Trial Eights 2011

Sunday 18th December saw the Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club hold its annual Trial VIIIs event on the Henley reach. This year ‘Sublime’ lined up against ‘Ridiculous’, with Sir Matthew Pinsent tasked with umpiring the race and maintaining order between two coxes battling for the line.

Both crews weighed in and boated on schedule from Upper Thames but from there the plan went out the window. An early clash and subsequent restart in the Cambridge race, combined with a pair of cruisers on the course meant that the start time was pushed back from three o’clock to half past. Both crews took the disruption in their strides and lined up on the start at the revised time, just as the watery December sunshine that had smiled on proceedings thus far gave way to a violent hail-storm and gusting head-wind which lasted just long enough to see the race to its conclusion.

These strong winds and choppy water up at the enclosures made for difficult conditions for the start and it was Ridiculous with their cleaner bladework who made the best of it, pulling out a half-length lead in the first minute of the race.

Passing the Remenham Club, both crews shifted into their race rhythm, with Ridiculous at 34 strokes per minute and Sublime striking 33. As the crews passed the spectators and old-boys at Upper Thames, Ridiculous had opened up a commanding lead of just over a length on their Sublime counterparts.

Heads never went down however, and coming into the final 500m of the race as both crews wound for the finish, Sublime started to claw back the distance. In the end it was too little, too late and at the line the final verdict was Ridiculous by ¾ of a length.

The OULRC would like to thank everyone who made the day possible, including, but not limited to, Sir Matthew Pinsent for the briefing and umpiring, Hugh Richardson for the organisation and oversight and UTRC for once again being gracious hosts.