CUWBC took on a University of London (UL) crew over two pieces on the Championship Course today as part of their preparations for The Boat Races in six weeks.
With UL having won the toss, President Ashton Brown’s Cambridge crew raced on the Surrey station with the first piece taking place from The Boat Race start near Putney Bridge through to Hammersmith Bridge. The second piece was from Chiswick Steps to The Boat Race finish just before Chiswick Bridge.
In the first piece, both crews remained level in the first few strokes, but as the crews lengthened out into their racing rhythms, Cambridge began to edge away and by the Boat Houses had a lead of around half a length. Although both crews had been warned, by the time the crews reached Fulham FC a physically stronger and dominant Cambridge crew had moved out to half a length and looked comfortable on the outside of the first bend. UL cox Lauren Holland tucked in behind Cambridge once they were a full length down as the river straightened out, leaving both crews over towards the Surrey station. Cambridge pushed on into a firm breeze, extending their lead to two and then nearly three lengths as the crews passed Harrods. In the final push to Hammersmith Bridge, Cambridge opened up the gap to a little over three lengths resulting in a comfortable opening win.
After a debrief from their coaches, the second piece began with a rolling start and Cambridge giving a clear water head start to UL. Much like the first piece, the crews took the opening strokes at the same speed, but Cambridge held their pace as they hit racing rhythm and began to eat into the UL lead. Cambridge remained on the Surrey station giving them a slight early advantage which they used effectively to reach the crossing level. With roaring UL coaches urging their crew on, UL remained in contact with Cambridge until the Bandstand in an attempt to keep hold of their advantage for the final bend. Cambridge kept moving, however, and cox Matthew Holland was able to take the best of the stream under Barnes Bridge and then help his crew continue to push on. The headwind picked up again through Barnes Bridge and with Cambridge pushing on it became increasingly unlikely that UL would be able to get back onto level terms before the end of the course. Ultimately, Cambridge continued to push on and open up a lead of nearly three lengths having started more than a length down.
Cambridge looked strong in breezy conditions, but the weather was far from the worst they’ll have experienced on the Tideway. They will look to be pushed more in the coming weeks ahead of The Boat Race, but this was a strong victory that will provide more valuable experience of side-by-side Tideway racing.
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.
b) Claire Lambe
2) Kirsten Van Fosen
3) Ashton Brown*
4) Imogen Grant
5) Holly Hill*
6) Melissa Wilson*
7) Myriam Goudet*
s) Alice White
c) Matthew Holland
b) Emily Wilks (Birkbeck)
2) Catherine Ador (King’s)
3) Fionnuala Gannon (King’s)
4) Sara Parfett (King’s)
5) Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne (Royal Holloway)
6) Georgia Stratham (UCL)
7) Ally French (Birkbeck)
s) Robyn Hart-Winks (UCL)
c) Lauren Holland (SOAS)
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