The pinnacle of both domestic and international rowing seasons, finals day of Henley Royal Regatta 2019 has arrived. The day will be defined by joy and heartbreak, emotions seemingly so far apart, yet separated only by inches. Here you will find previews of every final at Henley Royal Regatta, along with their times. A reminder that every moment of the action can be watched live and on-demand on the HRR YouTube channel, and that all the best stories from around the Regatta both on and off the water can be found at the Henley Social pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Race 1 - 11:30pm - The Wyfold Challenge Cup (M4-) - N.S.R. Oslo vs Sydney Rowing Club, AUS
In an all-international affair, Henley will see NSR Oslo and Sydney rowing club line up on the start line to race the final of this Coxless fours event. All of the Norwegian crew have raced at Henley many times in the past, making it to the Sunday in the Temple Challenge Cup in 2017, but after losing that final, they have returned again and again to take their glory. The umpire for Saturday's race described it as a "terrific race… Oslo just had a bit more in the tank." Facing them in the shadow of Temple Island will be Sydney rowing club, with the "two Oscars" who between them have undergone several surgeries for various injuries, but continued to row to a high level; indicated by their achievements in a diverse mix of boat classes at all levels of the sport. Determination, therefore, meets determination in what is sure to be not only a battle of blades but also a battle of the mind.
Race 2 - 11:40 - The Prince Albert Challenge Cup (M4+) - Harvard University USA vs Durham University
In a shock semi-final on Saturday Morning, Harvard came out on top to beat the favourites for the race - Oxford Brookes University - securing their place in Sundays final against a selected crew, Durham University. The Harvard University crew are a combination of their Second and Third varsity eights, specially crafted for this event. The oarsmen from the Second Eight beat Yale in their annual match and won Second Eights at Eastern Sprints. The Durham crew just missed out on a Medal at Marlow Regatta, placing fourth in the Championship fours, but won the academic fours at the Metropolitan Regatta. Durham, home favourites can be sure of vast support from the banks as they attempt to claim a quintet of red boxes, yet the drilled Harvard crew will use their huge engines to foil Durham's effort.
Race 3 - 11:50 - The Fawley Challenge Cup (JM4x) – Leander Club 'A' vs Henley R.C. 'A'
Unlike many other finals, the Fawley Schoolboy final will be contested between two British crews, who train alongside one another all year: Henley Rowing Club and Leander Club. Leander famed for their 124 Olympic medals to date, whilst Henley have dominated on the junior circuit over the last few months. Henley are known by the locals to have one of the most brutal - but effective - winter training programmes, that now seems to be paying dividends as we come to the sharp end of this Regatta.
Race 4 - 12:00 - The Remenham Challenge Cup (W8+) - Waiariki R.C. NZL vs Leander Club and Imperial College London
As the only women's eight category at Henley, all the eyes of the bank turn to these eights as they battle it out to claim one of the most prestigious prizes in Womens' Rowing. The British offering that made it through to the final of this event is the GB national crew that beat the under 23 crew earlier in the week, who themselves won a few weeks ago at Henley Women's Regatta - the same weekend at the World Cup in Poznan, and with two returning crew members from the boat that claimed silver at Rio in 2016, this is clearly a group of athletes to be reckoned with. In opposition, we find the Kiwi crew who last won this event in 2017. Two members of this crew are also doubling up in the Hambleden Pairs, making their Henley campaign all the more challenging, in the headline Women's event.
Race 5 - 12:10pm - The Visitors Challenge Cup (M4-) – Cambridge University & Leander Club vs A.S.R. Neureus & D.S.R. Laga, NED
Cambridge University and Leander are perhaps the most quintessentially British composite crew one could wish for, and facing them will be a crew most certainly not local, yet certainly prominent at the regatta: Nereus and Laga from the Netherlands, who between them have shown the flaws in the stroke of some of the most technically and physically accomplished crews at the regatta. They will by no means have an easy race, however as the umpire noted: "the Cambridge crew went rapidly clear", a message that so far has not been uttered in relations to the Dutch Crew.
Race 6 - 12:20 - The Stonor Challenge Trophy (W2x) - B.C. Donoghue & O.K. Loe, NZL vs S. Lu & Y. Wang, CHN
The women's double sculls have so far failed to disappoint with race upon race of tight, high octane sculling, to reduce the entry for finals day to just two crews, who will remain resolute and determined to win at this year's event. The Stewards seem to have selected the correct crews for this event, as only the Chinese and Kiwis were selected. The Chinese made a strong start to their season - much like the rest of the team - by winning at the First World Cup. In all their races the umpires have commented upon their effortless style that allows them to lead and stay in control of the race from the first stroke. Their opposition from down under is very experienced, with over 16 years of international experience between them. Much like the Chinese, their style has been to lead from the start, so no doubt the stewards will remain curious to see how these two crews fair against one another, with such similar race plans.
Race 7 - 12:30pm - The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (JM8+) – Eton College vs Scotch College, AUS
It will be hard - if not impossible - for any crew to match the 2018 St. Pauls boys, that obliterated the Henley record by 11 seconds, yet that doesn't mean schoolboy crews won't attempt it… This year final will see Scotch College Australia face off against home heavyweights Eton College. Scotch have so far impressed at Henley in both the schoolboy quad and schoolboy eight, with both boats reaching the finals of their respective categories. Similarly, Eton have also bought out the big guns to demonstrate their ability with a variety of impressive domestic finishes. This race then is likely going to be the most impressive showdown of the day, as two crews, 11,000 miles apart attempt to emulate the success of the St. Pauls school crew of yesteryear.
Race 8 - 12:40 - The Princess Royal Challenge Cup (W1x) E.K. Twigg, NZL vs L.I. Scheenaard, NED
Having spent many years on the New Zealand team, Emma Twigg returns once again to Henley Royal Regatta to compete in the women's single sculls against what will be tough opposition from Scheenaard, our sculler from the Netherlands. Scheenaard has an impressive CV behind her, having won the single sculls back at the World Championships, and won this event three years ago in 2016. She will have a tough time, however, overcoming the might of Twigg who Mae her first appearance since Rio 2016 (where she finished fourth) at Poznan, where she won the gold ahead of veteran sculler Magdalena Lobnig of Austria. She last competed at this event in 2013 where she made the final but was unable to claim a victory over her competitor. She hopes to win on finals day at Henley, before returning to regular training in preparation for her fourth Olympics in Tokyo where she is set to win her first Olympic medal.
Race 9 - 12:50 - The Double Sculls Challenge Cup (M2x) – J.E. Collins & G.E. Thomas vs J.W. Storey & C.W.Harris, NZL
As seems to be the story of this regatta, New Zealand will face the Brits in the final of the Double Sculls Challenge Cup. The British double of Collins and Thomas are the 'big boys' of British Sculling and have bought the senior team to the media's attention at recent world cups as a result of their surprising success, especially compared to the senior sweep team. The New Zealanders have trained alongside the eight all season, and as a result have learnt how fast, powerful boats work, a skill which will come in useful in what promises to be one of the greatest races of the day.
Race 10 - 13:00 - The Princess Grace Challenge Cup (W4x) – Chinese National Rowing Team vs Hollandia Rc, NED
Once again, Henley Royal Regatta demonstrates its ability to draw a global crowd, with another all international final in the Princess Grace Event, to be held on Sunday between Hollandia Roeiclub from the Netherlands, and the Chinese National Rowing Team, China. These two crews are no strangers to each other, with China and the Netherlands managing a 1-2 at the first World Cup, where the Chinese demonstrated renewed dominance in this boat class. This then will clearly be a tight race, with two Olympic standard crews making the final of this event.
Race 11 - 13:10pm - The Ladies' challenge plate (M8+) – Oxford Brookes University 'A' vs Hollandia Rc, NED
Dynasties are created and destroyed in the Ladies Plate, and whilst Oxford Brookes will look to secure their next win, Hollandia will aim to extend their international reputation, especially after setting a new record in their Saturday semi-final, beating the previous record set by Oxford Brookes in 2018. Brookes, therefore, will be on high alert. The Netherland's crews are coming to the forefront of the international rowing circuit and may threaten the stranglehold on the regatta that Brookes has forged over recent years. Brookes, however, remain the favorites to win; being unbeaten on the domestic circuit since 2016, whilst the Dutch crew present a seismic shift in the landscape of this event, which may see Brookes stream of victories come crashing down.
Race 12 - 14:30 - The Temple Challenge Cup (M8+) – Northeastern University 'A' vs Oxford Brookes University 'A'
As many predicted, the Temple Challenge Cup will come down to a trans-Atlantic final between Northeastern University, and Oxford Brookes University. Brookes, are arguably the best university rowing programme in Europe, and consistently produce athletes that go one to under 23 and senior level with great success. That by no means undermines the achievements of Northeastern, however. In the quarter-final, Northeastern 'A' beat their crew-mates in the Northeastern 'B' boat, demonstrating the depth of talent within the programme. Spectators, therefore, will be in for a treat in the Temple final, and will surely create a wall of noise as these two boats pass through the grandstands.
Race 13 - 14:40pm - The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (M4x) – Edinburgh Univ & Nottingham R.C. vs A.A.S.R. Skøll & A.U.S.R. Orca, NED
As is becoming the trend at HRR, we see another final with crews separated by more than country lanes. In the Prince Of Wales the unlikely composite of Edinburgh University and Nottingham University will battle it out against Skøll and Orca from the Netherlands, who like many of their local Dutch crew-mates have impressed spectators and pundits alike who have commented upon their apparently sudden comeback onto the rowing scene, making more than a little splash at Henley.
Race 14 - 14:50 - The Silver Goblets and Nickalls' Challenge Cup (M2-) - A. Diaz & A. Haak, ARG vs M.C.Oyen & M. Steenman, NED
The pairs are almost universally recognised for their unstable hull which makes them difficult to propel and steer, especially down the notoriously deadly HRR course. However, despite these apparent challenges, two crews have made it through to finals day: Oyen and Steinman from the Netherlands, and Diaz and Haack from Argentina. Both of the semi-finals took part in the earlier half of Saturday's racing and saw international crews once again stake their claim to the silverware currently under lock and key in the stewards' enclosure.
Race 15 - 15:00 - The King's Cup (Military Mixed 8+) – Bundeswehr, GER vs US Armed Forces
Despite winning this event 100 years ago, the Australian king's cup crew were unable to make the final this year, instead allowing The US and Germany to fight it out, on this, the centenary year of the 1919 peace regatta. The US have so far shown classic American drive determination and power, whilst the Germans have lived up to their reputation of clinical efficacy. As a result, stewards and members alike will be treated to a battle of technique, and well as countries, as these crews race to decide upon the holder of the new King's Cup trophy.
Race 16 - 15:10 - The Stewards Challenge Cup (M4-) - Leander Club vs Oxford Brookes University and Leander Club
Another event with only two Entries this year sees Leander face Leander and Oxford Brookes in the most eminent of the Coxless events at HRR. The all Leander crew comes fresh from the Senior British Squad and consists of Olympic Champion Will Satch along with fellow British Nationals Adam Neil, Alan Sinclair, and James Johnson. This crew raced to a disappointing B-Final finish at the Poznan World cup, and as such are seen as good competition for the Brookes-Leander Composite who fared better at the latest World Cup, but even better at the start of the Season at the European Championships where they laid down a real marker of British Dominance in this boat class. There may be a clear favourite here then, but by no means is this race run - in face, this could present one of the most fascinating watches of the year.
Race 17 - 15:20 - The Diamond Challenge Sculls (M1x) – O. Zeidler, GER vs G.G. Krommenhoek, NED
After his impressive victory in the Diamond's Friday afternoon, Harry Leask was eliminated by the reigning European champion in the single sculls, Zeidler, who is also the world indoor champion. Battling against this machine of a sculler will be Krommenhoek of the Netherlands, who himself has an impressive record behind him, winning numerous national and international events. Clocking in at just under 16 stone, this is another sculler who lacks nothing in the power department, thus paving the way for a battle of Titans down the Henley reach.
Race 18 - 15:30pm - The Grand Challenge Cup (M8+) - Waiariki R.C. NZL vs Leander Club and Oxford Brookes University
Perhaps the most prestigious event at Henley Royal Regatta, The Grand Challenge Cup sees only two entries for 2019, Waiariki RC from New Zealand, and Leander Club and Oxford Brookes representing Great Britain. This truly transcontinental race will showcase some of the best oarsmen in the world. In the Kiwi's boat, six-time diamond Challenge Sculls winner Mahe Drysdale will lay down the power, whilst the anchor of the British Boat - Joshua Bugajski - has seen two boat races in the Oxford Blue Boat, and has recently won at the British Rowing Senior Trials in the Coxless pair. Clearly then both of these crews are well drilled in the trials and tribulations that accompany rowing at any level, but with an extra 112 meters of rowing in this Henley Final compared to the standard international distance, this race could come down to the wire with seconds separating heartache and glory.
Race 19 - 15:40 - The Town Challenge Cup (W4-) – Hollandia Rc, NED vs Chinese National Rowing Team
The women's four has - like many other events this year - been dominated by a huge effort from the Chinese National Team. In the China vs Leander Semi-final on Saturday evening, China dominated this traditionally strong crew from Leander, placing themselves against Hollandia, another crew who have bee regulars in the Henley Headlines over the last week. We should, therefore, be treated to a globally diverse race, which sees some of the best oarswomen from across the globe come together to claim the Town Cup.
Race 20 - 15:50 - The Queen Mother Challenge Cup (M4x) - Leander Club vs Frankfurter R.G., GER
The Germans have a reputation engrained in their culture for precision, and clinical execution; and it is this style and mentality that has made them one of the most dominant sculling forces in the world. The most experienced Sculler in the boat from Europe competing on Sunday is Kessler whose bedroom walls groan under the weight of a plethora of medals, trophies and awards. In the Leander crew, we see the rising stars of British Sculling come under the microscope, but with international experience as their armor, they will be looking to give the Germans a run for their money in the premier Quad sculls event at Henley.
Race 21 - 16:00 - The Thames Challenge Cup (M8+) – Thames R.C. 'A' vs R.S.V.U. Okeanos, NED
The Thames will fittingly find themselves in the final of the Thames Challenge Cup on Sunday after they eliminated all those who came against them to earn themselves a spot in a converted Sunday race at Henley Royal Regatta. Okeanos, their competition, have also fought hard but with a certain finesse to be on the start line opposite the top Thames crew in this event.
Race 22 - 16:10pm - The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup (W2-) – G.E. Prendergast & K.L. Gowler, NZL vs X. Lin & R. Ju, CHN
Once again the Chinese have managed to row their way into the final, this time in the Hambleden Pairs, where they have so far this week shown great aptitude in a tough boat class. Facing this phenomenal force will be Prendergast and Prowler from New Zealand, who have made the 12,000-mile trip specifically to race and win here; and they have far achieved their goals. The Chinese, however, have led from the start in every race they have entered, and will be looking to do the same in the most important race so far in the Pairs.
Race 23 - 16:20 - The Britannia Challenge Cup (M4+) – Mercantile R.C., AUS vs Molesey B.C.
In another rendition of Brits vs Aussies, Molesey will line up against Mercantile as they wait for the umpire's flag to drop on Sunday. Molesey are one of the British High-Performance Centers, operating under the GB start programme that has propelled athletes such as Moe Sibihi to great success at World Championship and Olympic level. Meanwhile Mercantile continues to be one of the big names down under, where they are often at the top of medal tables at domestic and international regattas alike.
Race 24 - 15:20 - The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup (JW4x) – Latymer Upper School 'A' vs Headington School
It may be the only junior women's event at this regatta, but as a consequence, we have concentrated talent that never fails to disappoint. In a rare event at Henley Royal these girls races both their quarter and semi-finals on Saturday, where interesting results were seen. Both crews set that same time to the barrier and Fawley, yet Headington were the faster crew overall, finishing four seconds ahead of the strong competition from Latymer.