Tideway match racing: a clean sweep

The weekend of 16 and 17 February saw the 72nd year of the Boustead Cup between London and Thames, and the inaugural running of two new cups for women – the Casey and Rayner Cups.

On Saturday the inaugural Casey Cup between Thames and Vesta proved an enormous success. The trophy, formerly the ‘Nord Deutsche Horn’ won three times by Thames at the Hamburg International Regatta in the 1880s and 1890s, has been renamed after Noel Casey.

Noel coached women at both Thames and Vesta from the late 1970s onwards, producing a string winning crews at the Women’s Eights Head, Henley Women’s Regatta and National Championships. He also coached a Thames 4+ to the 1981 World Championships, and was head women’s coach for Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

In his honour three crews from both clubs raced the Championship course from Mortlake to the Vesta flagpole. Thames were the winners of the incredible trophy – and some fetching beanie hats kindly donated by Queen B Athletics for the winning crew – after holding off a tenacious Vesta Rowing Club boat.

Thames also won the 2nd 8s race in style, while the 3rd 8s race went to Vesta after a close battle for most of the course.

On Sunday the women’s 2nd 8 came out again, this time to contest the Rayner Cup against London. The cup is named after Thames president and former captain and chair Pauline Rayner and her late husband Maurice, who rowed for London and was its treasurer and secretary for some time. Once again the Thames women delivered a comfortable victory.

Pauline said afterwards: “The London women’s crew must be congratulated for putting up a brave effort but the years of developing women crews at Thames RC since 1976 showed.”

The Rayner Cup itself, donated by London, was not ready for the presentation, so Pauline presented an antique tankard dating from 1754 to the winning crew.

“Very apt, as Maurice bought it for me,” she said.

The men’s squad fielded a crew drawn from the 4th and 5th 8s for the Boustead Cup, and showed the club’s depth by rowing strongly to defeat London comfortably. The vet men followed suit with a solid win to complete the clean sweep against London.

Thanks to London, Vesta and all the volunteers for helping make the weekend such a success.