Novice rower Zara Shepherd-Brierley (English and French 2017), who rowed in the W1 boat, reports on the action at the river.
“For the women, it was an exceptionally tough fight to ward off Pembroke, and while it was disheartening to be bumped on the first day, the faster crew ultimately deserved headship. Bouncing back from this disappointment, the women did incredibly well, particularly as an inexperienced crew, to spend the next three days fighting off Christ Church and Wolfson. On Saturday, the battle against Wolfson was particularly fierce, but the women did themselves proud, fighting till the very end of the race to deny Wolfson the bump.
The men’s first boat similarly had a successful year, starting amongst tough competition and with a sea of Oxford Blues rowers in crews ahead. On the first day they experienced success, bumping Wolfon’s to put them fifth on the river – their highest position in 44 years! Whilst unable to catch Pembroke on the remaining days, the men closed the gap more and more each day down to only a few feet on the final day. They should be proud of their racing!
Our second men’s boat also performed exceptionally, bumping Linacre first boat on day one, and New College and University College second boats on the Friday and Saturday. Although the men were disappointed not to have got blades (bumping 4 times), they did fantastically to compete against some college’s first boats. We are motivated by their performance, particularly as some of these men will be moving into Wadham men’s first boat next year.
The boat that experienced the most success at Eights this year was the men’s third boat which bumped up into Division V, bumping four times overall and winning blades!
For some of us this year was our first experience of Summer Eights, presenting a steep learning curve to say the least, and for some of us this year was our last Eights and a fitting end to years of rowing at Wadham. As always, none of our success as a club would be possible without the untiring commitment of Rod Andrews who coached the women’s and men’s first boats, James Evry and Scott Houghton who coached the men’s second and third boats, respectively, and alumni of the boat club (who baked, screamed and marshalled for us), supporters from college and home, and of course those who rowed and coxed. It is an unfailing pleasure to be part of such a motivated and talented Boat Club and we look forward with anticipation to next year’s Summer Eights. We are expecting big things.”