Oxford University Fixture Report

BROOKES|Rowing opened their spring season this weekend against local rivals the University of Oxford. Two men’s and two women’s crews lined up on the Tideway in one of the official Boat Race fixtures- which takes place on 24 March.

The highlight of the day was the Men’s 1st VIII winning both pieces against the OUBC Blue Boat. All races featured two pieces- the first from Putney to St Paul’s, and the second from Chiswick Eyot to the University Post. In the men’s race, Brookes made the first move and had edged out to a few seats by the end of Putney Embankment. They drew out to almost a length by Barn Elms, but Oxford were resilient on the Middlesex bend and Brookes were unable to break into clear water. A big push by the Dark Blues saw both crews draw level for a period before Hammersmith, but Brookes pressed hard in the final two minutes, and finished the piece two thirds of a length up.

In the second piece, Brookes pulled out to a length lead despite being on the outside of the Surrey bend. Once again, they were unable to break clear due to constant pressure from the Oxford crew. Approaching Barnes Bridge, the crews came close and clashed briefly, but it was then that Brookes stepped on and broke clear, slowly edging away to win the piece by 1 ½ lengths.

Lining up at Putney alongside a Blue Boat is always a big occasion. I think we put in a good performance considering where we’re at in our season. For me, it’s another opportunity to find that line for HORR. We need to continue finding speed now.– Harry Brightmore 

The Women’s 1st VIII had a strong showing against a tough Oxford crew. Off the start, Oxford pressed hard and took a ⅔ lead as a result through the early stages. Towards Hammermith, Brookes pulled back to almost level and as the bend turned in Oxfords favour and into the final stages of the race, Oxford were able to pull clear to win the first piece. In the second piece, both crews went off high and fast, with not much between them.  There were no more than a few seats between the crews for the entirety of the piece, with both battling for control. Into the line, Oxford edged out to a narrow victory.

Racing the Blue boat was a great experience for us, the intensity of the side-by-side racing on the Tideway is a great way for us to prepare for WEHORR in two weeks time. The fixture has given us the opportunity to find where we can develop through the next period. Aisling Humphries-Griffiths

The Men’s 2nd VIII faced Isis- the OUBC reserve crew. The crew featured a number of athletes from last year’s Ladies Plate and Temple winning crews, with some fresh faces completing the lineup. Brookes started on the Middlesex station, and worked hard on the Fulham bend to pull out to a lead of 1.5L by the time the course turned in Oxford’s favour. By this time, they had control of the piece, and extended their lead to roughly 3 lengths by the finish at St Paul’s. For the second piece, the crews switched stations. Brookes quickly moved clear, and made a big move past the Bandstand to finish the piece with a few lengths between the two crews.

It was one apiece in the race between the Women’s 2nd VIII and Osiris- the OUWBC reserve crew. Brookes went off high and hard, and were rewarded with a lead of a few seats at the end of Putney Embankment. They increased this lead round past Fulham, but were unable to break clear. As the course turned in Osiris’ favour, a big move brought both crews level. Osiris used this momentum and  moved out to a lead of almost a length as the crews entered the final minute. Brookes kept applying pressure, but Osiris maintained their lead and finished the first piece 6 seats ahead. On the second piece, Brookes again started strong, and were sat 5 seats up by the start of the Middlesex Bend. They used this advantage and were almost a length up before Osiris pushed on hard in the final stages, cutting Brookes’ lead to half a length by the finish.

BROOKES|Rowing have another weekend racing next week, where two men’s 8s will face Cambridge University and the rest of the squad will race at Reading University Head of the River. Both squads will then close out their spring racing season at the Head of the River Race and the Women’s Head of the River Race.

Photo credit to Lewis Todd/BrookesPhotographyGB, Lucinda Douse/AllMarkOne and WEROW.co.uk