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OM Rowing

Overall, as with so much else in the world, rowing life in 2021 was very much characterised by a slow return to normality after the events of the last 18 months. The highlight, as always, was Henley Royal Regatta. After the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a return to racing in 2021 was much anticipated and despite a later than usual start in August, it was a very memorable occasion. It was incredibly pleasing to see Monmothians, old and current, representing the school, both on and off the water, over the course of the five days. With regards to the school crew, the boys did us all proud and pulled off a fine victory over King's Chester on the Wednesday and were only thwarted in their attempt to make the Friday quarter finals by a fine St Edward's School crew on Thursday. Teddies themselves went all the way to the semis, only to be knocked out by eventual winners, Eton and so overall, it was a very fine performance indeed by the boys and a number of the crew will be back next year for another go. More significantly from an OM perspective, was that we had an OMBC 8+ in the Thames Challenge Cup (Club Men's eights) for the very first time. Sadly, they lost out on the Wednesday to a strong Cantabrigian Rowing Club crew by two and a quarter lengths: however, qualifying for the regatta was a huge achievement in of itself and we hope it will be the start of many OMBC eights at the regatta in the future. Elsewhere, there were a number of other OMs represented at Henley, including Iwan Hadfield, Archie Hilder, Robbie Prosser, Will England, Cameron Michie, and Jamie Brown. There were some impressive performances, the pick of which being Iwan, whose Leander 4- in the Visitors' Challenge Cup went all the way to the final, only to lose out to a very strong Oxford Brookes University boat. Whilst disappointed, Iwan has had a very successful 2021 having represented GB at the World U23 regatta this summer, and he has vowed to come back fighting in 2022! Only a few weeks after we all enjoyed the racing at HRR, the Henley Dinner at Leander Club took place, having also had a hiatus in 2020. Despite the current challenges, a mixture of 21 OMs, current staff, and their partners attended and a fine evening was had by all. It was lovely to meet up with old friends after, in some cases, over two years, and to celebrate rowing and the school in general. We were very pleased to welcome Simon Dorman and his wife Miranda to their very first Henley Dinner and Simon very kindly gave us all an update on the school and plans for the future. 2021 was a real highlight after what has been a very challenging year for so many of us. We hope for more of the same success in 2022 and beyond!