Grasshoppers plague Upper Thames, Damascene revelation for St Paul’s.
13 July 2016
Here is Tim Koch’s third report from Henley’s Finals Day:
After rowing and sculling, Henley’s favourite sport is debating which boats in the ‘club’ races (the Thames, Wyfold and Britannia Challenge Cups) are ‘overqualified’ and should actually be in an ‘intermediate’ event. There are usually a few crews who are convinced that, had they not on day one met a boat that should have been in the higher status Ladies’ or the Visitors’, they could have gone through to Thursday or Friday or (after a few drinks) the weekend.
The Thames Challenge Cup (Men’s Club Eights)
Molesey Boat Club ‘A’ beat N.S.R. Oslo, Norway, by 2 1/3 lengths, time 6 minutes 40 seconds.
Molesey celebrated their 150th year with a strong show against Oslo. They went off determined to take control of the race from the start, were a length up before the Barrier (630 metres) and then continued to draw away, their confidence that they were a faster crew than the Norwegian students confirmed all the way through to the finish.
The Wyfold Challenge Cup (Men’s Club Coxless Fours)
Grasshopper-Club, Zürich, Switzerland, beat Upper Thames Rowing Club ‘A’ by 1 length, time 7 minutes 9 seconds.
The distinctive green Empacher of the Swiss crew led from the start but local club Upper Thames stayed in contact and pushed in the last 500 metres to close their opponent’s winning margin to a length.
The Britannia Challenge Cup (Men’s Club Coxed Fours)
Rudern, Tennis und Hockey Club Bayer Leverkusen, Germany, beat Sport Imperial Boat Club by 2 1/2 lengths, time 7 minute 16 seconds.
Like the other two ‘club’ finals, the eventual winners of the ‘Brit’ dominated their race from the start. With three junior champions on board, the Germans’ superior rate and power put them a length up after 30 strokes and three lengths to the good by the Barrier.
The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup (Junior Women’s Quad Sculls)
Gloucester Rowing Club beat Headington School by 3/4 length, time 7 minutes 53 seconds.
Two weeks before, this crew, rowing as Gloucester Hartpury, won the Junior Coxed Fours at Women’s Henley by three lengths. Switching to the very different boat that is the quad scull and competing as Gloucester Rowing Club, they recorded their third win in a row in the five-year-old Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup. The final was no walkover however, and a small lead changed hands several times during the race. However, Gloucester got their bow permanently in front in a decisive move around the half way mark. Before the race, many people had considered Headington the favourites – including Gloucester’s coach, Tom Pattichis.
The Fawley Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Quad Sculls)
Claires Court School beat The Windsor Boys’ School by 1 length, time 7 minutes 3 seconds.
As with the equivalent women’s event, the junior men’s quads final was a superb race with a small lead changing hands several times over the first two-thirds of the course. After Remenham however, the Claires Court quad built up one length lead which they maintained to the finish, their win completing the triple of The Fawley Challenge Cup, The Schools’ Head of the River and National Schools Regatta titles.
The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eights)
Eton College beat St. Paul’s School by 1 1/2 lengths, time 6 minutes 47 seconds.
Were they so inclined, it could have been jolly gloating weather for Eton as they went out in front and stayed there, their superior power holding off St Paul’s. It was the 13th Princess Elizabeth win for those ‘Dressed in the old light blue’ since the ‘PE’ began in 1946 and was compensation for an otherwise unsuccessful season for the Eton College Boat Club.
© Photography: Tim Koch