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Astounded by the jovial weather, university rowing teams enjoyed an uncharacteristically good day at the races. Traditionally held in Peterborough, last year’s event was struck by tempestuous weather and the River Nene again proved unsuitable to host this year’s BUCS 4’s and 8’s Head which was relocated to Boston Rowing Club in Lincolnshire only five days before the race. Lancaster University Boat Club has been tempered over the years by adversities and not even insufficient minibus seats prevented us from going at the last minute.
Exceptional performances by the novice Men’s Coxed Fours secured the weekend’s unrivaled accomplishment of a crew finishing 10 seconds shy of first place putting Lancaster in the league with Durham in the top ten. George Manning took the stroke seat and behind him Joe Wood, Will Downes, Joe Carthy and myself coxing this crew who clocked an impressive 10:16 minutes at 7th out of 33 crews, which also featured the other half of the Men’s Eight A crew both coxed by Jane Hammond. Once again exceeding target of 30th and 36th place of 38 crews from the past two years, Thorge Hiebner’s boat displayed brilliance to complete 3,000 metres in 11:02 minutes at 19th beating the third Durham crew in this division. With Birmingham winning this division and Cardiff at the earlier eights, the oligopoly of Warwick and Durham at the top has ended.
Never did the depleted senior squad imagine sending more than one men’s novice eight after ranking in the lower half the past two years, which this year’s A crew surpassed by placing 19/41. Having entered another two men’s novice eights, Lancaster finally had the most entries at this division. Their humble aim was not to come last but the C crew nearly overtook the B crew by 15 seconds neatly placing themselves consecutively at 38th and 39th places, beating Brunel and Leeds. The middle crew’s cox, Annabel Isherwood reported a seamless row and whilst the oarsmen ought to persevere for better results they should also be proud at having improved the club’s overall ranking target.
Right from the start of last term, tenacity during training was evident from the women’s squad meaning that despite injuries and departures, they would still boat a novice women’s eight which last entered in 2006. Their cox, Alex Jones pushed for a respectable result of 11:36 minutes placing them at a worthy 26th place out of 38, considering the six-year hiatus. He motivated them to the finish when the girls grew weary after failing to pace themselves at the start of the 3k course and having to wait all day to race in the afternoon. Still, they have set a brilliant standard for next year when we hope to send more eights. Due to inadequate water time, the women’s B crew scratched from entering the event altogether but will confidently compete at the coming Runcorn Eights Head in Week 17 and in North of England Head in Chester come Week 19.
Promising results for the team are attributed to the coaching of former Club Captain, final year County student Stuart Lyons who devised a five-year plan to end the two-year spate of frustration and disillusionment in the club that was responsible for starting the annual Lancaster v York Roses tournament. Men’s Captain, Maks Kaniuka called it a “truly enjoyable” experience and Novice Captain, Kirsty Ross looks forward to the next two races before she and the rest of the executive committee hand over to the officers elect, the future of Lancaster University’s first and oldest sporting team.