Updated: Apr 26, 2019


For the first time in 39 years, a Putney Town crew attached to the start on the second day of Henley Royal Regatta. The men’s four, competing in the Wyfold Challenge Cup beat City of Cambridge RC by 1 1/4 lengths on the Wednesday to set up a race against Bayer Leverkusen of Germany, who themselves had dispatched Nottingham RC in the opening round.

The crew of Alex Duncomb, Sam Russell, Jamie Diserens and Sam Diserens started well against City, taking a canvas off the start to lead as the crews moved off the Island. At the Barrier, the Town were half a length up and continuing to move out. Around Remenham, City put in a substantial push to narrow the gap but the Town held strong and then as the crews entered the enclosures stretched the lead out to clear water in front of Stewards’ to take the win and re-write the club’s history book. No longer were the Burton Leander crew of 1979 the last crew to be beaten by Putney Town at Henley Royal.

The supporters gathered in the boat tent area to congratulate the crew, including the 2008 Thames Cup 8+, who had come together for a ten year reunion, looking forward to the race on the following day.

The challenge on Thursday was always going to be tough. The Bayer Leverkusen crew had progressed without too much difficulty on Wednesday and were a young, strong crew. The game-plan was fairly simple: race very hard off the start and try and force an error. The start was indeed hard and fast, but the German crew held strong off the Island and soon moved out to clear water. That lead increased to four lengths, but the margin should not detract from the standard of rowing in the Town crew, who were putting in a performance of the season. As the Germans settled on the lead, the Town came back to narrow the deficit to two lengths by the finish.

It’s been a memorable Henley. Congratulations to all:

Crew: Alex Duncomb, Sam Russell, Jamie Diserens, Sam Diserens

Coach: Julie Lewis

If you are interested in being part of next year’s Henley campaign, please contact


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