In the second weekend of official fixtures, Oxford University Women’s Boat Club took on an outfit from neighbours Oxford Brookes in continued preparation for the Cancer Research UK Boat Races.
The first piece ran from Putney Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge, with Brookes occupying the Surrey station. Both crews got away cleanly, but it was Brookes who stole an early march on their opposition, moving out to around 2 seats by the end of the embankment. With a chunkier rhythm, Brookes certainly looked to be the livelier of the two boats in the opening exchanges. As the piece progressed however, Oxford’s fitness and advanced capability on the Tideway began to shine through; the Dark Blues were level with Brookes outside Fulham Football Ground before edging into the lead twenty strokes later. Along the straight between the first corner and Harrods Depository, Oxford continued to build on their momentum and had established a length by the Mile Post. The dynamic of the contest changed little after that, as Oxford moved away to a reasonably comfortable victory.
After Oxford had swapped coxes, with Eleanor Shearer replacing Clarissa Coveney in the driving seat, the second piece began as a rolling start some 200m below Hammersmith Bridge. Once again, it was Brookes who took the initiative in the opening exchanges by moving out to a ½ length lead after 30 strokes. Determined to hold on to their advantage around the long Surrey bend, Brookes defended doggedly as Oxford’s relentless rhythm began to make an impression on proceedings. Passing Chiswick Eyot, Brookes still led but their margin was dwindling fast and the Dark Blues certainly had the momentum. The race continued at a frantic intensity around the last ebb of the Surrey bend, as Oxford slowly clawed themselves back onto level terms. The composure and poise was evident in the Oxford crew, as they refused to be flustered in testing circumstances. With Barnes Bridge looming into view, Oxford took the lead but never managed to break contact with Brookes, who fought right until the very end. Oxford eventually prevailed by around ¾ of a length.
The 163rd Boat Race and The 72nd Women’s Boat Race will take place on Sunday 2nd April 2017. The Cancer Research UK Women’s Boat Race will start at 16:35, with The Cancer Research UK Boat Race an hour later at 17:35.
The OUWBC Crew List was as follows:
S. Jenna Hebert
7. Emily Cameron
6. Chloe Laverack
5. Harriet Austin
4. Alice Roberts
3. Olivia Ambler
2. Rebecca te Water Naude
B. Rebecca Esselstein
C. Clarissa Coveney – first piece
C. Eleanor Shearer -second piece