Fullers Head of the River Fours – Review

Now the dust has settled I thought I would put together a little review of the racing from Saturday.

Elite quads

As expected the top Leander quad dominated the race winning by 13.6 seconds ahead of their 2nd crew. To be honest anything but a comfortable victory would have been quite a surprise. In my preview I reckoned that it was going to be a good battle between the young Leander 2nd crew and the Imperial/Westminster composite and so it proved. The Leander crew of Jack Beaumont, Angus Groom, Nick Middleton and Stewart Innes finished just 0.7sec ahead of the IC/Westminster boat of Barnabe Delarze, Nico Stahlberg, Sam Meijer and Sam Scrimgeour. There’s an interesting little sub-plot in this battle with Delarze and Stahlberg racing in the 4X that won the U23 world championships this year. In the Leander boat both Beaumont and Groom raced in a dominant quad all season ending up winning the Prince of Wales at Henley. But, for the U23 Worlds these two were moved to the 2X (and came up against experienced senior internationals). I’ve always felt that it would’ve been a great battle at the U23’s between the Swiss and the Leander quad that won Henley. But, it wasn’t to be and the GB management in their wisdom moved Beaumont and Groom out of that boat.
Anyway, on with yesterday. I was also pleasantly surprised at the performance of Tideway Scullers. They were always going to struggle to hold off the big Leander quad, but to finish 6th overall (4th in class) was a good performance (given that the quads ahead of them were mostly made up of senior and U23 internationals). Campbell has tweeted that the race report from the Hear The Boat Sing blog saying they were disappointed was “taken out of context, we’re very happy with our performance”.

Elite 4-

A superb performance from the Leander lightweight 4 of Chris Bartley, Jonno Clegg, Charlie Waite-Roberts and Rich Chambers. They finished 4th overall and were only 2 seconds off the 4- course record and more than 30 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Isis. Oxford Brookes were forced to make a host of changes to their crews on the morning of the race so didn’t produce the sort of speed I’d expected, and they will probably be disappointed themselves with their top boat “only” finishing in 21st.

Elite 4+

Wow…for the third year in a row Isis finish as the fastest 4+ and finish in the top 10 (although Cambridge still have some bragging rights with their 4th place overall finish in the 4+ in 2008 – which is still the highest ever finish by a 4+ ). But, the Isis crew of Sam O’Connor, Mike Di Santo, James Cook, Stan Louloudis and William Hakim, have certainly taken some big scalps in Leander and Molesey. Leander had to make a late change to their crew with Pete Reed dropping out and Matt Langridge coming in – not a bad replacement and joining Matt Gotrel, Will Satch, Alex Gregory & Phelan Hill. They had a great battle with the “Black Death” of Molesey with George Nash, Mo Sbihi, Phil Congdon, James Foad and Henry Fieldman. But it was the Molesey boys who get the bragging rights finishing just over a second ahead of Leander. But, they were a fairly big 5 seconds behind Isis. But it’s perhaps not too surprising that Isis took the win, it could be argued that the Boat Race squads are a bit more keyed up and prepared for this race. It forms a crucial part of their trialling process, whereas for the Leander and Molesey guys they will have only come together in these formats a few days ago. But, that takes nothing away from Isis’s performance…it makes a big statement for the 2015 Boat Race. This was reinforced by the fact that the Isis 2nd 4+ also finished ahead of the top Cambridge boat. I would imagine Sean Bowden would be very satisfied with his charges work. When Oxford President Louloudis heard his two 4+’s were 9th and 19th he said “We’ll take that”.

Elite Lightweight quad

Really impressed with the Leander quad; Ed Fisher, Steve Parsonage,Johnathan Jackson and Sam Mottram. Some young guys making a big step up, all of the crew are under 21 and they took a good win against the more experienced Imperial quad. Watch out for these guys – could be an U23 LM4X in the making?

Women’s elite quads

This was always going to be an interesting showdown between Leander and Imperial. Leander made a late change with Polly Swann replacing Lucy Gooderham (after Swann’s E4- boat was scratched). Leander put in a great performance, stroked by the young Jess Leyden, beating an Imperial college quad stroked by Emma Twigg, by 4 seconds. Talk on the tow-path speculated on whether Swann will switch to the sculling squad…perhaps in a double with Katherine Grainger – now that’s a tantalising prospect….time will tell!

Women’s Elite 4-

with the withdrawal of Leander this left a single entry, the Bath Minerva/Army/Brookes/London composite of Heather Stanning, Helen Glover, Olivia Carnegie-Brown and Jess Eddie. But, they may have been on their own but they didn’t hang about and set the 2nd fastest time in the events history.. and probably embarrassed a fair few men’s crews in the process 😉

Women’s Elite 4+

Another good day for the Dark Blues finishing 1st and 2nd in this division. The Crew of Caryn Davies, Nadine Graedel-Iberg, Emily Reynolds, Madeline Badcott and Erin Wysocki-Jones took the honours finishing 164th overall with their 2nd 4+ finishing 9 seconds behind them. Cambridge were forced to make wholesale changes to their crews which meant they could only race as “Time Only”, but their fastest 4+ was 36 seconds behind the winning Oxford crew. As with the men’s Boat Race it looks as though the Light Blues will have their work cut out come April.

Women’s Elite lightweight quads
Only 2 crews were eligible (the Dutch from KSRV Njoord had entered LW4X by mistake!) The composite from UL/London/Molesey & Putney Town – Ruth Walczak, Imogen Walsh, Charlotte Taylor and Emily Craig were comfortable winners by 12 seconds ahead of Wallingford, and indeed set a new course record (beating the old mark by 7 seconds)

A few other notable performances, both the St.Pauls Junior 4+ and Sir WWilliam Borlase JW 4+ set new course records as did Leander in the IM2 4+ category (one of six pennants won by Leander).
Watching the race from Chiswick Pier there must have been something in the water as we saw at least 3 crabs in the space of 10 minutes! I’m sure some photo’s will emerge at some point.

So that’s it for another year, all that’s left is the prize-giving – the proverbial “piss-up in a brewery” thanks to the wonderful sponsorship from Fullers. If you’re one of the pennant winners I hope to see you there!


One thought on “Fullers Head of the River Fours – Review

  1. Blah Blah

    Some boat race analysis for you, Fats:
    Isis II – 18:30 CUBC I 18:52 – Isis by 22
    Isis III – 18:41 CUBC II 19:04 – Isis by 23
    Isis V 19:21 CUBC III 19:08 – CUBC by 13
    Isis IV 19:45 CUBC V 19:36 – CUBC by 9

    Isis I 18:41 (19:03 adj.) CUBC IV 19:14 (19:37 adj.)- Isis by 33

    OUW II 20:30 CUW I 21:06 – Ox by 36
    OUW I 20:39 CUW IV 21:09 – Ox by 30
    CUW V 21:36
    CUW VI 21:57

    OUW III 19:59 (20:41 adj.)

    CUW II 20:58 (21:23 adj.) (Lightweight triallists)


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