LOUIS Paterson stormed home third in Europe’s biggest rowing race as Wye rowers launched out on the Thames in London for the four Spring championship time-trials.
Monmouth Rowing Club’s (RC) boat (pictured) secured a second best ever top-80 finish in the men’s 8s Head of the River Race (HoRR), 24 hours after crew member Alex Butler finished second overall in the Veteran 8s Head.
The Spring heads over the reverse-Boat Race Chiswick to Putney course and sees more than 10,000 rowers compete in the HoRR, the Women’s Eights Head, the Schools’ Head and the Veteran Eights Head.
Rowing with the likes of world 8s champion Matt Tarrant for Oxford Brookes in the 335-boat HoRR, former Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil Paterson chased home Olympic champion Alex Gregory’s Leander crew in pole position.
The GB Universities and Wales cap, who won the British quadruple sculls title in Monmouth RC colours in 2010, finished 20 seconds behind Leander in 17mins 23.40secs and just four behind Molesey, with Brookes’ B boat only 1.26secs behind in fourth.
Fellow Monmouth Comprehensive product Sam Royston steered his Leander V crew to 20th in 18.04 over the challenging four-and-a quarter-mile course
Monmouth RC’s scratch boat of James Allison, Alex Butler, Steve Randell, Lennie Colling, Aaron Pascovitch, Mark Sweeney, Ben Rodford, Ray Poulter and cox Hannah Llywelyn-Davis targeted a top-100 place in the challenging windy conditions, but did even better, finishing 78th in 18.56 – the club’s second best result after 1981’s 69th.
Two years ago, the world’s oldest head race was cancelled due to freezing weather while last year’s edition was abandoned amid sinking conditions.
Old Monmothian (OM) HoRR secretary Dr Andrew Ruddell was keeping everything crossed that the race would happen this time.
He was rewarded by seeing Monmouth School race to 120th place in 19.19, and Old Monmothians, making their club debut in the 89-year-old HoRR, finish 176th in 19.51.
Racing in OM colours 24 hours earlier in the 200-boat Veteran 8s HoRR, Paterson’s 2010 GB champion quad crewmate Alex Butler helped his seven-club composite boat cover the same course in 19.08 to place second overall and take the over 36 class category.
An illness-hit Monmouth RC over-50s boat managed to race home 18th overall for fourth out of 40 in category in 19.43.
Two weeks earlier, it had been the turn of the ladies in the 300-boat Women’s Eights Head of the River Race, won by a crew of GB stars containing Olympic champions Helen Glover, Heather Stanning – coached by OM Robin Williams – and Katherine Grainger, the latter recording a record-breaking eighth headship, as they headed the field by 18 seconds in 18.58.
Monmouth RC’s masters crew raced home in 23.29 to place 162nd.
Two days later, it was the turn of the juniors in the 350-boat Schools’ Head, where Monmouth School’s 1st 8 were disappointed to finish 39th in 19.18, particularly as they pushed 13th-placed Latymer to just four seconds in the HoRR 12 days later, an effort that would have landed a 16th-place finish.
The under-16 eight finished 151st overall in 20.51, while the under-15 eight placed 12th in their class in 21.23, the U18 quad 17th in class in 20.29, and the U18 four 11th in 21.38.
Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls’ under-18 four was seventh out of 20 in class in 22.25, while the under-16 four placed fourth in class in 23.31, and the under-15 eight 11th in 22.53.
Full results can be found at www.horr.co.uk.