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The Hampton Fours and Eights Head

The Hampton Fours and Eights Head is held in late January/early February, 3km downstream from Sunbury Lock. This year it was held on the 5th of February, with over 600 entries, making it a very competitive field.

The morning was clear, with a blue sky, which made the water sparkle in the sun. My crew mates (Alice, Lolly, Olivia and Nikos) and I (WJ15 coxed quad) all arrived early and so took a look at the finish line, which was near to an island called Platt’s Eyot. An Eyot is a name for an island, especially used to refer to river islands, found on the River Thames which were often used for growing willow trees, which could be used for medicine (aspirin). Shortly after the trailer arrived, which needed a little push to get up the slope of the grass, we took our blades and boat off. Rigging went smoothly, and finally we boated and made a mad dash for the other side of the river to avoid crashing with the finishing crews. There were 2 divisions, but with over 300 in each, there were boats all over the place on and off the water. We then proceeded to make our slow way up to the start. There were some beautiful houses and gardens leading onto the water, that we got a good view of as we rowed, and amusingly one couple watched us through a window from deckchairs.

The race went surprisingly well as it was our first time racing together, coming 10th out of 40 after only 2 days of training as a crew, especially considering how competitive this race was. There were good results for many of the Lea crews, the WJ16s of our training group coming 2nd out of 18. Most of the crews were in the top half of their categories and there were top 5 results for the performance girls too. The competition boys also had a few top 5 results. Well done to all the crews and we are all looking forward to some more races in the next few months including the trials for interregional at the end of February in Peterborough.

Jess Kerbiriou

Competition Girls Squad

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