2nd Cam college, 8th overall
This was a solid race and a good end to a somewhat experimental term. It's gutting not to win Fairbairrns, but Queens' time was really outstanding! I was very pleased with our position in the rankings and with our committed performance in the race itself. To quote Dan Jane, i am very proud to be part of such a classy crew!
This term morale has been high and we've been lucky to gain some "fresh blood" ex-schoolboy rowers. But with a very mixed squad from all sorts of different rowing backgrounds it took us a while to find our feet. The strategy of remaining in scratch fours for the main part of term was never going to give us quick pay-offs - instead we have made the kind of excellent individual and whole-squad changes which are necessary as a platform for defending our headships and HoRR position.
Having jumped into an approximate Fairbairns eight a couple of weeks ago we knew that we had an enormous task to make up the time between us and the crews who topped Winter Head. The amount of improvement each outing was dramatic, and i think we all felt the infectious excitement when a crew really starts to live up to its potential. We went off hard in the race and maintained rate 34/5 throughout. Our strategy was to bring out the big guns at Chesterton and nail that central stretch all the way to Ditton. Despite the odd wobble the cover was consistently good throughout with no signs of the ridiculous slide rush which had plagued us the week before.
With the loss of all our permanent coaches from the last few years there are lots of people to thank for helping us get this far. Our gratitude to Phil H and Phil P for coaching and supporting on the bank, Coker and Pedro for subbing, and to Peter Summers, Dan Darley and Neil Talbott for giving up weeks of their valuable time. Last of all, congratulations to M2 - and of course W1 who did what we couldn't quite!
Every stroke counts, and so it proved as a strong Downing crew were pushed into third place by half a second. Congratulations to Queens' for an impressive victory but these boys made them pull out all the stops for it and deserve huge credit for their grit and determination leading up to this race and for producing some excellent rowing and (most importantly) their best on the day.