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Henley Royal Regatta 2010

Henley is the ultimate venue for competitive rowers worldwide. It combines the elegance of an Edwardian garden party on the one hand, with fight to the death rowing over its 2112m long straight unforgiving wooden boomed course, where a full-on sprint start evolves over the seven-minute race into a grueling muscle-seizing grind to the finish line. A Gladiatorial contest it most certainly is.

Runcorn entered its first ever senior crew into the regatta this year, to join a return of the junior crew that was the club's debut crew last year. Having qualified directly for the regatta by proving their class with fine races at Marlow Regatta, both crews fortunes were decided in the Henley Town Hall on the Saturday noon "draw" where the contests are drawn from a bag and laid out for the regatta programme of racing.

Runcorn's 1st eight in the Thames Cup


The Eight, entered in the Thames Cup for club VIIIs, was drawn against West End Rowing Club of New Zealand, their premier national club, represented by their National Champion club VIII. The Runcorn crew of cox Laura Gardiner (13), Matthew Hackett, Mike Dixon, Jamie (son) Perrin, Mike Bennett, George (dad) Perrin (58!)Francis Hunt (17), Dan Norcross, Henry Morgan lined up on the start against this hugely selected and trained, but fundamentally just plain huge crew who easily dealt with our crew's challenge. The Runcorn crew's spirit persisted to the very end of the course, with a racing performance that justified their selection into the event, and gave the crew a great deal of satisfaction.

 

Runcorn's Junior Quad - fastest in the country!

The junior quadruple scull was a composite entry of three Runcorn scullers Alistair Young, Alistair Hudson-Kirkham, George Patrick and Merchant Taylors' School rowing captain Phil Beattie. This crew was a favoured "seeded" crew following their performance at Marlow, where they established themselves as the second fastest domestic crew. At Henley, they effectively disposed of the London/ Maidenhead composite crew that contained the top GB sculler in their first race, but then met the eventual winners from one of Australia's top clubs, Banks Rowing Club, in the quarterfinal. Banks contained several of Australia's top junior rowers who had tried to win the event last year, and had got together specifically for this competition with Gap years and focus to seal the deal in 2010. They were the eventual winners in the final, but no one got closer to them than the Runcorn crew. Three of this Runcorn crew are now committed to return next year for their last attempt at winning this schoolboy event.

 

Runcorn and their coaches

Liverpool University, who also row out of Runcorn Rowing Club, were overjoyed to qualify into the Universities event, which attracts many elite student crews from all around the world. They lost their first round race to a very experienced Durham university based crew in this event eventually won by the University of Washington, USA.

More photos in the Gallery

 

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