Head of the Trent

Sunday 19th February saw the Cambridge University Women’s BC squad set out on an intrepid journey to deepest, darkest Nottingham, to compete in the Head of the Trent. Unlike the Henley Races in April, a Head race is a battle against the clock to be the fastest crew over the course – in this case 6000m through Nottingham town centre. Having enjoyed mill-pond-like conditions all week during training in Ely, we were hoping for calm water and just a nice gentle breeze for our first long distance race of 2006. However, this was not to be, and as we approached the National Watersports Centre the weather closed in, the sky became greyer and greyer, and a damp, chilly headwind blew up.

We boated early and went through our standard warm-up drills before marshalling in a remote area of Nottinghamshire, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. After a short delay, other boats in our division arrived along with the race marshals, and we were ready to race. All three CUWBC boats span into the headwind, and started powering their way down the course.

The two heavyweight crews (A and C) both had storming rows, coming home 1st and 2nd overall, with the A crew securing the inaugural Robin Haslam Trophy for the fastest women’s crew of the day. The lightweight crew did not benefit from the conditions, nor from having squad members away trialling for the Northern Irish Commonwealth team which resulted in the crew racing in an unfamiliar order. They still put in an accomplished performance, placing third in the “Senior 3” category, behind the heavyweight crews, and 6th overall.

All three crews will be taking this valuable race experience to the Thames Tideway, and will be looking to consolidate and improve upon these performances when they race next month in the biggest women’s rowing race in the world, the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race.

Selected results: [women]
1st S3; 1st overall CAMBRIDGE UNIV A 0:19:51
2nd S3; 2nd overall CAMBRIDGE UNIV C 0:20:16
1st S2; 3rd overall NOTTINGHAM UNIV 0:20:33
2nd S2 4th overall AGECROFT 0:20:43
1st S1; 5th overall TSS/NBC 0:20:46
3rd S3; 6th overall CAMBRIDGE UNIV B 0:21:06

Report by Lilie Weaver