Brookes complete Boat Race double for first time ever

Following an impressive performance last week against the Cambridge Blue Boat and Blondie, the BROOKES|Rowing women’s squad returned to the Tideway on Sunday to test their speed against their local rivals at the University of Oxford. The race had been scheduled to take place on Saturday, but difficult conditions meant the race was postponed.


The 1st VIII, facing the Oxford Blue Boat, won the toss and chose to row on the Surrey station for the first piece, which was an eight minute piece from the Boat Race start. Both crews got out well and were close through the initial stages of the race. Passing Barn Elms, Brookes were able to take a slight lead and kept moving on the outside of the Fulham bend. As the course straightened, Brookes were able to break contact with Oxford and continued to move in the latter stages. The piece finished with Brookes in a commanding position three lengths ahead of Oxford. 

Brookes switched to the Middlesex station for the second piece- a five minute piece which started at Harrods Wall. Again, both crews started well and stayed fairly level as the crews reached difficult conditions around Hammersmith. Both crews were warned a number of times through the middle of the piece. Brookes again were able to push out to a lead towards the end of the piece despite being on the outside of the Surrey bend. At the finish, Brookes were 3/4 of a length up.

The crews then rowed a shorter piece of three minutes from Chiswick Eyot. Brookes remained on the Middlesex station. Brookes initially pushed out to a small lead and by the end of a piece had taken a lead of 3/4 of a length. 

2nd VIII vs Osiris

The 2nd VIII also rowed three pieces against the Oxford reserve crew- Osiris. Because of a late turning tide, the crews raced on the ebb tide in the opposite direction to the Boat Race. 

Each piece was five minutes, with the first starting at Barnes Bridge. Brookes were on the Middlesex station for this piece. After a windy start, both crews came together and battled at close quarters for the initial two minutes- where they could not be separated. Brookes then made a decisive move through the middle of the piece, allowing them to break clear in the closing stages of the piece. The piece finished with Brookes 1.5 lengths ahead of Osiris. 

The second piece, also five minutes, started from Dove Pier, with Brookes remaining on the Middlesex station. Osiris had the initial advantage of the Hammersmith bend which made for a great race throughout. The crews fought for the first 4 minutes with the lead changing hands a number of times. However, as the course straightened, Brookes were able to make a move and finished the piece with a lead of half a length. 

The crews then paddled to Putney and raced their final piece from the Boat Race start to Harrods. This also gave the crews a chance to rest and reset ahead of the piece. Brookes took the Middlesex station, and the crews started as soon as it had been confirmed by the umpire that the tide had changed direction. Brookes, eager to take control of the race, had an aggressive start which saw them take half a length from Osiris within the first minute. Brookes had clear water as the crews passed Barn Elms and had stretched out to a three length lead at the end of the piece. 

The women’s squad returns to the Tideway this weekend, where they will look to improve on their sixth place start position, with the second and third eight starting 16th and 27th respectively.