THE sun shone on host club rowers when the Abingdon Head of the River Race attracted 340 boats from 31 clubs in glorious weather, writes John Wiggins.

There were numerous successes for Oxon clubs – over the two kilometre course from Culham Reach to Abingdon Bridge – in one of the first events to use the new banded structure of races introduced by British Rowing.

Abingdon’s Charlotte Rowley won the band 1 J15 single while clubmate Eleanor Sykes took the band 2 section.

Also winning in band 2 were the girls J15 double of Ella Lovibond and Kathy Allen, while Jamie Sudlow won the boys J18 single, with the J15 double going to Tom Symington and Joe McConnell.

Abingdon School staff members, Jonny Garrow and Oliver Pemberton, under the banner of the Griffen, won the men’s coxless pair.

Wallingford RC also featured significantly with the fastest coxed four of the day (Paul Alexander, James Wright, Rob Hines, Jonny Mentor and Rob Mason) winning in band 1.

Then, with Richard Thwaites swapping for Wright, they also landed the band 2 event.

The club’s masters crews also featured with John O’Donohue winning the D single, and Piers Copham, Andy Knight, Paul Taylor and Martin Waller taking the men’s E/F quad sculls.

In the women’s events, Wallingford’s Deb King and Laura Forrest won the E age group double scull, while Electra Panagoulia won the band 2 single sculls.

The club’s juniors, Ed Robson and Jack Halsall, won both their J16 group and senior band 1 events.

Falcon RC also saw wins over a range of ages, the youngest being in the boys’ J13 coxed quad through to the women’s masters C double and C/D/E quad.

Their boys’ J14 single was won by Josh Bridges, who capsized right on the finish line. Less spectacular, but equally impressive, were the wins in the band 1 women’s double, the band 2 eight and the Band 3 men’s double scull.

City of Oxford’s seniors did some selection racing at Eton’s Dorney Lake while their juniors and development squads took on the challenge at Abingdon, where they won the girls J13 single and double sculls and boys J13 double as well as the band 1 girls J15 double.