The Henley Women's Regatta took place this weekend at Henley-on-Thames, and York City Rowing Club had entered two crews into the line-up: an intermediate club coxed four of Simon Cocks (cox), Emma Levison, Hazel Jones, Jo Brehaut and Ali Stevens and an intermediate club eight of Dominique Stork (cox), Loretta Williams, Cath Smith, Mags Felter, Louisa Carr, Thea Holloway, Amelia Sankey, Lizzie Higgins and Tasha Kefford.
The weekend's racing began with both crews completing time-trials on Friday morning to qualify for the racing proper and both crews achieved without a problem. The four then had their first heat against Tees Rowing Club and raced hard but were unfortunately eliminated at this stage.
The eight had a good time trial but the draw confirmed that they had yet to produce their best form. After a decisive victory in their first heat against Hollingworth Lake Boat Club, winning by four lengths, they went on to the second race of the Saturday against Furnivall Sculling Club. The time-trial had shown Furnivall to be one of the fastest eights in the competition. York City took an early significant lead and beat Furnivall by one and a half lengths, putting themselves in a strong position for Sunday's semi-final against Reading Boat Club.
Reading BC had shown throughout the weekend that they had a fast start but YCRC were prepared and stayed with them for 250 meters after which they pulled away, again beating Reading by two lengths and earning themselves a place in the final.
The final saw YCRC pitted against Vesta Rowing Club who had consistently posted very fast times over the 1500m course. YCRC were ready and produced their best start which placed them side by side with Vesta for the first few hundred meters of the race. At this point York City began to inch in front and had a quarter of a length's advantage by the half-way mark.
With vociferous support for both crews from the bank, Vesta pushed hard to try to level the score but left it too late. York City made their push for the finish early and secured victory in a time of five mins and four seconds. Winning the Challenge Cup for Intermediate Club Eights meant all nine team-members felt proud to bring home YCRC's first win at this prestigious event.
Loretta Williams, YCRC