Gloucester-Hartpury quad triumphs at Henley
The Gloucester-Hartpury crew of Alice Bowyer, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, Flo Pickles and Jessica Newson with fellow Gloucester rower Beth Rodford.
Gloucester-Hartpury scooped its first ever title at British rowing's premier event - Henley Royal Regatta - as the Under-18s girls quad bounced back from a nasty crash to claim glory.
On the morning of the final, the crew of Alice Bowyer, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, Jessica Newson and Flo Pickles crashed with a moored boat and snapped three oars in their warm-up row.
Luckily, they all escaped uninjured and if they were shaken by the crash, they didn’t show it, recording a comfortable four-length victory to scoop the Diamond Jubilee Challenge cup - a new trophy awarded for the first time in 2014 for the winning Under-18s female crew in the competition's 175th year.
For the Under-18s, the event is the culmination of a series of national events. In 2012-13, the Gloucester-Hartpury girls quad won the National Schools Regatta and Women’s Henley but were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Royal Regatta by eventual winners, Latymer School.
Tom Pattichis, who heads up Hartpury's rowing programme, said: "The girls were determined to go one better this year and were in good form, having pre-qualified for the event with wins at the Schools Head and Women’s Henley and they had achieved a bronze medal at the National Schools.
"They won their quarter-final convincingly against Eton Excelsior but they knew their biggest rivals would be Marlow Rowing Club and Headington School, who finished first and second at the National Schools. Another straight-forward win in the semi-finals over Henley Rowing Club set up the final with Marlow, who had beaten Headington in the other semi.
"Our girls had been hoping for a re-match with Marlow at the Henley Women's Regatta, but surprisingly, they were knocked out in the early rounds after a crash, so they were thrilled to get the chance to meet them in the final of the Royal Regatta and win by four lengths.
"They didn't have much time to celebrate their win though as all four of the girls are now taking part in final selection trials for the Great Britain Junior team!"
If the girls do get selected for Great Britain, they will become the first Hartpury rowers to do so since Sarah Bonar in 2012.