Race Reports

BUCS Head 2022

BUCS 4s and 8s Head in Newcastle marked the first major interuniversity rowing event of the year and the beginning of the culmination of the club’s winter training block. A final opportunity was presented to each of the squads both novice and senior to personally demonstrate their fitness and oarsmanship developed through numerous weeks of dedicated training. Growing crew confidence and technical ability on the Tyne would inform training focuses before the national tideway 8s heads in March and into the regatta season.

DAY 1: The Seniors

In stark contrast to the frankly depressing conditions faced previosly in Newcastle during BUCS Head 2020, and by extension MUBC’s former head race in Doncaster, the senior squads were taken completely by surprise when greeted in the morning by a golden sunny sky and a glass like river Tyne. A taste of Spring had descended allowing for each crew to take advantage of the ideal conditions and deliver technically clean pieces. For the 5 km course, six intermediate crews were entered consisting of both men’s and women’s coxed 4s and 8s, as well as the women’s quadruple scull.

The first boat to race in Division One was the senior women’s eight which had seen its crew debut earlier in the month at South Yorkshire Head. The contrastingly calmer water allowed the girls to produce a technically sound performance, providing increased confidence that a similar platform can be transferred to races of a longer distance, namely WeHoRR22 on the tideway. Focus will now shift to optimising individual strength and power within the crew to maximise boat speed.

As with South Yorkshire Head, the senior men’s eight once again seperated within the same event to form the two entered coxed fours. Both crews maintained strong composures throughout their pieces and showcased performances which met their technical and physical personal aims for the race. Similar to the senior women, the boys will look to fine tune their technical abilities within the boat whilst putting increased emphasis on power and anaerobic fitness as head season draws to a close.

Unfortunately as the boys had set off as one of the last crews in Division One, the earlier boating times for the intermediate men’s eights category in Division Two saw the senior men return to the Tyne only an hour after their last race. Physical exhaustion from a lack of recovery time after already racking up 5 km worth of racing required the boys to be ever more mentally conscious in this piece so to retain their technical aims in the boat. Whilst the final result did not represent the full capability of the boys, keeping mental resilience and technical ability throughout a total of 10 km of racing no doubt has provided the personal confidence to physically maximise their potential for head races of an increased distance.

Similar to the boys, some of the senior women returned to race again for the intermediate quadruple sculls and coxed four. Fatigue once again posed a mental barrier, but the resilience gained over the past season of training proved valuable for the girls in maintaining and demonstrating their technical focuses developed since Sepember.

A massive well done to all the crews who raced on the first day of BUCS Head! Many valuable lessons were experienced which will provide the basis for training focuses as head season draws to a close.

  • W Int 8+: 32nd
  • M Int 4+ A: 18th
  • M Int 4+ B: 22nd
  • M Int 8+: 32nd
  • W Int 4x: 25th
  • W Int 4+: 27th

DAY 2: The Novices

By Lauren McGhie

The second day of the event witnessed the novice squads debut in an equally sunny Newcastle, this time on a condensed 3 km stretch of the Tyne.

Division One of the second day first saw the two novice men’s eights take to the Tyne on the back of an impressive performance at South Yorkshire Head two weeks prior. Convincing 11th and 14th place results rewarded their intense training and commitment to a new sport.

Two crews were entered into the beginner coxed four category from the novice women. The scratch crew nature of the ‘A’ boat, who had their first ever row as a four on their way to the start line, meant the girls were seemingly at a disadvantage, but one that was not noticeable from their observable performance. The girls earned a respectable 17th place, proving the adaptability and increasingly equal squad skillset of the novice women. The coxed four which debuted in Doncaster weeks before put in an equally impressive display in Newcastle, maintaining a steady rhythm and style to finish 14th.

With the wind picking up as the day progressed, the choppy water guaranteed a more challenging row for the boats in Division Two.

The novice women’s eight were determined to prove themselves, especially after the mechanical fault with a rigger robbed them of their last race in Doncaster. They did not disappoint, earning the girls a respectable 10th place against some very tough competition. More importantly, the race showed how much their technique and cohesion in the boat had improved over months of training, setting up a confident training reference to build on.

Finally, the two men’s beginner coxed fours took to racing for the first time this season with both boats putting in admirable performances. The boys took 13th and 14th place in an extremely competitive division finishing within 1.3 seconds of each other, proving the equal development in strength and boat competency of the novice men’s squad as a whole.

Overall, a respectable debut of the squad to their first major event in the rowing calender. An immense well done to each crew who would have gained much experience from such an event.

  • M Beg 8+ A: 11th
  • M Beg 8+ B: 14th
  • W Beg 4+ A: 17th
  • W Beg 4+ B: 14th
  • W Beg 8+: 10th
  • M Beg 4+ A: 14th
  • M Beg 4+ B: 13th

A huge thank you to Tyne United Rowing Club who hosted us over the two days!

BUCS Head 2022 was a fantastic opportunity to checkpoint the development of all squads over the past season. Now, as each crew analyse their performance, new training objectives will be developed for the remainder of the head season as overall aims transition towards regatta preperation.

As ever, here is a small behind the scenes gallery of MUBC at BUCS Head 2022:

Photo credits to Unirowing, Bertieshoots, Matthew Layton, Antonin Rat, Eleanor Bramley, Matthew Baker, and Danny Crofton.