Henley Regatta Day 4 – Henley Turns Pink

With Leander Club celebrating their 200th anniversary, it looks like they might be celebrating with lots of wins too at this year’s Regatta today (Sunday) in the finals.  They’re previously won 199 trophies, so it’s very fitting they’ll win their 200th today as they are guaranteed a win in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup (M4-) final as both entries contain Leander athletes.

After having 17 crews and composite crews in the semi-finals, Leander Club also managed to secure and compete in another six finals today.  Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom beat the Norwegian lightweight pair of Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup and will face the O’Donovan brothers from Ireland in the final.  In the Visitors’ (M4-) they will face University of London after a closely fought race saw them beating a composite Cambridge University and Leander Club by 2/3 lengths. The Town Challenge Cup too saw two composite crews battle each other with Leander Club and University of London winning by 2 1/2 lengths against the Bath University composite crew.  The W8+ Leander Club and University of London crew beat Washington USA by 1 length in the semi-final and will face National Training Centre from Australia in the final of the Remenham. The final of the Queen Mother Challenge Cup (Quadruple Sculls) will be contested today with a composite crew of Leander Club and Agecroft RC against Fana Roklubb of Norway.

In one of the shocks of the morning session, Leander Club’s ‘A’ quad were knocked out of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup by a very impressive unit from A.A.S.R Skoll. Leander, who have won this event on five of the last six occasions, simply could not live with the pace and power of the Dutch, who led from the off and sculled away to set up a Sunday meeting with Edinburgh University and Nottingham Rowing Club. The last time Leander Club didn’t make the final of the Prince of Wales was in 2005. The GB M8+ composite crew of Leander Club and Molesley BC in the Grand Challenge Cup were also beaten by Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre from Australia by 3/4 length.

Leander Club’s Vicky Thornley’s troubled relationship with Henley Royal Regatta continued as the Olympic silver medallist was knocked out of the Princess Royal Challenge Cup by former HRR winner Madeleine Edmunds. Thornley, who lost out in the final of this competition last year to Thiele of Germany, never looked comfortable on the course and, despite grabbing an early lead, was overhauled by Australian sculler Edmunds in the middle of the course.

For two Leander Club women, local girl Natasha Harris-White and her pairs partner Laura Meridew completed a first in the history of the Regatta by racing in two semi-finals in one day.  They first rowed in the Town (W4-) with other crew members from Bath University and were beaten by another composite crew of  University of London and Leander by 2 1/2 lengths in the morning.  Then in one of the last races of the day they competed in the Hambledon (W2x) and were beaten by the GB first pair from Leander Club of Rowan McKeller and Hattie Taylor by 4 3/4 lengths.

In the tea interval, Leander Club marked their bi-centenary too with two row pasts featuring Olympian medallists Vicky Thornley, Peter Reed, Debbie Flood, Dick Lester, Katie Greves, Sir Steve Redgrave, Zoe de Toledo, Tim Crooks, Garry Herbert, Alex Partridge, Mike Hart, Hugh Matheson, James Cracknell, Ben Hunt-Davis, Mark Hunter and Charlie Wiggin.

Thames Rowing Club will be attempting to make it two in a row when they face N.S.R. Oslo today in the final of the Thames Challenge Cup. Under Ben Lewis, the club has been transformed into one of the leading domestic programs with a clear aim in mind – to dominate in club events at Henley Royal Regatta. N.S.R. Oslo, the Norwegians last made the final in 2016. This could be sensational.

The strength of Oxford Brookes’ rowing program was emphasised once again, as both of their crews progressed through to the final of the Ladies Challenge Plate for Intermediate Eights. Their top-ranked crew, beat a development boat from Germany before a composite Brookes/Edinburgh outfit defeated Leander’s Plate entry. Henry Bailhache-Webb is guaranteed to have his hands on some silverware tomorrow.

With another record going on the water with Y Quad Cities R.A. breaking the course record in The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup (JW4x) by 3 seconds, the time for Regatta Chairman to announce that gentlemen could take their jackets off was thought to be the earliest in the history at 10.15am!

Saturday saw the wonderful flotilla of boats on the water including the regular singing Elvis’ along with Big Duck returning for the second year sporting a large England flag cape to honour the England football team.

The perfect ending to Saturday saw the sky over Henley lit up with a finale of pink fireworks – a wonderful display to honour our world class rowing club in Henley.



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