There have been thrills and spills and a great deal of drama on the Thames at the Henley Royal Regatta this week. Our 1st VIII demonstrated sportsmanship, resilience, focus and teamwork in abundance; a fitting finish to the end of the school year.

Day one saw them race against Monkton Combe School. The race started smoothly, with Bedford School taking a commanding lead from the start. Rowing in a tandem rig, the boys’ technique was described by the commentators as classy and relaxed, and by the Fawley Marker they commanded a substantial lead. However, at the mid-race point, disaster struck as our seventh oarsman caught a boat-stopping crab which halted their charge. Despite this dramatic event, the boys kept their calm, held it together and maintained the lead, and went on to win the race. Even rowing legend and Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent tweeted about it saying; “All been there. Bravo that man. Didn’t panic”.

Winning their heat, meant, of course, going through to day two, where they faced Westminster School. Rowing confidently and strongly once again, the boys led the opposition to the finish line, winning by a good two boat lengths.

The competition ramped up a notch as the boys moved to day three, a position in which they did not expect to be in (and the first time in 15 years that our 1st VIII has made it to Friday) which saw us up against the formidable Shrewsbury School. The boys put up a strong fight; with the two boats neck and neck for the first half. Despite the boys attacking hard and giving it their absolute all, it was Shrewsbury School who pipped the post first.

The races were played via a live stream on YouTube, allowing us to watch the races here at school. Staff and pupils tuned in during their lessons to cheer the team on, with their last race broadcast during final assembly!

What a remarkable and inspirational effort from the boys; they are a credit to the school and fine role models for our younger boys.

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