Rowing: Wind keeps Henley races on the edge

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A blustery wind kept umpires and steersmen of coxless boats busy at Henley yesterday. Before the wind got up, Leander’s B crew were disqualified from the Visitors’ when they were hit by Martyrs and Christ Church while Leander were being warned for being off their station. The same two crews were involved in a similar incident at Marlow Regatta two weeks ago, with the opposite outcome.

Racing got serious in the eight-oared events yesterday. In the Temple Durham University narrowly lost to Western Ontario after the latter had a lot of trouble steering. The rest of the quarter finals were all-American, with Trinity Hartford defeating Grand Valley State from Michigan, Harvard narrowly beating Williams College, and Stanford keeping the West Coast flag flying by putting Cornell out — all verdicts of a length or less.

In the Thames Cup, Gent moved relentlessly onwards against Grosvenor of Chester. Tideway Scullers disposed of Molesey; Leander of a Hamburg crew with four former junior medallists on board, and the Salford club Agecroft dumped the locals, Henley RC.

The semi-finals of the Princess Elizabeth for school eights are between Shrewsbury, who were lucky to survive Latymer Upper’s onslaught yesterday, and the Canadians from Shawnigan Lake; while Eton, who had a tussle with St Joseph’s Prep from Philadelphia, take on Scotch College of Australia who beat a composite from Worcester in the other half.

Mainz and Berlin, the national German lightweight eight who have chalked up four lightweight firsts plus two seconds in heavyweight events this year, will take some stopping in the Ladies’ Plate.

Among the small boats, Ian Lawson of Leander is on course for the Diamonds in the single boat and the Double Sculls with Ross Hunter. Sean Jacob, the sculler who recently failed to get an injunction against the Irish Amateur Rowing Union in the Dublin high court over selection for the Olympics, meets Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell in today’s [SAT] semifinal. His sister Frances, the Scottish single sculling champion, was beaten in the Princess Royal by her Irish compatriot Caroline Ryan, whose father and coach is Willy Ryan, winner of Henley titles in 1975 and 1977 with Garda Siochana.

The Grand Challenge Cup starts today, when the Danish national squad meets the Estonians of the University of Southern California in the top half, and Leander, who are attempting a grand slam in the three top eights events (Grand, Ladies’ Plate and Thames) face the Canadian national development eight.