Oxford University’s Trial Eights were named Business & Pleasure. Pleasure included President Morgan Gerlak and was steered by Sam Collier, who coxed Isis in 2015, whilst Business had returning Blue Will Geffen in the seven seat.
After a clean start from both crews, it was Pleasure who stole the early initiative by taking a couple of seats out of their opposition. As with all Bowden-coached crews, the blade-work was neat and the style highly efficient. The fast starting Pleasure had gained a lead of half a length at the top of the Putney Embankment, with both crews observing the limitations of their stations properly. Striking similarly high rates, both crews weaved around the Fulham bend into the clear stretch of water that precedes Hammersmith Bridge.
Despite the best efforts of Business, Collier’s crew maintained a ¾ length advantage approaching Harrods. The crews converged at this point, leading umpire Simon Harris to repeatedly warn Pleasure for forcing Business out wide. Passing underneath Hammersmith Bridge, Pleasure drifted slightly and Business stole a march on their club-mates, drawing level past St Paul’s Boathouse. However the tenacity of their opponents, with returning Blue Jamie Cook in the seven seat, was not to be underestimated and Pleasure held their ground on the outside of the Surrey Bend.
As the boats flew past Chiswick Eyot, a call for more could be heard from Business but it had little effect on the dynamic of the race. Pleasure continued to lead and had moved out to a ¾ length lead by Barnes Bridge. Although Business seemed unable to regain parity, it is worth noting that the race contained a lot of qualities which will please Sean Bowden – tenacity, aggression and power.
Pleasure were beginning to visibly tire and this was the cue for Business to mount a final charge as the crews stormed past the brewery. However, the line came too soon and it was Pleasure who took the victory by around ½ length over Business.