BUCS Regatta 2019
It’s been a transitional year at UoNBC, with a large group graduating in the summer, many of the crews have been made up of first years at the university, and athletes that have been working through the intermediate pathway to the senior squads. At one of the biggest BUCS regattas, the club also had one of its biggest entries, with 33 crews total entered, a sign of huge growth over the years. With such a large entry I include below some highlights from each day, with medals and particularly close races.
On Saturday the two stand out performances came in the men’s squad. The lightweight four had a tough fight on their hands with strong crews from Newcastle, London, and recent Lightweight Boat Race victors Oxford. Setting the tone for the weekend of racing, the boys had a race all the way to the line, with crews jostling for positions up to the 1500m before their sprints. The crew came away with a hard fought 5th place. This year saw the most competitive heavyweight eight the club has put out for recent BUCS regattas, with a new intermediate pennant up for grabs as well as the medals. The fairly young crew put together a good three races over the day to finish up with another 5th in the A final.
Sunday showed progress on all fronts. Scholar and final year Lucy Gillbanks moved into her single this year, and showed she could repeat the successes of the past few years from the lightweight crew boats. Behind two incredible crews from Bath and Reading, Lucy took the bronze with a comfortable third over the rest of the competition. The novice men demonstrated their improvements since racing in Gloucester, stringing together some tidy rows to end up in the A final, and managed to have a good fight with Warwick all the way to the line to wrap up their first BUCS regatta with the club. The heavyweight men in the coxed and coxless fours showed the increasing depth of the squad, and strength at the top end. The coxless four, racing at the championship level, secured a space in the A final with an exciting and mature race against rivals Durham in their semi. In the final they went toe-to-toe with Cambridge from the start, and pushed it to the line with a sprint finish under a second between the two as they crossed in front of the tower.
Monday wasn’t a day for those with a nervous disposition, with at least 4 Nottingham crews coming into the line overlapping with opposition to the excitement of the commentators. The lightweight pair of new men’s captain James Lawn and first year John Lewis battled the whole of the 2km with Glasgow, with a photo finish landing them with a bronze medal. For another year, the lightweight quad were well ahead of the field along with Newcastle, holding a near constant half a second difference the whole way down the course, Newcastle managed to hold off a terrific final sprint from the Nottingham boys to hold on to the title. Rounding off the event the novice women’s 8 made it a nail-biter right to the end, and turn the tables on these finishes, managing to grab the gold from Edinburgh by less than half a second.
It is great to see such a young group performing at this level, with more years ahead and a new intake next year it will be exciting to see what else is to come. Importantly this year we have seen Nottingham making a name on the Openweight scene across the men’s and women’s squads, and in multiple boat classes. These crews are now being competitive with programs from the likes of London, Cambridge, and Durham.