First EVER Fours Head Win & 3rd Consecutive Win at Vet Fours Head

This weekend saw lots of success for Cantabs crews on the Tideway at the Fours Head of the River (Saturday) and Veteran Fours Head of the River (Sunday).

Fours Head of the River

Cantabs entered 4 crews to Fours Head: a Women’s Championship 4+, two Women’s Challenge 4x, and a Men’s Challenge 4x. Conditions on the day were very challenging, with a severe change in conditions between different parts of the course resulting in some very choppy conditions after Hammersmith Bridge.

Women’s Challenge 4x Winners

Starting at the bottom of their category as they only had 3 sculling points between them compared to some of their opposition who had over 500 points, the Women’s Challenge 4x had a tough race in some difficult conditions. Despite a clash with a slower crew which cost them time in stopping and restarting, Ann Laube, Valentina Sassow, Cecilia Collins-Taylor and Eve Beere won their event, finishing 16 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed Tideway Scullers crew. Eve, who steered the winning 4x, said:

We were really pleased with the determination we showed during our race. Despite some steering difficulties which led to a clash with another crew, we got back into our rhythm, and once the conditions turned under Hammersmith Bridge we worked together to adjust our stroke to remain efficient. We agreed before racing to go out there and really put everything on the line, and it’s lovely to have got a win out of it, particularly having started at the bottom of our category.

The Women’s Squad showed their depth, with Debs Oakley, Isabella Mahoney, Katie Oliver and Eleanor Milne finishing a fantastic 3rd in the same event despite only having a week’s training together as a crew.

Women’s Challenge 4x – 3rd place

There was also a great result for the Women’s Championship 4+, who finished 3rd in their event. Andrea de Bruin, Ellie Darlington, Anna Suchankova, Georgia Vann and cox Isabel Nimmo enjoyed a fantastic first half of the race, pulling away quickly from a Vesta crew. However, they struggled in the difficult conditions later in the course, which saw waves crashing over the boat, allowing Vesta to make up considerable distance.

Women’s Championship 4+ – 3rd place

There was also an encouraging result for the Men’s Challenge 4x. After only a short amount of time together, Matt Crowe, Hadi Boukhatmi, Jon McCree-Grey and Jack Goode raced well in a competitive field to finish 17th.

Veteran Fours Head of the River

On the Sunday, it was the masters’ turn, with Cantabs entering a Women’s Masters C 4- for the 2nd year in a row. Gill Cooper, Judith Weik and Debbie Morley from last year’s winning W.MasC.4- were joined this time by Christina Woolner to race on a much calmer Tideway than the Fours Head crews had to contest the day before.

Women’s Masters C 4- Winners

Despite getting tangled up with a crew who hadn’t realised the race had started only a few strokes past the start line, the crew raced hard and steered the course well to finish 10 seconds clear of the 2nd placed crew from Upper Thames. Stroke Gill Cooper said:

I was very pleased that the crew came together with quite limited training time to win our category. Having had to deal with passing a slower crew as soon as we started, we weren’t completely certain where we stood versus competitors behind us. The crew showed great determination pushing consistently down the course, as we were delighted our efforts brought success. To finish ahead of so many men’s crews and nominally faster boat types is a credit to the great coaching we have received and the equipment, facilities and support provided at Cantabs.

This was the 3rd year in a row a Cantabs crew have won a Women’s Masters C event at Vet Fours Head, and the 2nd pennant so far this season on the Tideway for Gill and Judith after they were one of two Cantabs crews who won at Pairs Head last month.

Congratulations to all crews and their coaches!

If you’re interested in finding out more about rowing at Cantabs, please visit our Women’s and Men’s Squad pages, or contact Matt Crowe ( or Ellie Darlington (

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