THERE were victories for both Oxford and Cambridge crews as their final competitive training sessions for Sunday week’s Boat Race were run yet again in choppy conditions, writes John Wiggins.

While Cambridge took charge against a visiting Italian crew containing several Olympians, the Oxford men faced a star-studded Leander line-up.

The impressive Dark Blues put their rivals to the sword in a single piece from the Boat Race start to the Chiswick Steps.

Though Leander chose the Surrey station it was to no avail as Oxford took control from the start.

After a few minutes, the Dark Blues were clear and could steer as they pleased, nullifying the advantage of the long Surrey bend and finishing several lengths clear.

Leander will battle for supremacy with Oxford Brookes this Saturday at the Eights Head of the River.

The Oxford University women, rowing with a substitute for the indisposed Flo Pickles, had a harder time against a Molesey BC crew that, only last week finished 45 seconds behind Cambridge at the Women’s Eights Head.

The Dark Blues comfortably won the first race to the half-way mark, but in the second section to the Boat Race finish, Molesey on the inside of the bend, stole an early lead and just kept Oxford at arms’ length to the line.

The women’s reserve boat, Osiris raced Headington School who themselves sought race preparation and Tideway experience as they bid to retain their title at the Schools’ Head with a fifth consecutive victory.

Possibly the biggest week of British Rowing sees four major head races in as many days before Sunday’s Henley Boat Races where Oxford and Cambridge lightweights and college crews take to the water.

Keble will represent the women and Oriel the men in the inter-collegiate races while the following have been selected for the Varsity races.


Women: L Bonfils, M Tian, J Heymann, D Edmunds, R Anderson, L Dewaele, L Cross, H Patel, C Karlsson (cox).

Men: T Schwantje, H Smith, G Watkinson, A Pavitt, R Arthur, S Mahesh, A Miles, D Chesterton, C Roden (cox).

l St Edward's School, Oxford, received a boost when their reorganised first eight won the Kingston Head.

Their crew of Valentin Peiker, Pasha Tinkov, George Hayter, James Schofield, Aleks Elezovic, Ben Sthamer, Nicola dei Rossi, Campbell Nelson and cox, Sam Shuker won by a large margin of half-a-minute over the 5km course.

This result puts Teddies in good shape ahead of this week’s Schools’ Head of the River race.

The school’s J15 eight came in only five seconds behind winners Radley College, with their crew of Alex Senior, Josh Beck, Freddie Nielsen, Hector Thorneycroft, Fred Dreyer, Charlie Spraggs, Jamie Batchelor, Louis Ashforth-Pook and cox Ted Williams.