On the damp evening of Wednesday 4th June Exeter City Rowing Club and Exeter University Boat Club took to the quayside and battled it out in the annual Varsity match. This is the
third time the event has been held, and despite the wet weather spectators lined the quayside to support their chosen crew.
After a day of rainfall crews arrived to find the loch gates leading into the quay were closed. The first challenge for our visiting crew was to carry their boats from the canal basin over to the quayside. With shoulders under boats the rowers made their way along the bridges of the river Exe producing quite a spectacle for the unsuspecting general public!
The racing was a best of three, head to head series beginning with the novice 8+. With fast flowing water the start was a tricky affair, crews were constantly making adjustments on the approach to the line and had to be ready to begin the race at any moment. Exeter city started as they meant to go on with comfortable victories in both the men’s novice 8+ (Ben Chrichard, Brendan Corky, James-Pudz Rice, Mike Boother, Dan Turner, Robbie, Keith Sutherland, Matthew Maddock and cox Emily Boother) and women’s novice 8+ (Kirsty Barker, Kerri-Ann Upham, Rebecca Kelly, Ellie Dodd, Susie Howells, Jane Stack, Fern Dymond, Katy Campbell and cox Dani Wall). Following on from this was a third win for the City with a determined race from Eleanor Burke in the women’s single. However, the Uni crews were not giving up easily and despite the best effort of Harry Shepherd in the men’s single and Nadine Levin, Kirsty Barker, Kerri-Ann Upham, Lisa Cocks and Katy Campbell (cox) in the women’s open 4+ EUBC came out on top.
Not to be disheartened ERC came fighting back. The open men’s 4+ (Jonty Webber, Jo Thorp, Dave Ord, Paul Minchell and cox Emily Boother) who have already been making their mark at the big regattas this season produced a 2-0 win against the EUBC 4+. Also securing a comfortable 2-0 win for City were the women’s novice 4+ (Jane Stack, Rebecca Kelly, Katie Campbell, Susie Howells and cox Dani Wall) and men’s novice 4+ (James-pudz Rice, Brendan Corkey, Dan Jones, Matthew Maddock and cox Phil Brailey).
It was a mixed result for the doubles, for the women Lucinda Saunders and Eleanor Burke were up against a strong Uni crew and EUBC finished ahead. Dan Wilmington and Dan Rowse put on an impressive performance and took a comfortable win in men’s 2x bringing the overall result to 7 (city)-3 (uni).
As the rain gradually eased and the night pulled in the senior men’s 8+ (Jonty Webber, Jo Thorp, Dave Ord, Paul Minchell, Ben Chrichard, Lee Betts, Jamie Lock, Andrew Symmington and cox Emily Boother) took to the water for the final race of the evening where EUBC edged a final win. Unfortunately the women’s 8+ event was cancelled due to lack of light. This was disappointing for the ERC women’s crew who have been training hard over the last few months in their preparation for women’s Henley. However, the city squad had already done enough, once the results had been totted up it was announced that Exeter Rowing Club had secured the Varsity title with an impressive 7-4 win over Exeter University!
This was a fantastic result for Exeter Rowing Club, taking home the Varsity Victor for the first time in the history of the event. ERC are really making this 150th anniversary year special, and we look forward to seeing great results in the remainder of the regatta season.