Henley Finals Day 2021 – Part 2

Eton Makes a Splash, Lightweights get Heavy, S. Redgrave Wins Women’s Pairs Race

Eton are current national schools champions and winners of this year’s Princess Elizabeth, but this crew are capable of playing with bigger boys. Eton has won the Princess Elizabeth 15 times since its inception in 1946, coming second six times. Before the “PE”, student eights raced in the Ladies Plate, an event that the school won numerous times including consecutively 1866-1870, 1893-1899 and 1910-1912.

18 August 2021

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch is still on the finish at Henley, surviving only on discarded Pimm’s garnish and the charity of passing waterfowl.

To accompany my pictures, I have added the brief race reports from the regatta website, some of which I have edited slightly.

PRINCESS ELIZABETH CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S JUNIOR EIGHT)
ETON COLLEGE V ST. PAUL’S SCHOOL

Eton have been starting magnificently all week, up there with any of the eights in the Regatta. At 1’ 52″ to the Barrier, they were only four-seconds slower than Brookes eight in the Grand and a second faster than Nereus in the Temple, 20 minutes later. It was formidable stuff and put them a length clear of St Paul’s. Settling into their race rhythm, St. Paul’s were able to staunch their losses, but could not make an impression and were 1 ½ lengths down at the Mile. They needed a mistake, and Eton did not make one, winning by 1 ¼ lengths.

Eton, ready to “swing, swing together” – as the Eton Boating Song would have it.
After the finish, bow’s body was not between his knees but at least his blade was on the feather.

HAMBLEDEN PAIRS CHALLENGE CUP
(WOMEN’S PAIR)
S.J. REDGRAVE & S.L.J. DEAR (LEANDER CLUB) V L.M. LINDSAY & M.V.E. SAUNDERS (THE TIDEWAY SCULLERS’ SCHOOL)

A tough race in a stiffening headwind, but victory for Samantha Redgrave and Susannah Dear and Leander never looked in doubt. The Leander pair took a length lead by the Quarter Mile, two lengths at Fawley, and slowly extended on Liliane Lindsay and Meg Saunders. Redgrave and Dear controlled and conserved as they were doubling up in the Remenham (Women’s Eights) three hours later.

Susannah Dear (left) and Sam Redgrave (right) with one of their prizes from Henley 2021. They were also in Leander’s winning Remenham crew.

TEMPLE CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S STUDENT EIGHT)
A.S.R. NEREUS, NED V IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON ‘A’

Nereus, winners in 2015, had too much power and precision for Imperial. All week, Nereus have somehow managed to combine intensity with length of stroke, efficiency and relaxation. They were quickly half a length up off the start, 1 ½ lengths up just past the halfway mark at Fawley and kept extending even though Imperial never stopped pushing.

As is their custom, some ASR Nereus supporters stripped down to their underwear and swam out to greet their incoming victorious crew. The Stewards clearly have mixed feelings about this; they like old traditions, but they are also aware of the health and safety issues. At least at Henley the boys keep their ties and boxers on, at home they dispense with the latter.
Flying the flag. The club’s first Henley win was the Thames Cup in 1895.
Once ashore, the Amsterdam student supporters and crew joined in the university song.
A few seconds after this picture was taken, the ecstatic students managed to accidentally break the oarsman finial off the trophy – though it was rapidly pocketed by a Steward. I imagine that this was not the first time this has happened and am sure that it will be back in place atop the cup by next year.
Proost!

JUNIOR WOMEN’S EIGHTS
(WOMEN’S JUNIOR EIGHT)
SURBITON HIGH SCHOOL V HEADINGTON SCHOOL

Headington School won the inaugural final of the Junior Women’s Eights and earned the honour of being the first to have their name on the trophy, winning with quality racing. Headington were a length up at the Barrier in 2′ 10″ and though Surbiton held that, they were rating higher but not making an inroads. Headington went again and took the race away winning by 3 ¾ lengths.

Ten strokes from the finish and Headington are in command.
Worth all the hard work.
A new trophy for a new event.

VISITORS’ CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S INTERMEDIATE COXLESS FOUR)
LEANDER CLUB V OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY ‘A’

A Henley classic and a collector’s item as the middle four of the Brookes Ladies’ eight who won earlier doubled up events and titles. Leander Club were a length up at the Barrier and held that to Fawley and it seemed as if the exertions from Brookes in the morning and in their semi-final yesterday evening might have taken too much out of them. But, as they had against the Dutch on Saturday, Brookes came through and even more powerfully this time, and Leander could not respond. Brookes had a fantastic second half and broke Leander with a few hundred metres left, steaming past them without response to win by 2 ¾ lengths.

As the indicator board shows, Leander led by nearly half-a-length at the Mile and 1/8.
A second victory of the day for Michael Glover, Oscar Lindsay, Leonard Jenkins and Matthew Aldridge who rowed through Leander despite racing earlier in the day.

ISLAND CHALLENGE CUP
(WOMEN’S STUDENT EIGHT)
UNIVERSITY OF LONDON ‘A’ V 103 OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY ‘A’

University of London led off the start with a faster rate and were looking good and leading at the Barrier, but Brookes set into a lower but cleaner rhythm and reeled them in. Brookes were ½ a length up at the mile. UL pushed to the end, but Brookes took a ½ length victory.

Oxford Brookes became the first club to win the Island Challenge Cup.
More strength in depth from Brookes.

DOUBLES SCULLS CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S DOUBLE SCULLS)
M.E.C. HAYWOOD & S.P.S. MEIJER (THE TIDEWAY SCULLERS’ SCHOOL AND NOTTINGHAM ROWING CLUB) V F. MCCARTHY & P. O’DONOVAN, SKIBBEREEN ROWING CLUB AND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, CORK, IRL)

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan won gold in the lightweight men’s doubles sculls in Tokyo three weeks ago, showed their class and gave a lesson in sculling. Heavyweights Matthew Haywood and Samuel Meijer (The Tideway Scullers’ School and Nottingham Rowing Club), who won gold in the quadruple sculls at the U23 World Championship in July made them work hard and took a half-length lead from the start. They held that to the Barrier, but the Irish Olympians had gone off harder than in the previous rounds and asserted themselves earlier, rowing through to a length lead by Fawley. Small margins in little boats, but they have so many gears and they took it to over two lengths by the Mile mark and won their first Regatta title by 1 3/4 lengths.

The Progress Boat records McCarthy and O’Donovan’s control of the race. Fun Fact: The name “Skibbereen” (sometimes shortened to “Skibb”) means “little boat harbour”.
I am tempted to say that there must be something in Skibbereen water that produces such phenomenal rowers, but I suspect that the only water drunk in the town has previously been processed at the St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin.
McCarthy and O’Donovan prove that the bigger they are, the harder they fall. The Henley programme did not publish weights this year (a temporary change, I hope, at least they should give crew averages), but the Irish boys must be giving away over 20 kg per man in this race. Paul’s habit of not holding the ends of his handles does not seem to go against him and now Fintan may be doing it as well.

WARGRAVE CHALLENGE CUP
(WOMEN’S CLUB EIGHT)
LEANDER CLUB V THAMES R.C. ‘A’

Thames started with real purpose and led by a couple of feet after they came out of Temple Island, but Leander settled into a longer stroke and edged out to clear water at just past the halfway mark, leading by a length at Fawley. However, Thames were never broken and, though never looking like winners, pushed Leander all the way to the line, finishing 1 ½ lengths behind.

Leander, a few strokes from victory.
More silverware for Leander.

STEWARDS’ CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S COXLESS FOUR)
OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY V HOLLANDIA ROEICLUB, NED

Another double-up victory for Oxford Brookes. Brookes moved out into a small lead and were able to defend it throughout at a lower rate and always looking comfortable and in control against a Dutch four who had impressed this week. The Brookes four were doubling up from the Grand, three hours before, but that was the easiest of victories. They were ¾ of a length up at the Barrier and kept a length lead all the way as Hollandia rated at 39 to 35 without making an impression.

Mad hatters.

PRINCESS GRACE CHALLENGE CUP
(WOMEN’S QUAD SCULLS)
LEANDER CLUB V THAMES R.C. & NEPTUNE R.C., IRL

A competitive start, with Thames and Neptune warned for steering at the top of the Island. They led the race until Remenham, but it was boat-by-boat racing until Leander made their move in the last few hundred metres and Thames and Neptune could not find an answer. Leander won by length.

The Four Graces. Picture: HRR

PRINCE OF WALES CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S INTERMEDIATE QUAD SCULLS)
LEANDER CLUB V TWICKENHAM R.C. & QUEEN’S UNIV.

Sculling smoothly and steering well, Leander took an early lead and extended to a length at Barrier. They could not get clear water and Twickenham & Queens pulled back half a length by the mile and were sprinting up the Enclosures, when they appeared to stall, catching a boat stopper and their chance was gone. Leander came home by 1 ½ lengths.

Leander at ease.

PRINCESS ROYAL CHALLENGE CUP
(WOMEN’S SINGLE SCULLS)
L.E.B. ANDERSON (LEANDER) V L.R. HENRY (LEICESTER ROWING CLUB)

The first British winner of the Princess Royal since Debbie Flood in 2000 was guaranteed – but nothing else was. Despite taking five less strokes in the first minute, Anderson had a lead of a length after the Island, 2 ½ lengths at Barrier and 3 ½ lengths around the halfway mark at Fawley. Henry, part of the Great Britain U23 squad, kept contact and edged back to 2 ½ lengths at the mile mark. Anderson, one of many on Finals Day who are part of Great Britain’s “Project Paris” squad, showed her greater experience and strength to hold on. But Henry may reflect that she left her charge too late as she pulled back more than 2 ½ lengths in the last 100 metres. Another couple of strokes and it would have been hers as she finished three feet behind. 

Last few strokes.
After the finish, a sporting Lauren Henry seemed more concerned about her temporarily physically distressed opponent than by the fact that she had just lost by three feet. We have not seen the last of the Leicester sculler.
Anderson in full recovery.

REMENHAM
(WOMEN’S EIGHT)
OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY & QUEEN’S V LEANDER CLUB

Leander’s women matched Brookes’ men for doubling up with an excellently executed race plan to beat Oxford Brookes’ University and take their eighth victory of the Regatta. Leander had six of the crew doubling-up, all of them winning their races. After an even start, Leander with a higher rate had pulled out a ½ length lead at Barrier and steadily built from there. Brookes were always in contact but never going the right way and Leander had a length at the mile mark and finished 1 ¼ lengths ahead.

A victorious Leander in a very Henley scene.
Silver and cerise.

SILVER GOBLETS & NICKALLS’ CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S PAIR)
O.P.W. PARISH & C.B.A. SULLIVAN (CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY) V M.J.E.R. BOLDING & M.T. TARRANT (OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY)

Morgan Bolding and Matt Tarrant were both Olympic reserves in Tokyo for Great Britain so there was plenty of frustration to let out. They just had too much power and acceleration for Parish & Sullivan, two Blues from this year’s winning Cambridge University eight. Bolding & Tarrant were ¾ of a length up in the first minute of the race, two lengths up Barrier, four at Fawley, five at the Mile mark and passed the line with much clear water between them.

A decisive win for Brookes.

BRITANNIA CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S CLUB FOUR)
FRANKFURTER GERMANIA, GER V HINKSEY SCULLING SCHOOL

Hinksey, a community rowing club in Oxford, has been one of the stories of the Regatta. Rowing with a borrowed boat, they have defied the odds. The international presence at this Regatta was less than a quarter of 2019 for obvious reasons, but those that did come have made their presence felt. Frankfurter Germania were pushed very hard to the Barrier by Hinksey but their extra power allowed them to pull away in the headwind and they were 1 ¼ lengths clear at Fawley and two lengths up at the Mile, eventually winning by 2 1/2 lengths.

Germans taking home the Brit.
Blade bending.
Worth the journey.

FAWLEY CHALLENGE CUP
(MEN’S JUNIOR QUAD SCULLS)
THE TIDEWAY SCULLERS’ SCHOOL ‘A’ V THE WINDSOR BOYS’ SCHOOL ‘A’

With a faster start and a one length lead at the Barrier, it looked as if Tideway Scullers would slip away. But Windsor Boys rallied, held and harassed them and were in contact all the way. Tideway Scullers did not panic and held to win by ¾ of a length to make sure the club took home some silverware after a strong showing across the events all week in this Regatta. A great finale to the 2021 Henley Royal Regatta.

Windsor Boys (left) and Tideway Scullers (right) all square.

The highlights programme from finals day is on the HRR YouTube channel and detailed times are on the official website.

Part 3, “Some Thoughts on Henley 2021”, will be posted tomorrow.

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