Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Henley Rowing Club juniors impress at autumn head

Henley Rowing Club juniors impress at autumn head

HENLEY Rowing Club juniors started the new season with the first of the autumn heads at Wallingford Long Distance Sculls last Saturday.

This challenging course over nearly 4,500 metres and some not insignificant bends tested the bow steers of coxless boats and coxes on a warm day where more than 500 crews competed in three divisions.

In the morning division the girls crew of Maddy Pollard, Charlotte Williams, Sophie Hahn and Daisy Bellamy clocked up the fastest women’s time of the day to win WJ18 quads in a time of 17 minutes, 6 seconds, three second ahead of arch rivals Headington School. In Division 2 which is raced over a shorter course for younger and or less experienced crews the U15 girls’ crew of Mia Vickerman, Laoise O’Donohue, Ella Mckay, Cleo Davis and cox Maddison Sturgess, had a narrow victory against second-placed Wimbledon High School but were comfortably ahead of crews from Headington, Abingdon and Wallingford.

In Division 3 the Henley girls took first and second place in the top event women’s quads with the crew of Charlotte Rowley, Phoebe Snowden, Hannah Hills and Carla Russell just taking the first spot by two seconds. The two Henley crews were followed by three women’s crews from Mortlake Anglian and Alpha. Gina Segrt and Holly Thompson had a resounding win in the girls’ U16 double sculls being nearly a minute ahead of a crew from Evesham Rowing Club. Also winning at J16 was Holly Cookson in her single in a time that would have seen her finish second in the J18 category and was fifth fastest female sculler of the day.

The boys’ squad focus on singles at Wallingford, with most competing twice over the course. For several this was part of a build up to GB junior trials.

With high quality, large fields in all boys’ categories, wins were hard to come by, but James Swinburn had a near miss in J17 single sculls where he was just 0.2 seconds from taking the win, coming third in a field of 32, only 0.1 second behind the tied winners from St Paul’s and Westminster Schools.

In J18 single sculls there was a large field of 82 athletes where Henley had a strong result with four boys in the top 12, Balthasar Issa, Joe Long, Ed Roy and James Swinburn. Issa and Long then repeated their good showings, coming fifth and sixth in open single sculls, just behind Ethan O’Connor, stroke of last year’s Henley J18 quadruple scull, now a J19 who finished fourth. In J16 single sculls his brother, Soren O’Connor finished fifth of 21.

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