Schools’ Head successful despite stormy conditions

On a cold and blustery Wednesday (26th March), more than 2200 junior rowers, scullers and coxswains took to the Tideway for the 2014 Schools’ Head of River. For the first hour, race conditions were relatively benign. However an hour later a fierce storm blew across West London bringing strong gusts of wind, rain and even hail – giving those racing in the later divisions a torrid time over the 4.25mile course.

Making the most of the better conditions were St Paul’s. Starting third, they overhauled Abingdon and were closing on 2013 champions Hampton by the finish. They took the win by four seconds giving them their first headship since 2003. Behind them St Edward’s had an excellent race taking second ahead of Radley in third. Eton head coach Alex Henshilwood declared himself “satisfied” with his charges’ fourth place.

It proved to be a good day for St Paul’s as they also won J15 championship eights and the J15 second eights.

In the girls’ championship eights, Headington School dominated their opposition winning by almost 30 seconds ahead of perennial rivals Lady Eleanor Holles School.

In the quadruple sculls, it was the hosts Westminster who took control to win by 15 seconds, reversing the defeat they suffered at the hands of Sir William Borlase at the recent Oarsport Junior Sculling Head. Westminster also took the win in the J17 quad event together with victories in the bigger boats in J16 championship eights and J15 first eights.

In the girls’ junior quads, Gloucester Hartpury won by 28 seconds and described the conditions around Barnes Bridge as “coastal!”

Celebrating the most, however, are Henley Rowing Club who won all three events they entered including WJ15 eights, WJ17 quads and women’s junior coxed fours.

Pennant winners – preliminary results

Ch8+ St Paul’s School
1st 8+ Canford School
2nd 8+ Latymer Upper School
3rd 8+ Hampton School
J16 Ch8+ Westminster
J16 1st 8+ Bedford Modern School
J16 2nd 8+ Hampton School
J15 Ch8+ St Paul’s School
J15 1st 8+ Westminster
J15 2nd 8+ St Paul’s School A
WCh8+ Headington School Oxford A
WJ16 8+ The King’s School Chester
WJ15 8+ Henley Rowing Club
J4X Westminster
J17 4X Westminster
WJ4X Gloucester Hartpury
WJ17 4X Henley Rowing Club
J4+ Evesham Rowing Club
J16 4+ King’s School Chester
WJ4+ Henley Rowing Club
WJ16 4+ Bedford Girls School RC
J15 4+ Norwich School A
Mix 4X Runcorn Rowing Club

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Daniel Spring