With a number of oarsmen and oarswomen freshly returned from the Henley Qualifying Races most houses were able to strengthen their crews for the final round, setting up some intriguing competitions across the divisions.
In Division 3, Radbrook III rowed over at the Head after claiming top spot yesterday. The Grove II also rowed over ahead of Mary Sidney II to continue as the highest placed girls’ crew in the division. Emma Darwin II’s quest for ‘blades’ faltered as they rowed over. Severn Hill III didn’t have the best week, bumping down in every race. At the foot Moser’s II and Ingram’s III continued their private duel, with Moser’s II finishing as the victors.
The top of Division 2 told a similar story, Radbrook II also rowed over to claim their Headship. This is the first time that Radbrook have been at the top of Div 2 since 1987, and the first time ever that they have claimed two Head of the River titles in the same year. The Grove I continued their period of dominance, claiming the Elizabeth Cup for the third successive year with a long-range bump on Port Hill II – next year they will start on bungline 6, only two places lower than The Grove’s high-water mark of 4th in the division which they achieved in 2006 (as a boys’ house!). Oldham’s II and Mary Sidney I were unable to win blades; both rowed over in this final round.
Division 1 was set up for a barnstormer. Oldham’s I claimed bungline 2 the previous day, and with three members of the 2nd VIII back from Henley, hopes were high for a first Head of the River trophy since 2004. Churchill’s I also had a member of the superb 2nd VIII back, so they too felt confident about their chances of claim a third successive Headship. Both crews set off with some serious speed away from the other crews; this was clearly a head-to-head challenge. Under the Toll Bridge the crews closed, and the bump was called – clean, fair and indisputable (just what a senior umpire hopes for!).
Further down the division, School House I were unable to claim blades – they didn’t quite have the speed to close on Rigg’s I around the Pengwern corner. Ridgemount I and Ingram’s I completed their tussle at the foot. In fact Ingram’s finished at the foot of all three divisions; ("the only way is up" - Yazz and the Plastic Population, 1988). It was only nine years ago that Oldham’s I were at the foot of the division. MDBJ’s attitude that every competition should be taken seriously and that you should always be the best version of yourself has paid off.
After racing, Mr Middleton (Deputy Head, Co-Curricular) awarded the following prizes:
Head of Division 3 medals (boys) – Radbrook
Head of Division 3 medals (girls) – The Grove
Head of Division 2 medals (boys) – Radbrook
Head of Division 2 medals (girls) and the Elizabeth Cup –- The Grove
Head of Division 1 medals and Head of the River trophy – Oldham's Hall
Bumpers Cups - awarded for average bumping points per crew:
4th (Mill Cup) – Oldham’s Hall
3rd (Dickens Plaque) – The Grove
2nd (Bower Cup) – Radbrook
1st (Friends Cup) – Mary Sidney Hall
Birt Trophy (overall girls' House rowing prize) – The Grove
Leadbitter Cup (overall boys' House rowing prize) – Oldham’s Hall
Confirmed bumps were as follows:
O bpd Ch
Rb bpd PH
Rt bpd I
G bpd PH
EDH bpd Rt
R bpd SH
O bpd S
M bpd I
For reports on Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of Bumpers, please see: