The BROOKES|Rowing men’s squad made history this weekend, where they were victorious over the two Cambridge University crews who will take part in the Boat Races in three week’s time. This is the first time a Brookes crew has beaten both Oxford and Cambridge in the same year, and it is testament to the strength in depth of the squad that the 2nd VIII also beat both Goldie and Isis.
The Cambridge Blue Boat won the toss and elected to take the Surrey station for both pieces. The first ran from Putney to Chiswick steps. It was Cambridge who scored the first blow, and by Fulham Football Ground, the light blues led by around half a length. They capitalised on the Surrey bend, and by Hammersmith Cambridge led by a full length, with Brookes working hard on the outside of the bend to keep in contact. As both crews came straight into the final stages of the race, Brookes pushed hard, and quickly came back level. By the end of piece, Brookes had gained a lead of a full length.
The crews span, and after a short break lined up alongside Chiswick Eyot to start the second piece. Cambridge moved out to a slight lead off the start, but as the course straightened out, Brookes had moved through. Aggressive steering from Cambridge brought the crews together, with a number of clashes before they were able to steer apart. Once both crews were clear, Brookes were able to push out to a lead of half a length, which they extended to a full length by the finish. A thrilling, hard fought contest- credit was certainly due to both crews.
In the other race, Goldie won the toss and chose to take the Middlesex station. The first piece ran from Putney to St. Paul’s. Both crews went hard off the start and remained fairly level through the opening stages of the race. As the crews entered the Surrey bend, Brookes made a big move and under Hammersmith Bridge had a lead of a length and a half. By the end of the piece, Brookes had moved out to a lead of around 2 lengths.
The crews paddled through and started the second piece, which ran from Chiswick Eyot to the Boat Race finish. Brookes made a strong start, and quickly moved out to a lead of around 6 seats. Despite a warning from the umpire, both crews came together, causing the Brookes strokeman to temporarily come off his seat. This gave Goldie a way back into the race. As the river moved round towards Middlesex, they had a slight lead and moved out to three seats at Barnes Bridge. However, Brookes were relentless, keeping pressure on Goldie despite being on the outside of the bend. In the final stages of the race, Brookes took back the lead, and pushed out to ⅔ of a length by the finish.
BROOKES|Rowing race again this weekend, with both the Head of the River Race and the Women’s eights Head of the River Race. Brookes will be taking three women’s eights and six men’s eights, with the men looking to retain the headship won in 2016.
Photo credit to Lewis Todd/BrookesPhotographyGB, Wilf Le Brocq/AllMarkOne