Newcastle's blustery BUCS no match for blitzing Blue Star

Newcastle University Boat Club triumph at BUCS 4s and 8s Head.

Toby Bryant
2nd March 2020
Image: David Stephenson, NUBC
The North-East’s resident storm blew hard across the River Tyne late last month – but not quite hard enough to stop the great majority of BUCS 4s & 8s Head taking place in Newcastle.

Co-hosted by Team Newcastle’s Blue Star, high wind speeds did lead to novice crews being pulled from the event but on the Sunday the UK’s top rowing squads hit the water to battle both the elements and one another. The pinnacle of the long, head season, the time-trial style race is what the country’s crews had been working towards since the academic year's start.

Feeling at home on The Tyne, it was Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) who triumphed to take home both the coveted Men’s and Women’s Victor Ludorum cups for overall performances.

Division 1 kicked off with the Women’s Championship 8+, stroked by Hannah Cowie and coxed by Tash Banks. Newcastle claimed top spot with a four-second lead over second-place Edinburgh and a comfortable 48 seconds ahead of Imperial in third. Next up, the Women’s Intermediate 8+ and another victory for Newcastle ahead of second-placed Exeter in a strong category of 22 crews.

The first men’s representatives from NUBC came in the Men’s Championship 4+ category, unfortunately just missing out on the top three by little more than 20 seconds. It was Imperial who took home that title.

Back among the medals for the Men’s Intermediate 4+, a third-place finish for Newcastle out of 18 crews was credit to a solid row. Next in were the Men’s Championship 4- in fourth before the Men’s Lightweight 4- A, stroked by Stan Cannons, rowed to another first-place finish. The Blue Star’s B crew came in fourth, only 0.6 seconds behind Bath University in third.

As the water started churning up, a marshalling decision saw the afternoon’s second division shifted upstream to keep matters under control. Nothing to phase NUBC, however, with another second-place medal in the afternoon’s first Men’s Championship 8+ category, finishing behind a strong Imperial squad. Another silver behind Imperial followed in the Men’s Intermediate 8+, as well as the Women’s Intermediate 4x and the Women’s Championship 4+.

The 24 strong category of Women’s Intermediate 4+ boats were up next, and Newcastle’s ladies were up for the battle, coming home in 17:52 to cruise to first place, 13 seconds ahead of Exeter in second. A fourth-place finish in the Women’s Championship 4- rounded off a day’s racing for the Blue Star. 

Speaking on the day’s racing, NUBC President Kat Bulmer reflected:

“It was a massive privilege to have BUCS Head back on the Tyne and the results from the club definitely made it even more special. The hard work we've put in throughout the winter clearly paid off and has set us up nicely for the rest of the season.”

“The event couldn't have happened without the help of Tyne Amateur Rowing Club and Tyne United Rowing Club, and all the volunteers who braved the elements to ensure everything went smoothly. Special thanks has to go to the NUBC athletes who really did the club proud both on and off the water.”

“It was my first year racing BUCS Head on home water and I hope it is here to stay for many more years!"

After another successful BUCS Head outing, eyes now turn towards the summer’s shorter regatta season of BUCS Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta for a NUBC squad firing on all cylinders.

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