championship single sculls sculled exceptionally well but was frustrated at the last by a sudden wind shift. He sculled an excellent time trial coming fourth so a medal seemed a prospect. He was third in the fastest of the two eight boat semis and seemed well placed to attack for a medal in the final. However, as the boats went afloat a cross headwind picked up leaving Turnell and several of the fastest scullers in the most exposed lanes. There was no lane redraw so the scullers with shelter took the medals leaving Turnell to scull well, but to no avail coming in seventh overlapping with the fastest sculler from the semis, a silver medal winner from last year’s Junior World Championships.

Three other Henley boys’ crews made B finals — Balthasar Issa was third in the championship single sculls, the J16 coxless pair of Grant Taylor and Dan Crick were second and the J16 coxless quadruple sculls B crew of Ethan Chatfield, Soren O’Connor, Charlie Garnham and Sam Beattie were second.

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