Record Number of Entries for Reading University Head

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Reading University Boat Club hosted their annual head race on Saturday. A total of 237 crews took to the Thames in bright but blustery conditions to race the 4.6km course, many of them using it as preparation for the forthcoming Tideway heads. 

Will Rand, Director of Rowing at Reading University Boat Club and Event Chairman said: “Everyone was really excited by the calibre of the crews racing at this year’s head, and they certainly weren’t disappointed. It was excellent to see Oxford return to our event and show they are in great form ahead of next month’s Boat Race.” 

Alongside the wide range of categories for eights, a number of quad events were included for the first time. Rand added: “With the women’s, schools’ and men’s heads just around the corner – along with the ever-expanding Scullery at Dorney – we’re so pleased to be able to offer crews the opportunity to fine-tune their race plans.”

In the women’s events, The University of London and Oxford Brookes proved that there is likely to be some compelling racing at the Women’s Eights Head on Saturday. In division 1, UL took the senior eight and IM2 pennants. In division 2, Brookes upped their game with their first eight beating UL to the IM1 pennant by 2.5 seconds while their second eight beat UL’s second eight in IM3 by 1.5 seconds.  

After the race, Phil Gray Senior Coach at UL commented: “We decided to do both divisions to really challenge the crews. Division 1 went well and then with much tougher opposition from Brookes, we came up just short. It was a tough day, but some good lessons learnt and it was a really good event to do the week before the Women’s Head.”

In the men’s events, Oxford University Boat Club entered two crews, racing as ‘Isis’, in elite eights. Crew number 1 which was stroked by current world champion Constantine Louloudis finished 24 seconds ahead of second-placed Leander with Oxford Brookes placing third and the Isis second boat in fourth. Across the two divisions, Oxford Brookes’ men’s crews won the pennants in senior, IM1, IM2 and IM3. The novice eight, one of the largest categories of the event with 23 entries, was won by Bedford School.

In the inaugural quads, Leander took the elite title with the hosts taking IM1 and IM2 and the crews finishing well up in the list of eights on times. The junior quad events were also of a very high standard and the Thames boys and Marlow girls put in great performances to win. 

Summing up the day, Rand said: “Our event is largely run by the students and alumni and they are a real credit to the university: we’re very proud of the work they do on and off the water.”

Provisional results from the event are now available at: http://readinguniversityboatclub.co.uk/results/

Report by James Lee with photos from Iain Weir at Rowing Photography – more at: http://rowingphotography.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/2015-Reading-University-Head/C0000jEeMp7pkXz0

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