The University of St Andrews Boat Club had another successful afternoon of rowing following a strong win in Glasgow’s Head of the Clyde River Race on Saturday 10 March. The Men’s 1st VIII won their Category and Division after a gruelling 4000m battle against the Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club and over 20 other crews from Universities and Clubs from around Scotland.
Initial fears the race would be marred by poor weather conditions were quickly allayed after the strong headwind which had presented a challenge to the Men’s 1st IV earlier in the day mostly subsided for the later racing.
The men of the St Andrews crew glided towards the start line, passing through Glasgow’s industrial surround feeling confident and together. The combination of highly favourable weather conditions and a near-perfect set (balance of the crew with boat) made for excellent rowing.
After a powerful start, stroke man Ollie Negus dropped the rate of the boat settling the crew into a consistently long and strong stroke. However, there was no time for complacency. This was not going to be an easy row. The Clydesdale VIII bore down on St Andrews in the first 500m hoping they could secure a quick demoralising overtake but St Andrews held them off with vigour.
As the race progressed, Clydesdale edged further and further behind the St Andrews crew. The final 1000m was met by a call from coxswain Jennifer George-Nichol that she wanted St Andrews to ‘blackout on the finish line’.
As the last 500m approached, to consolidate the lead over Clydesdale, St Andrews let out one colossal push to the finish, gaining a titanic two boat lengths over the opposition and cementing their victory. George-Nichol very nearly got her wish but St Andrews remained long and strong till the end.
The victory marks the third consecutive win for the Club this year with Men’s Captain Calum Turnbull commenting, “I am extremely proud of the Men’s performance this year and I look forward to training for and competing at the major forthcoming events such as the Scottish and British Universities Championships.”
The regatta also marked the maiden outing of the St Andrews Novice IV, who despite their relative lack of experience performed well and had an enjoyable race.