WHEN he decided to take a break from rowing last year, George Lawton knew already how he wanted to return.

And his plan is working.

He forms part of a men’s coxless four from Northwich Rowing Club that attempts to secure a place at next week’s Henley Royal Regatta during a qualifier later today.

A total of 42 crews contest a time trial for the Wyfold Challenge Cup, and 14 of those can progress.

“I think the boys like those odds,” said coach Jed Barlow.

“They’ll be extremely disappointed if they don’t make it.”

Lawton represented Great Britain at the World Rowing Junior Championships last year, and afterwards vowed to assemble a crew of former Northwich juniors to race at Henley in 2017.

On his return from a spell travelling in Asia, he set to work doing exactly that.

Barlow said: “There were phone calls to and fro; he was determined to make it happen, and he has.”

Finn, George’s older brother, joins him in the boat after finishing a degree at Oxford Brookes University.

Harry Taylor and Joe Anderson, a member at Trentham Boat Club, complete the line-up.

They finished second in their category at Notts City Regatta last month, then first at Metropolitan Regatta three weeks later.

Last Saturday, they repeated the trick at Marlow.

While a boost to confidence, Barlow says it has also raised expectation.

“There was no pressure at all at the start,” he added.

“That’s change a bit in the past couple of weeks, and now they’re feeling as though they’ll measure up pretty well against the other British crews in the time trial.

“I don’t mind that; all four are serious athletes, and they’ll find that extra bit of strength if they don’t feel they’re doing themselves justice.”

Two other crews have travelled south to race against the clock in green and gold.

A junior quad consisting of George Crouchley, Kevin Dudley, Rhys Coffey and Josh Burke contest a preliminary in the Fawley Challenge Cup.

Like their clubmates, they hope to be one of 14 crews to make the main draw.

An interrupted build-up, while Dudley recovered from a shoulder injury sustained during an assessment for Great Britain’s junior team in April, has made it more difficult to assess their prospects.

A return to the water at Marlow on Saturday yielded fourth place in their boat class’ B final.

Meanwhile Anya George, Charlotte Almond, Imogen Wolstencroft and Beth Willford-Dutton make up a junior women’s quad that has entered the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup.

The fastest eight, from a field of 43, will go through.

“We had three crews take part in Henley Royal Regatta last year and it would be amazing to do the same,” said coach Rachel Hooper.

“The girls have trained well, and are feeling good.”

What happens today?

Organisers arrange timed qualifying races over the Henley Royal Regatta course to whittle down those boat classes with a high entry

They compete over a distance of 2,112 metres on the River Thames

When are the Northwich crews due on the water?

1825 Wyfold Challenge Cup: Senior men’s coxless four

1900 Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup: Junior women’s quad

1928 Fawley Challenge Cup: Junior men’s quad

When will they know if they have qualified?

Henley Royal Regatta officials plan to publish results an hour after the final race, so shortly after 2030 on Friday

What happens then?

A draw for next week’s Henley Royal Regatta, which starts on Wednesday, is due to take place at 1500 tomorrow, Saturday

The Wyfold Challenge Cup and the Fawley Challenge Cup first round is scheduled for Wednesday