OXFORD Brookes capped their historic victories over Cambridge and Oxford by retaining the Head of the River title in a thrilling dead-heat on the Tideway, writes John Wiggins.

With GB squad rowers returning to their home clubs for the races, Brookes welcomed back world gold medalist, Matt Tarrant and made two other crew changes after defeating the Light Blues a week earlier.

Their principle opposition, Leander Club, were denied some of their biggest names through illness and injury but still put out a crew of international rowers.

After several hours of deliberation over stopwatches and video, officials could not confidently split the two crews and so awarded only the second dead-heat in the event’s history.

Brookes showed their enormous depth and strength with three crews in the top five and all six of their eights in the top thirty five.

The Women’s Head – the world’s biggest of its kind – was contested by 300 eights competing for a wide range of trophies.

Brookes were sixth overall and winners of the senior pennant.

While Headington were the top school boat, they were not the fastest junior crew.

Wallingford’s masters had two boats in action, with their D category crew (Sam Burrows, Julia Wilks, Jenny Taylor, Rachel Edge, Becky Waller, Emily Booker, Mary Murray, Alice Brown and cox, Maddy Hunt) winning the overall veteran’s pennant for the first time.

On Monday, it was the turn of the juniors to race on the Tideway, which saw an end to a tremendous run of success for Headington School.

After eight years at the top, they had to settle for second place, conceding to a very strong Henley RC crew.

Top of the local boys’ eights were Abingdon in fourth, their highest place since the heady days of 2013.

St Edward’s were seventh and Radley College tenth.

Teddies’ senior girls also came home seventh in championship quads.

HEADINGTON School fared best of the Oxfordshire crews at the National Junior Sculling Head, raced over two lengths of Dorney Lake near


They finished a creditable third place in the WJ18 quad

Wallingford RC’s juniors secured three top-ten finishes, their highest being the fourth-placed WJ15 octuple.

In the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships at Lee Valley, St Edward’s School, Oxford came away with gold medals for both Saskia Ward (Y10) and Isabel Llabres Diaz (Y9) and a a silver for Charlie Crisp (Y10).

The event was contested by 2,000 youngsters from 150 schools and clubs.