BROOKES|Rowing take on Oxford and Cambridge

The Brookes men’s squad returned to the Tideway this Sunday after a two year hiatus.
On a massive day for the club, the biggest so far in the 2021-22 season, Brookes fielded two Eights against both Oxford Women, Cambridge Men and their reserve crews. With multiple Olympic athletes in the opposition it was set to be a huge test for the Brookes contingent.

1st VIII vs CUBC
Cambridge won the toss and chose Middlesex for the first piece, which ran from the Boat Race start to the end of Chiswick Eyot. Brookes had a great start, with both crews being warned immediately. Around the outside of the first bend, Cambridge held a few seats advantage as crews came past Fulham. As the crews approached Harrods, Brookes pushed Cambridge with multiple Olympians further around the bend, holding the margin at level. With some quality rowing, Brookes started to pull out to a small 1/2 length lead which they held to the end despite a charging Blue Boat.

Both crews remained on their original stations for the second piece, which ran from the Eyot to the Boat Race finish. Cambridge held the aggressive Brookes start and pushes stretching out a gap of 2 lengths. Brookes, on the outside of the Middlesex bend, kept clawing at the heels of the Cambridge crew and demonstrated their skill and physiology to not let Cambridge pull out any further. At the finish Cambridge won by a little over 2 lengths.

2nd VIII vs Goldie
Brookes won the coin toss and chose the Surrey station for the first piece. Both pieces followed the same course as the 1st VIII fixture.

Brookes got off to a clean start and despite a flying Goldie crew were able to establish a narrow lead passed Putney Embankment. As both crews settled, the longer rhythm of Brookes showed, eventually taking the lead as the crews passed Barn Elms. After another 2 minutes, Brookes had taken a full lengths lead capitalising on the Hammersmith bend. Brookes dominated the second half of the piece, increasing the margin over Goldie towards Chiswick Eyot. At the end of the piece Brookes won by 3 lengths.

Brookes remained on the same station for the second piece. Both crews started fast and with some clashing around the first bend Brookes had a couple of seats lead. After several warnings for both crews, a Goldie crab ended the piece, resulting in a restart. The umpire judged Brookes to be disqualified.
With a restart at the Bandstand, Goldie had the main advantage of the final Barnes bend. A blistering start meant Goldie struggled to make use of their advantage and could not stretch a lead out any further than ½ a length until the end.

The Brookes Men return to the Tideway in two week’s time for the local derby fixture against Oxford University.

Brookes Women Return to race Oxford
Following some impressive performances a couple of weeks ago against the Cambridge, 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 1st VIII, facing the Oxford Blue Boat, lost the toss and were given the Surrey station for the first piece. Racing was held between the Boat Race Start and The Blue Doors. Brookes took an early lead but the crews were level at the end of Putney Embankment. Oxford University, on the inside of the first bend around Fulham Football Club, then took a slight lead before Brookes raced to level at Hammersmith Bridge. Brookes then moved into a slight lead coming past St. Paul’s. Both crews lifted the rate as the finish line approached, with Oxford winning by 3 seats in a fierce contest.
The crews remained on the same stations for the second piece. The crews started towards the end of Chiswick Eyot (racing to the Finish) and remained level till almost the Bandstand. As the advantage swung to Oxford University on the inside of the bend Oxford moved into the lead approaching Barnes Bridge and were then able to squeeze Brookes out around the Bridge to move into a 1.5 length lead. As the finish line approached Brookes were able to sprint back, shutting the gap down to a few feet of open water.

2nd VIII vs Osiris
The 2nd VIII also rowed two pieces against the Oxford reserve crew- Osiris. The crews raced the same length pieces.

Brookes started on the Middlesex station for the first piece. After a blistering start, by the end of Embankment Brookes had a lengths advantage over the Osiris crew. Despite some fierce racing by the Oxford crew and skilful rowing in bouncy conditions, the Brookes crew were able to inch out their lead each minute and held a commanding lead rowing past St Pauls. The piece finished at “The Blue Doors” with Brookes around 3.5 lengths ahead.

The second piece, Brookes switched to the Surrey station. After a good start from both crews, Brookes stretched out initially to another strong lead. Past the Bandstand they held a lead of 1.5 lengths. Osiris with the advantage around the Barnes bend pressed on and by the time the Brookes crew finished, Osiris had a lead of around half a length. A great race, with plenty of experience gained by a young group of athletes

The women’s squad returns to the Tideway this weekend, where they will look to improve on their 4th place start position. The second, third and fourth eight starting 13th, 23rd and 58th respectively. A very exciting time to be a part of BROOKES|Rowing.
All photos courtesy of AllMarkOne 📸