Saturday, 04 December 2021

Upper Thames and Henley triumph at autumn head

Upper Thames and Henley triumph at autumn head

THE Upper Thames Autumn Head took place on Sunday over the 3km upstream course from Henley Management College to the finish opposite Phyllis Court where more than 350 crews were split into two divisions.

With strong winds with gusts of more than 30km per hour the organising committee were considering cancelling the event but fortunately the rain and gusts stopped just before racing began under the watchful eye of the experienced marshalling and umpiring team. Both host club Upper Thames and Henley Rowing Clubs recorded nine wins each. Upper Thames, who had 23 crews racing, had two senior men’s eights and three women’s quads entered in Division 1 along with a men’s masters and women’s masters eight crew.

The Upper Thames men’s senior squad, through illness and injury were without three athletes from last year’s top crew. However, starting number one, Upper Thames A held off strong challenges from Leander Club and the University of Bristol to win their band one eights event. The crew of Sam Dierens, Kingsley McDiarmid, Matt Swiss, Tom Hole, Henry Pearson, Gareth Syphas, Rob Leech and Tom Foster rowed cleanly in the rough conditions with cox Bea Searle steerine the perfect line close to the Berkshire bank.

The B crew eight raced in band two and had to make a few last minute crew changes and had a respectable time but were unable to beat the University of Bristol second boat.

The Master D crew (average age 50+) of Adam Rennie, Pete Lowe, Nick Horne, Tim Senior, Mark Tritton, Andy Green, Hamish Floyd, Pete Jacobs and cox Emily Booker beat crews from Christchurch and Guildford to win their event comfortably.

Next was the turn of the three senior women’s quads. The A crew were the fastest women’s quad of the day winning band one, beating crews from Marlow and Reading University by more than 20 seconds. The crew of Courtney Edmonds, Lucy Ryan, Sian Hinton and Meghann Jackson had an excellent scull and the hard training over the past month showed in the conditions. The C crew, racing in band two, repeated their success beating crews from University of Reading and University of Bristol to win their event by 15 seconds. The crew of Tijssen Teuntje, Beth Arscott, Isobel Pullinger and Ella Wandless also claimed a narrow victory against their B crew of Daisy Hampton, Penny Hamand, Naomi Holland and Yasmin Ryman-King.

In the afternoon division the Upper Thames men’s squad split into fours and a double scull.

The scratch Upper Thames A crew of Gareth Syphas, Matt Swiss, Tom Foster and Rob Leech had a narrow win of just 0.4 seconds against Marlow to claim victory in the open coxless fours.

The Upper Thames B crew of Alastair Harsant, Chris Gilligan, Mike Scott and Oliver Collinson raced in the same category beating two Oxford-based crews.

Racing in band one coxed fours the Upper Thames crew of Kingsley McDiarmid, Henry Pearson, Tom Hole, Sam Diserens coxed by Zoe Thomas were just 11 seconds behind the Upper Thames coxless four but finished second behind a strong Marlow crew.

In the open double sculls the crew of Lachlan Reid and David George put in a fast time but were left without any competition after the other crew in the event scratched.

The senior women’s squad raced in eights in the afternoon division. Upper Thames A raced in band one, finishing third behind two Oxford University Women’s Boat Club crews.

Upper Thames B won the band two eights by more than 25 seconds, beating crews from City of Oxford and London. The crew of Emma Lister, Claudia Adams, Mary Bryant-Jeans, Ella Wandless, Sophie Lane, Penny Hamand, Beth Arscott, Isobel Pullinger and cox Harriet Aubrey had only had one outing together on the day before the race.

In the combined Masters CDE event where a handicap time based on crew age is applied to the time the two Upper Thames crews clashed blades along the Island forcing both crews to stop rowing. Unfortunately, this handed victory to a Masters E crew from Broaxbourne.

There was no such problems in the Masters CD quadruple sculls event where the Upper Thames crew of Adam Rennie, Will Hoodless, Hamish Floyd and Mark Shimmin had a comfortable win of nearly one minute against Marlow, Reading and Henley. The Masters EF coxless pair of Pete Jacobs and Dan Sadler also won their event against Hollingworth Lake.

Finally for Upper Thames the women’s Masters BC quad of Naomi Holland, Amanda Hynes, Sally Pollok-Morris and Ally Clegg were comfortable winners of their event against Abingdon.

Henley Rowing Club had 28 crews entered in 21 events covering the whole spectrum of the club membership from masters to under 14 junior girls.

All of Henley’s wins came from their junior crews. The boys squad’s J18 quadruple scull crew of Guy Hutchins, Daniel Landau, David Wallace, and Finlay Ribbons produced a strong performance winning their event by a comfortable 24.4 seconds from Marlow Rowing Club’s top boat.

The crew settled early to a lively relaxed rhythm and then progressively pulled away from Marlow behind them.

In J18 double sculls Finlay Ribbons and Ross Lamont were reprising a combination in which they had raced when members of Peterborough City Rowing Club, before moving to the Henley area. The duo rediscovered the success of their original partnership, winning this event by 10 seconds in a field of six crews. The J16 quad of Pascal Giret, Roman Meredith, Kit Daly and Connor Simpson showed good technical development to finish second behind a strong crew from Hinksey Sculling School.

Competing in the senior women’s event of coxed fours, which was one of the larger entries of the day, Henley juniors Eyla Wild, Evie Tingate, Florence Lenthall, Lucy Jones and cox Rose McEwan had a five-second victory over second-place Southampton University.

Jones clocked up a second win of the day with partner Ailish Harkin when they won the women’s J18 double sculls ahead of club mates Eyla Wild and Pippa Jamieson.

One of the most resounding wins of the day came from Tilly MaCartney, Gwennie Hunter, Tabby Hall and Emma Eltze who finished 52 seconds ahead of the second place Hinksey Sculling School and 81 second ahed of third place Barn Elms RC.

The girls’ J18 coxless fours was another one-two for Henley with just two separating the crews of Natalie Schoenmakers, Laoise O’Donohue, Nonnie Luke and Josie Sawbridge who just stayed ahead of the J16s Tilly Macartney, Gwennie Hunter, Tabby Hall and Florence Lenthall who in turn were 47 seconds ahead of third -place Weybridge RC.

The WJ14 squad had two quads race in the morning. Jemima Butterworth, Molly Hall, Martha Dickson, Lucy Green and cox Florence French finished first, 15 seconds ahead of Jemima Painter, Lilian Graham, Chloe Hughes, Evelyn Meeks and cox Charlotte Tong who were 32 seconds ahead of third-place Maidenhead.

In the afternoon, with slightly better conditions, Jemima Butterworth and Molly Hall won their division by 40 seconds against team mates Lilian Graham and Chloe Hughes again ahead of third-place Maidenhead.

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