Saturday brought the 2019 Fours Head of the River Race on the Tideway and it was arguably Westminster’s most successful yet! The top crew – the Quad of James and Angus, Finn and Arnav – exceeded expectations by winning Junior Quads and placing as 8th quad overall. This included beating last year’s Henley Finalists and 2019 Head of the Charles winners, Henley Rowing Club.
Also, the 2nd and 3rd crews were then second and third in Junior Coxed Fours behind St Paul’s’ the big St. Paul’s 1st Four but well in front of their 2nd and 3rd crews. Meanwhile, a composite girls Quad had a fine row to put a mainly Westminster crew (borrowing one girl from KCS) up into the top 20 Junior crews for the first time. Finally, the 4th, 5th and 6th crews all had good rows and finished well in front of their equivalents from St Pauls, Shrewsbury, KCS and Shiplake, with Eton a no-show.
As a successful footnote, the overall event winners were the GB U23 World Champions with the Elizabethan Club’s own Sam Meijer in the stroke seat.
Thursday was a busy day for Fives as the Seniors entertained their counterparts from Charterhouse, whilst the Juniors travelled away to Eton. There were contrasting fortunes as Westminster took the home match by 2-1, thanks to victories at U18 by Cameron & Nicholas (3-0) and at U16 by Darshan & Thomas (3-0).
Away at Eton though, it was a different story as the hosts took the honours by 6-1, although there was a notable 2-0 victory at first pair in the U14s for Dhruv & Nathan.
Westminster’s run in the English Schools U18 Cup continued on Thursday as they moved into the fourth round courtesy of a thrilling victory over the Queen’s School, Bushey. With the 1st XI pitch at Vincent Square unplayable, the fixture was played at Glebe FC in Chislehurst. Westminster started fast and took the lead through Arun, but then failed to press home their advantage and allowed the dangerous opposition to take a 2-1 lead.
An equaliser from Connor took the tie into extra-time, where he scored again to put Westminster 3-2 ahead. Back came Queen’s School again to make it 3-3 and send the match into a penalty shootout. Safar was now the hero as he saved two spot-kicks to take Westminster through and into a potential encounter with the holders, Hampton School.
Thursday was the day for the annual House Competition with all eleven houses represented in this 5-a-side tournament. With much enthusiasm, and no little skill on display, Grant’s, Rigaud’s, Hakluyt’s and Liddell’s were the four teams to progress to the semi-finals from the two groups. With the light closing in fast, Hakluyt’s booked their place in the Final with a 1-0 win over a valiant Rigaud’s side who had played much of the competition with only four players.
The other semi-finals was dead-locked at 0-0 and could be decided only by a penalty shootout, which Liddell’s won 1-0. Played in near total darkness, the Final was a tight affair which seemed destined for penalties. So it proved as the game remained goalless until the shootout which Hakluyt’s won 2-1 to retain the title they won last year.