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Wins and Seconds at Henley

Wins and Seconds at Henley

The weekend of 21st-23rd June began with Henley Women’s Regatta qualification on Friday night for GMS’s Year 11 Girls’ Four. There were 24 crews competing for 8 places in this international event. Our girls came 17th which, while at one level was disappointing for them in not qualifying, was a very fine performance.

Early Saturday morning it was the turn of our WJ18 crew, with two Year 11s on board. They had a good row, but again sadly missed qualification by four places. Meanwhile, along the road at Eton Dorney, our Senior Boy’s Quad were competing at Marlow International. Two of the crew had been complaining of feeling unwell, so did not seem at full strength, and in their time trial came 11th putting them in the B final. While this was not a bad result, it did mean that they had missed their chance to avoid having to qualify for Henley Royal next week.

Sunday was a more enjoyable day at one of our favourite regattas, Thames Valley Park. This is a sprint regatta (500m) held on a delightful stretch of the Thames just east of Reading.

In the morning, the Year 9 Octo, mainly made up of Year 8 girls, met Borlase in the semis, and another crew, who did not trouble the outcome. The girls start was not as sharp as it could have been and were 1/3 of a length down in a few strokes. Things did not look good, given the short sprint nature of the event. However, little by little the GMS crew inched back, so with 150m to go there was no more than a few feet difference. Both crews fought furiously to be ahead, with one or two rowers looking desperately at the opposing crew. Once at the line it all depended upon who had their blades in the water and so were the ones surging forward as they passed. No spectator could tell the verdict, but for the second week running it was a win to a Borlase girls crew by two feet. The Year 9 boys had a good heat winning over Henley comfortably, but then met Radnor House in the semis, who had come 5th in the Nationals. The boys put in a tremendous race, with Louis Davies rowing with only one foot attached, due to a breakage. The pushed Radnor hard and lost by a canvass.

In both the Girls’ Octo and Boys’ Quad events, the crews who beat us went on to win their finals comfortably.

Our Sixth Form Girls’Double of Jessie MacAuley and Devon De Winnaar, had strong opposition in their semi, but won in fine style. However, in the final they were down by ½ a length with only 150m to go, but a blistering final push saw them cross the line ½ length ahead, to win the event.

The final crew to race in the am division was the Year 10 Boys’ Octo. This crew have had a good season with a number of wins already under their belts. The final was GMS, Borlase and Norwich. Like the previous Octo confrontation, the race was really about the two Marlow schools, and for the first 250m it was hard to tell who was in front, but in the build for the line the GMS boys steadily eked out an advantage and won by ½ length.

In the afternoon, there was further exciting racing with the Year 10 Boys’ winning their semi in the Quad and both Year 11 and WJ18 Girls’ Fours winning their semis. In each case, however, the crews met old adversaries in the final that proved too strong to take an outright win.

So it was left to the senior Boys’ Double of Robert Petrea to increase our medal tally. In the semi they raced against a very strong Reading Rowing club Double, who took an early lead and seemed comfortable, sitting ½ length up on the GMS 2x. They had not reckoned on a ferocious sprint finish,(at rate 48) from our Double that took GMS to a ½ length lead in 100m.

In the final they faced Leander who might have proved tough to beat, but the boys again pulled away from them in the last 100m to win the event.

Three wins and four second places was a fun day for GMSBC.

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