British Rowing Awards: University Crew of the Year winner

Congratulations to Matt Brigham from University of Leeds Boat Club – overall University Crew of the Year award winner

The British Rowing University Crew of the Year is for student crews with outstanding achievements in the 2019 calendar year, or over the course of the 2018/19 season. Crews can be nominated for other notable achievements including facing, and overcoming, adversity, plus achieving beyond their expectations, etc.

This year, the British Rowing Awards Panel have selected single sculler Matt Brigham for his remarkable achievements over the 2019 period.

Nominated by the Yorkshire Region, an edited version of Matt’s citation is below…

At the University of Leeds Boat Club we all believe Matt Brigham should win this award due to his time as the club’s most successful performance athlete.

Matt is distinguished by his uncompromising attitude to training, which he balances with a full-time medicine degree.

Last summer at Henley, Matt beat six-times Diamond Sculls champion and double Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale. Other standout moments include winning championship silver and gold at BUCS, gold at Home International Regatta, and gold at Metropolitan Regatta.

But Matt also volunteers within the community, assisting with indoor rowing competitions at local state schools. He was also club treasurer last year.

We believe his exceptional attitude is worthy of recognition from the rowing community.

In addition to Matt, the following three outstanding crews were shortlisted by their regions. We include highlights from their citations below.

Newnham College BC first eight crew (Eastern Region)

Newnham College are one of the only all-female colleges in Cambridge. Last year was a momentous year for Newnham as we celebrated our 100th anniversary. We had to cope with moving out of our boathouse, but, in what was a pretty tumultuous time, our club came together to produce one of the greatest crews we’d ever created.

The Cambridge College Bumps are unique and to achieve Headship is a dream of all Cambridge rowers. We became the first crew in Newnham’s history to take double headship, in both Lent and May Bumps.

We fit all our boats with rainbow shoelaces, bought from Pride, to reflect that almost 50% of Newnham rowers are LGBT. The boat club provides a safe space for everyone, regardless of sexuality.

Oxford Brookes University Temple A crew (Thames Region)

This crew came into Henley Royal Regatta having won their third consecutive Head of the River race in 2019.

Containing four of the men who lost the final in the previous year’s event to Washington, Brookes reached the final of the Temple Challenge Cup with a slightly slower time than the North Eastern crew, but when it mattered, led from start to finish and crossed the line almost a length ahead of their opposition. This crew comprised all university athletes on a par, or faster than, non-student rowing teams.

Reading University BC men’s double crew (Thames Region)

George Lawton and Rory Harris are in their final year at Reading University and during their time here they have raised the standard of the club and are a credit to the sport, both as individuals and as scullers.

Having competed together at Junior Worlds in 2016, they have continued their partnership winning BUCS Head in the quad in 2018 and 2019 and men’s double at BUCS Regatta in 2018. Last spring, Rory was hit by glandular fever, but he recovered and they won the men’s quad at EUSA and were the fastest crew at the Pairs Head.

At the Head of the Charles, they came second overall and won the College Medal. They then went on to win the University pennant at the Fours Head of the River.


Thanks to the British Rowing Awards Panel – Kate O’Sullivan with Pete Shepherd, James Lee and Fiona Rennie – for their time selecting our University Crew of the Year Award.

We are celebrating the winners of the British Rowing Awards 2020 all the way up until 31 December so please keep and eye out for other winners #BRAwards2020

Support our sport with a Community membership

Our new Community membership supports those who support rowing with exclusive prizes, discounts and much, much more.

Join today!