Finals day was kicked off in style by The Wyfold Challenge Cup. After losing in last year’s Thames Cup final, N.S.R. Oslo were determined to leave Henley with some silverware but Sydney Rowing Club had other plans. The Australians lead from the start and they have won their first Henley trophy since 2015.
The favourites to win in many eyes after the first few days of racing, Harvard opened up a modest lead over their opposition from Durham University at the Barrier where they had a ⅔ length lead. They extended this lead throughout the race, fluctuating between a ¾ and a length, until they passed through the finish line to a roar of cheers from the bank, as they claimed the title in The Prince Albert 2019.
Leander win the derby
The Final of The Fawley Challenge Cup was the showdown everyone was expecting. The two fastest junior quads in the country lined up to secure bragging rights for the Henley stretch. This time it was the Pink Palace who pipped their local rivals. Leander led from the flag drop and secured their first win in the competition.
The Kiwis pip the Limeys
Despite having the superior international record, the British Eight were dominated by the underdogs for this event, as the New Zealanders stretched out a lead over the Brits to take home The Remenham Challenge Cup 11,000 miles down under.
Young guns prevail
Spectators were privileged to witness some of the finest next generation of talent as Cambridge University and Leander Club stormed to victory in The Visitors’ Challenge Cup. The Dutch, A.S.R. Nereus & D.S.R. Laga, were simply not able to match the pace of the British who set a new Barrier record, equalled the Fawley record and smashed the course record by three seconds.
Returning after winning this event two years ago, when it was introduced into the Regatta, the favourites to win the event the kiwi double showed dominance again. The Chinese double, first time at the Regatta, fought hard in the opening stages, but couldn’t maintain contact. The outstanding Kiwis finished almost four lengths ahead the Chinese in The Final of The Stonor Challenge Trophy.
After a final last year that they will want to forget, Eton College will remember this year’s race against Scotch College, Australia for the rest of their lives. Eton silenced all critics as they saw off the 2017 winners of The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. The crews were level until the Barrier, but it was the technically superior crew who prevailed. Eton undoubtedly had the loudest cheer as they crossed the finish line.
Twigg’s no twig
At Fawley there was no doubt about who was the real force in The Princess Royal Challenge Cup. With an impressive three length lead over her opposition which she continued to build on as the race progressed, passing the mile marker four lengths ahead of the Dutch sculler Scheenard. However, as they passed the finish line, the Kiwi’s lead had been reduced to two ½ lengths, the official win margin for this race.
Fastest double ever.
As records start to fall, the British national double scull decided to get in on the action. John Collins and Graeme Thomas of Leander Club and Agecroft went up against their opposite men in the New Zealand squad. The British were never behind in a race that saw them break the course record for The Double Sculls Challenge Cup by two seconds.
Chinese hit hard
As was expected the Chinese team used their technical know-how to storm to a strong, but by no means easy victory over Hollandia Roeklub. The Dutch generally have impressed all those who have watched them race this week. They were ultimately unable to come out on top in The Princess Grace Challenge Cup against such a strong Chinese crew; who will likely take the international circuit by storm in the coming seasons.
Three, it’s the magic number
For the third year in a row, The Ladies’ Challenge Plate will be going back to Oxford Brookes University. Their opponents, Hollandia Roeiclub from the Netherlands, were unable to match the firepower that Brookes brought to the Final. They never let the Brookes boys stretch out to more than a length, but their late charge was not enough to overturn the Brits.
Brookes still for the Bookies
The Final of The Temple Challenge Cup was highly anticipated and was heralded by shouts and cheers for both Brookes and Northeasten from the moment they left the boat tents, to the moment they returned. Having beaten their ‘B’ Crew earlier in the week, Northeasten found themselves against one of the strongest crews in Europe that ultimately proved too strong for the American boys. As a result, Brookes crossed the line ¾ of a length ahead of Northeastern in what was a strong, but by no means easy victory.
How the tables turn
The Final of The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup was almost an exact rerun of last year’s race. This time around, it was the British U23 crew who got the better of their Dutch opponents, A.A.S.R. Skoll & A.U.S.R. Orca. In order to win, the British, stacked with world champions, had to equal the course record, set by Leander last year.
New kids, old block
Argentina are not the first name that comes to mind when we think of rowing superpowers in the 21st Century, but today that logic seems to have been flawed after they beat the race favourites - Oyen and Steenman - in the Final of The Goblets. After coming from behind in the latter stages of the race, the pair from South America clawed back a lead, and crossed the line well ahead of their Dutch opposition.
The home of the brave
Arguably one of the highlights of the day, The King’s Cup kept spectators on the edge of their seats the whole way down the course. Celebrating The Centenary of the Royal Henley Peace Regatta, the final saw the armed forces of the USA go up against their counterparts from Germany. The crews could hardly be separated, but as they approached the mile and ⅛th, the Americans began to charge. Germany’s counterattack through Stewards was unsuccessful as the Americans hung on to win the historic race.
A very Henley affair
Leander against Leander and Oxford Brookes was the order of the day for The Stewards’ Challenge Cup, which saw two crews - both with immense international experience - come together to fight it out down the hallowed Henley stretch. In the end, the current Great Britain boat pulled through to take the victory over their local counterparts.
Oliver Zeidler has become the first German sculler to win at Henley since Marcel Hacker in 2004. The European Champion has only been rowing for a few years but comfortably beat Guillaume Krommenhoek by five lengths to win his first Diamond Challenge Sculls title.
Grand well then...
Perhaps the most anticipated race of the day: The Grand Challenge Cup. This years’ rendition of international rivalry saw the New Zealand international eight face off against the British Eight. After a quick start for the Brits, the kids from down under began to inch back, culminating in a much-celebrated victory for the Kiwis, who although the underdogs for this race, came out on top to beat their British rivals.
This race was Professor Boris Rankov’s last race as an umpire.
It was China vs The Netherlands in the final of The Town Challenge Cup. The Dutch took advantage of poor steering from the Chinese and were able to assert their dominance throughout the contest. Hollandia’s fine form throughout the regatta was once again on display as they set new records at every timing point, including a four second course record which broke their own time from yesterday.
Leander have in recent years become one of the sculling powerhouses in the UK, and they made this point in simple black and white this year in the final of The Queen Mother Challenge Cup. The lead Leander held over their German opposition all the way down the course was described as “comfortable” by the commentators, and although they felt pain in the boat, comfort and joy were most certainly experienced as they sailed over the line for the last time at Henley this year.
Too much for Thames
It all started so well for Thames Rowing Club. They found themselves ¾ of a length up on R.S.V. Univ. Okeanos from The Netherlands at Fawley, but then the tide turned. Okeanos began to row down the plucky Brits and their hopes for a third Thames Challenge Cup victory in three years slipped away. The Thames crew gave everything for this race as their bowman, Tom Foad had to be carried out of the boat after the race.
Two from two
Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler have made the Henley stretch a second home. After winning the Remenham Challenge Cup, they moved into the smaller boat and were never challenged by the Chinese Rowing Team as they cruised to victory in The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Trophy.
Molesey Boat Club will be celebrating deep into the night after they reversed last year’s result and won The Britannia Challenge Cup. Mercantile held onto a slim lead until Remenham Club where the famous, ‘Remenham roar’ spurred Molesey to take the lead. The local crew built on this momentum and held on to win by half a length.
A diamond for Latymer
The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup rounded off a fantastic five days of racing. Headington School and Latymer Upper, two of the finest school rowing programs faced off as the regatta came to a close. It was the Hammersmith School who stole the honours and won the trophy for the second time.