Isle of Ely rowers took on the best at Britain’s showpiece rowing event at Henley Royal Regatta.
The junior quartet of Freya Dingwall, Rebecca Welch Kate Lyster, Molly Johnson stormed to the final of the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup for junior girls quadruple sculls, after coming through four rounds of quality racing.
16 boats from 51 entries contested the event at the 178-year-old Thames regatta, which takes place on a 2,100m course, roared on by thousands of spectators watching the action along the riverside.
The Isle of Ely girls started their campaign with a 2 lengths lead over the Lady Eleanor Holles School, followed by a commanding 2 ¼ length lead over Godolphin Latymer in the quarter-finals, to move through to the next round.
In the semi-final Isle of Ely had another strong performance against local crew Henley Rowing Club. The Ely girls led from the start and in the second half of the race put on a big push to win comfortably by 2 ¼ lengths. This put them into the final against defending champions Gloucester Rowing Club. The two clubs had previously met in the final of Henley Women’s Regatta two weeks earlier where Gloucester won.
In the rematch, Ely got off to a good start leading by ½ length, but they were unable to hold off their rivals Gloucester who moved out at the halfway point to win for the fourth consecutive year by 2 ½ lengths.
It was the first time that an Isle of Ely crew had reached the finals at Henley. Coached by Peter Lee, the quartet received plaudits from the race commentators about the quality of their sculling.
You can watch all of Isle of Ely’s races on YouTube.