Four crews from Runcorn Rowing Club attended Henley Royal Regatta Qualifying Races. This outstanding achievement for the small provincial club, was rewarded with one crew qualifying for the main regatta.
All Runcorn crews raced in time trial conditions down the famous Henley 1mile 550yard course against national and international crews. Sam Edwards, Marc Pinnington, Henry Pettinger-Harte and Stuart Beards raced in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup qualifiers and were one of the five fastest crews to qualify. This quadruple scull combination will now race against 15 other crews, starting with Isle of Ely/Bath University.
Henley Royal Regatta has introduced a new category this year- Junior Womens Quadruple Sculls. Franke Sinnott, Poppy Burgess, Annie Rogers, Ellen Thomas joined 11 other qualifying crews and were the fastest non qualifiers. The Girls had raced earlier in the month at Henley Womens Regatta , with Fae Atkinson in place rather than Ellen Thomas, beating Monkton/Avon County in the heats, losing out to Cranford by 2 1/2 lengths, in the semi finals.
The other Runcorn crews produced quality racing, in difficult windy conditions. In the Wyford Challenge Cup qualifiers - Rob Michaels, Mike Bennett, George Patrick, Henry Morgan, racing a Four came 19th.
In the Fawley Challenge Cup qualifiers - Liam Street, Calvin Perchard, George Whiston and Matthew Robinson, racing in a junior quad came 20th
The club is really proud of all its rowers and their performances and will working hard to improve on their status for next year.
Henley Royal Regatta 2012 saw Runcorn Rowing Club competing in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. On Thursday 28 June Stuart Beards, Henry Harte, Marc Pinnington and Sam Edwards, having qualified the previous Friday, raced in the opening heats against Isle of Ely/Bath University. This Senior Quadruple Sculls race was upstream along the prestigious 1 mile 550yd (2,112m) course. It started at Temple Island and finished in front of the Stewards Enclosure crowds in the centre of Henley. Runcorn led for the majority of the race, despite their opposition being a good 2 stone a man heavier. However they were rowed down in the last 300m and were only beaten by 2 ½ lengths.
Stuart Beards enthusiastically said, "Having led for 2/3rds of the race it was a shame not to win the Thursday heat and advance to Friday's quarter finals at Henley. Although we didn't get further than the first round, we have all come away with the experience and motivation to start next season with a real drive to reach the HRR Sunday final in 2013. Our aim is to get stronger and fitter, and really push ourselves to the limit. It's a challenge that will not be easy." "Thanks go to all of the supporters that came down to watch us race on Thursday and to the club for their support throughout the year. Special thanks to Val Edwards and Dave Street – our coaches throughout the season, making this year's achievement possible."
Henry Harte, still a Runcorn Junior said, " This was my second year competing at Henley, along with Sam Edwards. Last year we competed as Juniors in the Fawley Challenge Cup but this year we competed as Seniors in a different category. It was a brilliant experience and we hope to qualify next year too." " We were disappointed we didn't get further in the competition but the Quad had a great team spirit and we worked really hard to get as far as we did"
Marc Pinnington said, "For me the experience of Henley was brilliant and I loved every moment of it. It was a honour to row at such a prestige event and I hope next year we can make it past a round or to."
Val Edwards, their Coach has a personal account of reaching Henley and following the race from along the bank: "After racing at the Qualifiers race on Friday, they had raced their socks off and it almost didn't matter what the result was, as they were so excited. The results came over the tannoy in alphabetical order and Runcorn was through. The excitement was fantastic; the lads were going to Henley! "Round 1 Thursday 11:15 the race was off. The lads had a fantastic start and were leading 3/4 of the way but the power of the other crew lengthened and took the lads on. There was a battle in progress with only 300m to go, could they hold on? Every stroke the other crew took they were eating away at Runcorn's lead. Then they were ahead by a canvas, the boys tried everything, and the rate went up in both boats. I had gone past the last radio microphone so lost the end result. I ran like the clappers to the finish, their heads were down and bodies spent, Marc being sick and heartache written over their faces. They gave it their all, but they are not broken. They are coming back for more next year but they know what they have to do now, beef up and grow a bit more and a wee bit more training!"
Marc Pinnington, Sam Edwards, Henry Harte, Stuart Beards and Coach Val Edwards
Former Junior GB rower Rosa Atkinson, a Runcorn RC member, currently at university, was selected to row in a composite boat in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup Rosa rowed for Sport Imperial Boat Club with Melbourne University, Australia in Friday's heats against Centro Nazionale di Canottaggio Piediluco, Italy. The Quad were leading over the first part up the course and but were eventually beaten by just 1 and ¼ lengths