Leander Club crews dominate the lead in the four-man river race

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The LEANDER Club crews dominated this year’s river-lead four-a-side race in London last Saturday, taking top honors in the men’s and women’s quads and coxless fours as well as the women’s coxswain.

The Henley Rowing Club was also successful as their juniors won all three events, setting a new course record. The next day, Upper Thames led the way in the mastery events.

The race took place on the four and a quarter mile boat racing championship course, but ran from Chiswick to Putney and drew 410 entries. Saturday’s peloton was led by Leander’s top male quad, who was the first to cross the finish line, not only winning the event pennant but also setting the fastest time of the day.

This was just the start of what turned out to be a successful riverside campaign.

The quad made up of Harry Leask, John Collins, Tom Barras and Jack Burns finished eight seconds ahead of a composite crew in second place. The second and third in Leander’s men’s quad finished third and fourth, respectively.

The women’s quad of Natasha Harris-White, Georgie Brayshaw, Imogen Magner and Lola Anderson started second in their event.

Driving from the racing seat and fresh off her first victory in GB testing the previous weekend, Anderson led her crew to a six-second victory and the best women’s time of the day on a composite crew. Leander’s second female quad finished third.

In the men’s coxless four, Leander Olympians Tom Ford, James Rudkin, Matt Rossiter and Jacob Dawson took top honors, while the club’s other two crews finished second and fifth. The women had two boats in the women’s coxless four event. In the women’s coxless four, the crew of Sophia Heath, Sam Redgrave, Hope Cessford and Annie Campbell-Orde beat a Cambridge crew containing three three-second Tokyo Olympians to secure first place. Leander’s second crew finished third.

Leander also triumphed in the women coxswain with the crew of Esme Booth, Lauren Irwin, Heidi Long and Chloe Brew helmed by Morgan Baynham-William winning by 13 seconds. Leander’s second crew finished fifth.

Leander’s junior quad finished second in their event, placing them 17th in the fastest crew of the day.

Henley had entered 10 crews – two senior men, two boys and six girls.

Henley’s junior girls took top honors in the sculls, coxless four and coxswain four.

In the junior girls, Natalie Schoenmakers, Nonnie Luke, Ailish Harkin and Laoise Odonohue won by 11 seconds ahead of Marlow and 13 seconds over Shiplake College, third. Their time of 20 minutes, 28.5 seconds made her the third fastest of all the women’s quads competing. It was also the sixth time out of the last seven times that this race had been won by Henley.

In coxless four, the Henley crew of Eyla Wild, Lucy Jones, Pippa Jamieson and Josie Sawbridge triumphed with a 17-second lead over Lady Eleanor Holles School. The four Henleys set a new course record of 21 minutes, 9.5 seconds.

In four coxswain, Henley crew Ella Dickson, Evie Tinegate, Blair Fitzgerald, Florence Lenthall and coxswain Caitlin Emery took top honors ahead of their second crew of Matilda Macartney, Gwennie Hunter, Tabbie Hall, Emma Eltze and coxswain Rose McEwan four seconds.

Upper Thames had six crews racing – three men on four and three women on four.

The first female quad from Courtney Edmonds, Lucy Ryan, Sian Hinton and Meghann Jackson finished fourth in the Championship quad event with all three crews finishing ahead of them containing professional athletes.

In the club’s quads, the other two Upper Thames crews finished fifth and 13th in an event with 28 entries. The second quad of Daisy Hampton, Penny Hamand, Rebecca Abbott and Yasmin Ryman-King finished just 23 seconds behind the winning crew of Molesey. The crew of Tijssen Teuntje, Beth Arscott, Isobel Pullinger and Ella Wandless were 30 seconds behind.

In the men’s events, the top four of Steve Griffiths, Matt Swiss, Gareth Syphas and the hugs of James Stanhope finished 13th in a strong field with many crews containing international athletes. The Upper Thames crew’s time would have placed them third in the club’s event.

The Upper Thames second crew of Sam Diserens, Sean Moneley, Michael Scott and Matthew Cummings was 24 seconds behind and finished 11th out of 32 crews.

The four barred by Tom Hole, Henry Pearson, Kingsley McDiarmid, Rob Leech and crossed by Bea Crossley finished eighth in a field of 22 crews.

On Sunday it was the turn of the veteran Upper Thames crews to finish as the most successful club.

Upper Thames had seven crews in five events, earning three victories.

The men’s quad masters D of Adam Rennie, Eric den Besten, Hamish Floyd and Mark Shimmin set the third fastest time of the day, comfortably winning his category. The coxless masters D four of Justin Sutherland, Stewart Bell, Jim Burkitt and Charles Nelson won their event.

In a repeat of the 2019 event, the Bristol crew started just one place behind. In the first half of the race, the Bristol crew closed the gap, but from Hammersmith Bridge the Upper Thames crew were able to push back and secure the victory.

The Upper Thames female Master B crew of Ally Clegg, Amanda Hynes, Sally Markham and Meghan Jackson took off comfortable winners, beating the composite crew of Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha by 30 seconds.


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