Oxford and Cambridge Women’s Boat Clubs come first and second respectively in Championship Eights at BUCS Regatta.
Just five weeks after they faced each other in The 2013 Newton Women’s Boat Race, both Oxford and Cambridge Women’s Boat Clubs took to the water in Nottingham for the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta. Racing took place over three days with nearly perfect conditions – sunny with a moderate head breeze – over 2km at the National Water Sports Centre.
The highlight of the racing took place on Sunday, as both Oxford and Cambridge fielded crews in the Women’s Championship Eights. The eight from Newcastle were quick off the start, taking an early lead, but the race soon became a rematch of The Newton Women’s Boat Race as the Oxford and Cambridge crews surged ahead. Entering the final 250m, the two crews were level and matching each other stroke for stroke in a thrilling final sprint to the line. Through the line it wasn’t immediately apparent who had won, but eventually it was announced that Oxford had prevailed by 0.5 seconds in a time of 6:28.1.
Also racing on Sunday was a second eight from Oxford who competed in the Women’s Intermediate Eights category, which was made up of winning Osiris athletes from the 2013 Reserve Race as well as members of the Oxford Emerging Talent Group. They progressed comfortably to the A final, and were also victorious, winning in a time of 7:38.0.
Saturday had seen the Oxford eight split into two to race in the Women’s Championship and Intermediate Quadruple Sculls competitions. Against strong opposition from Imperial, Reading and Loughborough in the Championship Quads, the Oxford crew were pushed out of the medals by just over 1 second. In the Intermediate Quads, Oxford returned to their winning ways, and secured the Gold in a time of 7:49.0.
On Monday, it was Cambridge’s turn to take to smaller boats as they competed in the Women’s Championship Coxed and Coxless Fours. Both crews progressed through to their respective finals, despite limited preparation for the smaller boat categories. The Coxed Four raced impressively to the Bronze medal behind Newcastle and Reading. In the Coxless Fours, the Cambridge crew put in a solid performance to place fifth.
Overall it was a great weekend of racing, with the Oxford and Cambridge Women’s crews proving themselves not only as the best University Women’s Eights in the country, but also showcasing the great strength and depth in both squads, which already whets the appetite for next year’s Newton Women’s Boat Race.
The 2014 Newton Women’s Boat Race will take place on Sunday 30th May 2014.