Last weekend, a group of 51 juniors from across Great Britain raced in the annual GB v France Match which this year took place near Paris. The event was held at the Paris 2024 Olympic Rowing venue, and despite the ongoing construction work (no flushing toilets or running water for some) the trip was certainly memorable.
Great Britain won all the trophies (Girls, Boys and Overall) and only lost 4 races, bringing the final match score to 9-4.
The travelling Girls’ team was particularly strong, including athletes such as sculler Phoebe Muir and the all conquering Kingston Four.
The Girls’ team did very well, with exceptional performances by the Eight and the Four. The Girls’ pair and quad also dominated in the last 250m and brought home very close victories for GB.
The full competing squad is listed below.
JUNIOR WOMEN'S EVENTS
The whole event kicked off with the JW8+ race. An eight comprised of Surbiton High School BC, who performed incredibly at the trials held in Nottingham. They formed a 4- only six days before the trials, after having spent the year racing in a successful 4x. Lea RC, with some frequent changes to their crew due to injuries through the year managed to rekindle their JIRR four for the Trials after a disappointing HWR and became the second half of the eight.
In the race, the 8+ had a strong start taking an early lead which extended throughout the race. This was a great start to the event and under the excellent leadership of the WJ15 cox, Lauren and coach, Pete Robinson, the boat took the largest win of the day, with a final verdict of four lengths over the French National Champions.
The undefeated Kingston Four of Hannah, Emma, Beth and Amber cruised through the Trial landed them the Four’s slot on the team. This crew has won an outstanding number of events this year including SHORR, Henley Women’s regatta and NSR and is possibly one of the best WJ16 Fours in recent years. In the race, both crews had strong starts and in the first 500m it was very tight, then the French crew had some steering difficulty and Kingston took the opportunity to take advantage and make a move. After Kingston took the lead, they managed to maintain and increase it despite some steering difficulties of their own - in the end they had an excellent win by a margin of eight seconds.
The Headington double of Trudie and Zakira have had a strong year racing in a quad with numerable successes such as gold at Wallingford regatta and bronze at NSR. At HWR the two girls formed a quad and reached the semi-finals, however then decided to focus on the double for Trials. The double said that race contained “one of their fastest starts ever” and they maintained a good rhythm all the way down the course. However, they were simply outpaced by a fantastic French crew.
The Marlow quad had had a mixed season culminating in a disappointing 4th at NSR, missing a medal by just 0.27sec, However, it was this setback that spurred them on. By putting in the work, they landed a spot at WHR in the final against the Henley J16 quad and only losing by half a length. Over the next few weeks, they were hungry to prove their ability and at the Trials after a year of battling with Henley, they finally overcame them and got the quad slot.
In the race, the quad were tested again. The French had an incredible turn of speed off the start giving them a length lead by 250m. For Marlow, this meant another hard race, so they stepped it up and by halfway were on level terms. After a great sprint finish, Marlow secured the win by a margin of three seconds.
At the Trials, the Glasgow pair of Natalie and Eve, after a disappointing result Trialling in the four, jumped into a pair and won selection in that boat. Natalie and Eve and their TGA crew mates have had an excellent season, winning at the Scottish Champs in a quad, four and pair, followed by two A-finals at NSR and a semi-final at HWR. In their race, they were level off the start and at 250m gone the British pair pulled away and got a length lead. They maintained this lead until the last 100m where the French pair started to gain on them- reducing the lead to half a length, luckily the girls managed to hold their lead and take the narrow victory by just two seconds.
Selected single sculler, Phoebe of Exeter RC, had had good season of regatta racing. After a bad winter season and an illness which prevented her to trialling in February, she was determined to have a good summer. A win in the single at JIRR was the perfect way to start, followed by a bronze at NSR racing at J18, and a final at HWR for J18 singles. However, in training before the match, Phoebe injured her shoulder which very frustratingly stopped her racing. Luckily, the reserve single, Saffron of Wycliffe College BC, admirably stepped up to the race. However, the French national champion just got the win. Both girls will definitely be ones to watch in the future.
JUNIOR MEN'S EVENTS
The annual GB vs France match saw the boys’ team secure a workmanlike win of 4 wins to 2 with reserve Julian van Gelderen of The Windsor Boys School making the unofficial result 5-2.
The boys’ team had numerous young faces as well as experience with two members of the Globe RC quad, 5 member of the Shiplake eight, and the CCS coxless quad racing at Henley a few weeks prior in the Fawley Challenge Cup and Temple Challenge Cup. The youth however was provided by fifteen year olds Dan Hallsworth and Johnny Elliott racing in the single and eight respectively.
The eight, made up of boys from St Pauls School and Norwich School who had only met the previous day, managed to beat the French club eight who had become French National Champions at Brive-La-Galliarde earlier in the season in an exciting row through that meant they finished ¾ of a length up in a time of 4:34.
Throughout the day supporters were treated to tight racing, most notably in the pairs and coxed four with the double taking a narrow win that saw them cross the line only five tenths of a second before France.
Sadly the coxed four didn’t hold onto a win and the valiant French pulled through for a win. The second loss came in the men’s coxless quad from Claire’s Court School, who although medallists at the National Schools Regatta, couldn’t beat another strong crew from France. Finally, comfortable wins in both the double and coxless four saw team GB triumphant with many of the team now looking forwards to the coupe and Dan looking for a second win next year.
Rosa Millard and Huck Hempsall- JW8+ and JM8+
Great Britain Team for GB vs France match
Daniel Hallsworth (Trentham BC)
Coach: Darren Barton
Bo Hughes (Globe RC)
James Watson-Gandy (Globe RC)
Coach: Maurice Coughlan
Joe Stobbs (Claires Court School BC)
Alexander Getley (Claires Court School BC)
Leo Griffiths (Claires Court School BC)
Jake Wincomb (Claires Court School BC)
Coach: Tom Jost
Ian Wingfield (Kings School Canterbury)
Thomas Wingfield (Kings School Canterbury)
Coach: Jonty Williamson
Angus Stevenson (Westminster School BC)
Adam Von Bismark (Westminster School BC)
Arnav Sawhney (Westminster School BC)
James Stevenson (Westminster School BC)
Coach: CD Riches
Sydney Burnand (Shiplake College BC)
Marcus Coulter (Shiplake College BC)
Rhys Ash (Shiplake College BC)
Ben Brockway (Shiplake College BC)
(Cox) Tom Wilkinson (Shiplake College BC)
Coach: Charlie Jenkins
Milo Taylor (St Paul’s School)
George Langstone-Bolt (St Paul’s School)
David Moreno (St Paul’s School)
Dom Valt (St Paul’s School)
Huckleberry Hempsall (Norwich School BC)
John Elliot(Norwich School BC)
Matthew Tremelling (Norwich School BC)
Duncan Steel (Norwich School BC)
(Cox) Oscar Mulvin (St Paul’s School)
Coach: Antony Smith
Julian van Gelderen (The Windsor Boys School BC)
Phoebe Muir (Exeter RC)
Coach: David Brookes
Trudie Marks (Headington School BC)
Zakira Klico (Headington School BC)
Coach: Lucy Burgess
Tara Brogan (Marlow RC)
Emma Louise Stilwell (Marlow RC)
Emma Dabinett (Marlow RC)
Eve Lombardo (Marlow RC)
Coach: Enya Meadows
Eve Kitcher (Glasgow Academy)
Natalie Millers (Glasgow Academy)
Coach: Iain Somerside
Amber Harwood (Kingston RC)
Elizabeth Shelton (Kingston RC)
Hannah Medcalf (Kingston RC)
Emma Quin (Kingston RC)
Coach: Florence Griffiths
Charlotte Sanders (Surbiton High School BC)
Olivia Sutton (Surbiton High School BC)
Emily Moore (Surbiton High School BC)
Olivia Hunter Young (Surbiton High School BC)
Laura Ellington (Lea RC)
Ella Sharman (Lea RC)
Rosa Millard (Lea RC)
Molly Foxell (Lea RC)
(Cox) Lauren Russell (Surbiton High School BC)
Coach: Peter Robinson
Saffron Weaver (Wycliffe College BC)