Reading Amateur Regatta Success!

Read the race report with insight from Alex Darby and Tania Griffin

Reading Amateur Regatta see’s top crews from around the UK competing along a 1,500m reach of the River Thames. On both Saturday and Sunday, there is a buoyed two lane course and the races consist of a series of heats, meaning that every race must be won to proceed to the final.

Triumph’s for Brum’s scullers

Multiple victories were achieved by our elite squad in their events. On Saturday, James Heal took a win in his single in the IM1 category, winning by 4 lengths against Star & Arrow in the final.

Similarly, on Sunday, Hannah Garvey won her final in the W.IM2. 1x category easily, securing a strong victory for Birmingham.

It was a close race between Milo George and his competitor from Reading Rowing Club but Milo went on to win in his single scull in the IM3. 1x category by a verdict of 0.75 lengths. Unfortunately,  the double comprising Milo George and Alex Ozegovic lost their final by a small margin of 1.25 lengths after a hard fought race in the Elite category.

Our strong performance across the sculling events illustrates the success of our movement from sweep rowing to sculling in the high performance end of the squad. Looking forward to next year, we hope to showcase even more of our sculling prowess.

Women’s Squad
By Alex Darby

The weekend was a bit of a last hurrah for some of the girls in the first VIII that have put so much into the club over the past 3 years. So it was a shame they came up against the Henley crew, that went on to win, in the first round on Sunday. However, they got through their first round with a convincing win over City of Oxford, and then had a really tough battle with Exeter RC that was side by side for the whole 1500m. It would've been great for them to get through that race, but even though they lost, that's the kind of race that you'll never forget and their performance was about as good as it could be given the disjointed run into the race.

For the second VIII, the real key was to gain racing experience, especially given the amount of racing that we lost in the spring due to flooding, so it was again really good that they got through the first round on Saturday with a real trouncing of Manchester Uni's VIII. The race against the Oxford Uni crew was a step too far, but it was good for the crew to be shown what level they need to be at (and beyond) by this time next year.

Whilst it would've been a bit more poetic for the first VIII to have had the second VIIIs Sunday draw, the eight did exactly what they needed to do by getting prepared to race in the first round and doing a proper start and stride despite getting a row-through, and then backed this up with a real battle against Southampton. Whilst they probably should've been taking them to town by the second half of the race, the fact is that the 8 does not have that much side-by-side racing experience so it was great to see them holding their nerve and contain all their pushes to get to the line first. I'm sure the boat would've been nervous that the race was that close for that long, but they weren't panicked going to the finish line, which meant that they were never going to get catch up.

Whilst results didn't go our way, I think it was overall still a pretty enjoyable weekend for the squad. Seeing everyone relax together watching the racing and having parents be able to come and be a part of that is something that we don't get to do very often, and so it's nice the year ended up with us being able to do that.

I think that this year, we have done better than we did last year at Reading, and last year was better than the year before. Given who we have in the squad next year, and the strides we have made through this year, I'm definitely looking forward to Reading 2015, as well as all the other races that we'll be going to. There is lots of success in store for UBBC in 2014-15. Watch this space!

Men’s Squad
By Tania Griffin

Saturday saw the IM3 four (Alex Slevin, Sam Duke-Wallace, Jez Nicholls, Stuart Clarke and Axie Finch) take to the water to face tough competition in the IM1 category. A close race ensued, with Birmingham pulling back on their opposition several times throughout the 1.5km course, but despite executing their race well, the Birmingham boys were just beaten to the line by Reading Boat Club.

Heading into the afternoon Jack Chase and Jez Nicholls raced in a double scull. The racing category of elite proved tough and their opposition surged ahead off the start. The double fought well and pushed back, moving well together, but in the end their competition proved too strong.

Sunday saw an 8, put together for race day, made up of Milo George, Alex Ozegovic, Alex Slevin, Sam Duke-Wallace, Jez Nicholls, James Heal, Jake Baldry, Stuart Clarke and Axie Finch. In the first round they drew Oxford City, a strong and experienced crew heading for Henley.  Birmingham raced well, and surged back on their competition towards the finish. In the last few strokes there was a clashing of blades impeding both crews as they crossed the line. Unable to declare a winner, the Umpires directing both crews back to the start for a re-row. Birmingham again raced well in the second race, but unfortunately lost out to Oxford City by 1 length.

Overall I am pleased with the progress and performance of the squad this year. Unfortunately they met tough competition at Reading this weekend, but they still competed well, proudly representing their club and University.