Eights success at Upper Thames Autumn Head

A total of 236 crews raced over a 3000m course in the Upper Thames Autumn Head at Henley yesterday with Henley Rowing Club earning the Victor Ludorum. The local club racked up 13 wins across the two divisions, with victories spread across their squads including juniors, seniors and masters.

Crews faced a fairly strong headwind throughout the morning with the wind swinging round slightly to the side for the afternoon racing.

Renamed this year, the Upper Thames Autumn Head now includes categories for eights following the successful trial in 2013.

Whilst many crews are preparing for the Fours Head, several clubs used the opportunity to field eights including Thames RC whose men’s squad won IM1, IM3 and novice eights and their women won novice eights.

The IM2 eights was won by Star & Arrow who were presented with the Sutherland Rose Bowl as fastest overall crew of the day.

Southampton University fielded the fastest women’s eight of the day with their IM3 eight finishing in a time of 12:07.43. They also finished first and second in the men’s IM3 coxed fours with just over one second separating the two crews.

Racing as Tethys, Oxford University Lightweight Women had a very successful day with wins for six out of nine categories entered in IM1 4x, IM2 4x, IM3 4+, Novice 4+, IM3 2x and Novice 2x.

Club President, Joanna Green said, “We always love racing at Henley. It’s a great experience in preparation for our Varsity Race against Cambridge at the Henley Boat Races in April and we’re delighted to come away with six sets of medals today.”

There was also success for the host club, Upper Thames, most notably in the Masters event with the men winning in the 8, 4+, 4- and 2x and a also a win for the women’s quad stroked by former Olympian and current Chairman of Henley Women’s Regatta, Miriam Batten.

Upper Thames Club Captain, Justin Sutherland, summed up the day saying: “With the Brit Champs a week before and the Fours Head a week after, our event might have a little crowded out by other competitions but in fact that did not happen. We cater mainly for schools, masters and intermediate standard crews that do not compete at either, so numbers were robust.

“We also had some high performance crews, particularly from Thames RC, who provided everyone with really good benchmarks so overall the standard was extremely high. The introduction of eights clearly worked for people so this format will continue.”

Full results: http://www.mikrotime.com/rowing/row2014/utsbh14.html.

By James Lee
Photos by Al Craigie