Conditions: Overcast to start, brightening, headwind but less than Tuesday after early-morning rain
Hinksey lay down Prince Philip Challenge
In just its second year, the strength of The Prince Philip Challenge Trophy (Junior Women’s Eight) was underlined by its first day of competition. The PP looks harder to call than the PE this year. One of the domestic contenders, Hinksey Sculling School, opened the event in Race 6 and set a benchmark to Barrier (2:11) that wasn’t to be bettered all morning as they controlled the local favourites, Shiplake College. Hinksey just missed out on the final of Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) 10 days ago and will be hoping to go two better here.
The emergence of Hinksey, a community rowing club in Oxford, which has a focus on junior rowing, has been one of the great rowing stories of the last two decades and they are showing their strength against more established names in sweep events too.
Hinksey were faster than Surbiton (2:19 to Barrier), who beat them in the HWR semi-final, and both of the much-fancied Australian schools. Melbourne Girls’ School, Australia (2:15) beat Latymer Upper school comfortably in Race 15 and an hour later, Melbourne’s arch rivals, St Catherine’s School, Australia (2:13) did the same to St Paul’s Girls School. The domestic and very local favourites for the PP, Henley Rowing Club, who won HWR, go in the second race after lunch (Race 37). This is one of many events this year that looks like it will come down to fine margins.
PE King’s crowned race of the morning
As forecast from their similar times to Barrier (just past the quarter-mile) in The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eights) yesterday, The King’s School, Chester and The Scots College, Australia provided one of the races of the Regatta so far in Race 21. Scots led at Barrier (2:04) and Fawley, but only by ⅓ of a length, then a canvas, and King’s rowed through to the roar of the Grandstand.
Woodrow Wilson High School, USA continued their run on their first ever visit to Henley Royal Regatta, but were pushed all the way to the line by Norwich School.
Edinburgh University won over Sydney University, Australia in an exciting start to the morning and The Prince Albert Challenge Cup (Student Men's Four) in Race 2. It was classic
side-by-side stuff with Sydney leading by a length at Barrier, but being gradually reeled in. Edinburgh took the lead at the Mile, Sydney struck back and there was a canvas in it at the Grandstand, but Edinburgh pulled clear.
The Temple of Washington
University of Washington, USA closed the morning by knocking out Yale University ‘A’, USA. The Huskies edged ahead, were half a length clear at Barrier (1:53) and a length up at the ¾ Mile, but Yale, like Washington a composite crew from their different Varsity eights, dug deep and closed to half a length, albeit with Washington always looking like they had an extra gear.
Conditions: SUNSHINE And headwinds
Prize for correctly identified rumour of the day goes to Regatta Race Umpire, Steward and Olympian Sarah Winckless, who said the word on the towpath was that Radley College had found some extra speed in the The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eights) and so it proved, as they beat St Edward’s School in Race 49.
Teddies were favourites, after a great year and finishing second at the National Schools’ Regatta. No one was talking about Radley until Marlow Regatta (18 June) when they surprised many and were one of only two junior berths in the ‘A’ final of Championship Eights. It looks like they have timed their peak well for Henley.
St Edwards’ had a faster start and were half a length up at Barrier (1:56), but they could not get clearwater and Radley climbed gradually past them. It was one of several side-by-side Henley classics today (Wednesday). St Edwards’ still had overlap as they came to the Enclosures with a few hundred metres to go, but it was them that were feeling the pressure and Radley extended away.
Less than half an hour later, Shrewsbury School beat Westminster School in an even closer one in Race 53 as both exchanged the lead. Shrewsbury were ¼ length up at Barrier (2:00), but Westminster hauled them in before Fawley and were ½ length up at the ¾ Mile. Shrewsbury counter-pushed and there was a canvas in it as the Grandstand roared, before Westminster cracked and then stalled after catching a crab as Shrewsbury cut the line.
The Great Britain development crew, racing as Leander Club, won in relatively comfortable fashion over Thames Rowing Club and University of California, Berkeley. Leander were two lengths up Barrier (2:07) and eased away.
“There was quite a big head wind coming off the island but we just stayed pretty internal and focused on what we were doing,” Isy Hawes the Leander six seat said. “In the next round we’re racing the Americans (Princeton Training Center and Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast - the new U.S.A women’s eight), which will be interesting. We’ve got pretty good boat speed, this race confirmed that for us, so we’re looking forward to lining up against them. And six of us are actually doubling up so we’ve got a Town Four racing the Australians on Friday and then we also have a Pair doubling up too, so it’s been thrown at us from all angles but we’re really excited just to be racing.”
Overseas Visitors’ defeated
Both Oxford and Cambridge University had solid wins in the first two races of The Visitors' Challenge Cup (Intermediate Men's Coxless Four) at this Regatta. Cambridge, including three members of CUBC Blue Boat 2022, could not break University College, Dublin until the Mile in Race 44.
Fifteen minutes later, in Race 46, Oxford University ‘A’ took a half a boat lead at the end of Temple Island, but seemed to lose their rhythm momentarily allowing Sydney University, Australia to pull back.
Sydney won the Australian championships in an eight, and four of them were here. Oxford University ‘A’ won at at Ratzeberg Regatta and individually each of them have won Henley Royal Regatta at least once. All were members of the winning Blue Boat in 2022. That experience told and they were able to control a spirited Sydney, but the Australians were never broken.
Henley progress in PP
Favourites for the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy (Junior Women’s Eight), Henley Rowing Club, won their first outing in style over Godolphin & Latymer. Their time to Barrier (2:18) was well short of the best in the morning session, but conditions change quickly here and the significance of it will become clearer tomorrow (Thursday).
Conditions: Bright and calm
Row after re-row
We have to begin at the end. The evening session looked like being remembered for close racing, but no one knew quite how close until an Anglo-French duel got up close and personal in race 77. The Club de L’Aviron de Vichy and Cercle de L’Aviron de Lyon, France and Oxford Brookes University boats clashed spectacularly metres before the line in The Visitors' Challenge Cup (Intermediate Men's Coxless Four).
Matthew Pinsent, the Race Umpire ordered a re-row and 50 minutes later they almost clashed again at the start and Pinsent was busy with his flag for much of the first half of the race.
Brookes, the holders, then steered wide and then pulled away to over a length lead, but they could never relax as the French composite crew held on. Brookes, the holders, were warned by Pinsent nearly all the way to and through the Enclosures as they came back to the centre, but held on to keep their hopes of defending their title alive.
Favourites ejected by ‘B’ boat
In the mêlée it almost went unnoticed that we had perhaps the shock of the day as Oxford University ‘B’ - yes ‘B’ - beat many people’s favourite Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus (Netherlands) in the Visitors’. Nereus were finalists in 2012 and 2019, had three of the boat that won the Temple Challenge Cup (Student Men’s Eights) last year plus their ace, Dirk Uittenbogaard, who won gold for Netherlands in the men’s quad at the Tokyo Olympics and at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
Edinburgh University ‘B’ will be feeling almost as happy after beating Sydney University, Australia in the Island (Student Women’s Eight), especially after their ‘A’ boat had been knocked out by University of Washington, USA before the tea interval.
It will have been no consolation to Nereus that their Dutch arch-rivals, Utrechtsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Triton, underlined their status as one of the favourites in the Temple (Student Men’s Eight) by comfortably controlling University of London ‘B’.
In the beginning…
The Tideway Scullers’ School and Molesey Boat Club had a much easier start to the session in Race 61 and showed why they are considered the favourites to lead the domestic charge in a Visitors’ packed with talented overseas entries. Their composite crew includes three of the storied St Paul’s eight from 2018 (Calvin Tarczy, Douwe de Graaf and Tom Horncastle), who won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eight) in a record-breaking time. They dominated Ruderverein Münster, Germany and won easily.