RCBC enjoyed a successful National Schools' Regatta last weekend, bringing home four bronze medals from the premier schools' event of the year. On the Friday, it was the turn of the J14 octuples with the 14.1 boat narrowly beaten to the line by Latymer Upper and St Paul's in a superb race, and the 14.2 boat also winning bronze in their category. On Saturday, the J15.1 VIII qualified very smoothly for their final and were certainly seen as gold medal contenders. In a very close contest, St Paul's took gold with Westminster silver, less than a second ahead of us in bronze. Of course, the regatta is about other crews as much as the top boats and it was good to see the 15.2 and 15.3 winning the B and C final of the J15.2 category, as well as a 14.3 octuple and 2nd VIII competing. All boats were cheered on by a crowd of supporters that put other schools to shame . . . there was a lovely atmosphere over all three days.
And so to the 1st VIII. We knew we were quick, having come on in leaps and bounds since Schools' Head, as is ever the Radley way given our limited programme of rowing in the Michaelmas Term compared to some rivals. Others did not realise that we were and the so called 'form guide' had us struggling for a place in the final: we quite liked the tag of underdogs. By the end of the processional for places in the semis, we were less of an unknown quantity, with the 5th fastest time. And in the semi, in one the best races of the day, we, in the words of the regatta radio commentator, provided 'the shock of the regatta thus far', taking a 2/3 length lead over St Paul's and holding it throughout the race to win. We then proved ourselves to be no shock at all in the final, comfortably winning bronze behind two very fast Westminster and Eton crews. On the Sunday, both the coxed and coxless fours reached their final, finishing 7th and 5th respectively.
For the club as a whole, this was a pleasing weekend, building on the J14 success of last year. For the 1st VIII, a nice incentive for Henley to come and a very encouraging return; this is the first championship medal for the VIII since 2012. Thanks go to all the coaches and staff involved . . . it take a lot of dedication and skill to get the boys ready for such an event.
John Moule, Warden
National Schools' Pictures
National Schools' Video