Slightly disappointed by the cancellation of the Eights Head of the River the previous day, Granta readjusted their focus to the reserve VIIIs race at the Henley Boat Races. The cross-headwind against stream conditions were familiar to the crew, who had been training on very similar water on the Tideway in the few days preceding the race. Nephthys won the toss and chose the Buckinghamshire station.
The practise in rough water proved valuable as Granta took 2 seats in the first 150m having had a much cleaner and stronger start. This early lead gave the crew the impetus to keep the pressure on Oxford and by 250m in, Granta were half a length up and moving. Aggressive coxing by both crews saw a slight clash and warnings were issued to both coxes to get back on station. Granta had settled into a race rhythm striking 34 and were a full length up 350m into the race. Superior blade work and length in the water saw the crew continue to take ground on Nephthys. When a length clear, Granta steered ambitiously to take the fast stream, a move which saw the Nephthys cox steer off station to try and force a foul. Nephthys also then suffered the rough water being sent down by the surging Granta crew who were at this stage racing in line. However, the charge from Granta proved too much to handle as they extended their lead by Upper Thames to over a canvas of clear water.
Nephthys attempted to make up some ground by putting in a push just past the Oxford supporter’s camp, but Granta responded and made the greater strength and length in the water count to extend their lead to 2.5 lengths at the Fawley marker. Nephthys were warned and turned sharply to get back onto station, a move which cost them a further half a length which allowed Granta to continue striding away. In the last 250m before the 1750m finish Granta pushed on again, making the final verdict 3.5 lengths. (Nicholas Rice).
The 2017 Granta Boat
1. Jon Swain (Clare)
2. Ed Nash (Caius)
3. Sam Pettinger-Harte (Selwyn)
4. James Wood (Trinity Hall)
5. Jake Rowe (Trinity) Granta Captain
6. Hugo Ventham (Homerton)
7. George Hawkswell (Caius)
8. Nicholas Rice (Magdalene)
c. Juliet Armstrong (Trinity)
Coached by Bob Greatorex
CULRC with their trophy from the 2017 lightweight boat race.
Following Granta’s decisive win over Nepthys earlier that afternoon, the CULRC crew boated from Leander Club to begin the race warm up. Conditions had changed dramatically over the course of Henley week, from the initial tail to a strong cross-head wind which had created rough water, particularly during the stake boat practice on Thursday.
Earlier on race day Oxford had won the toss and chose the Berkshire station, so Cambridge lined up on the Buckinghamshire side of the Thames. Off the start the CULRC crew immediately began to take seats, moving out to a half-length advantage after the first minute. Cambridge cox, Dominic Hall (Pembroke), was warned by umpire, Dave Hancock, for his aggressive line as they stretched the lead out to 1.5 boat lengths by Upper Thames at a rate of 38 strokes per minute, narrowly avoiding blade contact. Spurred on by the crowds at Upper Thames, Oxford tried to mount a comeback, but this was held-off by the Cambridge crew who moved out to 2 lengths.
In the final stages of the race the dark blues bit back with an all-out sprint, but CULRC held their advantage and crossed the line with 1.75 lengths of clear water. This was the 4th consecutive Boat Race win for CULRC, the 3rd win for stroke Giovanni Bergamo-Andreis (2014, 2016, 2017), and the 2nd win for President Jamie Brown, as well as Sam Philpott, Ben Mackworth and Charlie Cummins (2016 & 2017). This takes Cambridge to 27 wins against Oxford’s 16. (Jamie Brown).
1. Chris Jones (King’s)
2. Robbie Sewell (Fitzwilliam)
3. Zenas Van Veldhoven (Wolfson)
4. Charlie Cummins (Pembroke)
5. Ben Mackworth (Corpus Christi)
6. Sam Philpott (Girton) Vice-President
7. Jamie Brown (King’s) President
8. Giovanni Bergamo-Andreis (Queens’) Vice-President
c. Dominic Hall (Pembroke)
Coached by Dan Janes and Steve Harris