OXFORD Brookes provided the dominant crews at the Reading University Head of the River contest, writes John Wiggins.

With many students racing twice, they produced the fastest four times of the day and won the top five men’s titles.

The Brookes women claimed three titles, after racing an unchanged crew from recent fixtures, but were eclipsed by Oxford University in the elite women’s eights.

Headington School produced the best time for junior girls, but their adult senior eights crew missed victory by just a second to Brookes, while their J16s won the adult women’s novice eights.

Radley College took both the boy’s J18 and J16 eights.

Wallingford RC, in their first race of the head season, comfortably won masters C eights, while Abingdon RC, with the help of City of Oxford rowers, claimed the D category.

l Continuing with rhe same personnel but a rearranged seating order from the bruising encounter with Brookes last week, Oxford University’s Boat Race hopefuls were again put to the test when they raced Dutch champions, AS


In both races, the Dutch crew took control of the first half, before Oxford came back in the later one to lose the first by only a few feet, but to win the second by half a length.

l More than 1,200 students contested the Oxford University college Torpids bumping races over four days.

Pembroke’s men retained the title ‘head of the river’ for a sixth consecutive year with Oriel holding on to second place.

Magdalen, who have dominated the women’s event since 2010, fell spectacularly, succumbing to Oriel on the first day, and then sliding ten places to the bottom.

l Junior Oxon crews enjoyed success at the Gloucester Head.

On the 1,750m track, Abingdon RC came second to Hinksey Scullers in the WJ15 double, but tied with them for first place in the WJ14 double.

Hinksey won the WJ13 quads.

Magdalen College School landed the boys J14 single and J14 double, while Headington School dominated the WJ14 quads taking the top two places with Abingdon, third.

The longer 5,000m course saw success for the Hinksey J18 boys quad while Magdalen took first and second in the J16 double and girls J18 singles, completing a happy day with first place in the J16 single.