Star performances at Bedford Eights and Fours

Valentine’s Day may have been a mere 12 hours beforehand but there was no love lost between rival schools, clubs and colleges at the Bedford Eights and Fours Head on Sunday. The event attracted entries from across the Eastern region while also drawing a strong contingent from the Oxbridge colleges.

Star Rowing Club, one of a number of local clubs, recorded the fastest time of the day in a time only in senior eights, clocking six minutes over the 2k course. A slightly re-jigged crew also took the win in IM2 eights. 

Andy Smith, head coach of the senior men’s squad, was pleased with the performances in the run-up to the HORR, saying, “We’ve had a few enforced crew changes so I was pleased with our execution of the race plan. It’s always nice to record a 1-2 on your own stretch and we’re fortunate that Bedford Rowing Club run such an excellent head so close to home.”

Star picked up eight wins across the age ranges, including strong performances from their master’s and junior squads. It was a historic day for the junior women’s squad, who boated their first ever eight. The crew, made up of 15 to 18-year-olds, finished second in women’s novice eights.

Queen’s College, Cambridge took the win in IM3 eights while Fitzwilliam College produced an impressive row to claim the novice eight’s pennant in 6:20.

The fastest women’s crew of the day also went to Queen’s College. Their IM3 eight clocked 7:16.

With the Schools’ Head of the River a month away, there were some good performances from several local schools. Bedford School’s first eight recorded 6:14 to finish third in IM2 eights while their first four won the J18 4+ category. 

Bedford Modern School were in impressive form to take the win in IM3 4+ by 11 seconds, setting up the prospect of some great racing in March.

Bedford Rowing Club entered eight crews and came away with a win in master’s DEF eights. 

Race organiser Lydia Swift was delighted with the popularity of the event. 

“It’s great to see such a range of crews and it makes for a really exciting race,” she said. 

“We’re very fortunate to have a team who are renowned for being sensible, efficient and friendly – it draws people back to the event. Our learn to row project has not only provided the club with athletes but has also produced budding marshals who understand the sport.” 

For full results, go to http://rowstats.com/resultso.php?id=194&b=1.

Report by Tom Morgan. Photos by Rob Evans and Phil Eagles

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