Henley Royal Regatta 2017
Tom Jost, Head of Rowing, reports back after a rather momentous Henley Royal Regatta for Claires Court.
After coming fifteenth at the Schools Head in March, being beaten by Maidenhead by twenty seven seconds over a five minute race, to coming fourth at the National Schools Regatta just five weeks ago, nine seconds behind Windsor Boys School, we approached HRR 2017 with limited optimism. Oh how wrong we were!
After getting a bye in the first round then beating Tideway Scullers and Globe in the second and third rounds respectively, we found ourselves against local rivals Maidenhead RC in the semi final of the Fawley Challenge Cup. Having not beaten Maidenhead all season we knew the boys were up against it but they went about it as they had done every round, meticulously and in their own way. Off the start the boys hit their rhythm and sat with Maidenhead in the early part of the race. Through the middle of the race they edged away from Maidenhead and pushed this out to a substantial lead in the second half which they carried through to the finish.
This then put Claires Court up against Windsor Boys in the final for the second year in a row. The final took a very similar pattern to the previous rounds, with Claires Court being dropped by around a length early on but sitting on a fantastic rhythm which pulled them back into the race in the second half. Going through the Fawley marker at half way, Windsor Boys were two seconds off record pace and just under a length up on Claires Court and this is where the race got interesting. Both crews laid it down and the pace of the race picked up dramatically. Claires Court started to edge up on Windsor and approaching the enclosures the crews drew level. Claires Court stepped again and for a brief time narrowly took the lead from Windsor. Windsor then went again and regained the lead which our boys did their utmost to take back but Windsor had that final gear to be able to go on and take the win.
For Claires Court to have been leading at the start of the enclosures, to have beaten the previous course record by three seconds and to still not have won is extremely gutting. But hats off to Windsor Boys School, well done.
Though we didn't win, no one would have guessed that Claires Court were going to be able to get to this point, and to have done it considering where they came from only a couple of months ago, is nothing short of incredible.
If you want to see one crew and one race that sums up everything that the boat club is about.... it is these four boys in this one race.
Twelve months to HRR 2018!