Men’s Head of the River 2014

As the Men’s crews were assembling in the main hall for their pre-race briefing, the river was still rising over the road and the wind increasing from the East. It was clearly going to be an interesting few hours. With this in mind, the crews were briefed to pace it well enough to deal with the bad water at the end and not get carried away in the middle.

For those that don’t know, the race was cancelled after around 75 crews or so. The results for the top 70 crews were released though no Pennants will be awarded due to the cancellation. Whatever the results are worth, our 3 crews that made it down the track had a very pleasing day. This is to some degree to be expected given we have been out in these conditions (difficult!) for much of the winter but 11th, 25th and 32nd are good going.

The 1st 8 had a cracking row, despite severe hindrance by another crew for much of the race, and coped well in the rough to finish as the fastest Vernon Trophy (Tideway clubs) and as the third fastest club of the day behind Leander (who managed to put 4 crews in the top 10!) and Molesey who clocked the fastest time. Leander IV and III were just 4 secs and 1 sec in front with 2 IC crews in between, one of which took the Senior Pennant for which we would therefore have been 2nd in. UL, Brookes and Nereus filled out the rest of the top 10. A well deserved and not unexpected result after the hard work, good 5k’s and recent Head results.

The 2nd 8 got a bit carried away racing Leander in the first part of the race and had some issues with the wind and waves (as did many) and though they finished lower than anticipated (having beaten St Pauls, Schools Head winners and 20/70 in this race) they showed real promise in holding off Leander for so long.

Arguably the most exciting result of the day was the 3rd 8 which finished 32nd out of the 70 timed they still managed to beat some very good club and university crews and shows the strength in depth of the squad, as well as the racing ability and spirit. With this in mind it is worth mentioning the 4th and Novices crews which didn’t get to race yet were in very strong contention for IM3 Club and Novice Pennants. No doubt they will display this in the coming regattas.

A frustrating but also useful day. Well done to all who went afloat and thanks to all that helped along the way as well as those that cheered from the balcony and drank with the crews after.