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Head of the River 2015

The Head of the River marks the culmination of the head racing season, and as such is considered the most important of the winter events. This year EUBC entered four eights into the race, the most in recent years. The run up to the race was filled with the classic ‘will they won’t they’ debate as to whether the race would happen or if the weather would be too bad on the day, surprisingly the race went ahead!

This meant that on a wind March day EUBC’s men flocked to London, freshly tapered and raring to go! After a good paddle on the Saturday afternoon spirits were high as we headed home to rest. The next day we all assembled at Thames Tradesmen at half past eight, all eyes turned to the river as we all took turns predicting the likelihood of a race; conditions promised to be fast but windy. There followed the waiting, and the pre-race chat with Richard. As the first crews started to paddle under Barnes on their way to the Start so the 1st VIII and the 2nd VIII boated. The start had been pushed back by half an hour so it wasn’t until 1 o’clock approached that the 1st VIII went off. They had a strong row, which included a battle with Exeter City Rowing Club at the half way mark as we moved through them on the outside. From Hammersmith through to the finish the race got crowded but we stayed ahead of a pack of eights behind us and managed to avoid the worst of the crowd.

The 2nd VIII and the 3rd VII were both going off in the mid-200s. Both crews went off hard and were firmly embedded into their rhythms by Barnes Bridge. As with the 1st VIII they both faced stiff opposition under Hammersmith, but they remained calm and pushed on to good results, both of them climbing up the start order for next year. At the tail end of the race came the 4th VIII, an entirely novice crew made up of members who started either this year or last year. They had a fantastic race considering that the conditions worsened throughout the day, and as they were going off seventh last they were in for some tough racing. They held their nerve and despite the tough conditions went on to finish 271, climbing just over 60 places.

The final results for EUBC were; 1st VIII – 69. 2nd VIII – 109. 3rd VIII – 215. 4th VIII – 271. This year’s HORR marked a few firsts for EUBC as well: The 1st VIII was the highest ranked Exeter crew to date, and this was the first year that EUBC managed to boat four carbon eights, with four sets of blades all belonging to EUBC!

There were several notable alumni performances as well. Alex Davison finished 16th in a UL crew that also won the IM2 pennant. Oliver Kolodseike, Sam Barnes and Luke Wooton finished 19th with Upper Thames, and Tom Rendell finished 34th with Marlow I. Duncan Taylor Head and David Rogal raced with Tideway Sculler’s School and finished 53nd and 55th respectively. Finally James Burton came in 38th with Vesta I. This was a superbly strong set of results from EUBC Alumni.

Overall, this year was a fantastically successful year for EUBC, BUCS regatta awaits and then the summer racing. Roll on Henley!

Date: 13 April 2015