December Trials Races,
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Calm conditions greeted competitors on Henley Reach for December trials, which gave athletes the change to impress their coaches over the world's most famous regatta course.

Report and photographs courtesy of Robert Treharne Jones.

OULRC

The Oxford men kicked off the four race programme, with 'Empire' on Bucks racing 'Rebellion' on the Berkshire station. With the crews boasting two returners apiece 'Rebellion took an early lead at a higher rate before 'Empire' found their rhythm and began to respond.

Umpire Dave Hancock was kept busy as some aggressive coxing from 'Empire' kept 'Rebelliion' well towards Berks, but the early leaders maintained the edge, with 'Rebellion' crossing the line just half a length clear in 6'16".

OULRC President, Oriel's Alec Trigger, shows the pain of defeat in the 6 seat of 'Empire'.

CULRC

Next up were the Cambridge Lightweight men where 'Lambs' on Bucks went off at 41, against 'Lions' at 42. 'Lions' took an early lead and, after a near clash at Remenham, began to edge over towards Bucks, with 'Lambs' in their wash.

For a moment it seemed as though 'Lambs', directly astern of the oppposition, were going for the bump in order to force a foul. But they lacked the pace to make water, and were forced to take a tight line on the Bucks bank.

'Lions' raised their rate to 36 approaching the line, with 'Lambs' at 34, and the verdict going to 'Lions' by 2 1/2 lengths in 6'08".

With the race officials trialling different start positions, recorded times between the races cannot be directly compared.

CULRC's 'Lions power off the start to take an early lead ahead of 'Lambs'.

CUWBC Lightweights

The third race featured two fours from CUWBC Lightweights, where 'Literally' on Bucks contested an evenly fought contest with 'Figuratively' on Berks. As the umpire grappled with the tongue-twisters, so the two crews fought neck and neck, with never more than six feet between them over the whole course.

'Figuratively' had the edge to Remenham before 'Literally' mounted a series of challenges and got their bow ball ahead briefly at Fawley. Despite the obvious pressure neither crew cracked, aand with 'Literally' building hard over the closing stages, 'figuratively' responded to take the line just a canvas ahead in 7'31".

CUWBC's 'Figuratively' won the most hard fought race of the afternoon by a canvas.

OUWLRC

The afternoon reached its conclusion with OUWLRC boating 'Serena' and 'Venus'. For the fourth time it was 'Venus', the crew on Berks, who took the early lead at the higher rate. With 'Venus' settling into their rhythm, 'Serena' looked a little clunky by comparison but kept up gamely throughout. But, the result was never in doubt, with 'Venus' getting the win by two lengths in 6'52".

'Venus' leads the way home in the OUWLRC race, to take a two length verdict.

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