Cox, Alex Smith, and Stroke Stuart Beards on the start line of the Thames Challenge Cup
Pre-qualification for HRR meant that the atmosphere within the men’s squad was fairly relaxed. Fred had reduced our training load in the build up to racing giving us more spare time than we knew what to do with.
We attended the draw at Henley town hall and waited with nervous anticipation for our opponents. Unfortunately our prayers for a match up with a slower crew went unanswered as Steve Redgrave paired us with Itchen Imperial. Our post draw analysis of Itchen Imperial revealed that they were the slightly quicker crew over a two kilometre course.
It was a hard fought race but Itchen did prove to be too quick beating our Curlew VIII by over a length. Itchen’s Henley journey stopped the next day with a convincing defeat from eventual semi-finalists Leander Club.
We were naturally disappointed to lose in the first round. We had higher ambitions as a crew but were always going to need an advantageous draw to achieve this. Despite this, the season has produced some special moments and it has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of this seasons senior men’s squad.
Words by Connor Austin