It was the first time many of them had participated in a proper competition, but the crews of the University Boat Club performed admirably at the BUCS Championship and Beginner Head of the River event in Peterborough this weekend.
Many of the novice crews had sat in a boat just five times because of high water levels on the River Ouse in recent months, but they adapted well to freezing conditions on Saturday over the demanding 2.5km course.
The men’s Eight finished a mid-field 24th overall, registering a time of 11 minutes, 41 seconds. The women’s Eight ended up 20th, a respectable position considering they have only been rowing together for a month.
Heavy snow on Sunday morning briefly threatened the intermediate and championship category events but, despite a few delays, the races went ahead as planned.
This weekend represents the start of a hectic second half of term for the Boat Club, who are involved in races right across the country and the Varsity competition with York St. John on Saturday, and they were keen to take to the water.
The women’s 1st Eight entered the elite championship category to prepare for the upcoming Women’s Head of the River weekend. Their final standing of 12th and time of 19 minutes 34 seconds was remarkable after they were forced to complete the final 1km with only six rowers following repairs to a broken seat mid-race.
The women’s 2nd Eight, in the intermediate class, finished 15th with a time of 21 minutes and 38 seconds.
In the afternoon, the men’s 1st Four – consisting of Ben Coverdale, Tom Bulpitt, John Appleton, Oscar Neilson and coxed by Ashley Haycock – achieved a 12th place ranking. The 2nd Four, made up of John Underwood, Chris Fury, Miles Whitehead, Teddy O’Brien and coxed by Alice Taylor, completed the course about a minute behind the 1st crew despite the handicap of an hour’s delay in blizzard conditions at the start line.
The men’s Eight, including many members racing the 5km course for the second time that day, finished 16th, an encouraging start to the busy upcoming programme of regattas.
Evaluating the weekend, Sophie Mottram, the women’s captain, said: “It was a very positive and encouraging start to what looks to be a prosperous season for the Boat Club.”
Novice Men’s Eight: Richard Nixon, Freddie Dawes, Sam Agass, Ollie Oates, Luke Lawson, James Finn, Tim Lowdon, Karl Slater, Ellie Donaldson (cox)
Novice Women’s Eight: Cesca Bageley, Miriam Moester, Tasha Behan, Steph Jones, Marie Mills, Sara Rider, Becca Kay, Eleanor Howe, Ellie Cooper (cox)
Senior Women’s 1st Eight: Alex Mahan, Charlotte Bentley, Hannah Kirton, Emily Harrington, Rosy Temple, Kat Auersperg, Lara Wainwright, Becca Robinson, Ngaio Simpson (cox)
Senior Women’s 2nd Eight: Sophie Mottram, Natalie Carroll, Pippa Maloney, Catherine Oliver, Laura MacFarlane, Charlotte Lane, Molly O’Neil, Sarah Powell, Emily Scorey (cox)
Senior Men’s 1st Four: Ben Coverdale, Oscar Neilson, Tom Bulpitt, John Appleton, Ashley Haycock (cox)
Senior Men’s 2nd Four: John Underwood, Miles Whitehead, Chris Fury, Teddy O’Brien, Alice Taylor (cox)
Senior Men’s Eight: Ben Coverdale, Tom Bulpitt, Oscar Neilson, John Appleton, Josh Clarke, Miles Whitehead, Teddy O’Brien, John Underwood, Ashley Haycock (cox)