Saturday proved to be an eventful day for the University of York Boat Club with all squads racing. The novice men, novice women and senior men represented York on home ground at Yorkshire Head, while the senior women travelled to London to compete in the biggest Head race of the season for them – Women’s Head of the River.
Women’s Head of the River is over a gruelling seven kilometre course, which is actually the Oxbridge Boat Race course, and is the longest Head race in the season’s calendar. With over 300 crews from all over England and Europe, it provides very tough competition, with it being an event open to all clubs, not just universities. This is the first time in the history of UYBC that the senior women’s squad has been able to send two crews – a personal aim of captain Sophie Mottram when she took over captaincy last summer.
The first eight had the pressure on them to finish in the top 100 crews – a feat just missed by last year’s entry, and to beat Leeds, something we all enjoy doing! They came an impressive 80th place with a time of 20 minutes 41 seconds – the fastest time in the club’s history and the third best placing. The second eight battled against a borrowed boat and last minute injuries – which caused major crew changes – and still managed to come 229th – 30 places higher than they started the race, with a time of 22 minutes 15 seconds. Coach Helena Mullineaux, an ex-York student, was extremely proud of all those who competed. A result like this makes the 6 am starts and painful gym sessions worth it.
While the women were battling it out on the Thames, the rest of the club were holding their own on the Ouse. Yorkshire Head is a five kilometre course, with a very tricky ‘S’ bend, causing extra problems for the coxes as well as the crews. The novice men and senior men were both up against tough competition but fought hard to each be placed second in their separate races, with the times of 18 minutes 41 seconds and 16 minutes 30 seconds respectively. This is vast improvement on last year’s times and placements and is especially promising for the senior men’s crew who face men’s Head of the River in two weeks.
The senior men’s success at the Yorkshire Head was unprecedented and they finished 23 seconds ahead of rivals Leeds University, who had beaten them in every race this season, two-and-a-half minutes ahead of neighbours York St. John and in front of a strong Sheffield University crew. York finished three seconds behind Agecroft, a distinguished rowing club.
At the Women’s Head of the River, held over the Oxbridge Boat Race course on the River Thames, York’s first eight finished impressively in 80th, while the second eight were 229th. Photograph courtesy of Pippa Maloney, UYBC.
The novice women, with Emma Bartlett making her coxing debut on this very tricky course, came fourth to Leeds and Durham, which is a good platform to build on for next term’s regatta races.
All in all, it was UYBC’s most successful weekend of the term. Club President Ashley Haycock said: “It was a great result, building on the success of last year. All crews performed, fulfilled and exceeded expectations, showing that both men’s and women’s squads are extremely strong.”
Senior women’s first boat: Alex Mahan, Charlotte Bentley, Hannah Kirton, Emily Harrington, Rosy Temple, Katharina Auersperg, Lara Wainwright, Becca Robinson and Ngaio Simpson (cox)
Senior women’s second boat: Charlotte Lane, Sophie Mottram, Catherine Oliver, Pippa Maloney, Ellie Cooper, Molly O’Neil, Laura Macfarlane, Sarah Powell and Emily Scorey (cox)
Senior men: Dan Steele, Tom Bulpitt, Ben Coverdale, John Appleton, Oscar Neilson, Will Lawrence, Teddy O’Brien, John Underwood and Alice Taylor (cox)
Novice men: Freddie Dawes, Richard Nixon, Ollie Oates, Sam Agass, James Finn, Tim Lowdon, Karl Slater, Luke Lawson and Ellie Donaldson (cox)
Novice Women: Becca Kay, Miriam Moester, Naomi Harte, Sara Rider, Marie Mills, Zoe Garnett, Tasha Behan, Eleanor Howe and Emma Bartlett (cox)