Rowed over Head
Only 23 seconds clear? What happened? :)
YAY! Well done guys :- )
Hmm - I honestly thought it would be a lot closer than that. Good work. Be careful though, it could be a trap...
Saw you from Ditton, looked strong, good to see you finished so clear!
Excellent Gentlemen. You were at least 2 lengths clear around Grassy.
A reasonable row, finished 23 seconds clear.
Well done guys. Hope your HoRR result doesn't suffer from overtraining for a sprint ;-P
Also, TWO overbumps in M1?! It would never have happened in my day....
Rowed over Head
Congrats boys :)
A very hard fought race from both sides, congratulations to Downing on throwing everything at us; we were expecting them to close to a few feet at Ditton and then blow, instead they closed to inside a quarter of a length and then stayed there or thereabouts until the railway bridge (so I'm told; from the bow seat I had no idea whether we were safe or they had overlap all the way down the reach, which was fairly terrifying).
Sparring with the women was spactastic, but did involve hitting 50 at (nearly) full slide.
More to come when I don't have a dinner to go to.
Pretty exciting stuff. With the race starting in the middle of a furious hailstorm that reminded some of Helm's Deep, we quickly moved up on Downing (as per normal, despite their race reports). However things soon changed shape as Downing started to come at us from first post corner, and came fairly fast. From the amount of noise being made by the supporters down plough reach, it was getting pretty intense, and just before Ditton they were less than 6 feet from our stern.
We'd discussed the possibility of all of this; however, it came as a nasty surprise that, although around Ditton we pulled it out to quarter of a length, they then stayed there all down the reach. A pretty hellish couple of minutes for some of us!
Coming through the railway bridge we had a surge and after that started to pull away slightly more steadily, crossing the line above station. And after that it was a couple of minutes of pure lactic burn, nice...
Huge kudos to Downing - they proved they were capable of some very serious speed, and gave us an awesome race. But in the end, we got over the finish line: well done boys for such a calm and committed row, it was intense.
This academic year saw a large turnover within the men's side. We embarked upon our Lent campaign with only two rowers from last year's Mays boat and hence a less certain outlook compared with previous years. Races early in the term suggested that certainly Queen's and probably Downing were faster than us. We were improving extremely fast with time together, but the question was whether we could generate the required speed in time for bumps.
We approached the first day of bumps with mixed feelings - huge progress had been made since last racing Downing and we had comfortably won Pembroke Regatta, although both of our main rivals were absent. However, our relative speeds at this stage were unknown.
In fact the first race was rather uneventful, seeing us steadily take distance though a very aggressive first half of the race and finishing with a large margin although Downing claim to have wound down for the last km or so. It was clear that LMBC did not pose any threat to either crew so it looked to be a two horse race for the rest of the week.
One of the perils of rowing over head is that you have to be prepared to deal with any race plan from the chasing crew and still be capable of racing the distance. We had no idea of how Downing were approaching each day so tried to approach each day with the same aggression and commitment, and be prepared for either a long race or a 500m sprint. Both the second and third days saw us move out to 2.5 or 3 lengths in the first half and sit there, generally rating 33-34 and feeling fairly comfortable. However, memories of 4th day shock tactics by Downing in 2009 were fresh in our minds so we rowed up on saturday expecting a repeat. Only two of us had rowing the last Lents and we were sure to impress on the new guys the likelihood of such a race.
Downing did not disappoint. They sat on station until the gut, when they began to move on us, and by the approach to Ditton had closed to what looked from the 7 seat to be around 3 feet of clear water but I am told it was more like a canvas. A glance at the bladework and postures of the Downing crew showed that they were sprinting flat out and we knew that they would blow as had happened last year if only we could hold them long enough. We stayed calm and the crew performed admirably, responding cohesively to Natasha's calls. As one member of the crew put it 'I got my head down, rowed as hard as I could and believed they would blow'. We took some distance with a strong push out of Ditton, and Downing sat at 1/4 length for the first third of the reach or so, falling back to 1/2 length approaching the railway bridge. At this point we could see that they were dying off, and we steadily began to move away finishing with around 2.5 lengths clear water. A fantastic end to the bumps, and one that I will remember for a long time. Thanks to Downing for such a great race, and for being such good sports about the result.
Unfortunately we have been unable to compare ourselves to Queen's as a the time of writing an injury has prevented them from competing to race at HBR. We have progressed hugely as a crew and have become fast sprinters which bodes well for regatta season. This is largely down to the efforts of JPD who coached us for the two weeks leading up to bumps - without his support and coaching prowess we would not have finished head and we can't thank him enough. Thanks also to Peter Summers and Emma for their contributions earlier in the term.
I'd like to extend my thanks to the rest of the crew - the team spirit and determination has been terrific this term. We now look forward to HoRR and May term having secured the Lent Headship for another year.
Rah Rah First and Third!
All credit to Downing for a cracking last-day row. Coming past The Plough the margin was around a quarter of a length and a good line around Ditton put them to around eight feet, perhaps slightly less, but the boys showed incredible composure and steel to keep their heads and push away down the Reach. On the bank I (everyone?) expected that once Downing had missed they would blow, but they stayed within a third of a length or so until near the Railway Bridge before finally losing touch. Awesome race; huge congratulations to the crew, and to JPD for another stellar contribution.