Rowers cruise to Henley win

Monday, 06 July 2009

Oxford Brookes rowers overpowered Yale opponents in a head-to-head battle to clinch a convincing and prestigious win at the Henley Royal Regatta.

Oxford Brookes rowers overpowered Yale in a head-to-head battle to clinch a convincing and prestigious win at Henley Royal Regatta.

The Prince Albert Cup saw teams from rowing giants Oxford and Cambridge knocked out in opening rounds during the week-long regatta at Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

The Brookes squad, comprised of Scott Durant, Matthew Tarrant, Chris Abraham, Karl Hudspith and cox Hannah Clewes (pictured left to right), beat teams from the University of East Anglia, reigning champions Newcastle University and the University of London before facing Yale in the final.

Both Yale and Brookes got off to good starts before Brookes started inching ahead and then took control in the latter stages of the race.

Although the Yale crew maintained the pressure, the heavier Brookes team coped better with gusting headwinds and eased to victory.

Head rowing coach Richard Spratley was delighted with the result: “This is one of the best performances we have had from a Brookes crew for many years – perhaps since the mid-90’s,” he said. “It is right up there.”

He added: “This puts us in the top three rowing universities in the country.”

He was particularly pleased at the convincing nature of the win against the US outfit: “Yale are top class. They are the university champions in their category,” he added.

Yale head coach Andy Card conceded that Brookes were just too good on the day. “We had a good start, but had to put too much into it to stay with the more powerful and taller Brits,” he explained.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer followed the race in the umpire’s launch. She was joined by Brookes alumnus and Olympic rowing gold medallist Steve Williams as well as Neil Ashley, who donated the winning four-seater boat to the team.

In the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup, first-year student Peter Chambers clinched another great win rowing for a composite Durham University and Oxford Brookes team.