Neill is a winner at Henley
CITY rowing starlet Philippa Neill enjoyed one of her best career wins to date when landing the Peabody Cup at the Henley Women’s Regatta.
King’s School pupil Neill was part of a Junior Composite Eight made up of rowers from St Neots, Gloucester, Tideway Scullers, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Canford School that took the hotlycontested title on Sunday.
The win is a massive coup for the 17-year-old, especially as Neill’s crew also set a new course record after covering the 1,500 metre Thames course in a time of four minutes and 52 seconds after a cracking tussle with Headington School in the final.
Neill said: “We knew Headington had a fast start. We just had to stick to our race plan so when we started to row through them and I saw their cox out of the corner of my eye, I knew we had the power, fitness and determination to take the win.
“To win at Henley is amazing and to break the course record was extra special.”
Neil’s crew started the weekend with a convincing four-length win against St Pauls on the Saturday before being given a more thorough examination in the semi-fi- nal on Sunday.
Up against Molesly Boat Club - who had used a strong tail wind to set the course record the day before - Neill and her crew rowed well to win by one and a quarter lengths and set up a mouthwatering final against Headington.
The Oxford-based crew are the reigning National Schools gold medallists and with a rate of 50 strokes a minute, went into the final as favourites.
But despite a blistering start from their opponents, Neill’s crew made their impressive fitness count over the final stages to overhaul their opponents and win the race, breaking Molesly’s record into the bargain - less than 24 hours after it was first set.
“After I have done my A Levels I will undergo four days of trials for the Junior World and European teams. The season is really going well and I would just like to say a big thank-you to Peterborough SportsAid for all their help in helping me achieve my ambitions.”