Hampton rowing welcomed over 400 crews from schools and clubs across the country to this year’s Hampton Fours and Eights Head. The Hampton Head, which has been running for over 50 years, is one of the most prestigious events of the spring rowing calendar and is the first major race of the year for many of the leading junior crews.
The annual event involves a 3,000m time trial from Sunbury Lock to Hurst Park. Crews navigate the route one after the other, with their individual times recorded and medals awarded to the highest placed finishers. The weather was fine and dry for the occasion, and excellent river conditions led to many exciting performances from the young rowers. Spectators lined the banks of the River Thames to show their support for the junior oarsmen and women.
Hampton’s 17 crews put in a series of strong performances throughout the day. Third Year Hamptonians in the J14 squad enjoyed outstanding success, winning the J14 octuple event, with the 2nd octuple close behind in second place in a field of 13 crews. The Hampton 1st octuple powered their way along the course and impressed themselves upon the race with a six second lead ahead of Westminster School, but the Hampton 2nd octuple were not letting them have it all their own way and were only three and half seconds behind the Hampton 1st octuple, three seconds ahead of Westminster. An impressive team result and we look forward to see how they fair at the Oarsport Junior Sculling Head in March.
The J16 squad also had some excellent results winning both the J16 2nd VIII event and the J16 coxless four, with the J16 2nd coxless four finishing third in the same category. The two coxless fours then raced in the J16 1st VIII in the afternoon, coming fourth in a field of eight crews, possibly still feeling the effects of their morning racing. They were just five seconds behind the winning crew from Abingdon School. Both the J15 and Senior squads had some last-minute crew changes with illness to their top performers. The J15 1st VIII had to withdraw but the 2nd and 3rd VIII raced finishing ninth and twelfth from the fourteen entries.
The Senior squad came a very creditable second and fourth in the J18 coxless fours with KCS Wimbledon separating the two crews who were all just behind a strong Norwich School crew. Regrettably Dominic Must had to withdraw from racing after the coxless fours race which added another casualty to the 1st VIII. This was now a mixture of five 1st VIII rowers, a couple of boys pulled up from the 2nd VIII and a remarkable cameo appearance from Adam Attia who no longer rows having given up last year, he dug around to find his old rowing suit and came down to sub into the crew at extremely short notice. The crew still managed an excellent third place finish, only seven seconds behind Abingdon, with a strong KCS Wimbledon crew taking the honours of the fastest crew of the day.
Hampton’s Director of Rowing, Mr Colin Greenaway, was delighted with the success of this year’s Hampton Head:
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With over forty visiting clubs and schools from across the country and over 400 crews competing, the event was a great success and a huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers involved in making the Hampton Head 2023 one of the largest Junior Rowing events in the rowing calendar.