Tuesday, 19 March 2019
THE Upper Thames Autumn Head took place last Sunday involving 322 crews from across the Thames Valley and South East.
The race was a 3,000m upstream time trial aided by a following North wind that made for increasingly choppy conditions as the race progressed.
Thames Rowing Club from Putney won the premier men’s eights event and hosts Upper Thames won the women’s Blue Riband event, fending off the challenge from the London opposition by just over one second.
The Henley Rowing Club junior squad continued its dominance in that category and won enough events overall to secure the Victor Ludorum trophy for the club, just managing to beat Upper Thames to the title by a few points.
Henley had 41 crews competing overall of which 21 recorded first places. The Henley junior girls’ eight of Chloe Beeton, Riley Butcher, Sophie Underwood, Della Luke, Maddy Pollard, Phoebe Snowden, Sophie Hahn, Pheobe Fletcher and cox Ella Nolson won the women’s eights band one in the morning and also recorded the fastest women’s time of the day.
The Henley girls’ J14 squad had a good day taking first, second and third place in the quads in the morning and a win in the afternoon’s doubles.
Henley’s girls’ J15 squad won the women’s eights band two in the morning. Mia Roullier and Mia Vickerman from the eight then joined up with Natalie Schoenmakers and Laoise O’Donohue — who had won the WJ15 2x in the morning — to go and comfortably win WJ15 quads in the afternoon with Charlotte Rolstone coxing. The Henley J16 girls won both the fours and quads events, the quad of Georgie Pollard, Izzy Cotton, Della Luke and Holly Cookson just pipping Marlow RC to take the win. The junior girls of Holly Nave, Darcy Smith, Gina Segrt, Emilia Fulford-Dobson and cox Maddison Sturgess, racing in women’s coxed fours, had a good row against some top opposition to take the win.
The Henley boys’ squads took wins in J14 doubles and quads, J16 doubles, J18 quads and coxless fours. The women took a win in women’s doubles and the women’s masters won the C quads (average age 43).
From home club Upper Thames’ perspective, a large section of the club’s veterans made it to the start line, most of them winning their events. The club’s top performers were being tested in two coulees fours, one of which included Oxford University student Tom Foster, who won a bronze medal at the World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria.
The previous week an Upper Thames crew comprised of Paul Stuart Bennett, Walter Scott, Lee Brown and Will Almand, coxed by Sven Perkins, won the over 70 average age event at the Head of the Charles River, the largest regatta in the world held in Boston, Massachusetts every October. They saw off their nearest rivals by more than 40 seconds and teamed up the following day with four women including Olympic gold medallist Dame Katherine Grainger to compete in the mixed eights category.
Imogen Walsh and Pippa Birch also won the British Championships title in Nottingham, completing a series of satisfying wins for Upper Thames in the last few days.
05 November 2018
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