Even though the sun really didn’t make much of an appearance on Henley Regatta semi-final Saturday, the Bridge Bar in Stewards Enclosure was packed out and there wasn’t much room either along the towpath.
Prime Minister, Theresa May and her husband Philip were guests of Sir Steve Redgrave, Chair of Henley Royal Regatta who took them to see the Queen’s Rowbarge, the Gloriana and the boat tents.
Leander Club had a mixed Saturday semi-final day with their rowers reaching four finals on Sunday.
In the Remenham Challenge Cup (W8+) there were two composite crews racing each other. On the Bucks station there was the GB senior crew facing the GB development crew on the Berks station. The race turned out to be closer than perhaps some would have predicted. Staying fairly level off the start, the GB seniors took a slight move towards their opposition’s water coming down the island, a move which was mirrored by their opponents a few hundred meters later. No clashing occurred in either instance however, and the crews stayed close – a canvas lead to the seniors until the quarter mile. Through Fawley a half length lead grew to three quarters, a margin that remained unchanged for most of the rest of the race, despite attempts by both crews to either lengthen or close the gap. Certainly a promising sign for the future of GB sweep rowing that they held their senior crew to such a margin.
Alex Ball and Tom Ballenger’s Regatta came to an end in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls Challenge Cup, they were beaten by Oyen and Steeman from the Netherlands by 3 1/2 lengths.
Leander rowers were part of the GB U23 crew in the Ladies Challenge Plate facing Oxford Brookes University A in semi-final. The composite edged a very slight lead out of the island, but Brookes came back strongly as they settled into their rhythm, and in fact equalled the Barrier record despite not particularly fast conditions. By Fawley, the Brookes crew looked like they might just break contact, but the U23s were not to let them away easily. A push from them took them back to a few feet of overlap, but the response from Brookes shut this challenge down, and they went on to win by one length.
In an incredible fought race in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup (W4x) the composite crew with Jess Leyden from Leander Club in the boat versus the Dutch crew from Hollandia Roeiclub. The Dutch crew pulled out to a 1 length lead at the Barrier and set a new record for this event to this marker. They started to close in on the Dutch after the 3/4 mile, reducing their lead to 1/2 a length by the mile marker. Into the enclosures, Leander was surging up on the Dutch crew, and it was neck and neck to the finish line. The Dutch took the win by only 1 foot.
Leander also faced Hollandia Roeiclub from the Netherlands in the Ladies Challenge Plate (M8+) The crews were level to the 1/2 mile marker where the Dutch crew moved out to a small 1/4 length lead by the Barrier. Leander fought hard and held their rating high down the course, and the largest lead the Dutch managed to extend to was 1/2 a length. The Fawley record was equalled by the Dutch in a time of 2.54, giving some indication of the speed and quality of these two crews. Down the enclosures, Leander took the rating up to 43 and attacked, but were unable to close down the distance. Hollandia Roeiclub took the win by 1/2 a length, achieving a new course record in the process of 5.57.
After a delayed start due to a boat getting stuck on the course and having to be towed out of the way, all-Leander race in the Fawley Cup (JM4x) could get started. It is unfortunate that these two crews had to meet today instead of for the finals, as the Leander ‘B’ crew would always be up against it to match their ‘A’ boat. The ‘A’ crew had a faster start and commanded the race from the start, pulling out to cross the line 5 lengths ahead of the ‘B’ crew.
Harry Leask faced Zeidler from Germany in the Diamond Challenge Sculls. Both scullers had very strong starts with Leask taking a small lead by the end of the island, showcasing how fast and efficient he can be off the blocks. By the 1/4 mile, Zeidler had powered through to lead by 2/3 of a length, which he capitalised on down the course and extended out to 2 1/2 lengths by the Mile marker. Leask took his rate up towards the finish to close the distance but was unable to get back on terms with Zeidler, who crossed the line 1 1/2 lengths ahead.
In the Visitors’ (M4-) Challenge Cup the composite Cambridge University & Leander Club beat University College Dublin. This strong composite crew, with Charlie Elwes representing Leander, stormed off the start and had a good lead by the 1/4 mile marker. They continued to increase this along the course, equalling the record at the barrier. For the remainder of the race, they had good control and settled into a strong and effective rhythm beating University College Dublin by 1 3/4 lengths.
The strong Chinese National Crew beat Leander Club in the Town Cup (W4-) by 2 3/4 lengths.
The experienced GB duo of John Collins from Leander and Graeme Thomas (Agecroft) will be taking part in tomorrow’s final against the New Zealand Waiariki Rowing Club after beating Hayday and Formoso-Murias from the USA by 1 length.
Henley Rowing Club won their race against Claires Court in the Fawley (JM4x) and will face Leander A in the final tomorrow. Unfortunately the JW4x crew in the Diamond Jubilee Cup lost to Latymer Upper School by 2 1/2 lengths
Hoping to reach the final for the first time, Shiplake College lost narrowly to Eton College in the semi-final of the Princess Elizabeth Cup (JM8+) by 1 length.
Finals start tomorrow at 11.30pm. To see the full timetable go to https://www.hrr.co.uk/racing-timetable