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Henley Regatta



The VIII won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley in style by a five length margin this year after narrowly losing in the final last year. Henley is a five day knock out regatta and crews come from schools around the world to compete. Here is how the event was summed up by journalist Rachel Quarrel:

"It’s tempting to think that never before have so many British supporters got so quickly behind an Eton College eight in the Princess Elizabeth, but the sheer class of the 2009 vintage left them little other option. Abingdon’s boatman described the  Oxfordshire schoolboys’ quarter-final victory over Belmont Hill on Friday as “winning the chance to be stuffed by Eton in the final” and the only real disappointment was that such a good crew did not have a Brentwood or a St Ignatius at the height of their powers, against whom they could demonstrate their international-standard prowess. The final went entirely to plan, the only flaw being a couple of warnings for over-arrogant steering. Eton took a quarter of a length off Abingdon along the island and had their fifth faultless row of the regatta. Everything Eton did was outstanding. Mark Evans, father of the six man and an Oxford Blue and Olympic champion for Canada in 1984, put it all down to coach Alex Henshilwood. Abingdon have the former lightweight world champion Peter Haining involved, but even he could not outsmart an  exceptional Eton crew. Despite laudably persistent efforts, Abingdon gave Eton little to push off, but Henshilwood’s boys couldn’t go slowly if they tried, and burst into a cheeky sprint at the end to win by five lengths and give him his third PE trophy in six years. Fears of broken equipment and mishaps vanished in celebrations for a memorable triple crown campaign by Ed Nainby-Luxmoore, Max Monfared, Ben Balkwill, James Hobhouse, Caspar Jopling, Michael Evans, Chris Pellew, Stan Louloudis, and cox Oliver Fletcher. Bow [has] only just done [his] GCSEs. “It’s been a lot of pressure, hasn’t it?” said Henshilwood.  Anything can happen to put you off your game, but thank god nothing did.” Those hoping to hear how he does it were disappointed though. “There isn’t really any secret — what we do, we do pretty well. We’ve got experience and we know what makes a good boat.” And with six of the crew back next year, including the talented Pinsent-like stroke Constantine Louloudis, Eton may get their chance to try for the first back-to-back PE wins in 19 years. “The knack is the consistency”, said Henshilwood. “That’s what’s going to motivate us pretty strongly in November when we’ve forgotten about all this.” Meanwhile junior selection chief Richard Boulton, who described the crew as “awesome, extraordinary”, had the pleasantly difficult task of deciding whether to maintain the bulk of the eight to challenge the big nations at the juniors, or whether to  create a four to bid for world championship gold"





DATE POSTED: 29 July 2009

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