Upper Thames Rowing Club have entered 46 athletes into Henley Royal Regatta this year and over the past year the club have spent over £100K on new boats and training equipment to support the growing senior squad and to return to the top of club rowing.
The club’s top crews are the Wyfold Challenge Cup M4- of Dale Buckett, Tom Hole, Steve Griffiths and Matt and the Wargrave A crew of Rebecca Abbott, Yasmin Ryman-King, Beth Arscott, Mary Bryant Jeans, Meghan Jackson, Eve Wright, Penny Hamand, Lucy Ryan and cox Sam Royston. The Wyfold crew were a seeded crew in 2021 following strong results at the Metropolitan and Marlow build up Regattas. However, they were very narrowly and unexpectedly knocked out on the first day of the Regatta by a crew from Nottingham. This season they have won Open 4- at Nottingham City Regatta and under the guidance of coach Johnny Woodiss-Field will be hoping to progress much further.
The Mark Shimmin coached Wargrave A crew is a combination of the club’s best athletes who raced in different crews at Henley Women’s Regatta last weekend. It will be a short time to gel the crew together but after the club’s training camp at the beautiful Cerlac rowing centre in Galicia, Spain all the athletes are used to rowing together. The Wargrave B crew of Sophie Lane, Teuntje Tijssen, Emma Lister, Izzy Pullinger, Ella Wandless, Daisy Hampton, Alice Pickthall, Claudia Adams coxed by Bea Crossley have several athletes from the quad that won Open 4x at Nottingham City Regatta and finished 3rd in the Open 8+ event.
Upper Thames also have a strong entry in the Britannia Challenge Cup of Mike Scott, Henry Pearson, Matt Swiss, Rob Leech coxed by Zoe Thomas. Winners of Open 4+ event at Nottingham City Regatta and a strong performance at the Metropolitan Regatta. The crew having been continuing to improve under coach Sam Royston and will be looking to put on a good show in the very competitive event.
The club has two entries in the Thames Cup (M8+) event. The senior squad crew coxed by Bea Crossley and from stroke Lachlan Reid, Dai George, Sam Diserens, Chris Gilligan, Alistair Harsant, Mark Lucani, Lachlan Jones, Cameron-Martin combines a combination of experience and youth. It will be the first time at the regatta for four of the athletes, while Chris Gilligan will be competing for the 7th time. The crew have been well drilled by coach Nick Horne. The ‘Dad’s Army’ crew of masters athletes Dan Sadler, Pete Jacobs, Mark Tritton, Tim Senior, Matt Richardson, Andy Green, Oli Collinson, Luke Moneley coxed by Zoe Thomas are back to try and embarrass their younger competitors. At the 2021 regatta, at 59 years of age Pete Jacobs became the oldest person to win a race at HRR regatta when the crew progressed through the first round against a crew from Northwich. This year with the larger entry, even qualifying for the main draw will be a major achievement for the crew with an average age close to 50 years.
Another crew of masters athletes is entered into the intermediate event for quad scullers, the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. The crew of Adam Rennie, Eric den Besten, Hamish Floyd and Hugh Mackworth-Praed had a good win at Reading Amateur Regatta in the masters event and are looking forward to racing some much tougher opposition at Henley Royal.
Naomi Holland will represent Upper Thames in the Princess Royal challenge cup for single scullers. Naomi finished 4th in the lightweight category at Metropolitan regatta and 16th overall. Pippa Deveraux will be racing in the Stonor Challenge Cup in a composite crew with Madeleine Pollard from Henley Rowing Club.
Chair of UTRC, Justin Sutherland said, “It is very exciting to see so many young people at Upper Thames continuing and enjoying their sport as they transition from school and university into the world of work.”