British Rowing Awards: Junior Crew of the Year shortlist

We share the citations of the regional winners for the Junior Crew of the Year Award, with national winners to be announced in a live webcast on 20 January

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After receiving a huge number of nominations for British Rowing Awards from clubs up and down the country, it’s been a tough job for our judging panels to narrow them all down to this year’s shortlist. Thank you to everyone who made a nomination and congratulations to the volunteers, coaches, clubs, crews and other rowers who have been selected.

Six junior crews have won regional awards and are now shortlisted for national awards. They are:

  • Eton College Boys’ First Eight
  • Hereford Cathedral School Boat Club J16 Boys’ Quad
  • Hinksey Sculling School Boys’ Coxed Four
  • Shiplake College Junior Women’s Quad
  • Surbiton High School Women’s Eight
  • Tideway Scullers’ School Boys’ Quad

Thames Region – Eton College Boys’ First Eight

This crew won the championship eights – the Queen Mother Cup – at National Schools Regatta, which Eton College BC had not done for a decade. At this event the second and third eights also won the gold medals in their events. The first eight went on to win the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta this year. There was no Schools’ Head in 2021, so there was no ‘triple crown’ to be won, but the crew remained unbeaten by any school crew for the entire season.

They showed remarkable resilience whilst training on their own during lockdown. In particular, the captain of this crew had a major operation to remove a brain tumour in the summer of 2020 and it was not expected that he would be able to return to school, let alone be able to return to rowing and be in the first eight.

West Midlands Region – Hereford Cathedral School Boat Club J16 Boys’ Quad

This young group of men showed great determination and strength of character and went on to have an extremely successful 2021 season.

In 2019 the boat club was struck by a series of floods with water-based training extremely limited on the River Wye. The crew and their families were regularly seen down at the club helping in the tidy-up after these occurrences. Then in 2020 COVID-19 hit, but these four young men were determined to improve their rowing, training at home using a range of apps, strength and conditioning, erg sessions and talks.

When they took to the water to compete for the first time as a J16 quad in the National Schools Regatta, despite nerves, they won impressively by a couple of boat lengths. They then went on to win the Great Britain / France selection trials and despite being disappointed not to travel to France to compete, focused again on the British Rowing Junior Championships and won the J16 boys’ quads. They qualified for Henley Royal in the Fawley Challenge Cup, giving a good amount of themselves in the first round. The race was picked out as the best race of the day by Sir Matthew Pinsent with Hereford Cathedral School BC being beaten by half a canvas.

Their endeavours have inspired younger pupils to take up rowing, doubling the size from the previous year. They have been awarded full school colours and are now mentoring other young boat club members.

They are particularly worthy recipients due to their character and attitude towards those around them. Despite their success they remain humble and unassuming, dedicated to helping others. They have been committed to training and competing to a high level but have also prioritised the support of their team mates throughout the lockdown.

Through dedication and determination the have exceeded their targets and surpassed everybody’s expectations. Hereford Cathedral School BC is a small club which had not previously performed on a national level. They are proud to have put their school boat club on the map.

Thames Region – Hinksey Sculling School Boys’ Coxed Four

In 2021 Hinksey Sculling School qualified six boats for Henley Royal Regatta after only ever having qualified one boat before. The Britannia Challenge Cup crew of G Reynolds, J Travis, E Sanderson, D Bradbery and R Marshall reached the final. It was an outstanding and inspiring performance from a poorly funded club.

This crew became the second junior crew in the history of the Britannia Challenge Cup to make the final. They come from Hinksey which is a charity community club that acts as an outreach programme for juniors who don’t go to a rowing school or who would otherwise not be able to participate in the sport. Hinksey doesn’t have a boathouse – members boat from a trailer and gym in an old pump room underneath a community centre.

The Hinksey boys put up an amazing fight in the Henley final and we are all immensely proud of them for getting so far.

Thames Region – Shiplake College Women’s Quad

The Shiplake College Junior Women’s quad had an unbeaten season in 2021 dominating every major event in the calendar. Despite not being the biggest or strongest group of girls they pushed the boundary of their technical ability throughout the year and reaped the rewards. It was most impressive how this crew stayed motivated to train throughout lockdown; they showed great determination and resilience all year.

The crew won junior quads at National Schools Regatta, Henley Women’s Regatta, Marlow Regatta, the British Rowing Junior Championships and went on to win the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

Thames Region – Surbiton High School Women’s Eight

Surbiton High School Boat Club has picked up a few National Schools Regatta medals and one Henley Women’s Regatta win over the past 21 years, but had never won a single round at Henley Royal. This year the club excelled beyond all expectations by making the final of the inaugural Junior Women’s Eights, losing to Headington School.

The four members of this crew were J16s, who won the J16 eights at National Schools Regatta and went on to win the J16 coxed fours at Henley Women’s Regatta.

The commitment from this Henley Royal eight in sacrificing their summer holidays to target a goal so far beyond what the club has produced before, has had a phenomenal impact on the rest of the club. While this accomplishment has been the result of years of hard work, this crew stepped up beyond everything asked of them and shown everyone just what Surbiton is capable of.

Thames Region – Tideway Scullers School Boys’ Quad

After a year without major competition due to the global pandemic, a junior crew from Tideway Scullers School achieved a historic win in the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta in August.

This is the first time in the history of the event that a crew from TSS has won this prestigious title. The crew members were local boys: Finnegan Regan (Waldegrave School), Gabriel Obholzer (Emmanuel School), Albie Oliver (Charter School) and Matthew Hansen (American School in London).

The crew were coached by experienced father and son team, Chris and Jonathan Williams.

Commenting on their win, Chris said: “These boys have trained incredibly hard for the last two years, not just physically, but in the way they have applied themselves to learn the skills needed to become some of the best junior scullers in the country.

“For a community amateur sports club like us to be winning at the top level at Henley alongside the very best private schools with their depth of resources and superior funding, is just a fantastic achievement.

“I’m so proud of what they’ve achieved. I wish them all well at the top US universities they are now going on to further their education.”

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