Beginners Boating in Boston

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This weekend sees the BUCS 4s and 8s Head move to Boston, with more than 400 crews expected to do battle on the River Witham. Over a third of those entries are beginner crews – newcomers to rowing largely racing for the first time after a weather-affected Head season.

More than 50 University clubs are set to take part in the two day event, with the familiar colours of Durham, Newcastle, Imperial and Reading taking to the water alongside newcomers such as Keele, St Mary’s, and Roehampton.

The BUCS Head has once again attracted a record number of entries from a record number of Universities. The increases are most noticeable in the Women’s events – perhaps no surprise following the three Gold medals won by Team GB Women at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The event is usually held on the Nene in Peterborough but, with the land being hit by bad weather, this year’s Head has been relocated at the last minute to the Witham in Lincolnshire. The event will be hosted by Boston Rowing Club, known in rowing for hosting GB Rowing Team trials and the famous “Boston Marathon”.

Saturday will see the beginner rowers taking to the water with events specifically for students in their first year of the sport. The numbers in each of the events reflect the popularity of the sport following Team GB success this summer. Crews will race in coxed fours and eights for both men and women. With over 80 crews in each of the two divisions on the Saturday – that will be over 500 rowers taking to the water who hadn’t started rowing until they joined up at University last October.

On Sunday, the Championship and Intermediate crews will contest the course and as always, the crews include a wealth of talent from the rowing world.

In the Men’s Championship Eights, Newcastle will look to follow up their “double” last year after winning the event at BUCS Head and BUCS Regatta. However, they are likely to face serious competition from strong crews from Durham, Imperial and East London – who enter this category for the first time.

Meanwhile, in the Women’s Championship Eights, Reading will be taking on all comers as the defending champions. It is all to play for though, with Durham having shown their form at the recent Quintin Head and Cambridge fielding a crew featuring members of their University Boat Race squad. A strong crew from Newcastle will also race, which includes Nicole Lamb who won Gold for Team GB at the recent Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

 In 2012, East London won the men’s Championship quads by 15 seconds. Another strong line up will race this year and look to be challenged by crews from Cardiff, Loughborough and Durham which contain multiple GB trialists and former World U23 representatives.

Exciting racing is also expected in the Women’s Championship quads – the crew from Imperial featuring Mel Wilson, who raced in the Women’s quad at London 2012. Challenging Imperial will be Reading, with Australian Youth Olympic Festival double medallist Lucy Cruxton. An experienced crew from Durham will also race which includes Camilla Hadland, gold medallist at the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2010, and former Henley Women’s Regatta medallist Charlotte Cook.

For more information about the 2013 BUCS Head, visit www.bucs.org.uk/calendar_popup.asp?itemid=10893&surround=true.