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Henley Women's Regatta Winners Groton Challenge Cup

From the 17th to the 19th June, 3 crews from the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association joined 2000 athletes from all over Britain and beyond to take part in the annual Henley Women’s Regatta, held on a 1500 metre course on the Thames from Temple Island to the Remenham Club.

All three crews emerged successfully from the time trials to take their place in the fierce side-by-side stages of the competition for the West End Amateur Rowing Association Trophy for Women’ Junior 16 Coxed Fours and the Groton School Challenge Cup for Women’s Junior 18 Coxed Fours.

Our Junior 16 girls – Teresa Brew, Emily Simpson, Charlotte Arthur and Maggie Seward, coxed by Sam Cordiner - were unfortunate to come up against one of the top seeded crews in the first round, but put up a tremendous fighting display against the girls of Headington School and only lost out to them in the end by a second in a photo finish.

Our Junior 18 Girls “B” crew- Sophia Brew, Ella Brooks, Freya Cummine , Gemma Collins, coxed by Rory Trythall - suffered a similar fate and were bettered in their first round by the very experienced local girls from Henley Rowing Club.

It was a rather different story however for our formidable Junior 18 “A” crew, where Rosie Wilson and Freya Hughson and cox Lily Arthur joined forces with our GB golden girls from Munich, Maisie Aspinall and Zoe Beeson. By virtue of their first place in the time trial they were awarded a bye into the quarter final, where they proved too strong for a feisty Clydesdale/ Molesey BC composite and in the semi-final they beat a strong four from Lady Eleanor Holles School by 2 ½ lengths to set up an all Scottish final against the National Rowing Academy select from Glasgow Academy, George Watson’s College, George Heriot’s School and St Andrew Boat Club. There they not only won by a handsome 4 ¾ lengths, but beat the course record for Junior Coxed Fours by two seconds to win in a time of 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Aberdeen rowing cognoscenti will be aware this is in fact the second time that ASRA has won the prestigious Groton Challenge Cup. Back in the 2012 HWR final , Holly Reid – now ASRA’s Development Coach - crewed with Morven Shaw, Emily Geddes, Christie Duff and cox Charlotte Davie to beat the American girls from the Merion Mercy Academy to bring back the trophy to Aberdeen.

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Henley Women's Regatta 2021

Over the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of July ASRA competed in the Junior Women's Coxed Fours event for the Groton School Challenge Cup, at the Henley Women’s Regatta. The crew consisted of Freya Hughson (J16), Zoe Beeson (J16), Maisie Aspinall (J17) and Sophia Brew (J17), coxed by Isla Petty (J15)  and even though the Covid-19 restrictions in place meant that the event was missing its usual contingent of overseas crews, the standard of the event was as high as ever with tough competition across the field. Our ASRA girls put in a highly competitive performance in the Time Trial to come 4th out of the 17 crews entered and that allowed them a bye through to the first round on Saturday afternoon and straight into the second round. The girls then made it through to the semi-finals on Sunday where they came up against formidable competition from The Glasgow Academy, the eventual winners of the event, and unfortunately lost out by only two lengths to be knocked out of the competition. Making it to the semi-finals of Henley Women’s Regatta is no small achievement, a fantastic effort  and well done to all of the girls!

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Henley Women's Regatta

At Henley Women’s Regatta held on the Thames from the 21st to the 23rd June , Abigail Topp and Megan Hewison, as GB final triallists, were unfortunately ineligible to compete in the event normally entered by ASRA’s J17/18 girls - the Girls’ Champion Coxed Fours event for the Groton Cup.

Instead, at the behest of Scottish Rowing, they teamed up once more with Heather Gordon of Inverness Rowing Club and Laura McKenzie of Loch Lomond Rowing Club, with whom they had struck HIR gold in 2018, and were entered in the Aspirational Club Coxless Fours event, essentially an event for adult club crews. That said, having come an impressive second fastest in Friday’s time trials, they put in strong performances the following day to defeat crews from Cantabrigian Rowing Club and Vesta Rowing Club, before finally losing out on Sunday to an experienced crew from Thames Rowing Club in the semi-final of their event.

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