It has proved another year of excitement and exhilaration on the river in the lead up to the annual ‘Schools Head of the River’ race. There have been long ergo sessions on the rowing machines, practice races on the Great Ouse and tough training in arctic conditions, but every ounce of energy was worth it for the exceptional rowing demonstrated at this major event in the rowing calendar.
Held in March each year, the Schools Head is raced on the same four and a half-mile Championship course that is used for the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race. It is open to rowing fours and eights for school pupils aged between 13 and 18 years old.
All of our oarsmen fought determined and gritty races in wet and muddy conditions, but a special mention must go to our 1st VIII, who delivered an exceptional performance to beat off the admirable efforts of Portora Boat Club, Great Marlow School and Norwich School. Notably, they also beat the times of Latymer and King’s College, Wimbledon, who chose to race in Championship Eights. This means that our 1st VIII not only finished top of their league, but they also finished seventh overall – an achievement which far exceeded their expectations. This is particularly noteworthy given that the crew are relatively inexperienced, with five new rowers in the boat.
Schools Head was closely followed by the Junior Sculling Head, which is for junior-aged boys and is raced 1900m in each direction on the Olympic course on Dorney Lake. Bedford entered A, B, C, D, E and F boats – all crews rowed with stoic determination and achieved some pleasing results with the A boat finishing in 13th place out of 57. By contrast, the weather in Dorney was sunny and relatively warm!
Well done to all the 122 Bedford School boys who took part across the two days. They have all shown great commitment to their sport, particularly through the cold winter months. Their successes in these events puts them in great stead for a blockbuster summer of rowing.
You can find the full set of results in the links below.