In a year of records, OBUBC achieved one more – retention of a title, and attaining another. This year at Henley Royal Regatta, the Boat Club defended their title in the Temple Challenge Cup. Formed of an entirely new crew involving five first-year’s led by Head of the River winners Matt Hnatiw and Will Hall, they were guided brilliantly up the course by Charlie Clarke in the coxing seat laying down an unbelievable line. The crew stormed out to a length and held on all the way up the track to take the win. In a year of unbelievable work and belief, this is a fine reward for their efforts.
Last year’s previous Temple Cup winners progressed up to winning the Ladies Challenge Plate, with the last time this being done by any institution was back in 2002. Richard Spratley, Director of Rowing said:
“This is the highest achievement ever at Henley Regatta by two Brookes crews, fully confirming our status as one of the leading universities for rowing now worldwide. The 1st VIII’s result in beating the Great Britain U23 crew was a phenomenal achievement, who in turn had beaten top-class Ivy League USA crews from Brown and Dartmouth. The 1st VIII beat the German #2 national boat in the semi-final, and most importantly in the final clocked 6:01 – the fastest crew in the whole five-day regatta.
The Brookes second crew completely dominated top-class USA university second crews from California and Yale to record an historic back-to-back event win over the University of London’s crew – quite outstanding, I am thrilled almost beyond words, and extremely proud of our team.”
Other notable results at Henley were from the women’s side – for the first time ever, Brookes qualified a women’s student 4x into the Princess Grace Challenge Cup for Elite quads, but unfortunately went out to the selected GB U23 crew. Olympic silver-medalist Olivia Carnegie-Brown raced with other international rowers in the inaugural running of the Women’s 4- event, making it through to Saturday’s semi finals, but were beaten by a USA national crew. Recent graduate Annie Withers – in her first season as a senior international – raced in the 7-seat of the GB senior women’s 8+ which made it through to the final of the Remenham Challenge Cup, going out to a very strong crew from New Zealand in a very close race.
Taurus Boat Club’s entry into the Visitors had a very spirited run in the event, dispatching crews from London RC and Newcastle University to make it through to the Friday, but found themselves frustratingly 2-feet short of making it to the weekend’s semi finals. Senior team member Matthew Tarrant was also flying the Brookes banner, from the 3-seat of GB’s flagship coxless four crew. They won the Stewards Challenge Cup for Elite fours turning over the senior Italian crew, who had beaten GB at the European Championships earlier this year. Additionally, a new foray into sculling saw OBUBC prequalify a 4x into the Prince of Wales for intermediate quads, but they lost out to finalists Leander in the first round
This latest success at HRR for OBUBC comes during an unbeaten season for the men. In May, Oxford Brookes became the number one rowing university in the UK after winning a record haul of medals at the BUCS Regatta 2017. The men’s squad later set more records at Ghent International in Belgium, and again at Marlow Regatta. In the eights event, the three entered crews swept the gold, silver and bronze medals in the category and broke the Ghent course record with two of the crews, which has stood since 1990.
This caps off what is most likely the best season for the Boat Club as a whole, ever. With Brookes men and women set to represent Great Britain at U23 World and European level later this summer, as well as the largest squad to ever attend the EUSA European University Games, the success hopefully won’t stop for the remainder of this calendar racing season.
* Photo credit to Lewis Todd *
More photos can be found at Rowing Classifieds