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2021 was quite a year for Hereford Cathedral School’s J16 crew, Innes J, Will M-J and Alfie S. They triumphed over stiff competition in the National Schools Regatta, won the British Rowing Regional Award for Crew of the Year and were the only full J16 school crew to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta. This month they beat the likes of Eton College to be crowned British Rowing’s Junior Crew of the Year.  

The governing body of rowing has heaped praise on the boys for their “great determination and strength of character” as they worked through the challenges thrown at them by the floods of 2019 and the ​ongoing pandemic. ​Through it all, the ​crew were “determined to improve their rowing, training at home using a range of apps, strength and conditioning, erg sessions and talks.”


National School regatta


HCS Head of Rowing Mr Ben Wellburn is proud of the boys’ success and of the impact they have had on the school’s younger rowers. Their support of the wider HCS boat club has also impressed the British Rowing judges who said: “Their endeavours have inspired younger pupils to take up rowing, doubling the size from the previous year. They have been awarded full school colours and are now mentoring other young boat club members.” 


Through dedication and determination they have exceeded their targets and surpassed everybody’s expectations.
British Rowing Awards


Will M-J, Year 12, is excited for what this year has to hold. He said: “This year, hopefully we’re going to qualify one, or maybe two, boats for Henley Royal Regatta, hopefully making it through the first round of the regatta, and then personally I’m aiming to make the GB Junior team and represent them in whatever events are available.” 

Innes has also been invited to attend a GB Junior training day next month.

Will believes their training will stand them in good stead for the future too: “As we’ve been part of quite a tough programme, we’ve all learned to be really resilient characters, able to commit ourselves 100% to whatever we do, and able to collaborate within a team.” 

Well done to the boys and good luck for the season ahead! You can read the full write-up from the judges here.