Martin Gough |

‘Our doors are always open. If someone walks up and wants to have a go, they can’

After 20 years of teaching the young people of Oxford to row, Hinksey Sculling School hit the headlines this summer with a crew reaching a Henley final for the first time in August. Martin Gough finds out more

A few months on from a unique Henley Royal Regatta, plenty of memories still burn bright. One highlight of the event, though, stands out because it was so unexpected.

Even the regatta website’s own preview made no mention of Hinksey Sculling School, whose combination of 17 and 18-year-olds – pictured above – proved to be the best British club coxed four in reaching the final of the Britannia Challenge Cup.

They were unable to overturn the four from Frankfurt in the final, but they had already beaten senior opposition from storied clubs such as Marlow RC and, in Saturday’s semi-final, London RC. 

“I’ve never been that nervous for my own races,” recalls crew coach James McAnallen, a former Under-23 world championship medallist from New Zealand, who was watching from the Stewards Enclosure.

“Seeing them come past with that lead and the way they were rowing was fantastic. They had pulled off something remarkable.”


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