Isle of Wight rowing clubs were ably represented at Henley Fours and Eights Head last week.
The event provided a welcome opportunity for the IOW Forum Performance programme, comprising the most talented young rowers on the Island, to test themselves against some of the best crews in the country.
First off were the Shanklin Mixed J15 crew of Rachael Debenham, Ethan Walters, Riley Horrix, Owen Denness and Jonjo Findlay (Cox), competing in the J16 Boys Four event. A solid race over the 3000m course placed them 5th overall – a great result for the young athletes.
The J18 Women’s Four enjoyed their best row to date at an inland regatta, taking some significant scalps in the process. Kayleigh Batchelor, Yas Wright, Lottie Tapsell, Sophie Atkin and Emily Faithfull (Cox) put in a gutsy performance to gain a second 5th place.
Ryde School Boat Club’s Women’s Open 4, with several making their competitive debut, showed great potential in a very competitive status. Mary Lillington, Chloe Hughes, Olivia Wright, Ayesha Taylor and Ellie Jenkins (Cox) demonstrated improving form and rowed with determination to claim 5th place.
The second division, whilst presenting a challenging headwind and stronger current, afforded opportunity for Island clubs to combine forces. The Mens’ Open 4 had an excellent row to gain 4th place, with the composite crew of Ethan Walters, Ollie Coulson, Matt Chalmers and Jonjo Findlay giving a solid performance. The IOW Rowing Forum fielded a Women’s Open Eight for the first time, comprising a composite of athletes from Shanklin, Newport, Ryde and Ryde School Boat Club. Superb coxing by Ellie Jenkins allowed them to enjoy their best row to date.
Island rowing clubs now consolidate their training and speedwork ahead of a busy March period; National Indoor Rowing Championships, Junior Wessex Trials and the Head of the Stour at Christchurch.
Report submitted by SSRC Club captain Garry Walters