On Saturday 10th November, the squads from Oxford and Cambridge all took to the water to race in the annual Fuller’s Head of the River Fours. On the men’s side, Oxford produced the quickest four of the day, winning the Elite Men’s Coxed Fours and finishing in 7th place overall. Cambridge’s first four were not far behind, just 5 seconds off the pace of their rivals, and 11th place overall. In the battle of the women’s squads, Oxford’s crews produced the faster times. Their first crew completed the course in the fastest time of the day by a Women’s Coxed Four.
After a tough weekend of racing, the Chief Coaches of all four squads had the following reflections:
Steve Trapmore, CUBC Chief Coach:
“I was pleased with the overall results of Cambridge squad. For one of our coxed fours to finish 11 overall and only 5s behind Oxfords lead boat was positive but shows we have work to do in the coming months to bridge the gap.”
Sean Bowden, OUBC Chief Coach:
“The Four’s Head showed that things look very competitive between us and Cambridge at the top end of the squads, although Cambridge appear to have more depth. We have to be reasonably satisfied with how our boats went considering that four of them were reshuffled the night before after illness hit one of them when the crews were out for their final row on Friday afternoon. It is certainly pleasing to pick up three pennants with a coxed four home in 7th place, although we have to be careful not to let this cloud our understanding of the results which reveal that there is much to do if we want to be successful in the Boat Race.
The season so far has been mixed. There is a good spirit in the team and a strong work ethic. However, our efforts have been hampered to some degree with a mix of illness and injury as well as a consistently high and fast river. Fortunately the lake at Caversham has proven invaluable in recent weeks in getting the quality back into the training.”
Rob Baker, CUWBC Chief Coach:
“All 5 CUWBC crews gained useful racing experience at the fours head and performed well. We have a lot of work to do to establish the CUWBC pattern of rowing and racing and we are steadily making our way to that point. Now we move on with some of our athletes attending GB rowing trials and the rest of the squad pushing on for trial 8’s and crew selection.”
Christine Wilson, OUWBC Chief Coach:
“The Fours Head racing provided some helpful feedback on the training we have completed during the last eight weeks. We have a very young team of athletes, who still have so much to learn about racing. What we have going for us is that Oxford Women love to learn – big secret, eh? We are simply channelling that passion toward the pursuit of boat speed.”