After a quiet start to the racing season in the UK, yesterday saw the return of the fixtures on the Tideway with the Brookes women taking on their upstream rivals, Oxford University. With calm water and blue skies, the conditions were ideal for a day of racing. The pieces for these fixture races took place as 3x 5-minute pieces along the Championship course.
Oxford Brookes 1st VIII vs OUBC Blue Boat
In the Blue boat fixture, Oxford won the toss and chose the Middlesex station. Starting from a standing start Brookes got out to an early lead as the crews headed past Fulham Football Club. The crews were both warned throughout while both coxes were fighting for the fastest line, with a lack of audible warning due to the umpire’s megaphone not working. Brookes then managed to hold their lead while Oxford had their advantage on the inside of the corner through the middle of the piece. In the final minute, Brookes then extended their lead to finish ¾ of a length up on Oxford in the first piece.
In the second piece, the race was started from a rolling start with glassy water the crews both got off fast and cleanly. Brookes got out to half a length lead in the first couple of minutes of the piece and managed to maintain this margin under Hammersmith Bridge. The Brookes women then extended their lead to ¾ of a length in the second half of the piece and held that margin until the 5-minute mark. Brookes won the second piece by ¾ of a length.
The final piece told a different story with Oxford taking a 1/3 of a length lead in the first 2 minutes. Brookes then came back to level as the crews came under Barnes Bridge. After some clashing in the 4th minute, Brookes stepped out to a 2-seat advantage and as the clock ticked over the 5-minute mark to north of 7-minutes, both crews were exhausted, and the Oxford crew stepped on and ended up winning the final piece by 1 ½ Lengths.
Oxford Brookes 2nd VIII vs OUBC Osiris
For the Osiris fixture, the Brookes crew started on the Middlesex station. The crews got off the race start cleanly with Brookes going out harder and stepping out to ½ a length lead ahead of Oxford. This was held around Fulham Football Club and Brookes finished ½ a length ahead of Oxford when the clock hit 5 minutes.
The second piece came with lots of action. Both crews were fighting for the fastest line within the first 90 seconds with both crews being warned to move apart. This then resulted in a clash which stopped the race. The race then restarted with Brookes starting a length ahead, where they finished the first piece and went on to win this piece by a verdict of 1 ¾ lengths.
The final piece for the Brookes 2nd VIII and Osiris was a cleaner race with Brookes getting out to over a length and ½ lead in the first half of the race and maintaining this verdict until the end of the piece, winning the last piece by 1 ½ lengths.
Oxford Brookes 3rd VIII vs OUBC 3rd VIII
The Brookes 3rd VIII raced in 2x 5-minute pieces on the championship course. They then had to turn around and do the final piece in the same place they did the 2nd piece due to the tide turning.
The Brookes 3rd VIII had a very dominant display against their Oxford counterparts across all three pieces winning each piece by 3 lengths, 2 lengths and 4 lengths respectively. They got out strongly on each piece, taking an early lead and then controlled each race from the front.
A great experience for a Brookes crew who will be pushing towards competing for BUCs medals and the Academic Pennant at Henley Women’s Regatta come the regatta season.
Oxford Brookes 4th VIII vs OUBC Lwt VIII
The Brookes 4th VIII was a young crew who gained some valuable experience on the tideway and in side-by-side racing. They made the most of their advantage on the Middlesex station and won the first 5-minute piece by ½ a length.
In the second piece, the Oxford Lwt crew took a couple of seats lead which the Brookes crew were able to reel in as the clock hit 5 minutes to end the race level.
In the final piece, Brookes started slightly down off their rolling start and did not manage to get their nose in front, losing the final piece by 1 ½ lengths.
With the first race for Brookes this season complete, lots of lessons were learned and experience gained along with some great results from all crews. Attention now turns to trials and the next set of fixture races in February.
Photos courtesy of AllMarkOne