Minerva headed to it's first head race of the year on a cold, grey february day in Gloucestershire. Despite the condition the event was supported by both the senior ladies and mens squads and an entry from the novice ladies crew in their first ever head race.
The men started the racing in the first division in the morning, with Charlie Pearson stroking on his return to rowing after injury. It was a learning curve for the mens crew, which consisted of Charlie P, Mike Glanville, Stu Barron, Charlie Jackson, Connor Vincent, David Connell, Gavin Bohan and Matthew Bone. Despite a technically clean row there was an incidient with a lost course map and the crew, under the steerage of Anne Crozier, failed to build for home, finishing the course in a time of 18.19.
The women took over in the second session, starting from the middle of the pack with a slightly heavier than average cox in the form of Charlie Jackson. Added to the local crews were a couple of boats from Oxford university, which stiffened the race competition. Helen Atherton was stroking the boat and set a demanding pace from the start. With the second Oxford boat following, grit and determination were high in the boat and the cox was eager to get the best out of everyone in the boat. The crew, made up of Helen, Charlie Wooton, Bethan Smith, Vicky Fieldhouse, Elaine Hoyes, Daz Harding, Jen Watt and Anne Crozier caught the Bangor University boat early in the race and managed to hold off Oxford until just after the last bridge, finishing a respectable 3rd to the two Oxford boats in a time of 18.59, beating their local competition, City of Bristol into 4th place by over 30 seconds.
The Novice crew consisted of Verity Strudwick, making her debut at stroke, Kathryn Maidment, Sarah Moon and Yifat Padan. They started towards the end of the second division but despite this, and a few early nerves, they were able to pull together and settle into the course, leaving them powering down the last quarter of the race, with encouragement from cox Matthew Bone to finish a very solid row in third place in a time of 24.28. A very positive start to the racing season.