Who will be The Champions of the Thames?

Sean Blake, Niall Kenny, Tim Richards, John Hale, Laurence Wells and Mike Laurence battle it out in the 2015 Race.

14 November 2017

Tim Koch notes that the Wingfield Sculls Committee recently posted the following on Instagram:

The 177th Wingfield Sculls and the 11th Women’s Wingfields will be raced this Thursday, 16 November, over the Championship course from Putney to Chiswick Bridge.

Georgia Francis and eventual winner or ‘Champion’, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, are umpired by Sir Steve Redgrave in the 2015 Women’s Wingfields.

The women’s race will commence at 10:15 am, where we will have a new champion. Only Victoria Thornley has challenged for the title previously, in 2013 & 2014. Coming off the back of a Silver Medal at the recent World Championships and the Olympics last year, she is eager to take the Wingfields title this time around. She is up against recent U23 World Champion and sister of our 2015 Champion, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, together with Francesca Rawlins and Suzi Perry – who are all very much at home on the Tideway. 

Vicky Thornley and final winner, Mel Wilson, race in 2014.

The men’s race will commence at 11:30 am with Jamie Kirkwood looking to defend his title against a Tideway Scullers Armada involving previous challengers Sean Blake, up and coming Junior, Laurence Joss, Nathan O’Reilly, and 2015 U23 Silver Medalist, Richard Clarke. 

Alan Campbell becoming the 2010 Champion.

The Wingfields began in 1830 when Henry Colsell Wingfield presented a pair of miniature silver sculls ‘to be held by the best’. The Women’s Wingfields is a revival of the Women’s Amateur Rowing Championship first raced in 1927 and reactivated under the Wingfield’s banner in 2007.

One of the anachronisms of the Wingfields is that the competitors can legally be ‘steered’ by signals from following coaching launches. Until at least the 1920s, this was done by the bowmen of eights, not rowing and facing the bow. This picture shows such a craft in 1898 (naturally, the Doggett’s winner coxswain sat down for the race).

HTBS will be covering this historic event which also carries the grandiose titles of ‘The British Amateur Sculling Championship’ and ‘The Championship of the Thames’.

2013 Women’s Champion, Imogen Walsh, in action at Hammersmith Bridge. Picture: British Rowing.

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