Inside Lines - Thursday 4th July, 2019

Northern Skirmishes

The saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’ can be fittingly applied to Newcastle University, who, this morning, beat Edinburgh University in the Temple Challenge Cup.  It was not without drama as both crews were warned for their steering and ultimately clashed before the end of the Island.  Edinburgh refused to let the Geordies capitalise on this and fought valiantly until the end.  Despite an appeal, the race result was upheld and Newcastle will face Brown University in a repeat of last year’s Friday race.

The students become the masters

This morning saw a new Barrier record set in the Visitors Challenge Cup. Cambridge University and Leander Club, who collectively have a cabinet full of national and international medals, can now add a new arrow to their quiver as they beat last year’s record set by Leander Club by one second.

Taking the scenic route

In another heat of the Visitors Challenge Cup, left one crew slightly more exhausted than all the rest. Thames and Leander were nip and tuck all the way to Fawley, before veering all over the course and spending much of the time sitting in the dirty water produced by Dusseldorf and Crefelder. Small margins are everything in the world of rowing, and perhaps a straighter course would have guided the British composite crew to victory rather than falling half a length short…

A ‘Rocky’ mentality

Many individuals take inspiration from films and clearly St Joseph’s Preparatory School from Philadelphia have a little Balboa spirit running through their veins. As the crews entered the Regatta Enclosure, the Americans still trailed Flatow-Oberschule from Germany by half a length, but as the saying goes, it’s not about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. On Independence Day, the Americans won by two feet.

The young pretenders

You would be forgiven for thinking that The Windsor Boys’ School would normally be found at the top end of the Fawley Challenge Cup, but this year they are doing things a little differently.  They have combined their best sculler, Julian Van Gelderen, with some of their world class alumni to create quite the fighting force who today dispatched Community Rowing, Boston, USA by ¾ of a length in The Prince of Wales.

Which Blue are you?

The traditional light blue of Cambridge has been switched to a slightly more sky blue shade as Isis and Oxford University took on Njord from the Netherlands.  The dark blues adjusted well to the Henley track which is far shorter than Championship course on the Tideway. Unlike this year’s Boat Race, Oxford prevailed over their light blue opponents from the Netherlands by a margin of three feet.

Drysdale drys up

Henley’s favourite New Zealand sculler, six-time winner of the Diamond Challenge Sculls, Mahe Drysdale was shown the door in the opening day of the Diamond Challenge Sculls.  Matt Brigham of Leeds University will remember this day for the rest of his life as he recorded a famous victory over the two-time Olympic champion. The show isn’t over for the 40-year old Kiwi, who will return on Sunday to race The Grand Challenge Cup.

Looking Ahead

Tomorrow’s racing brings with it the long-awaited arrival of The King’s Cup. The eight crews from around the world raced at Qualifiers last week to determine their respective seeds.  The competition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Henley Peace Regatta.