Thursday, March 10, 2011

News from the Tideway: Toughest Test Yet for CUBC, and LRC Take Boustead Honors

Molesey v. CUBC, Tideway Fixture 8 March 2011 (Photo: Iain Weir)
The past week has been a busy one on the Thames, with Tideway crews out training, fixtures and club racing, and the Oxford v. Cambridge Boat Race and Eights Head of the River just around the corner. After the Boat Race crews were announced and addressed by Mayor Boris Johnson at London's City Hall, Cambridge made their way back to Putney in order to race another fixture, this time against a very experienced crew from Molesey BC. Coxing for MBC was none other than Acer Nethercott (winner of the Boat Race in 2003 and 2005, and Olympic silver medalist from the GB Men's VIII in Beijing), who is accustomed to extremely close margins on the Tideway (having won the Boat Race -- a 4.5 mile event -- by 1 foot in 2003) and who certainly put CUBC's coxswain Liz Box through her paces throughout the event.

Acer urges on Molesey (Photo: Iain Weir)
The crews raced three pieces. The first, from Putney to Hammersmith (roughly the first 1/3 of the Boat Race course), saw an early push by Cambridge that was answered by Molesey through the second half, and was called a dead heat. The second piece was from Harrods Furniture Depository to the Bandstand (the middle part of the Boat Race course), saw the crews battling through some very tough conditions (wind and whitecaps), with Cambridge coming out on top by 3/4 length. The final piece, from the Bandstand to Chiswick, was taken by Molesey, who surged through the second half after being down early, and edged out Cambridge (on the outside of the bend) by just under 1 foot. Interestingly enough, there were only two changes between this Molesey crew and the one that raced Oxford just over two weeks ago -- a fixture that featured quite a bit of clashing as well as close margins once again, but with Oxford winning the first piece of the event by 1 and 1/2 lengths. When asked which of the two opponents they faced were stronger, Molesey Coach Ben Lewis said that he felt CUBC would have the advantage at the start, but that Oxford "may be stronger."

MBC and CUBC race to a dead-heat (Photo: Iain Weir)
For full coverage of the events and all things Oxford v. Cambridge, check out the official website of the Boat Race (www.theboatrace.org).

LRC 1st VIII approaches Barnes (Photo: Iain Weir)
In other news, London Rowing Club reclaimed the Boustead Cup from Thames RC on Saturday, albeit in very unusual fashion. The match-up was looking to be quite close this year, but due to several injuries among members of the Thames 1st VIII, the two top crews never got the chance to duke it out, as rescheduling the race was not an option so late in the game. The event became a row-over for the LRC 1st VIII, with Thames having to forfeit. The races between the 2nd and 3rd VIIIs were still held, however, and saw Thames winning a 'decisive' victory in the 2nd VIII, with LRC taking the contest between the 3rd VIIIs by nearly a minute. For complete coverage of this event, please visit the London RC homepage (londonrc.org.uk).

Many thanks again to LRC teammate Iain Weir of iainweir.info and rowingphotography.co.uk for the great shots of the racing, and we look forward to working with him in the near future. All images copyright Iain Weir.

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