Boat Club enjoy rare BUCS success

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Lancaster University Boat Club earned it’s most BUCS points in recent years, after a successful weekend in Peterborough at BUCS Head of River in Week Five. The club did well at the BUCS endorsed indoor competitions towards the end of last term, but failed to gain any points. It was a different story at this outdoor event.

The women’s IV came third in the championship category, racing above their official intermediate status, winning 10 points for the university. The crew were only bested by boats from Southampton and Cardiff, beating off competition from the likes of Durham, Edinburgh and Manchester. It was a surprisingly successful race for the girls, who were competing above their category in what was only their second outdoor event of the academic year. Women’s Captain-elect Alice Lees commented “I’m really pleased with the result. It shows that Lancaster women are competitive. I was surprised with how well we did, although the race had gone well.” This shock victory earned the university it’s first official BUCS points of the year, with points for many sports yet to be added to the overall championship table.

The crew of the IV made up four of the competitors in Lancaster’s women’s intermediate VIII, who raced earlier on the same day. With no real benchmark to predict the outcome for the crew’s first race, the women placed 4th out of 14, finishing three seconds shy of 3rd placed Reading and therefore more BUCS points. Lancaster beat off close rivals York, who placed 4th in the category, boding well for the women in the fast-approaching Roses competition.

Also racing on the Sunday were the intermediate men. Racing in a competitive division, with more than double the entries of any of the women’s races, the men came 27th and 34th in the IV’s. They also competed in the VIII, but encountered some difficulties during the race. After a strong start, the men were managing to hold off the Warwick boat, until they encountered the narrow bridge which lies at the half way point of the race. This led to a blade clash, which lost them valuable seconds. The Lancaster men had to row in the wake of Warwick’s boat for the remainder of the race. They finished 24th, only three seconds behind the crew above them.

Conditions had not been as favourable on the previous day. Fortunately, the weather was not a repeat of that of the year before, with the BUCS Head race of 2010 plagued by snow and frost. However, it was heavy rain and wind which opened the competition this year, testing the will-power of those competing in the beginner races on Saturday. Division one saw the debut race for Lancaster’s men’s beginner VIII, who placed 38th in their competitive category. The women’s beginner IV came 22nd, with the men’s beginner IV’s coming 30th and 36th. Conditions were not ideal for the novice rowers, but all seemed to enjoy their racing experience.

LUBC has always suffered from a novice intake which is inferior to that of other universities, something which was highlighted at the indoor events at the end of last year, when universities such as Manchester boasted more that double the competitors that Lancaster brought. Despite this, they remain in contention at a competitive level, and the BUCS weekend saw some promising results, which perhaps foreshadows a successful season.

Lancaster have several races coming up in the final weeks of Lent Term. Week Eight sees the club attending Runcorn Eights Head for the first time, before the women compete at Women’s Head of River Race in London the following weekend. After that comes the North of England Head, for both the men’s and women’s crews, with the term coming to an end with the men’s Head of River Race in Week 11.

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