04:10PM, Thursday 07 July 2016
Finlay Gronmark, Jonathan Cameron, Alex Richardson and Oliver Costley celebrate victory for Claires Court School in the Fawley Cup
Claires Court School Boat Club’s junior men’s quad completed a memorable hat-trick when they overcame Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club to lift the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta on Sunday.
The crew, who are also the Schools’ Head of the River and National Schools Regatta title holders, beat Westminster School, Abingdon School and rivals Marlow Rowing Club en route to the clash with Windsor.
In a tense and exciting final, the two crews matched each other stroke for stroke in the first half.
Claires Court took the slimmest of advantages at the first marker – The Barrier – but Windsor came back and took a slight lead at the next ‘Fawley’ marker.
As the crews reached the stands, Claires Court eventually took control to win by one length in a time of 7mins3secs.
The school’s head of rowing Tom Jost admitted it was a special moment when the crew crossed the line.
“It was an emotional occasion, as I sat in the launch in silence; there was a realisation of what we had done,” he said.
“From previous results we were favourites for the race which only added to the pressure.
“We knew if they were going to take us it would be in the first half, but had confidence knowing we were fast from Fawley in.”
Having taken over as head coach in April 2012, Jost, supported by Chris Clark, set the goal of winning Henley from the outset.
Confident of their chances, the team placed a bet with the school’s rugby department to reach their target in four years.
The first sixth-form crew came together just three years ago, and amazingly, two of the winning crew of Finlay Gronmark, Jonathan Cameron, Alex Richardson and Oliver Costley had never rowed in the top boat until this year, let alone row at Henley.
Jost added: “I am so proud of their achievements.
“Finlay at stroke, has been in more bottom boats that I’m sure he’d care to remember, but we always thought he’d come good and we’re happy to be proven right in such spectacular fashion!
“Jono’s power is just astonishing and his experience from racing for GB last year is invaluable.
“Alex was our experienced Henley rower, having competed there four times – a very grounded and focused rower, while Ollie, who’s still only 17, his quiet determination never fails to deliver.”