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Yr9 Dominate Wycliffe Head Feb 3rd 2024

On Saturday Feb 3rd GMSBC headed west to Gloucester to race the 4,500 m Wycliffe Head. Due to the poor weather, this was our first race of this academic year and so for a large part, we just wanted to give crews the chance to race to see how they were progressing.

Due to so many other races being cancelled this season, the event was heavily oversubscribed, and half our entries were rejected. Of the crews we took, there were a number of last minute changes due to illness and injury but all athletes performed well and we had some rewarding results in both the am and pm divisions.

The Year 9 Girls’ crew had a really good race for the most part: a snapped steering cable, as they were overtaking, caused quite a delay. They still came in second, giving a very promising performance.

The Year 10 Boys’ Eight enjoyed their race and felt they worked consistently well as a team. It is some time since GMS boated an Eight in the Year 10 age group and it was great to see them coming over the finish line in a concerted and cohesive fashion. They finished behind Abingdon School and Pangbourne but beat several others including Kings Chester, a strong rowing school from the north.

Our older Girls’ Quads, rowed well coming 3 and 4th in the Open Women’s Quads. This was particularly strong from the B crew, which was largely comprised of Year 10 and would have put them just 0.5 s off winning Year 11 Quads.

The Year 11 Boys’ Crew sadly had a crash as they drew alongside an opponent as they approached a narrow bridge, which set them back. A close second place was a strong result considering. The top Boy’s Quad was delayed behind slower crews going through that same narrow bridge, but still came away with a win: they have gained confidence for the bigger races ahead.

In the afternoon we only had two crews racing: our strong Year 9 Boys’ Octo and a top Boys’ Eight. Saving the best for last, I will say that the Boys’ Eight had a very strong row with an encouraging result especially racing against St Edwards School, winners of Henley Royal Regatta last year, and Shiplake College, winners of the Schools Head last year.

However, the greatest excitement was the Year 9 Boys’ Octo, who went off at the head of the division with local rivals Marlow Rowing Club right behind them. After 4,500m the boys came across the line looking strong having worked extremely well together; they were some two minutes ahead of nearest rival MRC. A great first win of the season for an exciting squad.

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