Student rowers have a ball in Boston

Despite last-minute uncertainty, the 2013 BUCS Head was a triumph – with 54 different Universities represented across an action-packed weekend in Boston.

Boston Rowing Club stepped in at the 11th hour to ensure that the 2013 event could take place, after inclement conditions meant that the original venue – on the River Nene in Peterborough – was unable to host.

What followed was a fantastic weekend of racing, with beginners to rowing taking their chance to shine on Saturday (16th February) and the more experienced and elite crews taking to the water on Sunday.

Despite the height of the River Witham providing some difficult for novices, Saturday’s beginner races saw close to 150 crews competing across four divisions of men’s and women’s eights and fours.

With 300 rowers per division – many of whom getting their first taste of rowing competition – the buzz on the banks was palpable.

Cardiff and Durham’s crews took the glory in the Men’s and Women’s Beginner Eights respectively – Durham just missing out on a memorable double, finishing second in the Men’s event.

In the Beginners’ Coxed Fours, it was gold again for Durham in the women’s event, with Birmingham taking top spot in the men’s.

In all over 700 rowers and coxes competed in the Beginners’ Eights, and more than 300 in the Coxed Fours.

Sunday saw the Intermediate and Championship crews testing their mettle on the River Witham, the big guns of the weekend bringing with them a very different atmosphere on the water.

Lower water levels made for a relatively simpler task for more than 200 competing crews, with 16 medals on offer across a much wider range of events – Eights, Fours and Quads, Lightweights and Open.

The standard of racing was impressively high, with a number of close races leading to eight different universities winning events on Sunday.

Newcastle enjoyed a blockbuster weekend with five gold medals on Sunday – three in Championship events (MC4-, MC4+, Mint4+, Mint8+, WC4+).

Cambridge’s strength in the women’s eights also told – their Championship crew romping to a 10 second victory over Newcastle, and their Intermediate crews taking home both gold and silver despite a strong field of 20 crews. Imperial College finished first in the men’s event with a convincing victory over fellow big-hitters Durham and Newcastle, whose crews took second and third place respectively.

Northumbria’s Women’s squad took gold in the Lightweight Women’s Quads, seeing off strong opposition from Imperial and Durham by almost 30 seconds. The same crew then raced in the Lightweight Fours later in the afternoon, finishing a creditable fourth.

Exeter also showed their strength in developing lightweight rowers with wins in the Lightweight Men’s Quads and Lightweight Women’s Fours. 

As expected, East London recaptured their Championship Quads title from 2012 with a win of over 30 seconds ahead of Loughborough.

The final medal table saw Newcastle sitting pretty at the top thanks to their 10-medal haul on Sunday (five gold, four silver, one bronze), with Imperial (three golds, three silvers, one bronze) and Durham (two golds, four silvers, four bronze) rounding off the top three.

After a memorable weekend of smiles, nerves, and triumphs, organisers of the 2013 BUCS Head offered their thanks to Boston Rowing Club for their first class hosting of a thoroughly successful event.

To see the full list of results from a fantastic weekend of racing, visit the BUCS website.

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