Pangbourne entered 5 eights into Reading University Head. Held just over week before the School’s head, it was great preparation and a chance for our crews to put all the training into practice. With a record number of entries, the standard of rowing was extremely high across all categories, with Oxford University showing great form to take the overall title.
In the morning division the J15 8+ made their sweep rowing debut and competed in one of the largest categories amongst 16 top rowing schools. Navigating the 4.6km course, the boys had a solid row finishing in the top half of the event, 8 seconds behind St Paul’s School and beating two Radley and two Eton crews! Well done to the 9 boys who gained valuable experience at such a strong field. With a few crew changes to the afternoon division, and racing in Novice 8+, the J15s kept their focus and beat university crews as well as local school, Shiplake. A solid effort from this squad and a promising start to their season.
Also competing in the afternoon division were the girls 1st eight and three senior boys’ eights. After half the crews pulled out, the girls opposition comprised two of the top girls’ rowing centres in the country. With Henley RC taking the title, the girls had a great tussle with LEH over the second half of the course, once the girls had found their stride. All three schoolgirl crews left many adult club and university crews trailing in their wake.
The boys 1st eight used the event to settle into their new Filippi shell, most kindly donated by the winning Princess Elizabeth crew of 1963. They had a very solid row, at several pips of rating lower than their opponents, to be placed fourth of the school crews in the division. The boys 2nd eight, which consists entirely of lower sixth and 5th form oarsmen, did well to hold their position despite pressure from crews behind. With a rate cap given to keep the focus on good technique for the future, the boys still managed to finish in the top half of the division. Finally, an hour before the race, due to injury the 3rd eight was only a ‘7,’ despite having already recruited coach Poynter to row in it. With the boat about to be derigged and returned to the trailer, a Southampton University oarswoman kindly agreed row in it and save the day. Rowing in novice 8+, this makeshift crew had a most gutsy row, with the bonus of overtaking a Shiplake crew along the way.
A big thank you to all the parents, friends and OP’s who came along to watch and support each Pangbourne Crew as well as the coaches who rode and rowed(!).