Oxford University Women’s Boat Club overcame a strong crew from Oxford Brookes in two pieces over the full length of the championship course.
On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon on the tideway, Oxford Women had a final chance to prove themselves before the crew announcement on Monday at City Hall. The Dark Blue women started on the Surrey station and were matched in their strong start by a determined crew from Oxford Brookes, both crews aided by a light tailwind.
Brookes were keen to stamp their mark on the race early on and were warned several times by the umpire to return to their station. Oxford Women settled into a smooth rhythm and began to pull away to a lead of clear water around the outside of the Fulham bend.
Oxford continued to row smoothly, increasing their advantage through Hammersmith Bridge, then extending their lead to three lengths by the end of the first piece at Chiswick Eyot.
In the second piece from Chiswick Eyot to the finish of the course in Mortlake, both crews were warned off the start as they challenged for the best line. Oxford took an early advantage of two seats and once again settled into a strong rhythm.
Brookes looked to make the most of the benefit of the Middlesex bend, and under Barnes Bridge the crews were still locked in a close battle, Oxford maintaining a slender lead. The tight racing continued all the way to the finish post with OUWBC crossing the line a few seats ahead of Brookes.