Alumni Boat Race

Early yesterday morning, a finely honed squad of elite athletes made their way to the Thames for a new class of Boat Race – the Women’s Alumnae Race - against Cambridge in an 8-oared boat. Last year in somewhat different meteorlogical conditions, our OUWBC alumnae coxed four fell to a stronger (and, we suspect, more practiced) Cambridge crew. This year, we were not prepared to accept defeat for a second time! 

Our Empacher hull and blades had been delivered to Upper Thames RC by Sam Wells - the OULRC coach, for which we thank him.  Things were going swimmingly until the search for the rigger bolts began….. and ended abruptly when we realised that they were still in Wallingford. Oops! Clive and the Upper Thames ‘spares box’ came to the rescue and our boat was ready! 

Next, the crew order….. Why does no one ever want to be Stroke? My well-thought-out crew order was binned as the athletes sorted themselves out, and Maxie (hadn’t rowed competitively since the 2015 boat race) was jobbed in to stroke.  

Our pre-race paddle was a joy. It was such a treat for me to be in a boat with such power. A couple of bursts and some practice starts against Keble College’s women’s crew (coached by 2016 BB cox Morgan Baynham-Williams, and including 2016 BB member Ruth Siddorn) and we were back in the Clubhouse planning our breakfast and coffee preferences.

Cox Anna Corderoy and I attended the Toss, and our win with ‘Heads’ granted our first choice of station – Bucks. 

Regrouping leisurely in the sun for a 12 noon boating, we swapped stories and checked our kit – My 1985 navy towelling shorts didn’t really cut the mustard so a snazzy new all-in-one was the only choice.

Actually our race was brilliant. We warmed up as if we’d been rowing together for years, and Anna put us onto the stake boat with such professionalism we had over 3 minutes to chill before our start time.  The water was somewhat choppy, but once the flag was down, we were off (rating 41). Within 5 strokes, Anna was whooping ‘I’ve got their stroke man’, and the rest, as they say, is history. A push just before Remenham saw us with clear water and we continued to pull away from the Cambridge crew. You can actually watch the recording of the race via the Henley Boat Races website www.henleyboatraces.com, but all you really need to know is that WE WON by 4 lengths.

Thanks to Ali Williams for trusting us with the Empacher and the OUW blades, Clive for helping source some rigger bolts at v short notice, Andy Groves for helping to load the boat at the end of the race, Sam Wells for the initial loading and towing, the Henley Boat Race organisers for running a super event, and of course, the crew who came to Henley to #represent. #darkblue.

Crew List

CoxAnna CorderoyOUWLRC Tethys 2015, OUWLRC BB 2016
StrokeMaxie ScheskeBB 2013, 2014 (President), 2015
7Emma SpruceBB 2016
6Maddy BadcottBB 2015, 2016 (President)
5Rhianna CearnsOsiris 2014
4Judith BehanOsiris 1985
3Georgie DaniellOsiris 2015, 2016
2Jo JansenBB 2016
BowMerel LeffertsOsiris 2016