Henley Royal Regatta 2017 preview part 3 – The Intermediate events

 

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Time for part three of my Henley Preview…the men’s Intermediate events….

 

The Ladies Plate

This has the makings of one of the most exciting (and intriguing) events at the regatta,

Newell Training Centre USA and Mosman Roiwng Club Australia

Despite the name this is basically Harvard University. It’s a combination of their 2nd and 3rd Varsity 8’s. From the 2nd Varsity crew that finished 5th at the IRA Championships is Chase Bucholz, Jack Kelley & Henry Kennelly. From the 3rd Varisty 8 which won a silver medal in their division at the IRA’s is Max Ferguson, Australians David Fleming and Dom Glover, and Estonian Juri-Mikk Udam. The final member of the crew is Philip Bates who stroked the Varsity IV to a 7th place at the IRA’s.

 

RTHC Bayer Leverkusen, Germany

This boat has three senior internationals on board, Peter Kluge won a bronze medal in the M2+ at the 2014 World Championships and along with Clemens Ernsting raced the M2- at the 2016 European Championships. Clemens won a silver medal in the M2+ at the 2015 World Championships. Stroke man Bjoern Birkner raced in the M4- at the 2014 World Championships finishing 8th. Also in the crew are U23 internationals Max Niemand and World U23 silver medallist Felix Niemand.

German crews in the Ladies Plate are always strong and this boat looks like it could do very well.

 

Army Rowing Club

A strong army contingent, but they may find the competition a bit too hot. The crew includes Ollie Pemberton, a member of the Coldstream Guards and coach of the J15’s at Abingdon School. Former Henley winner and Wingfield Sculls competitor Capt. Laurence Wells, and former Newcastle University rower Richard Francis.

 

Brown University, USA

From Providence, Rhode Island, this crew is unchanged from the line-up that raced at the IRA’s finishing 6th in the Grand Final. The crew includes Rufus Biggs from Great Britain in the 2 seat and Kiwi Russell Dodd at bow. Coached by Brown alumni Paul Cooke the crew also finished 6th at the Eastern Sprints.

 

Dartmouth College, USA

The 2nd Ivy League Varsity in the event, Dartmouth College from Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth finished 3rd in the Petite Finals at the IRA’s. At the Eastern Sprints they had a much better regatta finishing 5th, 2 seconds ahead of Brown. When they faced Brown in their Dual Meet the “Big Green” took the win by just under 1 second. If the gods of the Henley draw are kind we could see round 4 between these closely matched crews. Coached by Olympic champion Wyatt Allen, Dartmouth have only one overseas athlete in their boat, Albert Mitchell from Great Britain.

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Dartmouth College – The “Big Green”. Photo: Dartmouth College

Elizabethan Boat Club

Nominally the old boys club for Westminster School, this crew is made up entirely of students who are studying at either Harvard or Princeton (with the exception of new Cambridge President Hugo Ramambason in the coxes seat). From the Princeton heavyweights are George Bradbury, Fred Vystavel, Franco D’Agostino and Oswald Stocker. From the Princeton lightweights are Cam Kerr, and Oskar Arzt-Jones. From Harvard are heavyweight Nick Plaut and his lightweight brother James.

This boat (with one change) raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 7th in the final of Open M8.

 

Molesey Boat Club and Leander Club

This is the Great Britain U23 crew for the World Championships in July. A couple of things of note with this crew, the first is that the British Rowing press release names Rufus Biggs in the 4 seat….given Mr Biggs is rowing at 2 in the Brown Varsity boat that could prove problematic! No word yet about who is replacing Biggs in this crew. The other interesting point to note is that the same said press release lists the clubs to which the athletes belong…..except they don’t, five of the crew (including Biggs) are current students at university in the US, but the rules for British Rowing (not Henley) state that to be selected to represent your country you have to be a member of a mainland UK club…cue a few “flag of convenience” clubs on the entry forms!

Anyway….in the crew are Oxford Blue Wll Geffen (racing in London RC colours), U23 bronze medallist Alistair Douglass (Molesey), George Stewart (Molesey), A.N.Other replacing Biggs, David Bewicke-Copley – an U23 silver medallist and member of the Princeton Varsity 8 that finished 4th at the IRA’s (racing as Sport Imperial), Jack Gosden-Kaye from the University of California, Berkeley (racing as Leander), David Ambler and Arthur Doyle from Harvard (racing in Tideway Scullers and ULBC colours respectively). Coxed by Ian Middleton of Cambridge.

 

Oxford Brookes University and Taurus Boat Club

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Oxford Brookes & Taurus BC, winners of the Grand Challenge Cup at Marlow Regatta.

The fastest crew in Britain….and that’s not just an opinion…it’s a fact. At Marlow Regatta Brookes won the Champ M8 in a time of 5:30. Not only was this a course record at Dorney Lake for a non-International crew, it is also the fastest 2K ever by a British club crew. Oxford Brookes have dominated the men’s 8 category all season and have won pretty much everything all season. Coach Henry Bailhache-Webb has put together an outstanding unit with 8 of the 9 crew members having GB U23 representative honours. At bow is Robbie Massey, 13th in the BM4X in 2014. At 2 is Oxford Blue Josh Bugajski (an U23 international from 2012), at 3 is Rory Gibbs, 4 is Matt Aldridge and 5 is Michael Glover – all three of these guys were in the 2016 U23 BM4+ that finished 5th last year. In the 6 seat is Morgan Bolding from the 2015 U23 BM8 and at 7 is a crewmate from that U23 crew, Henry Swarbrick. Stroke is James Stanhope who is, currently, the only member of the crew without a GB vest. In the coxswains seat is Harry Brightmore who steered the U23 BM4+ last year. A number of this crew won an epic Temple Challenge Cup last year against Nereus and 5 of this crew are still eligible for the U23’s. The draw has a potential final between Brookes and the nominated GB U23 8…now that (if it happens) will be worth watching!

Team Keane Sculling School

Team Keane are a fairly new club based in Chiswick who described themselves as “West London’s Top Rowing Club”. This year’s crew had originally wanted to enter the Thames Cup but fell afoul of the eligibility criteria and found themselves bumped up to the Ladies Plate.  The crew are all members of various Oxford University colleges and are stroked by 2016 Blue George McKirdy. Also in the crew is Canadian Jacob Cushnie, a Columbia graduate who raced at the World University Games. Behind Cushnie in the 5 seat is Benedict Aldous from this year’s Isis crew. They raced in the Tier 2 M8 at Marlow Regatta finishing in 7th.

My picks….this looks to be one of the most outstanding events in the regatta. The draw is likely to pit Brookes against either Dartmouth of or Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals with the GB U23’s likely to face Brown in the other. I’m really excited to see just what Brookes can do when really pushed. A showdown in the final between Brookes and the GB U23 crew could have chief coach Pete Shepherd sweating a little! Brookes are such a tight cohesive unit I think it’ll take something special to beat them.

 

The Visitors Challenge Cup

The Stewards have “Selected” 7 of the 17 crews.

In the top half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Edinburgh University. In the stern pair are Calum Irvine and Rufus Scholefield. Irvine won a silver medal in the U23 BM8 last year and Scholefield finished 5th in the same event the year before.  This duo were also in the coxed 4 that won at BUCS Regatta. In the bow pair are Oliver Wilkes and Matt Christie. This crew won the open 4- at the Scottish championships earlier this month.

The next Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the New York Athletic Club, USA. This crew is another example of a US Ivy League School racing under different club colours. In this instance the guys are all from Northeastern University. The bow pair of Phoenix Susak and Australian Texas Lawton raced in the 2V at the IRA’s finishing 11th. The stern pairing of Aaron Goodman and Trevor Appier raced in the 1st Varsity at IRA’s that finished 1st in the Petite Final (7th overall)

The third of the Selected crews in the top half are Cambridge University. This is half of the Cambridge Blue Boat crew from this year, 3 of whom are graduates from US Ivy League Universities. At bow is Canadian Aleksander Malowany, a graduate of the University Of Washington with three IRA titles to his credit. At 2 is American Pat Eble, a Princeton graduate. In the three seat is triple Blue, American Ben Ruble a graduate of Wisconsin. At stroke is the only non-North American in the crew, Freddie Davidson.

The final Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the French from Aviron Grenobles.

4th at the recent French Championships, this crew has senior lightweight international Francois Marty at stroke. Behind him in the 3 seat is three-time U23 international Hugo Laborde.  In the 2 seat is a double U23 international, Jean Noury and in the bow seat is Loic Lezarme.

In the bottom half of the draw the first of the Selected boat is Boston University. A truly cosmopolitan line-up (as are most US Collegiate crews these days) this boat has an Englishman, and Irishman a German and a Canadian – sounds like the beginnings of a very bad joke! The Englishman is Luke Towers, a junior World silver medallist from 2015 and member of the 1st Varsity crew that finished 10th at the IRA’s. In the 2 seat is Jacob Barker from Victoria Canada, he’s another member of the 1st Varsity boat and raced in the U23 BM4+ at the 2016 World Championships. In 3 is Fionnan McQuillan-Tolan from Galway in Ireland, the third of the 1st Varsity rowers in the boat. In the stroke seat is Germanys Nils Kocher, he raced in the 2nd Varisty 8 that finished 6th at the IRA’s and is a junior world champion from 2016.

The next selected crew is Leander Club, This has been one of the outstanding M4- on the domestic scene. They produced an excellent performance at Marlow winning the Champ 4- in a very impressive 5:55. At bow is GB Start graduate, Barney Stentiford an U23 international from 2013. In 2 is Finn Stevenson, a winner in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup last year, he’s made fast progress in the sport having only started in 2014. In 3 is Sam Twine, a graduate of Reading University (where he still coaches) a winner of the Champ 1X at the BUCS regatta and also competed at the European Universities Championships. At stroke is George Rossiter (brother of Matt who is in the top GB M4-) A graduate of Newcastle University he’s represented GB four times at U23 level winning medals in 2011 and 2012. He was a member of the Leander Ladies Plate crew that won at last year’s regatta

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The Leander Club Visitors 4 with coach Matt Beechey. Photo: Leander Club

The final Selected crew are California Rowing Club, USA

Sitting in the stroke seat of this crew is Scotland’s Andrew Holmes.  As a Senior at Harvard in 2014 he stroked the Varsity 8 winning the Eastern Sprints and winning the annual Harvard v Yale race.

In the three seat is Channing Walker from the University of California, Berkeley who raced in the Cal 3rd Varsity 8 at the IRA’s in 2016.

At 2 is John Madura a graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He raced for the USA at the 2015 World Championships finishing 12th in the M4X.

At bow is Conor Harrity, a member of Harvard’s 1st Varsity crew that won bronze at the IRA’s this year.

Among the non-Selected crews the ones to watch are the Germans from R.C Allemannia von 1886. This crew includes Rio Olympian Tobias Franzmann who finished 9th in the LM4- and two-time lightweight World Champion Can Temel. Sitting in the stroke seat is U23 lightweight silver medallist Sven Ditzel.

Also watch for the crew from Taurus Boat Club. Joseph Mallen, Arthur Arnould, Ed Grisedale and Richard Hawkins. This crew was originally entered in the Britannia Challenge Cup, but the Stewards ruled that they were ineligible and were bumped up to the Visitors (losing their cox en-route). At Marlow Regatta they finished 3rd in the Champ 4+

Cornell University have brought a crew containing two of their 1st and 2 of their 2nd Varisty rowers. Canadian Alexander Bebb and New Zealander James Aimer were in the 1st Varsity 8 that finished 12th at the IRA’s and Americans Mac Manion and Chris Wilkins came from the 2nd Varsity that finished 10th.

My picks…I’m going to plump for a home win from Leander.

 

The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup

Just 4 crews have received the preferential nod from the Stewards and been selected.

The first selected crew in the top half of the draw are Molesey Boat Club. With club stalwart and multiple Henley Winner Dave Bell in the two seat. He leads a young talented quad with 18 year old Rory Harris at bow, a member of the GB junior team last year. At three is another junior GB trialist, Cormac Molloy from Tiffin School and in stroke is 19 year old former Hampton pupil Dom Jackson. Jackson rowed in the GB JM8 at the 2016 Junior World Championships that won the bronze medal. He’s also the current junior lightweight 5K ergo world record holder.

This crew won the Champ 4X event at Marlow by nearly 4 seconds ahead of Leander.

 

The 2nd Selected crew in the top half of the draw are Leander “A”. A Leander crew has been in the final of this event for the last 11 years, winning 8 of them (including 6 in a row between 2010-2015). After last year’s defeat to a crew from Schuylkill Navy Leander are anxious to get back to winning ways. This year’s no.1 boat will start as favourites. The crew of Harry Leask, Rowan Law, Harry Glenister & Andy Joel won the Queen Mother Challenge Cup last year so it’s quite unusual for the same crew to step down a level at Henley. One wonders if there was some debate between the Stewards and Leander coaches about perhaps the defending champions competing in the Open event again this year?

They are an outstanding unit, 5th at the U23 World Championships last year, the GB team decided to give them a taste of senior competition at the 1st World Cup in Belgrade this year. Racing as GBR2 they finished in 4th place beating the Netherlands and Estonia. They warmed up for Henley with a good win at the Holland Beker defeating the US senior men’s quad from the Schuylkill Navy

 

In the bottom half of the draw the first Selected crew are Edinburgh University. This is another outstanding young crew, winners of the Champ 4X at the Metropolitan Regatta. At bow is James Temple, he raced the LM1X at the European University Championships last year. At two is Josh Armstrong, the 19 year old is one of the most exciting talents in British rowing. He raced at his first senior international competition at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan posting an excellent 11th place finish. At three is Matt Curtis, an U23 world champion in the BLM4X in 2016.  Stroking the boat is another highly talented sculler, Gavin Horsburgh. He was another member of the gold medal U23 BLM4X crew from last year and was a last minute replacement for the 2nd GBR Quad that raced at the Poznan World Cup, finishing just behind the heavyweight New Zealand quad in 8th place. If the draw plays out the way the Stewards have planned we should see a Leander v Edinburgh final which should be an epic battle.

The last of the Selected crews are the Leander “B” quad.

This crew has a Kiwi stern pair with Braeden Camp at 3 and Oliver Stephens at stroke. Camp was a member of the Kiwi junior team last year that finished 4th in the JM8. Stephens raced in the U23 BM4X at the 2016 World Championships winning a silver medal. In the bow pair are two experienced GB lightweights. In the bow seat is Jon Jackson, a two-time bronze medallist in the U23 BLM4- and in front of him at 2 is Charlie Waite-Roberts, an U23 silver medallist from 2014 and who raced in the senior LM4X at last year’s World Championships. This crew raced at Marlow finishing 2nd to Molesey.

Of the non-Selected crews, the ones to watch include Nottingham & Agecroft. This crew were third at Marlow Regatta and also picked up 3rd place at the Holland Beker this weekend.

Christiana Roklub, Norway will be another crew to watch, they include former junior international Johannes Groseth at bow and U23 international Halvor West at 2.

Reading University have two crews in the event, the “A” crew were winners of thee Tier 2 quads at Marlow and two for the crew (Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton were in the quad that finished 5th at the BUCS regatta). The Reading “B” crew also raced in tier 2 quads at Marlow finishing 5th.

The Bath University & Bath Minerva composite raced in the Champ 4X event at Marlow finishing 2nd in the B-final. One place ahead of Bath was the Eton College & Burway Rowing Club composite.

 

My picks…this should develop into a Leander v Edinburgh University final. If it does this should be one of the highlights of Sunday’s racing, I think Leander will take their 7th win in 8 years.

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