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Cambridge University rowers take on the Thames in Trial VIIIs

Two Cambridge crews race the full course during the Womens Boat Race. Picture: Paul Sanwell / OP Photographic
Two Cambridge crews race the full course during the Womens Boat Race. Picture: Paul Sanwell / OP Photographic

Tideway is the focus for Light Blues

The spring may seem like a lifetime away as we get ready to head into the depths of winter, but it was on the minds of Cambridge University’s rowers this week.

The annual Trial VIIIs mark the halfway point in the build-up to the Cancer Research UK Boat Races, and a rare chance for side-by-side racing on the Tideway as the athletes compete for places in the Blue boats.

The first race was the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club event. It is traditional for the two eights to be named, and this year the crews were called Hallam and Needs, in tribute to former strength and conditioning coach Ed Hallam and famous coach Ron Needs, who both died this year.

Hallam included CUWBC president Ashton Brown and 2015 Blues Holly Hill, Melissa Wilson and Fanny Belais, while Needs featured Olympian Claire Lambe and Blue Myriam Goudet.

And it was Hallam that gained victory by three lengths.

“Hallam got off to a strong, punchy start which we consolidated to two thirds of a length by the Black Buoy,” said Hallam cox Matthew Holland.

“Along the Fulham straight Needs held well, and we settled into a lengthy and chunky rhythm, enabling us to stretch our lead to a length by Hammersmith. We hope we have done Ed proud.”

The men’s race followed, and the crews were named in tribute to long-serving coach Donald Legget, going by the monikers Two G’s and One T, in reference to the spelling of his name.

With president Lance Tredell missing through injury, Two G’s included returning Blues Felix Newman, Ben Ruble, Charlie Fisher and cox Ian Middleton.

And in a competitive race, One T won by half a length.

The women’s lightweight trial races were held at Henley-On-Thames on Sunday, and Bothered beat Hot by one-and-a-quarter lengths.

CUWBC chief coach Rob Baker said: “The trial races are an important marker in the season for the club.

“We have had two very encouraging races providing the squad with invaluable experience of Boat Race conditions to take forward towards their races in March and April next year.”

The Cancer Research UK Boat Races are on Sunday, April 2.

Hallam: Brittany Presten, Fanny Belais, Ashton Brown, Kirsten van Fossen, Lucy Pike, Melissa Wilson, Holly Hill, Alice White, cox Matthew Holland.

Needs: Tricia Smith, Emma Andrews, Paula Wulff, Oonagh Cousins, Claire Lambe, Anna Dawson, Myriam Goudet, Imogen Grant, cox Evie Lindsay.

Two G’s: Felix Newman, Patrick Elwood, Simon Bechele, Peter Rees, Charlie Fisher, Tim Tracy, Ben Ruble, Freddie Davidson, cox Ian Middleton.

One T: Louis Margot, Sam Wilson, Sam Ringer, Jim Letten, Robin Ponte, Sash Maolwany, Piers Kasas, Henry Meek, cox Hugo Ramambason.

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