Christ Church win record 33rd Summer VIIIs headship

Matt Roller reports on a dramatic day of bumps racing on the Isis

Christ Church won a record 33rd headship in the men's racing last year (Photo: Tony Diver)

Christ Church M1 finished Head of the Year at this year’s Summer VIIIs, after holding off the challenge of a Blues-heavy Keble boat.

In the Women’s competition, Wadham won the headship for a fourth year in a row, having rowed over on each of the four days of the competition.

The Men’s headship was a hotly-contested position this year: last year’s winners, Oriel, started VIIIs as third-favourites behind Christ Church and Keble, who were both boosted by the presence of several Boat Race winners.

Indeed, Keble boasted four Boat Race winners in their boat, with Matthew O’Leary, Jamie Cook, Joshua Bugajski, and Olivier Siegalaar all holding off Cambridge’s challenge on 2 April.

There was controversy in the build-up to the race as well. Not only were Keble accused of being ‘Blues buyers’ by Oriel College Boat Club’s Facebook page but the JCR voted against an emergency motion to allow them to burn a boat in the event of a headship.

However, as Keble closed in on Christ Church on a balmy evening on the Isis, the klaxon sounded due to an infringement, and their headship was confirmed.

In the Women’s race, Wadham held off the challenge of a strong Pembroke crew to secure a fourth consecutive headship.

Whilst there was a point in front of the boathouses when Pembroke looked to be closing on Wadham, the Parks Road College were always in control, and rowed over for a fourth consecutive day.

Several colleges also managed to secure the honour of Blades, bestowed on a crew which manages to bump on all four days of the competition.

Balliol M1, St Catz’s M1, Jesus M1, Queen’s M1, St John’s M1, St Catz’s M2, Green Templeton M1, St Hilda’s M1, St Peter’s M2, St Benet’s M1, Queen’s M2, and Keble M3 all won Blades in the Men’s competition.

In the Women’s racing, fewer crews managed to bump on all four days, with only Worcester W3 and St. Edmund Hall W1 managing to secure Blades.

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Several thousand spectators made the trip down to Christ Church Meadow on Saturday, with the vast majority of Colleges opening bars or barbecues to keep fans involved.

And those who went down early in the day were rewarded for their persistence: the overcast skies gave way to a resplendent sun, as temperatures soared towards the mid-twenties.

To find out individual boats’ results, head to the OxBump website.