Reading University Boat Club returned to the north after a spectacular BUCS head last year with plenty of titles to defend. Following the news that beginner events on the Saturday were to be cancelled due to high winds, it was only the senior squad that undertook the seven hour journey up to the Tyne to battle strong winds and attempt to steer the tidal river.

First off (first out of all crews in the entire event) was the Championship men’s quad of Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton, Olly Dix and Luke Reiser. They had tough competition but lead fearlessly down the course with an aim to defend their number one spot. In the end the boys came away with a creditable fourth, disappointing as always to be just outside of the medals, they will definitely be using this result as motivation in the coming races as we move into regatta season.

In the intermediate category, we had three men’s quads. The first boat of Chris Dove, Rob Mcpherson, Sam Palmer and Matt Rogers raced very well, taking our first gold of the day. The second boat of Jack Gibson, Harvey Jacklin Laurence O’Connor and Bryn Hassan struggled with the tricky course and ended in seventh place, a little disappointing for them. The third boat of Nikolas Gavrias, Ollie Irwin and Christopher O’Bryan and Johannes Pedro de Jong had a strong race, placing well in the top 10, an impressive result showing the strength and depth within the men’s squad.

The last race of the first division was the women’s lightweight quad of Amy Fuller, Katy Ratcliffe, Victoria Norton and Anna Smart who also lead the field, defending a two year winning streak. They faced tough competition and came away satisfied with bronze.

It was a quick turnaround for the lightweights as they would be racing again in the second division. Two lightweight men’s quads took to the water, looking to improve on their silver from last year the first boat of Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton, Matt Rogers and Christian Dove found a strong, aggressive rythmn, overtaking last years winners and taking the win. The second lightweight boat of Rob Mcpherson, Jack Gibson, Johannes Pedro de Jong and Ross Jones followed soon after, taking silver.

On the girls side, the championship boat of Louretta Grove, Lucy Ryan, Anna Smart and Victoria Norton were also set off first. They took on some very strong competition from University of London and Edinburgh but held their own and took a strong bronze medal, a very impressive feat in such a strong field. We next had two intermediate boats with Amy Fuller, Poppy Durkan, Meg Park and Kit Swales winning silver and the third boat of Amber Mayall, Helen Such, Molly Regan and Beatrice Roe coming an impressive 5th.

Going into this year it was clear that the competition had stepped up, and following the success of last year it was going to be very hard to beat. We returned from the north this year with 2 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes and are currently 6th on the medal table. We look forward to taking these results and using them in the coming months in our own head race this weekend and looking forward to BUCS regatta in the spring. Well done all, a successful weekend and plenty more medals to come.