Rowers pipped by Harvard crew

Monday, 11 July 2011


Oxford Brookes rowers narrowly lost out to Harvard in the final of a Henley Royal Regatta race to crown the strongest student team in the world.

Oxford Brookes rowers narrowly lost out to Harvard in the final of a Henley Royal Regatta race to crown the strongest student team in the world.

Remarkably, two out of the four Oxford Brookes crew were novices when they joined the university in 2009.

The best student crews in the world compete for the Prince Albert Challenge Cup and Richard Spratley, director of rowing at Oxford Brookes, believes there is much encouragement to take from his young team's performance in the head-to-head final.

“Two of the crew were complete novices when they joined us. Joe Perry and Mathew Higginson have come through our novice programme and started rowing in October 2009,” he said.

“We have three-year courses at Brookes and if they come in as novices in year one it is exceptional to make it to this level by year two. Next summer they’ll be another year stronger.”

The Harvard four were trailing Oxford Brookes until the closing stages of the race.

“From our point of view it was all going to plan with 200 metres to go, “explained Richard. “Then Harvard pushed very strongly. It was very, very close.”

Oxford Brookes University Boat Club is as strong now as it has been for 15 years with three female and three male rowers from the team in the Great Britain Under-23’s squads.