A prize Copas turkey was up for grabs for each member of the winning crew in the fiercely contended Leander Club Turkey Sculls competition yesterday. The annual competition has been taking place for 30+ years and has returned this year after a break of 2 years because of the pandemic.
36 Leander rowers’ names were put into a draw to make up the nine Quad crews and they then rowed a short course of 200m in a knock-out competition. The rowers were dressed in their original club or school kit or festive wear for the competition. Women’s Squad Coach, Ross Hunter commented, “It’s good to see where all our athletes have come through and important to see which clubs have supported their early careers.
Each of the races were closely contended because of the short course with less than boat length between them. The final saw the winning crew of Sam Meijer, Chris Fry, Eleanor Brinkhoff and Hylton Harvey beat the other crew by 2/3 length. The finishing line judge was former, Henley Royal Regatta Chair, Mike Sweeney.
Afterwards rower Sam Meijer said, “This my first season at Leander so it is my first Turkey Sculls. I started rowing at Westminster School then went to Harvard and I’ve been training at the national centre in Caversham but I’ve come back here for now and hope to get back rowing internationally at some point. It was really good fun today. The inside line (Berkshire bank) had a huge stream advantage as it has been so wet for the last few days so we thought we need to get that inside line. The other crew who had just won their semi final were going to stay on the water and go straight up to the start line and get the inside line again so we persuaded them to land by duping them and then we had to take one of their oars before giving it back to them. Just a bit of fun and games. I will be sharing the turkey with my family. We did not have a turkey already so it meant a lot when I was out on the water and my Mum is going to be chuffed.”
Ros Hunter on presenting the turkeys said, “It so good to be able to run the turkey sculls again this year after a few years off and we’re so grateful to Copas for something nice to give you apart from a soggy row out there.”
Brenda Copas said, “We are very keen to support rowing as we own Remenham Farm and we helped found the Women’s Regatta. My late husband was a member of Leander and we wanted to support them in any way we can. It is a great delight to be here and to see the fun and games from the riverbank and discussions from the crews which side of the river you wanted to row on. We as a family have enjoyed supporting rowing and all its delights and delighted to be giving you one of our famous turkeys. It’s lovely to see a female in the winning crew.”