For the first time since 1994, the Boat Club raced an official OxBridge fixture for the Cancer Research UK Boat Races, against Cambridge’s respective men & women’s squads CUBC and CUWBC. Racing took place on the Tideway course in the form of two pieces splitting the Boat Race in half. The men raced from Putney to Chiswick Eyot, and then on to the finish, while the ladies stopped at Hammersmith, and restarted at Eyot.
The men’s 2nd VIII dispatched Goldie handily, winning by 3 and 5 lengths in the respective pieces, while the battle between the 1st VIII and Cambridge’s Blue Boat was a more interesting affair. After a minute, Brookes’ 1st VIII were already clear water up and moved in front on Cambridge, extending their lead to 2 lengths. Cambridge pushed on well on the inside of the bend to come back on level terms, and won by 2 lengths. The second piece allowed Cambridge to get more into their stride, with them winning by 3 lengths.
The women raced CUW the day after in very similar conditions to the men. In the races between the 2nd VIII’s, it was a reversal of roles with Cambridge coming out on top, in similar margins to the men’s races. With the women’s 1st VIII against Cambridge however, events unfolded almost identically to the men the day before. Brookes 1st’s jumped out to an early lead of just over a length, holding this for a large portion of the Fulham bend. As the river swung round to Hammersmith, Cambridge would come through on the inside once again, winning by a length. The crews stayed quite level in the second piece, with Cambridge moving away through Barnes to clear water.
This was a very productive weekend for the Boat Club, as it shows the top crews are demonstrating good speed for the summer 2k’s. It also gave Cambridge valuable practice in sticking to their guns, and coming from behind. The men’s squad will race OUBC in a couple weeks on the 21st February.