Morgan storms to Henley glory
Former Newent School pupil Morgan Baynham-Williams, far left, with her GB crew. Pic HRR Photos.
WYE rowing star Morgan Baynham-Williams steered the GB women’s eight to a fantastic Henley Royal Regatta comeback triumph over Australia on Sunday, rowing them down to win from a length back.
The World U23 medal cox, who also steered Oxford to Women’s Boat Race victory in 2016, was a member of the Leander Club boat that won the same Remenham Cup event last year.
And she retained the crown in style, as her GB crew beat an Australian boat containing two Olympic gold medallists and five other finalists by clear water in front of a jam-packed riverside along the 2112m timber-boomed course.
The event dates back to 1839 and is known as the most prestigious open rowing regatta in the world, with crews flocking to the Thames from as far away as China, the US and New Zealand in a record-breaking entry.
Called on by Ross RC member Baynham-Williams, GB’s new women’s eight cruised home against a Tideway Scullers/University of West Australia combination by 3 1/2L in the quarter-final, before securing a big semi-final upset, beating the US squad by 2/3L in the last four.
That put them into the final against the Aussies, who had outgunned China by 1 3/4L in their semi.
GB, racing as Imperial College and Leander, trailed at the Barrier reached in 1min 55secs by nearly a length and there looked no way back for the Brits at that point.
But the crew kept their composure, held the deficit and slowly inched back before Baynham-Williams coaxed a devastating push out of them with around 1,000m to race to get back on terms.
And the Aussies simply had no answer as the Brits surged through in front of an ecstatic grandstand crowd to win by 1 1/3rd lengths in 6.37, the overjoyed Wye cox immediately jumping into exhausted stroke Heidi Long’s arms to celebrate after crossing the line.
Fellow Ross RC product Yasmin Howe also impressed in her Wycliffe College girls’ quadruple scull, beating Kingston Grammar and then seeds Henley RC by 2 1/2L verdicts before going so close to a final place in the semi, losing out by just 2/3L to US outfit Redwood Scullers.
The American crew had put out the Hartpury crew of Yasmin’s former Ross crew mate Ella Bardsley-Taylor in the previous round by 2 3/4L, after the Forest college came through the time-trial qualifiers and then beat Wycliffe’s B boat by 1 1/2L.
You can watch all the races on Henley Royal Regatta’s YouTube channel.
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