After the success of NUBC’s crews at Henley Women’s Regatta, the boys continued their preparations for the final event of the season, Henley Royal Regatta. 6 Crews came down to compete in the most prestigious rowing event in the world.
Following on from an amazing weekend at HWR, a challenge was mounted by Senior Women to gain qualification in the Remenham Challenge Cup. Training in Henley, the crew gelled quickly with a mixture of experienced oarswomen and exciting talent. At the qualifying race preceding Henley, the girls produced an amazing race, running very close to an established UL crew. In an event of such high calibre, to be in the top 5 non-qualifiers showed that the future is very promising for the NUBC Senior Women’s squad.
Following injury to the middle of the squad, our promising 2nd Temple VIII was withdrawn only a week before the qualifying race. 3 of the Novices (Alexander Liddington, Ed Johnson and Fergus Bracher) along with Henley Finalist Jack Smith instead formed the 2nd Prince Albert Coxed IV. Having only 5 days to prepare for the race, their approach to the project was brilliant and the boat improved massively before the qualifying race. After braving tough conditions, the guys raced to a very credible 3rd fastest non-qualifiers.
The Temple VIII also had a last minute substitution due to an injury, where Alex Spencer steeped in for Henry Lambe. Despite this, they went into Henley with some very positive results winning at Durham regatta and racing well at Marlow regatta. Gaining pre-qualification showed that the pace of the VIII had not gone unnoticed. In the first round they raced Exeter University, the top boat for this university. Blasting out of the blocks, they took a commanding lead and maintained it through to the finish. On Thursday, the VIII raced Oxford Brookes ‘A’. Aware of their opposition’s talent, our VIII looked for a quick and aggressive start to pressure the eventual winners. Unfortunately, the class of the Brookes crew was too much for the NUBC guys, but the performances produced on both days were exceptional.
The Visitor’s coxless IV of George Patrick, Barnaby Stroud-Turp, Thomas Mountain and Alex Slater developed greatly in the run up to Qualifiers. Racing at Marlow regatta gave the IV motivation to develop further in their final preparations. A very tidy performance in the qualifying race gained them qualification for this notoriously fast event. The crew were drawn against a classy Adelaide crew and unfortunately the Australian strength was just too much.
In the Prince of Wales, some of NUBC’s scullers were able to build on successes at BUCS. Having raced well at Durham and Marlow regattas, the 4x was required to qualify and did so in style. Being drawn against local rivals Durham gave the guys an added incentive to improve their race plan in order to overturn the Palatinate 4x. Producing one of the races of the regatta, the 4x flew out of the start and down the track. Coming in to the final third, Durham had a slight advantage and despite the best efforts of the NUBC 4x, they maintained this advantage. The final verdict was ½ a length however the fact that it was so close demonstrates how NUBC sculling is still among the very best.
Finally, the Prince Albert ‘A’ crew comprised of Oli Knight, Alex Haynes, James Robson, Will New and cox Calum McRoberts. Having produced good wins at Durham and Marlow regattas, the top boat took confidence into the regatta, hoping to replicate NUBC successes in this event. Strathclyde University were the first opponent, and after a quick start our crew lengthened to a decent margin over an up-and-coming Scottish crew. Next was Yale University who having come over from the states were a threat. However, the 4+ surged off the blocks to get an early lead and won by a convincing margin of 2¼ lengths. Racing Oxford Brookes late on the Saturday was something our 4+ relished, an opportunity to set the record straight against a dominant force. Exploding off the start the boys met a wall of noise from the many NUBC fans down the course, and surged in to the lead. Despite a gutsy sprint from the Brookes boat, our crew maintained the advantage across the line, booking them a place in the final. Here they met new rivals Edinburgh University. After beating our crew at Marlow Regatta, it was set to be an exceptional race. In the last race of the regatta, our crew flew out of the Island in the lead and transitioned into a good pace, maintaining a 1 length lead throughout the first half of the course. The Edinburgh crew started coming back at our crew and despite emptying all available energy reserves, the momentum was too much in favour of Edinburgh. Crossing the line, Edinburgh had won by 1 length in an amazing sprint for the finish. Despite this, the NUBC crew performed exceptionally well, exceeding most expectations in getting to the final and putting such a classy crew under such immense pressure.
For the Alumni, Henley proved to be extremely successful. Fred Gill and Charles D’Oncieu raced well in the Visitor’s as did Nathan O’Reilly and Murray Wilkojc in the Wyfolds. Christopher Morohan, representing Thames Rowing Club, built on his victory in the Thames Cup last year by winning the Visitors. George Rossiter, Tim Clarke and Tom Ford also won the highly coveted Ladies Plate racing for Leander Club.
While for many the season is over, our top athletes have moved on to international representation and keep training throughout the summer…
Photos by Tony Clarke