Time now to look at the men’s Intermediate events…
4 Leander Club
5 Melbourne University, Australia
6 Princeton University ‘A’, U.S.A.
7 Princeton University ‘B’, U.S.A.
8 Ruderclub Germania Düsseldorf von 1904, Germany
9 University of Washington, U.S.A.
10 Yale University, U.S.A.
This could well be the best event of the whole regatta. It’s an awesome line-up of the best US colleges v the best club 8 in Britain and a star-studded Aussie line-up.
Washington are the best collegiate 8 in the US and probably the best University 8 in the world right now. They are the IRA champions and have only been beaten once this year; in the dual with the University of California. As with most of the top IRA crews it’s a very international line-up with four Americans, two Brits, two Aussies and a Croatian. They have a fabulous history at Henley and it was only in 2013 that they beat the Polish national 8 and ran the British World Champions to just a length in The Grand.
Yale have one of their best eights for a number of years. They destroyed Harvard in the annual Harvard-Yale Boat Race but were bitterly disappointed to miss out on the IRA Grand Final. Another international crew with three Brits, two Aussies, 2 US and one each from France, Germany. They are a huge crew, averaging 6ft 6in and have a wealth of international experience including Hubert Trzybinski of Germany; the 2013 U23 M1X world champion, and Henley winners Sholto Carnegie and Tom Pagel.
Princeton have two crews entered which is their Varsity and 2nd Varsity 8’s. They also have one of their best crews for a number of years. The 1V took the bronze medal at the IRA’s 2 seconds behind the Huskies, but just 2/10th behind Cal in the battle for silver. They have 5 US athletes, two Brits, 1 Canadian and one Aussie and with a wealth of U23 international medals to their credit including gold medallist Martin Barasko of Canada and Australian silver medallist Tim Masters in the stroke seat.
Leander will be flying the flag for the home nation and they have a very fast line-up that has been racing all season. They won at Ghent, the Metropolitan Regatta and last weekend at Marlow. At the Met they won in a very fast time of 5:34 (although Washington are regularly producing sub-5:30 times). It’s a talented line-up stacked full of some of the top U23 talent in Britain with the Rossiter brothers, Francis Highton, Sam Arnot, Barney Stentiford and senior international Chris Boddy at stroke. They will give the US college crews a real challenge.
But, the main threat to Washington (who are probably starting as favourites) are the crew from Melbourne. The Aussies have put together a fearsome line-up of recently retired internationals and top U23’s. The boat includes 2012 Olympians James Marburg, Cam McKenzie-McHarg and Francis Hegerty. Also in the crew are senior internationals Angus Moore and John Linke. This crew has been put together specifically to challenge for Henley and , on paper, is the most experienced in the event. The question will be whether they have been together long enough to overturn the Huskies or Bulldogs.
The German’s are a crew of U23’s but, tellingly, not the main German U23 crew that raced at Varese (beating the French senior crew in the process). I don’t expect them to challenge for the weekend.
So who’s going to win? It really is going to be a fabulous contest and a lot depends on the draw but I think it could be a UW v Melbourne final with the Huskies taking the win.
The Visitors Challenge Cup
190 Carnegie Lake Rowing Association, U.S.A.
191 Collingwood College, Durham
192 Eton Vikings and Griffen Boat Club
193 Harvard University ‘A’, U.S.A.
194 Harvard University ‘B’, U.S.A.
195 Newcastle University
196 Nottingham Trent University
197 Quintin Boat Club and Molesey Boat Club
198 Ruder-Club Allemannia von 1866 e.V., Hamburg, Germany
199 Ruderverein Münster, Germany
200 Sport Imperial Boat Club and University of London
201 Sydney Rowing Club, Australia
202 University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.
203 University of Washington, U.S.A.
204 Upper Thames Rowing Club
205 Yale University, U.S.A.
Harvard are the defending champions in this event and have two boats entered. The “A” crew is half of the Freshman 8 that won gold at the Eastern Sprints. The “B” boat is from the Lightweight Varsity 8 that won bronze at the IRA championships.
Carnegie Lake is the same line-up that raced as Princeton University at the IRA’s winning gold in the Lightweight coxless fours (they are also scheduled to race as Carnegie at the US nationals).
Newcastle University may start as the marginal favourites. They have a very experienced line-up with U23 internationals James Rudkin, Tom Ford and Tim Clarke joined by former junior international Ollie Clarke. They are the reigning British University champions and were winners of Elite M4- at Marlow and at the Metropolitan Regatta. They know the Henley course well and are a very established unit.
The main challengers to Newcastle may well be California. The Cal Bears have brought over a truly international crew taken from their Freshman and senior varsity 8’s. Representing the Freshmen are Brit Morgan Hellen and American Harrison Van Andel. The Seniors are U23 world champion from Serbia Jovan Jovanovic and Dutchman Niki Van Sprang. The Varsity guys were 2nd to Washington at the IRA’s. I would expect Cal and Newcastle to be on opposite sides of the draw and could meet in the final.
The German’s are represented by two boats, Ruder-Club Allemannia von 1886 Hamburg and Ruderverein Munster. The Hamburg crew includes the U23 lightweight international Lasse Werder and Jonas Briese. In the Munster boat are the U23 international Richard Bensmann and junior international Max Wagner. These are good, quality crews but they probably will be quarter finalists at most.
Elsewhere, the Sydney Rowing Club crew look pretty quick. They have former Harvard oarsman (and record holder in this event) Josh Hicks, along with Henley winners Scott Woodward (Wyfold champ in 2014) and Ben Coombs (Fawley winner in 2010). The fourth member of the crew is Cam Brewer, who is making his third appearance at Henley.
The final crew to mention are the Sport Imperial, University of London composite with U23 internationals Wilf Kimberley, matt Bedford and Ertan Hazine and senior French international Pierre D’Agata.
A really, really good field and picking a winner isn’t easy but I think it’ll be Newcastle (just)
The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup
262 Bath University ‘A’
263 Bath University ‘B’
264 Burway Rowing Club and Eton College
265 Cardiff University and Agecroft Rowing Club
266 Cardiff University and Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School
267 Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club
268 Der Hamburger und Germania Ruder Club, Germany
269 Edinburgh University
270 Exeter University and Royal Navy and Royal Marines Amateur Rowing Association
271 Granta Boat Club
272 Imperial College London and Agecroft Rowing Club
273 Leander Club
274 Leander Club and Oxford Brookes University
275 Liverpool University
276 London Rowing Club
277 Loughborough Boat Club and Trent Rowing Club
278 Magdalen College, Oxford and Oriel College, Oxford
279 Medway Towns Rowing Club and Poplar, Blackwall & District Rowing Club
280 Molesey Boat Club and Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School
281 Molesey Boat Club and The Tideway Scullers’ School
282 Mossbourne Community Academy and Globe Rowing Club
283 Nottingham Rowing Club
284 Old Monmothians and Rehoboth Rowing Club, Namibia
285 Reading University ‘A’
286 Reading University ‘B’
287 Reading University ‘C’
288 Rudern, Tennis und Hockey Club Bayer Leverkusen and Ruder-Club Allemannia von 1866 e.V., Hamburg, Germany
289 St. Ives Rowing Club and St. Neots Rowing Club
290 Stowe School and Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club
291 Swansea University
292 University of Birmingham and Worcester University
293 University of the West of England
294 University of Virginia and Potomac Boat Club, U.S.A.
295 Upper Thames Rowing Club
296 Wallingford Rowing Club and Martyrs Boat Club
A big field that’ll be whittled down to just 16 in qualifying today, those that do qualify face an incredibly high quality field.
Leander are the defending champions and have won this event for the past 5 years. That’s quite a record to defend. This year’s crew includes senior internationals Nick Middleton and Jack Beaumont (Beaumont is going for a hat-trick of wins in this event – and his 4th consecutive HRR win having won the Fawley with Sir William Borlase in 2012). They are joined by Harry Leask and junior international Andrew Joel. They were winners of Elite M4X at Marlow (with Charlie Waite-Roberts subbing-in for Jack Beaumont who was racing the M1X at the World Cup).
They will probably start as favourites, but there is a very strong field chasing them. One of the most interesting entries is the Molesey Sir William Borlase composite. This boat includes 2013 World Champion, Dan Ritchie, 2013 lightweight bronze medallist Adam Freeman-Pask and Olympic finalist Tom Solesbury along with the 4th member of the crew, Angus Warren winner of the Fawley Challenge Cup last year. They have an undoubted pedigree it just remains to be seen how “race-fit” they are.
Charlie Waite-Roberts has moved out of the Leander quad that raced at Marlow and is now part of the Imperial College & Agecroft composite. The 2014 U23 silver medallist is joined by fellow U23 medalist and Henley winner, Tim Richards and senior lightweight international Zak Lee-Green. The fourth member of the crew is U23 trialist John Hale. The composite will probably be the fastest lightweight crew on display.
Zak Lee-Green raced at the Varese World Cup as the GB2 LM2X winning the C-final. In that boat he was partnered by Sam Mottram. They now face each other with Mottram being part of the Leander and Oxford Brookes composite. This is another boat stacked with young British talent. Junior silver medallist Steve Parsonage is at bow and U23 silver medallist Jamie Copus is at stroke with the fourth member of the crew being Jonny Jackson of Leander. I hope the draw brings these two lightweight boats together as it could provide some real fireworks!
The other crews to watch out for are the two Welsh composites, Cardiff University and Agrecroft and Cardiff University and Sir William Borlase.
The Cardiff/Agecroft boat were 3rd at Marlow and include U23 internationals Rob Massey and senior international Peter Robinson.
The Cardiff/Borlase boat includes the U23 international Tom Barras and aspiring U23 internationals Frazier Christie, Alex Haynes and George Stewart.
2nd in Elite M4X at Marlow were the highly experienced Molesey/Tideway Scullers composite with Dave Bell, Luke Moon, Fred Gill and Niall Kenny. Both Gill and Kenny have senior international honours under their belts.
There are three overseas crews in the event with the pick probably being the University of Virginia & Potomac Boat Club composite from the USA. This boat includes Beijing Olympic finalist, Sam Stitt at bow,Virginian Scott Stuard at 3, lightweight international Andrew Neils at 2 and former senior international Sean Gorman who’s been competing at Henley off-and-on since the turn of the century. A highly experienced outfit, they could well surprise a few of the younger athletes.
The final crew to mention in this event are Bath University B. Rather surprisingly this crew are being made to qualify, despite the crew of Ben Jackson, Nick Bell, Alex Wilding and Tom Mapp winning Senior quads at Marlow.
So who will I pick as the winner? With Jack Beaumont returning to the crew I’m going to plump for Leander to make it six in a row.
Next up will be the club events….