Twickenham RC enjoy success at Henley

Twickenham Rowing Club celebrated despite defeat on Thursday after enjoying their most successful Henley Royal Regatta for more than 20 years.

Twickenham have not made it through to Henley’s second round since 1991, and have not achieved the feat in an eight since the early 1980sm but took part in day two of the Thames Challenge Cup after beating Marlow by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

The writing was on the wall for Twickenham in the second round as they faced a crew made up of aspiring German internationals from Frankfurt, and lost easily.

However coach Chris Vannozzi said of the first-round win: “It’s a small thing at a big regatta but a big thing for us.

“It was a good draw for us but two old, established clubs and a proper tussle. We were absolutely thrilled to come out on top. Everyone at Twickenham is thrilled.”

Twickenham this season became host to the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme, which goes into the community to identify potential Olympians and teaches them to row from scratch.

Fulham Reach Boat Club were victorious earlier this week
Fulham Reach Boat Club were victorious earlier this week

The programme has already produced Edward Sandhu, who is 6ft 8in tall and sits in the six seat of the club’s Henley crew. It’s been a really smooth transition. They’ve become quite embedded in the club and their top athletes have been rowing with the squad. It points the way for the future for the club.

“We qualified last year but got a seeded crew and disappeared out in the first round. We started the year with seven of that eight so thought this would be a great year but one by one all but two of them gave up,” said Vannozzi.

“This is the next generation – people who learned to row last year through to a Thursday at Henley, which is great.

“Half the crew have come through our learn-to-row programme; we’ve got ‘Woody’ from the Start programme and one or two former university rowers. And we’ve managed to smash them together into an eight.”

New Hammersmith club Fulham Reach BC, who won their opening race at the regatta on Wednesday, also fell to stronger opposition in the second round as Wyfold Challenge Cup favourites Upper Thames RC beat them by almost four lengths.

“Not to be this year but a cracking Henley Royal Regatta! Thank you so much to everyone for the support,” said programme director and steersman Steve O’Connor on Facebook afterwards.

Martin Gough writes the weekly rowing blog The Rowlup – – out every Friday

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