7 December 2016
Tim Koch writes:
Yesterday, HTBS reported on the 2016 Trial Eights Race by the Oxford men, when the last 18 members of the squad each attempted to impress their coach enough to get a seat in the Blue Boat in the race against Cambridge on 2 April 2017. Today’s report is on the Oxford Women’s trial, held on the same day as the men’s, 30 November. Unfortunately, transport problems caused chief correspondent, Chris Dodd, to miss the race, while I, boy reporter Tim Koch, proved unable to take photographs and make notes at the same time. I have therefore stolen the race report published on the official Boat Race website, and this appears below, interspersed with my pictures and captions. For those unfamiliar with the course, follow this link for a map.
From theboatraces.org :
On a day when winter finally announced its arrival with plummeting temperatures and icy gusts, both Oxford men’s and women’s squads were in action in the annual Trial Eights race. The women’s crews were first to brave the cold weather, on a course blessed with otherwise perfect conditions.
(The boats were) named Helen and Heather after Great Britain’s double Olympic gold winning pair, it was the latter who won the toss and choose the Surrey station. Under the watchful eye of umpire Sarah Winckless, who will also umpire The Women’s Boat Race in April, both crews got away cleanly and crisply.
It was Heather who did the very early running, taking a seat by the end of the Putney Embankment.
Stretching around the Fulham Bend, Helen took the lead by no more than a couple of seats.
Both crews were rugged in their rhythms and locked horns again approaching the Mile Post, calling the umpire into action to separate them. In a dynamic and startlingly change of pace, Heather drew level, took the lead and stretched out to a length in the space of around 600m.
As the crews moved past St Paul’s boathouse, it was Heather who increased their lead to around two lengths and maintained this advantage all the way around the inside of the Surrey bend.
Bumpy water ahead of Barnes Bridge made life difficult for both crews and Heather were repeatedly warned for steering across off their station. This looked to have ruffled the boat and Helen, coxed by Eleanor Shearer, began to close the deficit.
As Chiswick Bridge loomed into sight, Helen had regained contact with Heather and, as the crews raised their rate in anticipation of a sprint finish, it was Helen who looked to have the momentum. Crossing the line, both crews collapsed and the assembled launches looked toward the finish line for confirmation. In the end, it was confirmed that Helen had done enough in the final sprint to claim a narrow victory.
The 163rd Boat Race and the 72nd Women’s Boat Race will take place on Sunday, 2 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.