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Five Putney Town crews completed the Women’s Head of the River Race last Saturday as part of a club record entry into the biggest women’s rowing event of the year. After the hail of 2016, the weather was much kinder with the course warmed by Spring sunshine and free of wind as the crews prepared to start.

The first eight had a dramatic finish and were caught in the middle of a three abreast sprint from the buoys to the finish line between Wallingford and Leander! Wallingford’s refusal to move over caused Heather and the Leander cox to steer the most nerve-wracking line of their racing lives, as Leander almost lost their bow side blades on the (rather solid) buoys on the final stretch. Although it’s not often you get to race side by side with current and future Olympians! 

The second eight included a late sub, with a return to Putney Town blue and white for Emma from her new home of Southampton. Steered by the Vikram, borrowed from the men’s squad, the crew had a solid race with many of the crew taking part in their first WEHoRR.

The masters crew also found themselves lucky enough to be racing alongside and through several other Masters crews all the way down the course, resulting in much shouting from the cox to “move over” as they managed to push through at least 3 other crews in their category.

With the benefit of pushing off other boats, one of the fittest crews in the club’s master’s boat for a long time coupled with some gutsy rowing and coxing, the women came in at number 146, inside their goal of top 150 out of a total of 296 starting crews. In the D category the crew came 3rd out of 5 and successfully managed to decrease the time gap between them and the very strong winning Upper Thames crew (position 66th) over last years performance, by 32 seconds.

For the second successive year two boats from the development squad raced, taking part with all 16 girls barely six months into their rowing careers.

All crews, and our guests from Ruderclub Baden, enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by the men’s squads and were entertained into the night by “Bad Stroke” to celebrate the end of the women’s head season.

Crews and results:

1st 8+: 

55th 20:14.3. Claire Mackay, Rachel Dean, Emily Bowden, Jade Gowan, Rosabella Styles, Gina Killick, Sophie Bluff, Debs Oakley, Heather Longstaff (cox)

Masters 8+: 

146th 21:23.8. Jane Nash, Karen Shepherd, Marisa Futernick, Cecile Jacklin, Mary Mortime, Clare Allen, Sue Pictor, Simone Frehe, Camilla Lister (cox).

2nd 8+: 

168th 21:37.5. Ele Culley, Laura Peck, Frances Pattison, Emer McSwiney, Emily Proud, Mel Perkins, Liz Stoyel, Emma Flynn, Vikram Patel (cox) 

Development A – 8+: 

265th 22:44.6. Joely Dicks, Laura Tompkins, Sarah Foxton, Catriona Docherty, Laura Moore, Sarah Armstrong, Anya Harris, Lara Tandy, Ewan Maddock (cox)

Development B – 8+: 

274th 23:05.3. Jess Ciampi, Lauren Buchanan, Emily Gray, Jess Dames, Sarah Whatmoor, Sam Jones, Aly Harwood, Izabella Mier, Simon Maxwell (cox)


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