Schools’ Head of the River Report

BMSBC rounded off the Spring Term with the Schools’ Head of the River, raced over the University Boat Race course, Chiswick to Putney. This gruelling race is really another level of rowing compared to the tranquil Great Ouse that we normally train on in Bedford.

The stand out performance of the day was undoubtably the J18 4x; a relatively new crew and a new direction for the Senior Boys’ Squad competing in the top sculling event. The crew of Jake Wilson, Alex Ventisei, Kieran Smith and Sam Kavanagh had an eventful row overtaking seven crews, at one point there were four crews side-by-side! This amount of competition along the course obviously kept them pushing forward as they came joint 5th out of a strong field of some thirty quads. 

The Senior Girls’ eight were also back in action on the Tideway after a relatively short break since competing at the Women’s Head of the River. The crew of Corinne McWilliams (Cox), Natalie Graham, Georgia Goddard, Hannah Cowie, Izzy Glanvill, Eliza Ball, Voirrey Taylor, Emma Dobson and Ella Monaghan felt as if they had a good row which felt comfortable along the course. This can sometimes be a dangerous thought after the race as you run the risk of realising you perhaps have not pushed yourselves as much as you could of. Having seen the results I think the girls’ will realise that this is perhaps what happened. The girls’ remain a group with a huge amount of promise for the future, having proven previously that they know how to win, training camp will be a great opportunity to reset in time for the summer regatta season. I’m looking forward to seeing the steps forward this group can make whilst in Sabaudia. 

The crew with the toughest job of the day were the Senior Boys competing in the 1st VIII’s category; with numerous disruptions in the weeks leading into the event, plus an illness the night before, the crew boated on the morning of the race for the very first time, not ideal when you are going off 23rd amongst other schools leading boats!! The boys, coxed by Autumn MacKay, did a great job. They stuck to their race plan to which everyone committed. All things considered I think the boys performed admirably in a situation which many would have simply thrown in the towel. This group of students will now be refocused for the regatta season in a new direction. 

Along with the Senior crews the Boat Club had a number of crews competing at Schools’ Head for the first time. All of the J16 and J15 crews gained valuable experience of the event which puts them in a stronger position to come back and compete for higher places next year.

As a whole I think the Boat Club performed well. I am the first to admit, to which I’m sure many of the senior rowers will agree, this has been an extremely disrupted Schools’ Head campaign. We, the coaching team, have had some tough decisions to make and I know there are more in front of us. I cannot praise the students enough to really knuckling down, having input, challenging the coaching team and working with us to reach the best decision for the entire Boat Club. 

I am looking forward to spending a week away with such a committed group of young student athletes as we push forward into the regatta season. 

Mr B

WeHORR Report

Women’s Head of the River – Autumn Mackay
Girls’ Captain of Boats

With Schools Head just around the corner the Senior Girls 8+ grabbed the opportunity of taking on the tideway for Women’s Head of the River. A great practice run of the course, with a couple of temporary crew changes giving all members of the senior girls squad a chance to race the stretch of water in an 8+.  Despite some somewhat rainy and dreary conditions the girls coped extremely well on their long row up to the start from London Rowing Club.

After waiting at the start for another hour or so on the water, our race finally begun. We had a strong start and straight away had our eyes set on the crews in front of us. Nat at stroke set a good chunky rhythm for the race and over the course we managed to overtake 3 other crews. The girls showed some great competitive spirit whilst side by side with other eights, keeping their heads together whilst maintaining a good level of intensity throughout.

We ended up coming 14th in our category and a respectable 87th overall. I personally found the race great fun and in general, the girls were happy with their performance. They will now spend the upcoming week back in the usual line up doing all they can to improve even further in the run up to Schools Head of the River. I wish them nothing but the best for it! Well done girls.