Mid-August saw the return of Henley Royal Regatta with crowds returning to the banks of the Thames. The OB Club was well represented, with the debut appearance of Phoenix Boat Club and a number of other OBs racing for their universities and clubs.
The Phoenix crews safely navigated the qualifying round, booking themselves berths in both the Wyfold Challenge Cup and the Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup.
The Wyfold four of Austin Roberts (17-19), George Reid (Staff), Connor Sheridan (07-18) and Jared Sheridan (07-16) were unlucky to draw the seeded crew ‘Thames A’ in the first round. Off the start, the crew raced aggressively clashing in neutral water at the end of the island. Thames took a small lead passing the Barrier with Phoenix matching their opposition stroke for stroke. Approaching Remenham Club, Thames pushed away breaking clear and eventually won the heat by 1 ¾ lengths, in the second quickest time of the day for the Wyfold’s. Thames progressed through to the final where they beat Lea Rowing Club by 2 ½ lengths. The crew was desperately unlucky to have met the winners in the first round and would undoubtedly have made it through a couple more rounds had the draw been kinder.
Twins George (08-18) and Tom Christian (08-18) faced Bolding and Tarrant, the Olympic spare pair in the first round of the Goblets. The GB pair, with numerous Henley medals between them, was always going to be a tough draw. The twins rowed determinedly down the course enjoying the occasion and applause from the crowd. The GB crew, as expected, went on to win the event, beating Cambridge University in the final.
“To qualify in two events during the first year of Phoenix was just wonderful. I’m impressed by what the squad could achieve in just a few short weeks, and I look forward to seeing what comes next for Phoenix BC.” Lauren Owens, Phoenix Coach.
Thanks go to Pete Mulkerrins (Director of Rowing, BSBC), Will Suthers (Master in Charge, BSBC), Michael Ruta (Coach), Lauren Owens (Coach) and George Christian, for all their hard work and effort to get Phoenix on the water.
Elsewhere, the School 1st VIII made light work of King’s School Worcester in the first round of the Princess Elizabeth Cup before succumbing to Abingdon School, who came 4th at National Schools, in the second round. Eton College, as expected, won the event beating St Paul’s in the final.
Several other OBs raced for their Club’s and Universities. George Whitcombe ((11-20), Exeter University)) and Ben Giles ((13-20), University of Bristol), both raced in the Temple Challenge Cup. While Giles Moon (96-07) coached the UK Armed Forces crew in the Wyfold’s.
Josh Lyon (10-20), representing the University of Reading was competing in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. He had an excellent race, narrowly losing to Hartpury College BC by ¾ length in a thrilling race.
Finally, history was made when father and son, Dean (79-89) and Trent (10-19) Abraham, raced together for Star Club in the Thames Cup against Lea Rowing Club. The crew, mainly made up of masters, had enjoyed a successful lead up to Henley, with victories at the British Masters championships and Peterborough, before narrowly losing at Henley Masters Regatta to a star-studded Molesey crew, who boasted Olympic and World medallists. (Dean is rowing at “2” and Trent at “6”)
OBs reunited to recreate the 2019 BSBC crew who won the Fullers Head of the River coxed Fours. With the help of Lauren Owens, the boys took out a school boat and, in their words, ‘’powered up and down the Bedford stretch of the river as if they had never been apart’’!
In the boat were bow Josh Lyon (10-20), Harvey Toms (14- 21) heading to Edinburgh University) Ben Giles (13-20) and stroke George Whitcombe.
It is hoped this can be the first of many reunions, with an aim to put together a competitive Phoenix boat ready for next year’s Bedford regatta.
Come and join us!
The Club’s first competitive outing at Henley proved to be an exciting occasion, from which we hope to build upon, with crews racing in the future at both Bedford Regatta and Henley. If you’d like to get involved, please contact Phoenix Captain of Boats, George Christian (08-18) email@example.com