Gutted. The guys had fantastic boat speed but it wasn't enough... A great start saw the FaT boys quickly opening up an impressive lead, only to loose it after veering to stroke side and becoming embroiled with the bank. The mantra "keep rowing" doesn't work in such situations, and they were two or three lengths down by the time they got going. Picking up a new blistering pace they gained quickly despite being on the outside station, but on catching up Sidney, stroke side's enthusiasm was simply too great for the rudder and a heavy blade clash put us firmly out of the race.
Whilst it was extremely disappointing to loose having demonstrated their power, the ultimate goal is Fairbairns next Thursday, in which they have a lot to prove.
The crew displayed their confidence, if not unfailing competence, in this race. The start was superb - cruising out to a comfortable lead within the first dozen strokes. They thought better of rowing comfortably to the line, though.... much better to scare the bank party with a triple crab shipwreck for a while, letting the opposition back in to the race. No matter, they went on to win comfortably, as they knew they would.
The bank party rather hoped that all the crabs and things had been worked out of the system for this, the 2nd race. Such dreams were quickly shattered, though, with Nonny adding a bit of drama to the plot early in the proceedings from the stroke seat. The crew knew the script and had practised this before, though, so no matter - they went on to win comfortably, as they knew they would.
This time, up against the crew who went on to win, it was always going to be a tough race. The crew rose to the occasion and rowed a very good race (aside from Kim's feet suddenly popping up to head height as they came out of the shoes!), but some solid work and the day's best rowing proved no match for LMBC's blistering pace.
The ladies in red (sorry, my mistake - FaT dark blue) can expect a tougher battle in Fairbairns.
Downing B were huge. The bank party kept this observation to themselves, but the crew did well to remain composed when Baz saw fit to point it out. Boasting some pretty nice paddling too, Downing looked to the bank party like a formidable challenge....
Put simply, the guys absolutely flew, and fully deserved this hard won win.
Judging by the initial pace of the crews, this was going to be a cracking race, with the crews running neck a neck for the first half minute. It was not to be, however. A seat disaster at 6 put us down to 6 men for the majority of the race, giving Pembroke, who went on to win a place in the final, an easy row to the line. A frustrating end to the day, but overall an impressive showing from the 2nd VIII who, as only 2nd novice boat in the quarter finals, confirmed themselves as serious challengers for the 2nd VIII cup in Fairbairns next week.
Unfortunately, errors by the start marshalls meant we crashed in to the tow path side bank off the start. The ensuing panic resulted in a number of further encounters with the river bank and gave our opponents a lead of about half the reach (a conservative estimate). However, some brilliant rowing and numerous disasters in the opposing boat meant that by the time both crews got going together Caius were just one length up!
The girls then had the excitement of a nail-biting side by side race through the railway bridge and to the finish... to a final verdict of a win by ~ 1/4 of a length!!!
Whilst the result was disappointing for everyone, the race was absolutely brilliant - the timing and technique were the best yet and everyone gave this absolutely everything. The start was extremely good, giving us a 1/2 length lead, but Downing's speed proved just slightly higher than ours despite everyone's best efforts.
Overall, a great performance from the 2nd novice VIII - almost without doubt the best ever.
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