On Sunday 19th February, OUWBC took to the water on a fortunately mild and calm day for
their fixture against Oxford Brookes. Our provisional Blue Boat raced Brookes’ first eight in
two pieces on the Boat Race course, one from the start to Hammersmith Bridge and one
from Harrods Wall to the Bandstand whilst Osiris raced the same pieces against the
Brookes’ second eight. This was our first time racing on the Tideway since trial eights in
Osiris won the coin toss and chose to race on the Middlesex station. Brookes’ came out of
the start with the advantage but we quickly came back through to half a lengths lead. The
crews stayed side by side until we approached the Hammersmith bend, at which point the
women from Brookes took a lead over Osiris and took the win. The second piece, raced
again around the Hammersmith bend, was also won by Brookes.
The Blue Boat then began their races. Brookes, having won the coin toss, chose the Surrey
station, and off the start edged a slight lead over the Oxford crew. However, we were able
to make the most of the Middlesex advantage bend to quickly reel our opponents in, and
then, although underrating them, utilised a long and strong rhythm to row through them. By
the time we reached Hammersmith Bridge, we had extended our lead to around 2 lengths.
For the second piece, Brookes stayed on the Surrey station, giving them the long advantage
bend, which really tested the resilience of the Oxford crew. Brookes, determined to
compensate for the result of the first piece, went off hard at the start and managed to get
up by around half a length. Oxford, however, did not let this faze us. Our crew held Brookes
well around the first part of their bend, and we drew level once we were on the straight
part of the course running past the Eyot. Oxford then led by a couple of seats around the
last part of the Surrey bend before yet again managing to work a solid rhythm and push
away from the Brookes crew. We finished around ¾ of a length up to seal a second victory.
Overall, a successful and productive day of racing, and our first chance to show as a crew
what we are capable of. Many thanks to Brookes for providing such strong opposition in our
first very promising fixture.