Women’s Headship retained!

June 6, 2011 in Captain's Blog, Summer VIIIs 2011

At the end of an exhausting and exhilarating week, Balliol Women remain Head of the River.

As W1 arrived at the boathouse on a sunny Saturday afternoon there was an overwhelming sense of camaraderie in the air.  Leading up to this hour motivational ‘we CAN do this’ emails had been flying around left, right, and centre, and the entire JCR had been instructed to go down to the river to cheer on what was to be a day to remember.

Poker faces were on. We knew that Pembroke were good – as they had proved every day previously, but we also knew the power, determination, and ambition within our (brand new!) boat. Mentality was key; apart from our last-minute sub who has now rowed more times at the head of the river than she has had training sessions this year (hats off to her!) every single girl in that boat had poured their soul into training for this – a term for some, a year for others, a row across the Atlantic for one!

The boat was put in as gates were checked and rechecked, riggers tightened, every inch of Happy II gone over to make this possible. As the girls got in smiles in awesome anticipation abound.  And they were off…

Down at bung line 1 awaited an old member who rowed in Balliol’s first ever women’s eight, very much in the here and now. Off went the cannon and the battle began!

By the start of Boathouse Island Pembroke was making its move. Not put-off our eight girls held their nerve as Pembroke lost theirs to catch a boat-stopping crab! And we were home and dry… Until the appeal came.

A tense 36 hours followed (arguably far more tense than the actual race!) which eventually lead to the SUs concluding that there was no bump.  We had Headship.

All that is left to be said is how proud anyone who has been associated with this boat club has felt over the entire week. It was an awe-inspiring task and the challenge was risen to with full gusto. This is one Headship crew to be proud of – on and off the water.

Massive thanks to be given to Nick Bevan, Jo Williamson, Abs Harrison, Brianna Maclean and Lynn Hutchings for making this crew what it is. In True Blue style, as Beth said this time last year “be strengthened by the knowledge that there are nine rowers in your boat”. We did not have nine rowers in our boat – our total was more like fifteen. No wonder they went so damn fast!!


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