Fours Head Weekend Special: Pretty in Pink, Irish Eyes Unsmiling, St Paul’s at the Double November 14 2017

Pretty in Pink

Leander Club has always been a little more than your average rowing club, as they showed on Sunday, winning six of the 20 pennants on offer at the Head of the River Fours, with five crews in the top 10 overall.


Number 1 on provisional results

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After the top Leander quad pulled out with various injuries, top honours went to the Under-23 combination of Rowan Law, Jon Jackson, Harry Leask and Andrew Joel, three of whom raced together as Great Britain in the final of the World U23 Championships this summer.


They were six seconds ahead of a band of GB senior squaddies, Nick Middleton, Tom Barras, John Collins and Angus Groom, who took the Band 1 win ahead of Oxford Brookes.


In the women's quads, Olympic medallist Vicky Thornley, Kat Copeland, Beth Bryan and Holly Nixon won by over 20 seconds from Newcastle University, despite bow girl Bryan breaking a blade on the way to the start, forcing an emergency stop to borrow a new set. The generous donors, Tideway Scullers, finished third in the category.


Leander also won in the men's and women's coxless fours and the women's U23 quads.



Irish Eyes Unsmiling


They pulled like dogs from Mortlake to Putney, no doubt, but there was no Fours Head glory for the Tideway Scullers “E” quad, which boasted a few famous faces.


Joining Scullers’ own Irishman Niall Kenny were Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan – who won a world title at a blistering rate in the lightweight pair in Sarasota last month – and the middle O’Donovan brother, Olympic medallist Gary.


In a hastily borrowed boat, however, the quad struggled around the outside of the Hammersmith bend to finish second-from- last in the Band 1 category, two minutes off the pace.


Old Men (and Women) of the Thames


Olympians more used to wearing red and yellow had more reason to celebrate on Saturday as Tim Male and Mike Hennesey were part of the Tideway Scullers Masters B quad that won the Veteran Fours Head by seven seconds from a Quintin/Auriol Kensington composite.


There was also TSS lycra on display in the fastest women’s crew, a Masters B quad composite with Quintin and Kingston RC that was 14 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals, a Masters C crew from neighbouring Mortlake A&A.


Upper Thames took home the most silverware, though, with wins in C4-, C4+, D4-, G4- and WD 4x.





St Paul’s at the Double


With six months still to go, it’s a little early to be anointing National Schools Regatta winners but St Paul’s laid down a sizeable marker on Sunday, becoming the first boys programme ever to win the J184x and J184+ double.


Not only that but a third crew – racing in the senior Band 1 category - was the second-fastest junior coxed four, 16 seconds behind their top boat but two ahead of Radley College.


The top two boats were drawn from the crew that not only became the second ever British school to win at the Head of the Charles in Boston last month but set a course record in the process.




In the junior women’s events, Henley RC are used to winning the double and did so here for the third successive time - a massive 44 seconds ahead of Godolphin & Latymer in the coxed four and 45 ahead of Marlow RC in the quad.





Light blues take early advantage


Three days after the official challenges set the scene for the Boat Race on 24th March, Cambridge draw first blood on the Tideway. Their top men’s coxed four of Thomas Meeks, Spencer Furey, Rob Hurn, Freddie Davidson and cox Hugo Ramambason won the Band 1 event and finished sixth overall, a second ahead of Oxford’s top coxless boat. Cambridge (racing as Goldie) also won Band 2 4+.


In the women’s events the top light blue coxed four of Kelsey Barolak, Alice White, Daphne Martschenko, Olivia Coffey and cox Sophie Shapter won the Band 1 event, 22 seconds ahead of the nearest Oxford boat with two further Cambridge shells close behind.



The Boat Race squads were officially revealed last week, with at least one interesting wrinkle. Three members of the 23-man Oxford men’s squad - Luke Robinson, Tobias Schroder and Alex Wythe - are recent graduates of Winchester College, while their former school coach, ex US U23 international Dara Alizadeh, has joined the Cambridge squad.


Not forgetting …


There were also two wins apiece for Putney neighbours Imperial College (Band 2 W4x and W4-) and Thames RC (Band 2 4x and 4-). 



University of Bristol also bagged a brace with pennants in Band 3 M4+ and Band 2 W4+. Steer clear of the Hogarth Roundabout around kicking out time on 11 th January as the prize giving at Fullers Brewery is traditionally a suitably messy affair.





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