On an unseasonably and rare flat day on the Tideway, the Brookes Men’s squad had it’s long awaited clash against Oxford University this Sunday. It was the last part of the Fixtures Series in the build-up to the Boat Race. Each race included two pieces – from Putney to the Chiswick Steps, then restarting again at the Eyot, and finishing at the University Finish Post.
Oxford Brookes vs Blue Boat
Unlike the Cambridge fixture, two weeks prior, Brookes were reinforced with members from Caversham who jumped into the crew the day before. They were up against one of the strongest Oxford crews in recent memory with 5 Olympians on board. With Brookes on Middlesex, a strong start put them ¾ of a length up at the end of Putney Embankment. After the initial bend, Oxford maintained contact coming up to the Harrods Depositary. Coming under Hammersmith Bridge, Brookes maintained their ¾ length lead despite clashes with the Blue boat. Around the outside of the Hammersmith bend, Brookes countered several pushes by Oxford to push out to a lengths lead. Approaching the finish Brookes, stretched out to a 1¼ lengths lead. After the race, Umpire Matt Pinsent made the unusual decision to disqualify Brookes for their dominance of the racing line.
After the start of the second piece, Brookes edged out to a canvas lead after the first 2 minutes of racing. With the final bend approaching in Brookes’s favour, Brookes had almost a lengths advantage. Oxford were repeatedly being warned for their steering. Whilst being warned, the Oxford two seat caught a crab which dashed Oxfords last hope. Brookes crossed the finish line just over 2 lengths ahead of the Dark Blues. The Dark Blues put on a quality performance against a very strong Brookes crew and we wish them the best of luck ahead of the Boat Race.
Oxford Brookes vs Isis
In the first piece, Brookes blasted out the blocks and despite huge wash from a launch, they were able to counter any pushes from the Isis crew. After a few minutes of rowing around the outside of the initial bend past Fulham Football club, Brookes on the Surrey station were able to establish a ¾ length lead. Approaching Harrods, crews came close with multiple clashes. Brookes were able to capitalise on their start and were able to stretch out their lead coming through Hammersmith. At the finish, Brookes crossed the line with 4 lengths lead.
In the second piece, Brookes were on the outside station. With a dominant start Brookes were able to immediately push through the Isis crew and dictate the rest of the race. At the finish, Brookes had a lead of over 4 ½ lengths.
Oxford Brookes vs Imperial BC
Brookes III lined up against Imperial for a similar set of pieces. Brookes were able to get out the blocks hard and clean in the first race. Crossing the line with around 2 lengths lead.
In the second piece, after switching stations, Brookes were able to row away before the advantage of the final bend and control the race from the front crossing the line with a 2 ½ length lead.
Some fantastic racing experience and a show of force from the Brookes contingent as they look towards the Head of the River this Saturday. Brookes look to retain the Headship which they have held since 2016.