Time now for the one’s everyone’s interested in…the men’s club events.
The Thames Cup
Holders: Molesey Boat Club
The Stewards have picked out 8 crews to be Selected, four from the UK two from Germany and one each from Norway and the USA.
In the top half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Thames Rowing Club “B”. It’s a mark of the strength in depth of the Putney club that they have qualified three boats in this event and two of them have been selected. The “B” crew raced on both days of the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 4th in the Tier 2 8’s on the Saturday and following that up with 2nd place in the “C” Final of Challenge 8’s on the Sunday. They also raced at Marlow finishing 3rd in Tier 2 8’s – crucially being the fastest club eight in the race (losing to Oxford Brookes and Imperial College). Looking at the draw they face City of Oxford on Wednesday and the winner of Kingston & Molesey on Thursday. Having beaten both of these crews already this season the Thames boys will be confident of reaching Friday’s quarter finals.
If Thames do reach the quarter-finals they will most likely face the 2nd of the Selected crews in the top half of the draw, Ruder Club Allemania von 1866, Germany. The German’s have a number of U23 internationals on board including Peruvian Nicolas Pezet at bow. He raced in the U23 BM1X at the 2016 World Championships. At 4 is Gregory Schaltegger who was the spare for the 2014 U23 team. At 7 is Jonas Briese – who made the A-Final in the BLM2- at the 2013 World Championships.
The third Selected crew in this half of the draw are London Rowing Club. Since the war London have won this event 6 times but the last was back in 2006. They’ll be desperate to make it number 7. But, they face a really tough challenge on Wednesday when they face Agecroft. Both of these boats raced in the B-Final of Champ 8’s at Marlow with London emerging victorious by just 0.2 second. It could be too close to call between these two and London could well be the first Selected crew to fall.
The final selected boat in the top half of the draw is Riverside Boat Club from Boston Massachusetts. In the words of one club member this crew is “the fastest eight the club has ever had”. At the Head of the Charles last October this crew finished 5th in the Club 8’s events. Henley has been their main focus for the season and will be disappointed if they don’t make it through a few rounds. They have drawn Tideway Scullers on Wednesday and will be confident of progressing.
In the bottom half of the draw the first of the selected crews are RTC Bayer Leverkusen, Germany. Five of this crew reached the final in 2015 losing to Thames Rowing Club. The returning members are Dominik Drueke, Thorsten Jonischkeit, Dominic Imort, Fabian Weiler and Fabien Wimberg.
The next Selected crew are Leander Club. This is the Pink Palace’s development 8 although sitting in the 6 seat is Paralympic gold medallist James Fox. They raced at the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 7th and then at the Champ 8’s at Marlow Regatta they finished 5th.
The next Selected crew are the Norwegians from NSR Oslo. The Norwegians made the final of the Thames Cup last year and have half of the crew returning – Petter Tufte, Hallvand Bjorkeland, Markus Holmemoe & Enn Sture. At the recent Nordic Championships Tufte and Matti Saborowsky won the M2-.
The final selected crew are Thames Rowing Club “A”. Thames won this event for the first time since the war in 2015 and will be the favourites from the home crews for the title. So far this season they raced at the Metropolitan regatta finishing as the fastest club in 5th. At Marlow they were also the fastest club finishing 4th in the Champ 8’s.
Fastest of the non-Selected crews could well be the New Zealanders from Avon Rowing Club. At the New Zealand Championships in February they won the Club 8’s. Half the crew also won the Club 4+. They face Cantabrigian on Wednesday and then a possible match up against Riverside on Thursday.
As mentioned above, Agecroft could cause the Selected London Rowing Club some difficulties in the first round.
Molesey are the defending champions and this year’s crew raced in Tier 2 at Marlow finishing 2nd in the B-Final.
My picks…I think this could well be an Avon v Thames final with the honours going to Thames.
The Wyfold Challenge Cup
Holders: Grasshopper-Club, Zurich, Switzerland
8 crews have been selected for the Wyfold Challenge Cup. In the top half of the draw the first of these is London Rowing Club. They last won this event in 2011. This year’s crew of Matt Cummings, Nick Parnell, Stephen Griffiths & Dom Parnell raced on both days of the Metropolitan Regatta taking 3rd place on both days. They also raced in the final of Champ 4- at Marlow Regatta finishing 5th.
The 2nd of the Selected crews in the top of the draw is Sydney Rowing Club, Australia. The Sydney-siders are regular visitors to Henley and won this event in 2009. Their crew for 2017 is Max Brenner, Clinton Boltman, Jack Quinn and Nick Clifton. They raced the U23 BM4- at the Holland Beker last weekend finishing 3rd of the 3 crews. Back in Australia they four of them were members of the Sydney M8 that won silver in the Men’s Club 8’s at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta. They also picked up a silver medal in the club 4’s event.
The third of the Selected crews in the top half are The Tideway Scullers School. All highly experienced Henley competitors with Nathan O’Reilly, Lloyd Seaman, Will Fields and Murray Wikojc. They finished in 5th place in Champ 4-‘s on the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta and then 4th at Marlow half a second behind Sport Imperial and only half a second ahead of London.
The final Selected crew in the top half are the Dutch from K.A.R.Z De Hoop. This crew have been targeting this event all season and have put together a strong-looking bid. At bow is Frank Verschoor who raced in the Temple Challenge Cup for Nereus, losing the final in both 2010 and 2011. At 2 is Dom Meyrick-Cole – he raced as part of the Nereus “Oude-Vier” in 2015, but illness kept him out of the boat for Henley. At 3 is Marlou Kamphuis from Groningen, a winner of the Head of the Amstel. Stroking the boat is Mathew Kleine Punte, another Nereus alumni who rowed in the Temple finals in 2010 and 2011. As a four this season they have a 2nd place at the ZRB Regatta and won the Thetis sprint, defeating the Dutch U23 crew in the process.
In the lower half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Mercantile from Australia. The crew includes Andrew Burke and Angus Maloney who were part of the M8 that won the U23’s at the Australian Championships. Joining them in the crew are Tom Hunt and Callum Nott.
The next selected crew are Sport Imperial – possibly the leading home crew in the event. The crew of Sam Butler, Matt Pointing, Josh Butler and Matt Whaley raced to a 4th place at the Metropolitan Regatta and 3rd at Marlow – in both cases they were the leading Wyfold eligible crew. The margins between them and the likes of Tideway Scullers and London may be small, but those wins will give them the edge in a match race.
The 3rd Selected crew in the lower half of the draw are the Irish from Commercial Rowing Club – Colm Dowling, Michael Corcoran, Fionnan Groome & Shane MacEoin. Corcoran raced for Trinity College, Dublin in the Prince Albert last year losing in the heats. Dowling, Groome & MacEoin have all represented Ireland at the Home International Regatta and last season Dowling and Groome were in the Commercial crew that won Senior 8’s at the Irish Championships – setting a new record in the process.
The final Selected crew in the event are Thames Rowing Club. Another crew of seasoned Henley campaigners with James Palmer, Will Downey, Luke Wertheim and Harry Dorrance-King. They raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 6th in the Champ 4- A-Final. If the Selections pan out as intended by the Stewards they should meet the Irish on Friday.
Outside of the Selected crews the ones to watch include the Norwegians from Christiana Roklub, 8th in Ghent and including Nikolai Jorgensen who rowed for London RC in the Britannia Challenge Cup in 2013, and Kristoffer Lorentzen who raced for Norway at the 2013 Universidad.
Another crew to watch are City of Bristol. The West Country club are developing into a force to be reckoned with in that part of the world and have successfully qualified 2 boats for the Wyfold. The boys from Bristol docks in the “A” crew are having an excellent season finishing 3rd in the B-final of Champ 4’s at Marlow and 2nd in Tier 2 at the Metropolitan. As a Bristolian myself I’ll be cheering them on in their tough 1st round race against Maidstone Invicta who themselves were winners of Tier 4 4-‘s at the Metropolitan.
Maidenhead are another one to watch, finishing 2nd & 3rd in the Tier 3 events on both days of Metropolitan Regatta. They have drawn Radley Mariners in round one and will be confident of progressing to a likely meeting with Thames on Thursday.
The final crew to mention are Northwich – Joe Anderson, Finn Lawton, Harry Taylor and George Lawton. They won Tier 3 4- at the Metropolitan Regatta and Tier 2 at Marlow. George Lawton raced for GB last year at the Junior World Championships. The draw gives them a potential meeting with London on Thursday, and the Selected Londoners will have a real fight on their hands to progress.
My picks….really tricky….I think we will have a K.A.R.Z De Hoop v Sport Imperial final with the Imperial boys just sneaking it.
The Britannia Challenge Cup
16 crews in this event of which half are deemed worthy of “Selection”. In the top half it’s Thames Rowing Club that are the first Selected crew. They probably earned the Selection nod from the Stewards after a strong performances at Marlow Regatta, finishing 5th in the A-Final of Champ 4+. This followed a good regatta at the Metropolitan with a 2nd place in tier 2 on Saturday, losing to National University Ireland, Galway and a win in Tier 2 on Sunday. Thames face Wallingford in round 1, a crew they have beaten a number of times this season so will be confident of progressing.
If successful against Wallingford, Thames will face the winner between Agecroft and the 2nd Selected crew The New York Athletic Club, USA. The New Yorkers are Bucknall graduates Veton Celaj and Connor Corwen along with Colby College’s Noah Teachey and Dan Curtis. At the Head of The Charles Regatta NYAC finished 4th in the Club 4’s. They face a tricky contest against Agecroft in round 1, they finished 2nd in Tier 4 at the Metropolitan Regatta and will be a good test for the Americans.
The 3rd of the selected boats in this event are Kingston Rowing Club. Kingston have won this event twice, the last time being 1978. This season they raced at Ghent May Regatta finishing 5th and also finished 5th in Tier 2 4+ at the Metropolitan Regatta. They have a tricky first round match-up as well, facing the Norwegians from N.S.R Oslo. This boat includes former Harvard oarsman and Australian U23 international Ed Northorp. He’s joined by Norwegian U23 international and Henley finalist Ole Bang-Andreason. Also in the crew is former Brazilian junior international Francisco Mendes. The Norwegians are probably unlucky not to have been Selected themselves and could well be too quick for the Kingstonians.
The final Selected crew on this side of the draw are the Australians from Sydney Rowing Club. Sydney won this event in 2015 and could go far again this year. The crew includes University of California, Berkeley graduate Michael Bernerius, he raced at U23 level in 2013 finishing 4th in the BM4+. Also in the crew is Henley finalist Charles Patterson, he was in the crew that were beaten in the quarter finals of the Prince of Wales Cup in 2014 and then in the Wyfold crew that lost to Petone of New Zealand in the heats. In the three seat is William O’Connell, he was a member of the Sydney Rowing Club crew that finished 2nd in Club 4-‘s at the Sydney International Regatta. They face Southampton Coalporters in the first round and will be confident of progressing to face either Kingston or Oslo in the 2nd round.
In the bottom half of the draw the first Selected crew are the Bostonians from Riverside Boat Club, USA. At the Head of the Charles this crew finished 6th in the Club Fours, 30 seconds behind NYAC. This crew includes Alex Barat, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and now assistant coach at Clark University and James Primes of Boston College. They are drawn to meet qualifiers Stratford-upon-Avon in the first round and then (assuming they are victorious), the winner of St. Andrew Boat Club from Scotland and Club De Nautique, France. St. Andrews are the selected crew and have raced a number of times in England, at the Metropolitan Regatta they picked up a 2nd place in Champ 4’s on the Saturday and 5th in Tier 1 on the Sunday. At Marlow Regatta they finished 1st in the B Final of Champ 4’s. This crew includes U23 international Graham Ord who was 9th in the BM2- at last year’s World Championships.
The next Selected crew are the 2nd Australian crew in the event, U.T.S Haberfield. This crew were winners of the Open Club 4+ at the Australian Championships and last weekend raced at the Holland Beker finishing in 3rd behind the NYAC Visitors 4.
The final selected crew are Molesey, who last won this event in 2008. This year’s crew raced in Tier 1 at the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 4th, but were the first of the Britannia Cup eligible crews. It was a similar story at Marlow Regatta where they finished 4th in the Champ 4+ event but were the highest placed Brit crew. They face a tricky first round tie against the Germans from R.T.C Bayer Leverkusen.
My picks…it’s a very open field, the top half of the draw is especially stacked with Thames, Sydney, NYAC and Oslo. I’ve a feeling we may see a Molesey/Thames final and I’m going for Molesey for the win.