Time now to have a look at the Open Women’s events at Henley….
Remenham Challenge Cup
170 Brown University, U.S.A.
171 Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Wallingford Rowing Club
172 Durham University and Norske Studenters Roklub, Norway
173 Exeter University and Exeter Rowing Club
174 Imperial College London and Sport Imperial Boat Club
175 Leander Club
176 Leander Club and Imperial College London
177 Newcastle University and Bewl Bridge Rowing Club
178 Nottingham University
179 Oxford Brookes University
180 Oxford University Women’s Boat Club and Radcliffe Crew, Harvard University, U.S.A.
181 Ruderverein Münster, Germany
182 Stanford University, U.S.A.
183 Thames Rowing Club
184 University of London
185 Vesta Rowing Club and Henley Rowing Club
186 Western Rowing Club, Canada
This is the full list of entries. This will be reduced to just 8 after Friday’s qualifiers. Only four crews have been pre-selected;
Leander Club and Imperial College – which is the GB women’s national 8
Oxford University Women’s Boat Club and Radcliffe – which is the Oxford Blue Boat
Ruderverein Munster – the German U23 national crew
Western Rowing Club, Canada –The Canadian national crew
The Canadians will be the favourites they have long been the bridesmaids to the US and so it proved at Varese. But the British put in a very encouraging performance to take the bronze medal. I would expect these two to be matched to meet in the final. If that happens then it’ll be a good battle. It’s an important opportunity for the British to take the step up from a bronze medal crew to one that can challenge for the silver. A head to head battle between these two is going to be fun to watch. But, that’s assuming that they both get to the final. It’s going to be interesting to see just how fast the Oxford Blue Boat is over the full Henley course. They beat Brown at Henley Women’s Regatta and will be relishing the opportunity to meet the Canadians or British in whichever part of the draw they are in.
The German U23’s will be a good challenge for the US Collegiate crews and also the Leander Development boat. Brown, the Ivy League champions, were runners-up to Oxford at Henley Women’s regatta beating Leander in the semi-final.
At the end of the day if it’s not a GB v Canada final it’ll be a major upset. I think the Canadians will win but the British will give them a good run for their money.
When I was looking at the entries I couldn’t help thinking it’s time for a separate Intermediate 8’s event for the women. As it stands this event will always be won by whichever national team turns up. This leads to some extremely one-sided races. I’d like to see an event with the same criteria as the Ladies Plate (a Gentlemen’s Plate perhaps – there’s Henley logic for you!) This will result in the Remenham being like the Grand…with just 2 or 3 national squad crews entering and then below them an 8 or 12 boat intermediate event which should provide some good quality racing.
Who knows, maybe the Stewards read my previews and they’ll take the hint!
Princess Grace Challenge Cup
360 Brown University, U.S.A.
361 Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University
362 Imperial College London and Tees Rowing Club
363 Leander Club
364 Maidenhead Rowing Club
365 Molesey Boat Club ‘A’
366 Molesey Boat Club ‘B’
367 Quintin Boat Club and California Rowing Club, USA
368 Reading University ‘A’
369 Reading University ‘B’
370 Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club
371 Stanford University, U.S.A.
372 Thames Rowing Club
373 University of London and The Tideway Scullers’ School
374 Upper Thames Rowing Club
Another event that will be dominated by the GB national squad racing as Imperial College and Tees…in fact there is some good, strong club competition in the event but it’s not national squad level and this is beginning to look like a worrying trend as there hasn’t been any national squad crews (apart from GB) since 2012. 2016 is unlikely to reverse this trend (in fact it probably won’t even involve the British either) so in reality this is more of an Intermediate level event that just happens to have the GB squad racing.
So the challenge will be who will the British meet and beat in the final? At Henley Women’s regatta Stanford had a great race against Leander (a crew which included Olympian Debbie Flood) eventually winning by just a canvas. Quintin and California have also been pre-selected and they include former American U23 world champion, Kelsie Chaudoin.
It should be an easy win for Imperial/Tees…probably against Leander in the final.
516 G.I. Bailhache-Graham (Henley Rowing Club)
517 L. Clavijo Becerril (Real Circulo Labradores de Sevilla, Spain)
518 G.A.C. Grandfield (Agecroft Rowing Club)
519 L. Hart (Wallingford Rowing Club)
520 M. Knapkova (V.K. Slavia Praha, Czech Republic)
521 C. Oshri (Happoel Tel-Aviv Yacht Club, Israel)
522 L.I. Scheenaard (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland)
523 P.A.M. Swann (Leander Club)
524 J. Van der Meulen (Algemene Rotterdamsche Studenten Roeivereniging Skadi, Holland)
525 L.F. Wheeler (Nottingham Rowing Club)
526 J.S. Wratten (Tees Rowing Club)
Mirka Knapkova has four Henley titles to her name….one more and she equals the record set by Maria Brandin in the 1990’s. Looking at the entries it’ll be a bold person who bets against her equalling Brandin’s record. She won the European championships in May but chose not to race at the 2nd World Cup. The main challenge to her will come from Holland’s Lisa Scheenaard. She was 7th at the European Championships in Poznan and 12th at the World Championships last year.
The other interesting entry is Leander’s Polly Swann, making her competitive debut of the regatta season following an extended period out through injury. She not renowned for her sculling but it’s great to see her back in a boat. Fingers crossed she’ll be back in the W8 for Lucerne.
At Henley Women’s Regatta it was Laura Wheeler of Nottingham who emerged victorious beating Agecroft’s Georgina Grandfield.
An easy win for Knapkova and her record equalling 5th title.