Thames at WEHORR 2017
On a surprisingly warm and fairly calm March day Thames had rowers in six crews racing at the Women’s Eights Head of the River – two intermediate, two novice and one masters B crew of our own, plus of course the indomitable Pauline Rayner racing in her masters G composite.
The 1st 8, starting fifth, flew out of the start. Despite being chased by CUS Milano, a strong elite eight which included athletes from the Italian national squad, the girls held their nerve and continued to demonstrate a solid and gutsy rhythm. The crew finished a commendable 18th overall.
In the weeks leading up to the Head, the 2nd 8 had demonstrated real progression, ensuring they went into the race with both enthusiasm and confidence.
The crew started the race energetically and were quickly rewarded, overtaking Warwick University Boat Club A before Barnes Bridge. Settling onto a strong rhythm the crew reduced a three-length gap between Tideway Scullers School C to one length through Barnes, with Auriol Kensington A closely on their tail.
The crew embraced the pressure provided from the other clubs, leading to an exciting finish for supporters, with all three boats finishing within a length of each other. The boat demonstrated committed and gutsy racing throughout and finished a credible 41st overall.
After winning Remenham, Quintin and Hammersmith heads the novice squad went into the race with huge confidence. The 1st 8 overtook their first crew halfway between the start and Barnes Bridge and kept on passing crews throughout the race, as they moved through the bottom of the school/junior division.
Around St Paul’s, while overtaking Lady Eleanor Holles School there was a blade clash. The crew recovered well and quickly, but the clash looks like it might have cost Thames the novice club pennant – won by St Andrew BC from Scotland just 3.5 seconds ahead. Nevertheless a finish position of 72nd is the second-highest finish position ever for a Thames novice crew and something to be proud of.
The novice 2nd 8 also had a great row, holding their nerve and their length throughout the race. St Andrew was the only crew to go past and the crew finished 182nd overall, in the top 20 novice crews and the fourth-fastest novice club crew of the day. This is the best finish for a Thames novice 2nd 8 in recent history.
After some strong performances earlier in the season, the masters B crew knew they had the potential for a good race. Starting 62nd the women held off two fast composites behind them, including the masters C composite that won the masters pennant, for a good portion of the race. On raw time the crew was 89th overall and the sixth-fastest masters crew; after handicaps were applied they were ninth in a competitive masters category.
Pauline, racing in yet another WEHORR, also had a solid row. Finishing 231st overall and beating a large number of intermediate crews, the composite were sixth in the masters division after their handicap was applied.