Following the men’s fixture with Oxford the day before, BROOKES|Rowing took three women’s eights to the Tideway on Sunday to face off against the Cambridge crews that will race in next month’s Boat Race.
The fixture was held in the direction of the Women’s Head of the River race. For all 3 boats the first race started at Chiswick bridge and ran to Chiswick steps. The second race was from Chiswick Steps to the Black buoy in Putney.
Brookes I vs. CUWBC Blue Boat
The Cambridge Blue Boat won the toss and choose the Surrey station. The Oxford Brookes crew got the faster start, and within 2 minutes had a lead of a length- which they increased to approximately a 4 length winning margin at the end of the first piece. This was the first time an Oxford Brookes women’s crew has beaten their Cambridge counterparts at a fixture.
The second race was a rolling start with both crews level for the first minute before the Oxford Brookes rhythm proved too fast to match. As the crews passed Hammersmith Bridge, Brookes were able to extend their lead on the outside of the Surrey bend. The Brookes women continued to extend their lead until the finish line at the Black Buoy.
Brookes II vs. Blondie
The Cambridge reserve boat, Blondie, won the toss and chose the Middlesex station for the first piece. Brookes held Blondie around the outside of the first bend with only a few warnings from the umpire. Both crews battled intensely coming past the bandstand- with the Brookes women’s crew coming out of the first race with a marginal win of half a length.
Again, the crews started the second piece with a rolling start. At this point the Brookes women had the advantage of the inside of the Surrey bend. By St. Paul’s they moved out to a one length lead and were able to extend this lead considerably from Hammersmith Bridge to the finish line at the Black Buoy.
Brookes III vs. CUWBC Lightweights
The race between Brookes III and Cambridge Lightweights proved to be the most exciting and closest racing of the morning. For the first piece, the Cambridge crew won the toss and choose the Middlesex station. Brookes held Cambridge well around the outside of the bend and were able to stay level with Cambridge. The Brookes women were half a length up when both crews were warned by the umpire. Clashing meant that the race then had to be restarted. Following the restart, the piece finished with Cambridge wining with a slight lead over Brookes.
The second piece for the again proved to be an exciting race with both crews battling for the lead throughout. Clashing again, outside Fulham football club stopped both boats progress but once moving again the final inside of the Fulham bend gave the Cambridge lightweight crew the advantage to finally come away with a half-length win.
BROOKES|Rowing return to London next week as they attempt to whitewash the Boat Race fixtures for the first time ever.
Provisional race times are as follows:
14:00 Brookes II vs. Osiris (OUWBC Reserves)
14:30 Brookes I vs. Oxford Women’s Blue Boat
TBC Brookes III vs. Oxford Lightweights
All photos courtesy of AllMarkOne