By Zoë Goodwin
A warm Saturday afternoon in late July saw a small contingent of Wolfson women and their cox travelling down to Henley for the annual Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta. Familiar to our members as the site of our annual spring training camp, it was odd for us to visit Henley in the warmth of a fine summer’s day. Henley Town and Visitors Regatta is the last 800m section of the Henley Royal Regatta on the River Thames just downstream of iconic Henley Bridge. Due to time commitments Wolfson just entered a novice IV+, with one rower also featuring in a Lincoln-Linacre-Wolfson composite IM2+ VIII earlier in the day.
In the late morning one of this year’s Wolfson novices, Laura Depner, competed in an experienced Lincoln-Linacre-Wolfson composite VIII; first in the semi-finals they were against a crew familiar from the Isis, City of Oxford RC. Winning by several lengths, despite some confusion over the location of the finish line, the Lincoln-Linacre-Wolfson composite progressed to face NoneSuch BC (Bristol University BC alumni); in a tense final the composite pulled away relentlessly and crossed the line 1.5 lengths ahead to win some fine pots and the first ever BR point for Laura.
At 16:30 a nervous Wolfson IV+, racing in Hermione, faced a junior crew from the Royal Air Force. Lighter per woman, the RAF had a fast start and pulled away by half a length within the first few strokes. However, exhorted by their cox Wolfson after hitting their stride started to quickly gain on the RAF crew and moved into the lead. Despite a fight back from the RAF crew and two minor crabs from Wolfson, the Wolfson crew managed the win by ½ length.
Two hours later in the golden sunshine of the early evening Wolfson were up against another crew familiar from the Isis, Oxford Academicals, competing in an even more familiar shell, former Wolfson IV+ Bernard Henry. Wolfson started the race in a far more relaxed mood than in the semi-finals and consequently flew out of the blocks. With a roar from their cox Wolfson hit their racing cruise and pushed off the Academicals storming into a strong lead. In the final 200m of the course to the cheers from the bank Wolfson continued to push off the Academicals to win by a 5 length lead at the finish line.
So a successful day for our women – all now no-longer novices and the proud owners of some very fine tankards.
W IM3 4+ Crew in Hermione: Stefanie Zekoll (Stroke), Theresa Zekoll (3), Laura Depner (2), Zoë Goodwin (Bow), Niclas Palmius (Cox)
W IM2 8+ Crew Lincoln-Linacre-Wolfson composite: Jessica Phillips (Stroke), Leah Rand (7), Gemma Clucas (6), Hannah Patel (5), Laura Depner (4), Annina Grädel (3), Gemma Adams (2), Beth Watts (Bow), Hannah Mosley (Cox)