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BUCS Rowing heads to South West venue for next three years 01/06/2018

BUCS Rowing will venture to the South West next March as the popular 4s and 8s Head event enters a new chapter. A joint bid from the University of Bristol and Hartpury University Centre, in conjunction with Gloucester Rowing Club, was successful in being awarded the event. 

After three hugely successful years on the River Tyne, one of BUCS’ largest events will now be held on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal in Gloucestershire. The first event will take place on the weekend of Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 March 2019.

Opened in 1827, the canal was the largest in England, however there is now little commercial activity on the canal itself, making for excellent racing conditions and marshalling. The course is sheltered for the majority of the route and provides an ideal venue for head races.

Fiona Rennie, Chairperson of the BUCS Event Management Group for Rowing stated “We’d like to thank the University of Bristol, Hartpury University Centre and Gloucester Rowing Club. It’s exciting to think we will be taking this event to a new part of the country and giving many students the opportunity to race on what for them will be a new patch of water.”

The event welcomes over 400 crews over two days competing in coxed, coxless and sculling 4s and 8s. For many crews this event is their first chance to compete against other institutions in the academic year, and for many beginner rowers this is their first competitive experience on the water.

At the 2017-18 event 43 institutions were represented from across the UK. Both the University of London and Newcastle University will be looking to defend their women’s and men’s victor ludorum team titles respectively at the new venue. A large number of crews are expected from clubs involved in British Rowing’s High Performance Programme, however the event’s appeal ensures there are entries from a wide spectrum of universities and colleges all eager to compete.

Hayden Arrowsmith, BUCS Event Manager for Rowing explained how the event has developed, “Successful collaborations with host institutions and clubs are vital to delivering our large events. The fact we’re able to run a competitive bidding process is testament to the positive working relationship we build with our stakeholders, and helps create opportunities for both BUCS and our hosts.”

"We look forward to working with the universities and their volunteers to deliver a well-run event. We're also excited about being one of the first groups to use the impressive boathouse development at Gloucester Rowing Club due at the start of 2019." added Arrowsmith.

Rennie was thankful to previous hosts of the event, adding, “We’re incredibly grateful to the team at Tyne Amateur, Tyne United and Newcastle University who have been such good partners over the past three years.” 

Matt Birch, Director of Sport at the University of Bristol, was proud of the new announcment, “The University of Bristol are delighted to have been selected to host the BUCS Rowing 4s and 8s Head 2019-2021 in partnership with Hartpury University Centre and Gloucester Rowing Club."

Echoing similar sentiments was Tom Radcliffe, Director of Elite Sport at Hartpury University Centre, “We’re thrilled to be hosting the BUCS 4s and 8s Head on our home water at Gloucester Rowing Club in conjunction with the University of Bristol.”

Hosting a BUCS event provides a unique opportunity to gain home advantage for students and coaches. Both Birch and Radcliffe were clear on what having this event will mean to their rowing programmes. “The running of one of the biggest events in the university rowing calendar with BUCS will promote our extension into higher education rowing at Hartpury University Centre.” states Radcliffe, adding, “We look forward to holding a successful event and highlighting the quality of our institution and dual rowing pathway.”

Birch concluded, "Rowing at the University of Bristol has become increasingly successful and high profile over recent years. We hope by staging a successful event we will be able to showcase the quality of our rowing programme and to continue to foster positive partnerships across the region.”

The 4s and 8s Head is part of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) rowing programme, which also features a small boats head in November and ends at the BUCS Regatta in May. Further information on the event will be available at the start of the new academic year on the BUCS event webpage.

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