Over the past few years, Henley Town and Visitors regatta has become something of a tradition in the Nonesuch calendar.
Since 2011, a number of men’s crews have taken to the waters of the Upper Thames in Elite and Intermediate VIIIs, on several occasions collecting trophies and scalps along the way. This year saw the addition of an alumni VIIIs category to the day’s proceedings, and with it, the first entry of a women’s Nonesuch crew.
While both the University of Bristol Head Race and Varsity have hosted women’s Nonesuch crews for many years, this was our debut away from the familiar waters of the River Avon. Not only did the women take advantage of the new alumni VIIIs category, they also jumped at the opportunity to test drive the long awaited new filippi IV, Sam rutley, the latest in a series of generous donations to UBBC by the Rutley family. The IV+, made up of a group of recent graduates, were the first Nonesuch crew of the day to race. They put up a strong battle but were beaten to the line by Wallingford RC, the eventual winners of the category.
For the women of Nonesuch, the afternoon was a little more leisurely. We took to the river again, this time in the Umpires Launch to witness the men’s three VIII's do battle against Blue Star, Newcastle University’s alumni club. As the evening approached and the women’s VIII got ready to boat, the rest of the crews and supporters took to the banks with beers in hand to enjoy the last Nonesuch race of the day. The crew was comprised of a mix of graduates from the past three years, many of whom had not raced together since their time at UBBC. They raced in the boat bought for the 2011 women’s EUSA crew, and named after Caroline Emslie, then the squad's Captain. With only two boats in the women’s alumni VIII category Nonesuch went straight to the final, again with Blue Star.
While Blue Star stole the race, Nonesuch put up a good fight and were cheered down the course by the UBBC and Nonesuch crews that lined the banks. While the day might not have seen any victories for Nonesuch, it was undeniably a triumph to see such a strong turnout from the club. With a new batch of female graduates keen to represent Nonesuch, and 14 women already confirmed for the UBBC Head Race on 5th December, this looks to be the year that the Nonesuch women’s squad will really kick off!
Elsie Horne UBBC 2011-2015