New Women’s Events Begin
The women’s fours, pairs and double sculls began for the very first time at Henley Royal Regatta today, with several notable crews providing an ideal coronation for the new events. Olympic Champion Kim Brennan raced and won in an Oxford Brookes & Melbourne, Australia combination whilst Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler followed up their win at the second World Rowing Cup with a convincing opening display in the Women’s Pairs.
It was a tale of two halves in the Wyfold Challenge Cup, as Commercial Rowing Club, Ireland led their quarter-final at the Barrier and Fawley before succumbing to a late charge by Thames to lose by a foot. Will Downey from the Thames crew summed up the race by saying: “That’s exactly why this is the toughest event to win”. Elsewhere, the Tideway Scullers School withstood an early charge from K.A.R.Z.V. De Hoop, Netherlands to comfortably win their round while Sport Imperial dispatched Mercantile of Australia. There was better luck for Australian crew U.T.S. Haberfield Rowing Club, who beat home favourites from London Rowing Club.
Leander Club managed to equal the well-established record time to the Barrier in both the Visitors’ and Prince of Wales Challenge Cups. F. Mondelli & L. Rambaldi, Italy broke the record to the Barrier and equalled the time to the Fawley but ended up losing their quarter-final to another Italian crew.
Shock in the Sculls
Olympic Champions Hans Gruhne and Karl Schulze, who won the quadruple sculls in Rio last summer, suffered a shock defeat in this afternoon’s quarter-final of the Double Sculls Challenge Cup. In one of the more surprising results of the regatta, Gruhne and Schulz were knocked out by fellow Germans K. Steinhubel and J. Rommelmann of Akademischer Ruderclub Wurzburg and Crefelder Ruderclub 1883 E.V.
After much pre-Regatta discussion about the speed of Scotch College, the schoolboys from Melbourne, Australia finally showed what they’re all about with an impressive performance against UK National Schools’ Regatta Champions St Paul’s School. Having posted a time of 5 minutes and 40 seconds at the Holland Beker Regatta last weekend, Scotch beat St Paul’s to set up a Saturday showdown with Eton College.
Cox Harry Gill said: “We are very happy but can’t rely on that to beat Eton tomorrow. It’s just another race and we have to give everything all over again on Saturday.”
Racing under Leander Club & The University of London, the British Women’s eight were pushed hard by a college crew from Ohio State University, USA. The Americans won Elite Eights at Henley Women’s Regatta and pushed the British all the way, losing out by half a length. Meanwhile, Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand, who won gold at the second World Rowing Cup in Poznan, looked imperious as they eased to victory over Edinburgh University. The prospect of the British and the Kiwis meeting on Sunday is certainly enticing.
The Saturday of Henley Royal Regatta consistently produces racing of the highest quality, as some of the finest junior, student, club and international crews meet each other on the famous 2112m course. The Temple Challenge Cup will pit arguably the two favourites against each other, as Oxford Brookes University meet the University of California, Berkeley, USA. In the junior quadruple sculling events, top crews from the National Schools’ Regatta face each other. The boys in the Fawley Challenge Cup coming from Windsor Boys’ School and Leander Club; the girls from Gloucester Rowing Club and Headington School. The British men’s coxless four, silver medallists at the second World Rowing Cup, will be in action for the first time in the Stewards’ and in the Grand Challenge Cup the German eight, who are current European Champions.