Saturday, 04 April 2020
LEANDER CLUB took home six trophies from this year’s Henley Royal Regatta breaking nine records in the process.
It saw the club notch its 200th victory in the club’s bicentenary year by winning the Stewards’ Challenge Cup early during finals day on Sunday.
Leander were also victorious in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup, Town Challenge Cup, Visitors’ Challenge Cup, Queen Mother Challenge Cup and Princess Grace Challenge Cup.
The Stewards’ crew of Tom Ford, Jacob Dawson, Adam Neill and James Johnston, who are the Great Britain men’s four, won in six minutes, 24 seconds.
Their time at the barrier was one minute and 50 seconds, equalling the record established by Leander and Molesey Boat Club in 2011.
They beat the Great Britain under-23 men’s four, which included Leander’s Charlie Elwes and Tom Digby, from Rotherfield Greys, racing as Leander and Oxford University, by two-and-a-half lengths.
Neill, 28, who was in the three seat, said: “It was quite nerve wracking before the race. We’re the current GB four and they are the under-23 GB four, but we had no history of how fast they were.
“We had a good start but I think at the end of the Island they were a tiny bit up on us. But once we got ourselves into our pace it appeared we were slightly quicker than them.
“They fought really, really hard to be fair and threw everything at us but we managed to eke it out.”
The win is Neill’s third win at Henley, having won the Fawley Challenge Cup in 2008 and the Ladies’ Plate in 2016.
He said: “I first raced at Henley 10 years ago and only once since then. It was really nice to get a solid win 10 years after my first one. It’s not easy to win these Henley medals. It takes years and years of hard work.”
Neill said the crew was proud to claim Leander’s 200th Henley victory. He added: “We weren’t thinking about it much before the race because we had enough pressure on us already but I’m so proud to have achieved it for the club.”
In the Double Sculls, Leander’s Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont won by five lengths against Irish duo Paul and Gary O’Donovan, who were silver medallists in the lightweight double sculls at the Rio Olympics.
The Leander crew finished in six minutes and 46 seconds, beating the course record by two seconds.
Groom, 26, said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. We got the start we wanted and had a really good row. We love racing in the boat together.
“You could tell at the start we were both a bit nervous but that’s when we get the best out of each other. We made our move at the right time and didn’t give them any mercy at all.
“It never feels at the time like you’re five lengths up, we wanted to keep going to the finish line. We always try and go faster and faster and we did that today.
“The crowd was very loud as it was a lunchtime race and there were loads of people out there. Big crowds all the way along the bank and it’s something we don’t get anywhere else.”
The victory marks Beaumont’s seventh straight win at Henley. He last won the Double Sculls Challenge Cup in 2016 with Nick Middleton.
Beaumont, 24, of Hart Street, Henley, said: “It was an amazing feeling and every time feels like the first time. There’s nothing like the feeling of crossing that finish line. Winning seven times is fantastic and it’s so special to win here. I feel like everything we practised came together, to be honest it was near to be a near perfect row.
“We have the European championships in four weeks’ time in Scotland and my best result ever in that competition is third so I want to improve on that.”
Another record-setting crew was the Visitors’ winners Ross Jarvis, Barney Stentiford, Tim Clarke and James Stanhope.
They beat University of London by two lengths in a time of six minutes, 31 seconds, shaving two seconds off the previous record.
On their way to victory they beat Upper Thames Rowing Club’s four on Thursday.
Jarvis, 23, said: “When you’re racing at Henley it’s basically a drag race, so you get in front and you stay in front. We tried hard to go off fast in the first half, and just kept it going from there.”
It was his last ever race as he is now retiring. Jarvis added: “I’m really happy to be finishing on such a high in this fantastic way.” A University of London and Leander composite were victorious in the Town Challenge Cup.
Leander’s Emily Ford and Emily Ashford were joined by Sara Parfett (University of London) and Caragh McMurty (Southampton Coalporters).
They set a new course record of seven minutes and 22 seconds and won by one-and-three-quarter lengths against Molesey Boat Club.
Ford, 23, who was in the two seat, said: “That was very hard work. We set out to try and break the record so we went off really, really fast. By the time I got to the enclosures I could feel myself flagging a bit and going lower and lower into the boat.
“When you race at Henley with the crowds it makes you nervous because if someone messes up it can give the other crew a chance to get back into it. We didn’t go into the race expecting to win, because if you do that you can let the opposition step up and beat you.”
There was another record-busting win for Leander in the Queen Mother for quadruple sculls.
Leander’s John Collins, Jonny Walton and Tom Barras were joined by Graeme Thomas, of Agecroft Rowing Club.
The crew, who are the Great Britain quadruple sculls crew, won by four-and-a-half lengths in a time of six minutes and 14 seconds, setting a record time to both Fawley and the Barrier. They beat Fana Roklubb, Norway, in a straight final.
Collins, 29, in the bow seat, said: “It’s always a challenge when you have a straight final. You only have one chance to get it right and you have to make sure nothing puts you off.
“I was doing the steering, which is a bit more pressurised at Henley. It’s not as easy as when you’re in lanes on a straight course so I had to keep aware on where I was steering. The other big change is the distance. We’re used to going for five-and-a-half minutes whereas this is six-and-a-quarter, which is quite a big difference for us.
“It’s a big win for Tom because it’s his first Henley win. That’s a special day in anyone’s career.”
He added: “One of my coaches always says there’s no point in training so hard if you don’t celebrate your successes, so we’ll sit down and have a few Pimm’s with our families to celebrate but we’re competing at the World Cup in Lucerne next weekend so we can’t celebrate too much.”
The winning Princess Grace Challenge Cup crew, who were racing as Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Imperial College London, included Leander’s Jess Leyden. It won by three lengths in a time of seven minutes and four seconds.
Two other Leander crews lost in the finals of the Remenham Challenge Cup and the Hambleden Challenge Trophy.
The Great Britain women’s eight, which included Leander’s Anastasia Chitty, Fiona Gammond, Holly Norton, Katherine Douglas and Karen Bennett, lost in the Remenham. They were beaten by the Australia women’s eight, which was racing as Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre in a time of six minutes and 36 seconds, setting a new course record by two seconds.
Rowan McKellar and Hattie Taylor, both of Leander, lost out in the Hambleden.
The Great Britain women’s pair were beaten by Heidi Long (Marlow Rowing Club) and Heidi Scott (Bann Rowing Club), who won by three-quarters of a length, in a time of eight minutes.
It was also an unsuccessful regatta for the Great Britain’s men’s eight. They were eliminated from the Grand Challenge Cup in the semi-finals on Saturday.
They were beaten by the Australian national eight racing as Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre.
The Australians posted a new barrier record of one minute and 48 seconds and a record-equalling two minutes and 53 seconds to Fawley, eventually winning by three-quarters of a length in five minutes and 59 seconds. They went on to win the final against the Romanian national eight on Sunday.
The British crew included seven Leander athletes — Will Satch, Al Sinclair, Olly Wynne-Griffith, Tom Jeffrey, Tom George, Tom Ransley and Henry Fieldman.
Satch, 29, of Watlington, said: “It’s disappointing to lose on home water but I’m hoping we can use this to help get a bit of fire back in our bellies.
“We started well enough but we let ourselves down in the middle of the race. You only get one shot and if you let that slip that’s it — you are out.
“We have three days off after Henley but hopefully this result can fire us back up. One thing [coach] Jurgen Grobler always says to us is ‘a loser trains harder’. It’s a basic thing but I think it will help us use this result as a positive rather than a negative.”
Another Leander crew knocked out in the semi-finals were the junior quadruple sculls. They lost to Maidenhead in the Fawley Challenge Cup by a length.
The crew included Joe Willis, Matt Peters, Ben Smeeton and Joe Murphy. They had to make a last minute change to the crew after original stroke man Tim Eilers went down with tonsillitis on Tuesday. Murphy took his place.
Willis, 16, said they did well to recover after the late reshuffle. He said: “Considering the changes I think we did a really good job and raised our game. We finished 12 seconds behind Maidenhead at the National Schools’ Regatta and we closed it to two seconds. For me as a 16-year-old it’s great to compete here and be out there racing.”
Other losing semi-finalists included Leander’s Harry Glenister and George Rossiter, who lost out to eventual winners Martin and Valent Sinkovic, from Croatia, in the Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup.
The Croatians, racing as CARC Mladost, won the race by two-and-three-quarter lengths in seven minutes and 13 seconds. The duo won gold at the Rio Olympics in the double sculls.
Glenister said: “Obviously I’m disappointed. We knew we were up against it because they are Olympic champions. We tried to go out really hard but they just rowed away from us in the end.
“We were not expecting to beat them, the only thing we could do was try to rattle them and stay with them as long as we could.”
Rob Hurn (Cambridge University) and Sholto Carnegie (Leander Club) also lost out in the semi-finals of the Goblets, as they were beaten by Australian pair Campbell Watts and Angus Widdicombe (Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre).
Carnegie said: “I felt we had a good start and went off pretty quickly but they were really fast off the start. They rowed a better race than us but we will learn from it.”
Leander Club captain Vicky Thornley was also knocked out on Saturday.
She was beaten by Australian Madeleine Edmunds, of Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre.
The Australian sculler won the semi-final by three and three-quarter lengths. She finished in eight minutes and 33 seconds.
In the Ladies Challenge Plate Leander were beaten in the semi-finals by an Oxford Brookes University and Edinburgh University composite.
A Leander Club and Edinburgh University composite were knocked out of the Princess Grace Challenge Cup after they were comfortably beaten by Cambridge University and Imperial College London.
The crew lost by two and three-quarters lengths, with a winning time of seven minutes and 14 seconds.
NSR Oslo beat Leander in the semi finals of the Thames Challenge Cup.
The Norwegians took an early lead and managed to hold off a strong push from Leander in the middle section of the course.
The won the race in six minutes and 21 seconds.
Paddy George, who was in the two seat, said the eight had left it all on the water.
He said: “We rowed well and probably went out as hard as ever had before, if it not harder. “To come off the water and lose by that margin is disappointing but we did all we could.”
Leander scullers Charles Waite-Robert, Ronan Law, Olly Stephens and Andy Joel lost out in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup.
They were beaten by the Dutch crew from A.A.S.R. Skøll, who finished in 6 minutes and 29 seconds, winning by by one and quarter lengths.
It is only the second time in the last nine years Leander have not won the trophy.
Joel, who sat at stroke, said: “We’re obviously very disappointed to lose. I think Skøll were a very good, strong crew.
“Maybe we were down a bit off the start and panicked a little bit and never quite got into our rhythm. But all credit to them, they did very well.”
A Leander and University of Cambridge composite was knocked out the Visitors’ by the eventual winners from Leander in the semi-finals.
Jamie Kirkwood, of Leander Club, was beaten by former Great Britain teammate Charles Cousins, who also previously sculled at Leander, in the Diamond Challenge Sculls by two-and-a-half lengths.
The Leander crew of Katherine Maitland, Emily Carmichael, Louise Bowyer and Georgie Brayshaw were beaten in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup.
They lost to eventual winners Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Imperial College.
The crew, which was only formed two weeks ago, kept pace with their rivals in the early stages but were eventually outpowered as they lost by four and a quarter lengths in seven minutes and 15 seconds.
Katherine Maitland, 22, who was in the bow seat for Leander, said: “We went out there knowing they are a very good crew who have been doing very well on the world stage.
“Knowing that calibre, it’s an honour to be lining up against crews like that.
“We wanted to go out there and have the best race we’ve had so far. We got a good clean start and kept up with them for a while.
“Because we are such a new crew it’s hard to chase them with strike rate. We finished the race knowing we’d given it everything.”
Molesey Boat Club beat Leander in the Town Challenge Cup by two thirds of a length recording a time of seven minutes and 19 seconds.
The crew of Bayly Camp, Anna Porteous, Chloe Laverack and Rachel Heap were beaten by the eventual finalists on Friday.
Shiplake College lost by three quarters of a length to Radley College in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.
Radley, who beat Shiplake in last year’s semi-final, are, on average, two stone heavier than Shiplake.
Headmaster Gregg Davies said he was delighted with the boys’ performance.
He said: “I don’t think they could have done anymore. We rowed really well and we pushed at the right time. We were half a length behind, three quarters of length behind and we pulled it back to a quarter of a length.
“We then had a bit of choppy water and we couldn’t get the run on the boat that we wanted.”
Mr Davies paid tribute to first eight coach Hugh Mackworth-Praed and director of rowing Dave Currie and said the crew had worked incredibly hard.
He added: “We came second at the Schools’ Head, third at National Schools’ Regatta and we have given Radley a run for their money.
“I’ve never heard support like it, it was just huge and I’d like to thank them because it makes such a big difference to the boys.
“I was crying out there - that’s how proud I am. They couldn’t have done me, themselves and their families any prouder.”
Oli Newton, 18, who was in the four seat, said: “We gave it everything off the start. They jumped us a bit off the start and we tried to keep with them. They just had a bit more at the end.
“We took a bit of belief from yesterday’s win over Brunswick and there’s a strong bond in the crew.
“It’s such a special regatta and this is my last year at Shiplake so I couldn’t have asked for a better group to do it with.”
Cox Jacob Kirby, 16, added: “We stayed with Radley through the middle which was quite a big thing for us considering they are so much heavier. We started to come back towards the end but it wasn’t quite enough.”
Mr Mackworth-Praed called it a “mature” and “controlled” performance from his crew.
He added: “The fact that we have got five of the eight returning there’s massive potential for next year.
“Every year we get better and better and I’m sure that eventually we will finally end up at the top.”
Eights from The Oratory, in Woodcote, and Reading Blue Coat School, in Sonning, were both eliminated in the same event on the opening day of racing.
Both girls crews from Henley Rowing Club were knocked out before the weekend in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup, for junior quadruple sculls.
While the “A” crew lost out to eventual winners Y Quad Cities RA, USA.
The Americans set a new course record of 7 minutes and 20 seconds The “B” crew lost out to Headington School by one-and-a-quarter lengths in the quarter finals on Friday.in the final on Sunday.
The junior boys from Henley Rowing Club “A” lost out to Maidenhead Rowing Club in the quarter finals of the Fawley.
They were beaten by two and a quarter lengths in six minutes and 25 seconds.
Crew member Bruce Turnell, 17, of Greys Road, said: “I’m feeling quite tired now, we had a really good race and an excellent start but we got a bit outpowered.
“They were about a stone heavier than us so there was nothing more that we could have done but we kept on fighting and didn’t make it easy for them.
“It was my first time at regatta and really enjoyed it. There was great atmosphere and it was really cool being in and around the boat tents. We were the fastest non-qualifier last year and all the hard work we have put in this year has paid off.”
The B crew lost to Westminster School in the same event on Thursday.
Their rivals won by three-quarters of a length in seven minutes and one second.
A Leander Club and Upper Thames Rowing Club composite were beaten by Edinburgh University and Oxford Brookes by one length in six minutes and 44 seconds on Thursday.
James Scott, 26, who represents Upper Thames, said the crew had only been together for two-and-a-half weeks.
He said: “They went out very hard, as did we. We actually had a really good start, up until the barrier was really good and was probably the best we have done so far.
“From the barrier to Fawley we had got into our rhythm but were caught out by a bit of wash and they held their rhythm better through that.
“From then on it was really quite hard to push back and they were slightly more polished than we were.”
He added: “The result is disappointing but as we are so recently formed, and have been inconsistent since then, to have a good row on race day was really pleasing. We are to happy to have been in contention in the early part of the race and the defeat was only by one length.”
Upper Thames Rowing Club were eliminated from the Wyfold Challenge Cup after losing to Australia’s Upper Yarra Rowing Club on Thursday.
The Australians won by a length in six minutes and 53 seconds.
Upper Thames coach Toby Mottram said: “I’m obviously very disappointed. Clearly Upper Yarra are a very seasoned club with a lot of experience in this race as previous winners.
“We went off strong and had probably the best first half of the race we could have hoped for. At the end of the day the better came out on top and we wish them the best of luck for tomorrow.”
Leander Club’s Star and Arrow crew were also knocked out on Thursday in the Fawley. They were beaten by Maidenhead Rowing Club.
This year’s regatta has seen the third-largest entry on record, with 565 boats comprising 454 domestic crews and 111 from overseas.
16 July 2018
POLL: Have your say