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  • David Simmonds

In Brugge

After a successful weekend in Newcastle, we fancied a race a bit closer to home and so decided to do the Brugge Boat Race as a day trip. In contrast to BUCS Head when we only sent a choice 22 athletes, nearly the whole club emigrated to Belgium for this race. We had 3 men’s eights and 2 women’s eights racing and were hoping to win the men’s eight for the 3rd year running. The race is run as a 5km side-by-side race- you’re paired up with a similar crew and set off from a standing start. The times are then taken and ranked as if it were a Head race.

The men’s intermediate eight, coxed by Emily Boother, put in another strong performance after their 5th place at BUCS last weekend. The same crew raced as the previous week: Dugald Fraser, Tom Burnell, Jac Reid, Fabio Albertani, Lawrence Jones, Vitaly Delve, Paul Liétar and JT Baird. It was the first international race for some of these boys and they will be flying the ICBC flag overseas many more times yet.

The men’s second eight was coxed by Camilla Aylwin and included Domain, Knobert, Mon Halls, The Crimson Chin, Pooha, Gavlar and two non-students. The crew were adamant that Winnie would be the first of the non-students in the crew, chanting ‘Dr Winchester is a….. perfect choice, Dr Winchester is a….. perfect choice’ over and over. Sir Humphrey made a glorious return to student rowing, even though more recently his musical talent has taken a place in the spotlight again. The whole crew would like me to thank Rob for really going out of his way and rearranging his lunch so that he could race. The crew raced well, coming 8th in their category.

In the men’s first eight, coxed by the first lady of ICGC Ella Taylor, GB Tim made his long awaited return to the bow seat. The crew was really built around the principle of keeping Tim chopping away in the bow seat until he could remember to row after breaking his ankle. Paul Jones provided length from the 2 seat and, from the 3 seat, Bruce was a calming influence over the Badger in the 4 seat. Ollie Hines just snuck into the stern four and sat behind Ben Thomas, who got a day’s leave from his very serious long term girlfriend. At the business end of the boat, Myles Holborough was the obvious choice for stroke after having spent two sessions on stroke side and Toby Heaton then skilfully spun silk from the seven seat. This eight set off first against a German crew that we expected to be fast off the start. They weren’t. After getting clear water within about 200m, we went on to win the event by 44 seconds. ICBC are getting a bit of a reputation in Brugge and it doesn’t involve disgruntled managers and accusations of stray bodily fluids. Bonus

The men’s first eight with all the vital crew members on show


The women’s second eight didn’t have as much preparation as some the rest of the crews but still managed to put in a sterling performance, coming third in their category, even overtaking the people that the women’s first eight had set off alongside. The crew was Chris ‘friend-zonee’ Au, OBUBC first lady Rebecca Shorten, Georgia ‘friend-zoner’ HT, Issy ‘smurf’ Powell, Ellie Loveday, Yewande ‘novice breaker’ Adesida, Becci ‘BTEC’ Williams, Jade Richards-Delarze-Hudson and ICBC first lady Lucy Edwards. Finally, the women’s first eight, who also came away with the win in their category. This eight will be aiming for big things at WeHORR this weekend and they’ve set themselves up for a big performance now. Winning their category by 33 seconds (not quite as much as the men), the crew was stroked by new Leander convert Pippa Whittaker, backed up by GB Georgia in the 7 seat. Young gun Maddy Ardissinio at 6 and Helen Wood at 5 provided both experience and enthusiasm. Sara Parfett and Cat Thiem were at the technical epicentre of 3 and 4 and finally bow pair of purple club converts Natalie Long and Jo Thom filled the last two seats. Paddy has obviously found a novel way of energising the women’s squad and it seems to be working.

The women’s first eight on their way to a 33 second win