ROWING: Dark Blues gain early win over Cambridge

The Oxford Times: Constantine Louloudis was in Oxford University's winning crew Constantine Louloudis was in Oxford University's winning crew

Two Oxfordshire crews fought off the toughest competiton Britain and abroad to emerge victorious in the 4¼ mile Fours Head of the River from Mortlake to Putney on Saturday, writes Mike Rosewell.

Of the 454 crews competing, two more locals finished runners-up while three more secured third-place finishes.

The two wins came in top class divisions – the men’s elite coxed fours and the women’s elite lightweight quads.

Isis, the Oxford Boat Race squad, took the men’s honours with a crew which must have made Cambridge sit up and take notice.

It included British Olympic bronze-medal winning Constantine Louloudis, along with double Olympic medallist, Malcolm Howard and two experienced senior internationals in Mike DiSanto and Karl Hudspith.

They were half a minute faster than nearest rivals Cambridge.

Don’t write the Light Blues off too early though, since they had plenty of talent in their lower boats and won both the intermediate coxed and coxless fours sections.

The other Oxon success came from Wallingford’s lightweight women.

The crew featured two GB performers, Brianna Stubbs and Kathryn Twyman, together with club captain Caroline Greves and Mirium James-Walters. They, too, had a comfortable win.

The second places came from Oxford Brookes, who were pipped by Leander in the men’s eite coxless fours, and Radley College in the junior coxed fours.

Isis came third in both the men’s intermediate 1 coxed and coxless fours, while Headington School, seldom out of the winners list, were third in the women’s junior coxed fours.

Wheatley’s Frances Houghton, racing for Leander, was in the victorious elite quad.

In the Veterans’ Fours head on Sunday, Wallingford’s men won the veteran C quads and were the fastest crew of the day.

Their older clubmates won the veteran F coxless fours.

Abingdon’s women won the veteran women’s A event.

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