On Sunday 23 February, there were concerns that the British Universities and Collegiate Sport (BUCS) Fours’ and Eights’ Head, one of the biggest events on the university rowing calendar, was at risk of being cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
The BUCS committee cancelled the novice races, allowing the intermediate and championship events to run on the Tyne.
Many Durham colleges pulled out, but for those who did make it to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the weather did not make the longdistance five-kilometre race any easier as crews had to battle extremely choppy water and powerful gusts throughout.
Durham University Boat Club’s rigorous training plan – which involves 12 sessions a week and an arduous training camp in Seville over the Christmas holidays – helped its rowers on their way to seven medals: two golds, two silvers and three bronzes.
The men’s eight missed out on a medal, though they did triumph in the championship and intermediate four categories. Overall, DUBC were pleased with their success but remain hungry to build on their performance.
Durham’s main rivals, Newcastle University, came top of the medal table. They took home 10 medals, four of them gold.
BUCS is usually a good indicator of what is to be expected from university crews in the Head of the River races which take place in March on the Thames. However, the adverse weather conditions on the Tyne tested the crews in different ways to the longer and less choppy Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race course they will be racing at that event, where athleticism and technique will be of equal importance.
The only certainty is the increasing intensity of training for both DUBC and college crews over the next few weeks.
Image: Durham University Boat Club