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Battle for the Fleeces, Lent Term 2006

A side by side race on the Reach to decide who gets free kit and the honour of rowing in TR4
Wed 22nd February

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The Keen Boat, 1st division

Lost by a length
As a not-so-keen sub the whole trying thing seemed a bit excessive but I decided to give it a try for once. We rowed down to find the beer boat poncing about on the bank outisde the Plough - they obviously thought it was a real regatta and got confused by the lack of marshalls, river closure or opposition...

We were racing on the meadow side. Rachel attempted to line us up and once we had made sure that we had drifted all the way into the bank we got a rather panicked "Attention... GO!". The start was OK but not spectacular - at least we have an excuse! We wound it up and I was pleased to note that the Gent's cracked and were the first to stride. We held the higher rate for a little longer and even moved into the lead briefly.

The gents' had the inside line and started to creep ahead, at which point we panicked slightly. We never managed to quite settle into the long, powerful rhythm required but at least it was better than the "piece" I'd just done with the 6th eight...

By the railway bridge we were about a length down but a reasonable push into the bridge and an even better push out saw us pull it back to only half a length down. Alas, the Gents' had the inside line on the final corner and managed to push away again. We finished to a big cheer from the now 3rd eight about a length down.

It was a decent row - plenty of effort but thinking about efficiency between now and bumps could provide a huge speed increase.

While we were having the debrief in the crew room, Albert came in to say that actually the Gents' didn't want the fleeces. Obviously not content with stealing the boat, they wanted the moral high ground too... It's a small consolation but at least you guys won't get so cold marshalling for bumps :) (Tom)
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The Beer Boat, 1st division

Won by a length
After a 45 minute faff over whether or not to race in blustery conditions, we finally got on the water for our much anticipated battle. To the casual spectator it might have seemed like a fight for the position on the river, and the right to be named the 3rd Lent VIII, but deep down inside, all 18 competitors knew that they were racing for free fleeces.

The Beer Boat got off to a dismal start, with the draw strokes failing to materialize, and the Keen Boat appeared to capitalize on it. But with steely resolve and Tom Coker at 3, the Beer Boat found their trademark devastating rhythm and began to haul their filled bathtub of a vessel back towards the Keen Boat. By the time we got to the railway bridge, we had stretched our lead to over a length, but the Keenos hadn't given up. With what seemed like a push of epic proportions, they used their corner to pull the deficit back to a third of a length.

Unfortunately for them the Beer Boat whipped out their secret weapon - the Man In The Water Push. Despite a valiant effort from Rich Fenn to initiate blade clash and force an error from the Beer Boat, we held on to the end, and used the last corner to stretch the lead back out to a length.

TR4 here we come, but alas no fleeces. (Albert)
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