What an end to an amazing year! OBUBC wins the Temple Challenge Cup for Student 8’s, having also won the Head of the River Race with an all-student crew, the BUCS Championship, and the National Championships.
Through the early rounds, the VIII was tested by both tough opposition and adverse conditions, rowing into strong headwinds. Wednesday saw the crew hold their nerve against a fast-starting Dutch crew from Njord, Thursday comfortably dispatching Newcastle University. Friday and Saturday saw them break clear of two top American lightweight programs by halfway, from Columbia and Yale respectively, to book a place in the final against long-term rivals Harvard from the USA.
Burying demons for coach Henry Bailhache-Webb, having himself lost Temple finals in 2001 and 2002 to Harvard, it was Brookes’ turn this year for the victory – taking the title emphatically by 3¼ lengths over Harvard’s JV crew, and clinching BROOKES|Rowing’s second Temple title in 3 years. Notably, the Harvard crew had gone undefeated all season – at Eastern Sprints, IRA’s, and the Harvard-Yale Dual, not losing a single heat of semi. It was fantastic to see the biggest crowd of supports ever cheering the crew out of the boat tents over the weekend.
Considering the amount of funding poured into American rowing programs – with the major programs receiving over 10x that of the Oxford Brookes budget – it was even more of a success in showing how Oxford Brookes builds athletes to a standard where they are in a position to win Henley, and to challenge for spots on the Great Britain National Team.
You can view the official HRR Youtube footage of the final here.
The two other Temple crews, Brookes ‘B’ and ‘C’, came up against tough opposition on the first day from American crews once more – with the ‘B’ crew going out to Cal Berkeley, and the ‘C’ crew almost overturning Cornell’s lightweights.
In the Visitors for Intermediate 4-‘s, the Brookes-Proteus (NED) composite had a storming couple of rounds against French and Australian crews, before being knocked out by finalists Cal Berkeley. Ben Reeves, in his GB U23 Lwt 4-, unfortunately went out in the first round to eventual winners Thames R.C.
The Women’s 1st VIII, after an amazing row to qualify for the Remenham Challenge Cup, almost extended their fairytale regatta by putting a Czech international composite under pressure the entire way down the track, losing by just a length.
Jamie Copus, racing in the Queen Mother for Elite 4x’s with his GB Senior Lwt 4x, raced a very mature, well-paced race against the Danish Senior heavyweight 4x in the first round, but unfortunately came up against a crew from California R.C. in the semis that proved too strong.