Friday, 14 December 2018

Leander and Henley crews gain success at fours head

Leander and Henley crews gain success at fours head

LEANDER crews dominated their events in London last Saturday, winning four outright, with all eight entries finishing first or second in their respective divisions.

There was also success for Henley Rowing Club which won the junior girls pennant for a fifth successive year in the fours head.

In the absence of Leander’s development athletes, who were saving themselves for GB trials this weekend, it was left to the club’s internationals to fly the flag over the four-and-a-quarter mile Championship Course from Mortlake to Putney.

The Leander leading scullers led the 483-boat fleet off the start, and thereafter Jack Beaumont, John Collins, Jonny Walton, and Angus Groom, coached by Ali Brown, moved away to record the fastest time and retain the head pennant for Leander for another year.

Leander’s second boat were no slouches either, with Charles Cousins returning to the squad for the first time since back surgery shortly after London 2012, and anchoring a line-up that included Harry Leask, Olympic champion Will Satch and 2017 bronze medallist Tim Barras. But despite this formidable crew they slipped to second place overall, seven seconds adrift of the leaders.

It was the men’s fours that provided the surprise of the event, when the all-Leander GB crew, who won the bronze medal at the World Championships Bulgaria seven weeks ago, were beaten into second place by a scratch line-up of fellow GB athletes. Men’s eight cox Henry Fieldman coached Ollie Cook, Ollie Wynne-Griffith, Tom Jeffries and Matt Rossiter and despite having to borrow a boat at short notice after their main craft suffered steering damage, they romped home seven seconds clear of the established favourites.

The Leander juniors fulfilled pre-race expectations by taking a straight one-two, with Miles Devereux, Joe Murphy, Joe Willis, and Tim Eilers beating the club’s second boat by a massive 23 second margin.

Leander’s fourth win came in the women’s quads where Emily Ford, Rowan McKellar, Karen Bennett and Jess Leyden came home clear leaders ahead of an Age-croft/CUWBC/Tideway Scullers composite, with Lea RC in third place.

Leander might have recorded a fifth win on the day but their women’s four, who were fastest in their division through the timing markers, were disqualified after racing with the wrong number.

Henley Rowing Club were represented by eight junior crews in the event — three boys and five girls.

In the junior girls quads, Maddy Pollard, Charlotte Rowley, Sophia Hahn and Daisy Bellamy won by a narrow margin of 0.9 seconds against Marlow Rowing Club.

In the coxless fours event, the Henley crew of Hannah Hills, Holly Cookson, Emma Berry, Carla Russell were a close second to Lea RC. In Championship coxed fours, the Henley crew of Charlotte Williams Issy Bird, Della Luke, Phoebe Fletcher and cox Ella Nolson took a third place behind Kingston and Putney High School.

In the “Challenge” event for coxed fours, the younger members of the junior squad, Madison Sturgess, Sophie Underwood, Izzy Cotton, Georgie Pollard and Emilia Fulford Dobson put in a good performance to finish a close second behind Marlow.

The boys entered three quads in the junior championship category with mixed results. The A crew set off strongly and were within reach of the Leander crew, who were the eventual winners, when they had an equipment failure and were squeezed out by another crew and hit a buoy causing one of the blades to break and ending their race.

The B crew of Sam Beattie, Luke Marshall, Grant Taylor and Dan Crick and C crew of James Wallace, Alex Carr and Ollie Taylor finished fifth and sixth respectively.

Upper Thames entered two crews into the coxless fours challenge event with their A crew finishing second behind Putney Town RC and their B crew finishing in seventh place.

Shiplake College finished seventh in the junior championships coxed fours and eighth in the women’s junior championship quads.

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