Wednesday Racing Sessions

The Morning Session
9am - 12.20pm

Welcome back! 

No big shocks or upsets in the first 35 races of the day - and for over two years - as the Regatta returned to the water. The session began in beautiful conditions, became a little breezy as it went on and the favourites and dark horses, were quickly into their stride. 

History was made with race 31 as Enniskillen Royal Boat Club and Shrewsbury School contested the first race of the inaugural Junior Women’s Eights (JW8) – one of the three new events this year – all women’s and all eights. 

Shrewsbury, who have barely been seen as an eight this year are definitely one to watch, they smoothly took control, changing gear at the top the island and were two lengths clear at Barrier. Technique and power. 

That is a combination of words that will be applied many times this week to Oxford Brookes University boats as they line up an historic Regatta.

Their “B” boats look formidable and in the 35th and last race of the session In the Prince Albert (men’s coxed fours) the Oxford Brookes “B” boat dominated Aberdeen University from the start, went nearly two lengths clear by Barrier and won by three. 

Earlier, in race 16, the Brookes “A” quad had unsurprisingly swept aside Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club. 

The Tideway Scullers School also flexed the depth of their club with their “B” crew in race 20 as they beat Hampton School in the Fawley Challenge Cup (Junior men’s quad). Hampton normally focus on the eight, but look to have stacked the four this season, and they chased Tideway to the line but defeat may have been a bit of a blow. 

The Afternoon Session
2 - 4.20pm

 The afternoon session saved the best ‘til last with two races coming down to a canvas. The headwind picked up in the afternoon and the racing became longer, more tactical and closer.

In the race of the day (53) George Watson’s College held on by less than a canvas to beat Hereford Cathedral School in the Fawley (junior men’s quad). 

The last race of the session (60) was almost as close as Claires Court School who beat Nottingham & Union Rowing Club by a canvas after a closely fought battle all the way. Claires Court were underrating, but a better rhythm saw them edge ahead in the second half of the race.

Earlier, The Tideway Scullers’ School held off a tenacious The King’s School, Worcester (race 41) showing immediately the quality of competition in the inaugural Junior Women’s Eight. Erratic steering let down King’s off the start, but they recovered and Scullers’ were never able to break clear in spite of overrating King’s over the whole course. Scullers’ were deserved winners by a third of a length.

In the local derby in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (junior men’s eight), race 46,  Shiplake controlled the second half of the race gradually pulling out to three quarters of a length clear. University of Bristol won the west country derby (race 50), in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup (men’s coxed four), extending their lead to three and a half lengths by the end over Exeter University.

The Evening Session
5.30pm - 7pm

The final session of the day began and ended with victory for Newcastle University. To be fair, they couldn’t have lost in the first race (61), which was a classic of the intersquad variety, with no mercy shown by Newcastle’s ‘A’ crew to their ‘B’ crew in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup (student men’s coxed four). 

But to close the day, in the Temple Challenge Cup (student men’s eights) Newcastle University ‘B’ beat University of York by one and three quarter lengths following a push after Barrier.

In between it was a breathtakingly beautiful sunset session to enjoy from a comfortable seat – not always possible if you’re struggling in wake of opponent. 

Imperial College London have three boats in the Temple Challenge Cup (student men’s eights)  and in race, 64, their ‘B’ boat underlined their strength in depth, pulling away from Caius Boat Club, Cambridge and Homerton College, Cambridge to a six-length win. If it’s true that you need 16 rowers to make a good eight, that’s a lot of good rowers. 

Tensions ran high on occasion; In race 63, in the Island Challenge Cup (student women’s eights), Vesta Rowing Club ‘B’ appealed after Agecroft Rowing Club were warned after clashing at the end of Temple Island.

The wind picked cup as the session drew on and in the Prince Albert (student mens’ coxed four) Sheffield University won a tight race.

The race of the session was probably The Tideway Scullers’ School coming from behind to beat Lea Rowing Club in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup (junior women’s quads). Lea, with their distinctive orange blades, led at the ½ mile, but were reeled in by a characteristically unflustered Tideway Scullers.