Metropolitan Regatta 2017 Review

The first of the main pre-Henley regattas, whilst not a junior event, the Metropolitan Regatta or Met as it is more commonly known attracts a small but significant number of entries from the main schools and clubs as they prepare for Henley. As it comes in the wake of national schools it is one of the places where schools and clubs which were not in the top four of either Championship Quads, Eights or Girls Quads can try to become a selected crew.

On the Saturday morning Eton asserted themselves a dominant force with a win in their heat of tier two eights beating Radley, nothing too surprising there. In the other heat Hampton had a disappointing race, failing to qualify through a heat that when they should have.  In the final that followed Eton won in impressive time of 5.49, with Radley third on 5.51 (between them was Leander’s Thames Cup Eight),so Radley did not quite manage to overturn Eton and gain their selection but later in the day Eton came came unstuck.

In the heat of tier 1 eights, Eton lined up on the start with Westminster, Winchester and Hampton for company. Hampton, smarting from their disappointing morning, jumped out of the start and led both Westminster and Eton but Winchester flew out of the blocks and led the race from start to finish. Hampton were rowed through by the finish but have shown that they have found some extra speed since National Schools. In the final University of London and Thames rowed away from the rest of the field leaving the three schoolboy crews (Eton, Westminster and Winchester) to scrap it out down the course. Westminster prevailed out of these three beating Eton by 2 seconds. Eton were run close by Winchester but managed to keep ahead to retain their vital selection spot. This was Eton’s 4th race of the day and thus their sting may well have been taken out but it is still a remainder of just how close the schoolboy scene is.

On the Sunday St Pauls school raced some of the same crews as the other schools had faced on the Saturday, coming closer to Thames A and University of London,  than the other schools had the day before. What this tells us isn’t exactly groundbreaking; St Pauls are possibly the fastest crew out there, a deduction that is quite easy to make from a glance at the National schools results.  Comparing across two days is never an exact science, especially when your using crews as supposed constants when performances can vary greatly day to day. There have been no upsets, none of the top four from national schools have been beaten by another crew in a final, but it is a sign of just how much the field is tightening.

The schoolboy entry into the quads was not extensive but in the final of J18 quads, what looks to be the top quad from Maidenhead (the entry names are ones of some of their top scullers) who were 1st at SHORR and third at the National Schools only managed to come 5th in the final. This is possibly going to cost them their selection for Henley and leaves them with some serious work to do in the run up to Marlow regatta. Clairs Court School were the winners in tight race with a time of 6.09, beating the national schools record. Behind them was Globe before a 3 second gap to Lea and what we can assume is a newly formed Tideway Quad. Clairs Court placed 4th at National Schools but have turned that result around and look to be on their way to retaining there title in the Fawley Challenge Cup. Globe failed to make the final at National schools but still ran Clairs Court close representing quite a turnaround from them. Scullers did not enter a quad for national schools but this quad contained many of their best scullers and is likely quite newly formed, it will be interesting how this quad develops as Henley gets closer.


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