Henley Royal Regatta: Semi Saturday

The Leander stroke contemplates the meaning of defeat after losing to the Windsor Boys’ School by two feet in the Fawley Challenge Cup.

2 July 2017

Tim Koch confirms that you win some and you lose some.

As when Gilbert wrote the text and Sullivan composed the music, so, in this report on Henley’s penultimate day, the Regatta Press Office gets the credit for the words and I take the blame for the pictures. If the two relate to each other, that is pure coincidence.

Team Italia, Italy, on the way to the start for a semi-final of the Stewards’. They eventually won, defeating Leander Club & Griffen BC by 2/3 length.

Temple Tempo 

The Temple Challenge Cup provided some of the day’s best racing, as foreign interest in the competition was extinguished by two very strong British crews. The University of London defeated Yale University, USA, having been led to the Barrier; whilst Oxford Brookes saw off the testing challenge of University of California, Berkeley, USA. These crews will now meet in the final on Sunday in what is sure to be a race which will split the supporters at Henley.

In the semi-final of the three boat Grand Challenge Cup, Passau & Treviris Trier, Germany, beat Waiariki RC, New Zealand, by 3/4 length.
Reading University, who lost to Nottingham RC & Warrington RC in the Princess Grace, pass the press box.
Women from Waiariki RC, New Zealand, warm up.

Opposites Attract 

The nature of the two Wyfold Challenge Cup semi-finals were almost exactly opposite, as one kept the Henley spectators fixated to the very end and the other spoke of control and execution. In the first race of the day, the Tideway Scullers School rowed through U.T.S. Haberfield RC, Australia, in an enthralling finish. Murray Wilkojc, strokeman said: ‘We’re used to having to come from behind having trained alongside eights and quads all season. We were confident in the work we do in the middle of the race and the second half. My body is a bit more creaky since my last Henley final nine years ago but the whole crew is feeling good. Belief is so important, especially when you’re down in match racing’. Meanwhile, Sport Imperial defeated Thames Rowing Club with relative ease to set up another UK club final.

Claires Court School look strong as they win a semi of the Fawley, defeating Maidenhead by 1 3/4 lengths.
Leander beating Edinburgh University in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. Final verdict: 1 3/4 lengths.

Leander In The Pink 

It was a good morning session for the Pink Palace as they secured final berths in the Prince of Wales and Visitors’ Challenge Cups. In fact, the event for intermediate quad sculls will see Leander ‘A’ take on Leander ‘B’ as they both beat Nottingham & Agecroft and Edinburgh University respectively. Leander are no strangers to silverware at Henley, and are guaranteed at least one trophy at prize giving tomorrow.

Eton on the way to the start for the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.
Eton eventually lost to Scotch College, Melbourne, Australia, by 1/3 length.
Leander, on their way to beating California RC, USA, by 2 1/2 lengths in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup.

Edinburgh’s Exit 

It was another thrilling semi-final in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup between Cambridge University and Edinburgh University. Cambridge equalled the record to The Barrier and beat the record to Fawley by one second. In the final part of the race, Cambridge missed a stroke, but held off Edinburgh’s attack to win by half a length.

Mercantile RC & Melbourne University, Australia, beat Pénzügyőr Sportegyesület, Hungary, by 3 3/4 lengths in the Silver Goblets.
In the Temple Challenge Cup, University of London (left) lead Yale University, USA, eventually winning by 3/4/ length.
Cool spectators on a warm day.

Eton Scotched 

Scotch College, Melbourne, Australia, added another British powerhouse to their collection of crews beaten on their path to the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup final. Scotch beat Eton College by a third of a length and could now be considered favourites for the Cup, having beaten the two fastest schoolboy eights in the country. That being said, their coach, Tom Woodruff said, ‘The boys could have been sharper out the blocks, we are by no means in the driving seat of this competition.’

Women’s Fours: New York Athletic Club. They beat Oxford Brookes & Melbourne University by 3/4 length.
Club France, France, beat Team Italia, Italy, in the Silver Goblets by 3 3/4 lengths.
Not many international regattas have an inflatable palm tree and some sort of ‘love island’ at the finish.

Keeping It In The Family 

Throughout the day’s racing, there has been both sibling solidarity as well as strong rivalry. The semi-final of the Men’s Pairs from Club France, France featuring the Onfroy brothers and The Wyfold Challenge Cup it was the Butler brothers who helped bring their crew victory. While in the Women’s Pairs semi-final, both Gowler sisters were pitted head to head rowing for Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand with Kerri getting the better of the two.

Edinburgh University, who lost to Cambridge University by 1/2 length in the Visitors’.
In the Ladies’ Challenge Plate, Brown University, USA, lost to Molesey BC & London RC by a length.
The red, white and blue.

Thames Thames Thames 

Thames Rowing Club will win the Thames Challenge Cup tomorrow as both their ‘A’ boat and ‘B’ boat have won their respective finals. Thames ‘A’ looked imperious as they took apart home favourites Leander Club. Their club mates beat Agecroft Rowing Club just over an hour earlier.

Why a boat load of Elvis impersonators going up and down the course should become a Henley tradition, I do not know – but it has.
The finalists at Henley Royal Regatta, Sunday, 2 July 2017.

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