Wallingford Head for fours and eights took place on Sunday 28th November in bright sunshine but this couldn’t offset the cold wind and freezing temperatures that the athletes had to contend with. 298 crews split across two divisions was a capacity entry for the event which is raced over a challenging 4000 metre up stream course, has some significant bends early in the race and finishes just below the Wallingford town bridge.
From nine entries HRC Junior girls finished with four outright wins, a 2nd and a 3rd place, and three crews having no opposition in their category. Competing in WJ16 8+ Emily Simmons, Anna Merritt, Tilly Macartney, Tabbie Hall, Gwennie Hunter, Ella Dickson, Emma Eltze, Flo Lenthall, cox Matilda Ley had a convincing win finishing nearly a minute ahead of second place St Pauls Girls School who were just ahead of the Henley second boat in third place. The time of 16:58 for the winning boat also made them second fastest Junior girls eight across all age groups.
They were only beaten by the Henley WJ18 8+ of Eyla Wild, Lucy Jones, Pippa Jamieson, Ailish Harkin, Nonnie Luke, Laoise O’Donohue, Natalie Schoemackers, Josie Sawbridge, cox Rose McEwan who finished in 16:21, 39 secs ahead of St Edwards School, their finishing time put them in tenth place of all the Women’s eights competing which included top boats from Oxford Univesity, Oxford Brookes and Leander Club.
Girls from both the winning eights also competed in coxed fours events. Nonnie Luke, Ailish Harkin, Pippa Jamieson, Laoise O’Donohue with cox Neave Stark, winning WJ18 4+ and Emily Simmons, Tabbie Hall, Tilly Macartney, Florence Lenthall with cox Caitlin Emery, winning WJ16 4+. Taking 2nd place in the WJ16 event was the other half of the winning WJ16 8+ Ella Dickson, Anna Merritt, Gwennie Hunter, Emma Eltze and cox Matilda Ley, who finished 83 secs ahead of third place Lady Eleanor Holles School. Only one other women’s coxed four was quicker than the three Henley boats and that was the Oxford Brooks top boat.
This is another set of very good results for the Henley girls squad coming on top of the Fours Head wins two weeks ago.