The Club's Results
May Term 2003
Lost to SAT (2 lengths)
Taking to the water in the belief that Sarah was the one competitor with as little sculling experience as I, I displayed confidence if not expertise during my sedate paddle to the start.
However, a very shaky start allowed my adversary to move comfortably ahead within my first half-dozen strokes, providing conclusive proof that either
a) I am a girl or
b) SAT's 'sculling' experience was rather more extensive than mine
Plate 1st round
Lost to Emily Eadington (out of sight)
"Lamb to the slaughter" is the expression that springs to mind.
I enjoyed my "race", although once "safely" across the line was saddened to find that there was no sign of Emily at all so comfortable was her win.
The crushing defeats to the fairer sex were greeted by frenzied excitement on the bank and even inspired mr earl to submit an instant announcement of my achievements worldwide via the internet. My meagre total of just 3 sculling outings in the last five years appeared to do little to deflate the glee with which my "supporters" mocked my efforts.
However, the moral victory over the innumerable landlubbers (even including a recent Granta colour) who declined to join me risking life and limb is unquestionably mine.
Lost to Alex Summers by 1 length
As I was on the inside station, Alex had a 1/2 length head start. My start was good (or at least agressive), and after a few strokes we were clashing blades. Alex moved quickly away, and was able to cruise to the finish in front whilst I spannered at a high (but rapidly dropping) rate.
Plate semi finals
Beat Emily Eadington easily
Raced in Muddy Waters for this as Dan Holland had taken Magpie. Unfortunetly couldn't get to backstops, but otherwise felt a lot nicer to scull in.
Note to self: single strokes in tail wind need more work.
Beat Mark Suret by 1 length
On the outside station got about 3/4 length on the start, but Mark closed to about 1/2 on the corner. The tail wind had picked up and was whipping up some reasonable waves against the stream approaching the railway bridge. The sculling was not of a particularly high standard (meaning: terrible), but it got me through to the finish.
Beat Holland by 2 lengths
Somewhat messy start but got it under a modicum of control for the rest of the row. Tried (unsuccessfully) to keep it pretty firm and fast so as to practice for the coming rounds.
Beat Dubya by 3 lengths
Better start and higher rate rhythm saw me move away steadily for the first 400m (or was this just Dubya being knackered after his cycling race earlier?). Stopped before the line but realised cheering was not due to my having won and set off again hoping noone had noticed (they had).
Lost to Summers by 1.25 lengths
Fairly poor start but into a nice rhythm for the first 250m saw me just 1/2 length down. Faltering on the corner and in the stronger breeze (could hardly be called a wind but still enough to affect my meagre abilities) I dropped the rate a little and dropped back to around a length, where I stayed until the finish.
Got both blades over the bow side rigger, managed to hold both blades out of the swivel for a few seconds but failed to drop the stroke side one in and fell in, ripping open both sides of my right foot on the rigger. Oops.
Beat the Peckster (2 lengths)
Martin did worry me when he got in and pushed off. He was looking very confident, while I was still on the bank struggling to move my footplate and not fall in.
I was very surprised therefore to pull away from him off the start and maintain my lead. This was in no way a reflection of my sculling technique though. By halfway through the 400m sprint the lactate had built up, though unfortunately this was in my arms and not my legs.
Note to self (in JPD stylee) - Learn to scull properly.
Lost to RTT (2 lengths)
Not sure i agree with RTT's report on this. hed definitely won it by the start but as this was my first attempt at a racing start i guess it could have been worse. anyway i then edged my way up the course thanks to a rather generous tailwind and proceeded to crash into the bank pretty much at the finish line.
Plate 1st round
Lost to Suret (Clare)
Another stirling row from me, start was worse than the previous one as i noticed id managed to half-feather my strokeside blade just before tom called go. Suret proceeded to take a length and a bit off me and then added to that until about 50m from the finish. it seems the corners on the reach can be particularly deceptive to the novice sculler. anyway after disengaging from the bank i crossed the line some distance behind the winner, deservedly earning the "easily" margin.
Beat Suret (2 lengths)
I was in the Pembroke boat for this one, it seemed very heavily geared. Or maybe my arms are just weak from all that cycling. Knackered from my 50k cycling race earlier in the day, I had a reasonable start which gradually turned into a substantial lead.
Lost to Rose (2 lengths)
Hm. Wind had come up, I was knackered, and I'm shite at sculling. Put those three things together with a competent opponent and one thing is certain: I could not win. Rose would only have become stronger than we could possibly imagine.
JPD got away very quickly, but luckily I was on the station with a half length head start, so with some aggressive steering I was able to hold him off until eventually hitting some sort of a rhythm. Some time after half-way he seemed to get a bit tired, allowing me to settle sufficiently to keep out of too much trouble on the waves.
On the other station this time, I was initially a bit worried as Darcy began to give me a taste of my own medicine, closing the door as I attempted to pass along the bank. I dropped back a bit and started to move out wide, and luckily this and some heated umpiring from the towpath persuaded him to give me enough room to paddle through.
Beat RTT before falling in
Tom very kindly let me have the outside station. Lacking JPD's storming start, he gave me little cause for panic, and I soon settled into a controlled if powerful race.
On to the blade swapping... Luckily I was allowed to switch from my Empacher to Muddy Waters. Unlike some people with their detailed strategies, in my case prior planning was notable only for its absence, save for the fortunate precaution of removing my socks and hat.
After an initial false start when I forgot to undo one of my gates, I had managed to slowly slide my bowside blade round to the strokeside gate, which had been opened ready for the blade's arrival-or so I thought. Unfortunately, the strokeside scull, which I had removed from the gate and was gripping tight against the rigger, was holding the gate against the backstay, leaving no way of getting the bowside blade into it short of lying down.
With both hands more than occupied and under pressure from Darcy's swift success, I foolishly heeded Dubya's advice from the bank to try to edge my hand gradually towards the gate. Things soon took a turn for the worse and as I hadn't fallen in from a single for 6 years, despite recent swimming practice at Ely, an undignified scramble for the bank was soon to ensue...
2nd of 3
This was my first outing for over 5 weeks, and I began the race with a mess of a draw stroke. Just before First Post Corner I found one of my opponents stopped-crashed?-on the far bank. I took a less than perfect line through the Gut, encountered 2 boats coming the other way in the Reach, and came in second. I was later told that the 'crashed' opponent had actually got cramps, but either way it was a victory without pleasure.
Won easily (NTT for opponent)
Going into the race, I was a bit worried by the Clare sculler's neat bladework. After a tough heat of the Fairbairn Junior Sculls I was anticipating a strong challenge, but thanks to some helpful guidance from Joe, I sculled a tidy, controlled race, luckily able to keep the powder dry, a practise wind for the line notwithstanding, for tomorrow.
Up against another schoolboy sculler from Catz, I was again lucky to be able to drift gently off into the distance, despite my best attempts at some gardening going into Ditton. An exercise in damage limitation before meeting Mr Wright in Fairbairn Junior Sculls...
Won easily (NTT for opponent)
This race posed a challenge entirely different from the freshmen's sculls. Drawn on the bottom start against a hefty looking sculler from Clare, another fumbled getaway meant I had it all to do by the time I'd got round Grassy. I hadn't caught sight of my opponent's puddles all race, but having avoided a champagne bottle masquerading as an impromptu buoy I was glad to find I was gaining fast on a tight line round Ditton. Another hundred yards and I'd drawn level, leaving a short side-by side paddle down the reach. Had the course been a couple of minutes shorter, though, and it would have been a different story...
Beat James Wright (Tit Hall), Dead Heat*2
This was the race CULRC had been waiting for. Despite earlier claims from a Tit Hall bankparty member that James "hadn't tried in the Boat Race, and hadn't tried in Milan [a lightweight jolly]" in an effort to optimise preparations for this race, it turned out he hadn't sculled for three months.
Of the start, though, he was certainly an awful lot quicker than I was. Going round First Post Corner, I even caught myself wondering how long it would take for him to overtake me as he rapidly took several lengths off me. Gradually, however, lack of practise on the corners began to take its toll on James, until passing the post round Ditton I was only a length or so down after another push by the Plough.
After a reach that went on and on, I'd somehow managed to sneak into perhaps a half length lead. Under CUCBC rules, this was deemed, as a dead heat, to merit a re-row, starting from Ditton.
It was now, more than ever, that the RTT regatta proved its true value. Somewhat disheartened at the prospect of racing over such a short course, especially after giving away several lengths after the same distance in the race proper, a radical overhaul of my start was clearly in order. A somewhat frantic, some might say thrilling, dash apparently saw me across the line a whisker in front. Certainly it was closer than the real race from where I was sitting... At least the lightweight who'd turned to watch got his money's worth.
This was the second time over the course for the day and the steering showed an improvement. The main race was very close - the finish marshall who dropped his hand as Alex crossed the line said that when he looked up the other marshall had also dropped his hand by the time he looked up.
Since the Tit Hall opponent had closed appreciably off the start a re-row from Ditton to the finish just below the railway bridge did not look very hopeful. However Alex found what it took to win by a few seconds.
Luck was again to play a part in what had become a three-way final following the withdrawal of the CCAT sculler from the other semi. Again I was fortunate to be starting in front of an accomplished looking sculler in a Fillipi from Robinson and Tit Hall's second entry.
Again I went down heavily off the start. All looked lost until the Robinson sculler, by that stage only about three or four lengths behind me, strayed into the bank on the outside of Grassy. With some hasty assistance from his bank party he was soon back in hot pursuit, redoubling his efforts after handing me maybe a length's lead.
By this stage it was all I could do to hang on after 6km of sculling, at least 4km of it flat out. Neck and neck going past the Ditton posts, it became another scramble for the line. In the end I had to ask the marshals, whom I must thank wholeheartedly for giving up their time and being so accommodating with their scheduling throughout the seven races I did, who had won, and was pleasantly surprised to be told that it was I.
Thanks must also go to Joe and Rob for their towpath heroics, saving my boat from a sticky (apologies) end on several occasions.
Congratulations must surely go to this man. After all, he has just earned more Michell Cup points in one morning than I did in four years of FaT rowing (I earned 4/3 points).
Clearly though, it was all down to the excellent training ground that was the RTT regatta. Mr. Wright must be gutted to have missed out.
Winner of 1xW
Actually I was the only W1x in the race...and would have gone faster if I hadn't dressed up (having not realised that X-Press Head, unlike Cardinals, doesn't normally go that far) in something that got jammed in my seat, and hence had to row most of the Reach arms-and-back.
Full Single sculls results archive