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The Club's Results

Cambridge 99's Regatta, May Term 2009

4th men's VIII (4th and lower division)

Coxed by: Tom Lovering

Quarter finals
Opposition scratched
Leaving us to paddle around a bit and find out how we coped with the Black Prince. The answer was, with me throwing my weight around in the bow seat (but much less than in M1 or M2) we were pretty well sat, so we rowed up to the P&E and sat there for a while. (Peter)
Semi finals
Opposition disqualified
Racing against queens' M3 was always going to be tough, however we were significantly boosted by a change in the draw which meant we were allowed to use a shell rather than Richard Church. We set off and were about a seat down after about 30 seconds, and on our line. At this point Queens' veered into us, and there was a blade clash, in our water. This resulted in a loss of power on bowside, as we couldn't get our catches in as their blades were in the way, and Tom had to go for left rudder to keep us straight, further slowing us. We then disengaged, and rowed on, however this had largely wrecked our already pretty poor rhythm, so our pushes were a bit ineffective, and we crossed the line about a length and a half down. However we soon learnt that Queens' were disqualified, so were back up again in the final. A bit disappointing to have won in contentious circumstances, but not a bad effort seeing as we had done 1 start in a shell, and only one burst at greater than 28 before the race started. (Swords)
So Queens' rammed us off the start, it's debatable as to how much that contributed to us crossing the finish second but the marshals were sticking fast to the rules, and after several warnings they were DQ'ed.

Anyhow, if we row like we did in that race, crash or no crash we would have lost anyway. Very lucky to get that, and Queens' would probably be right to be quite disappointed that a mistake like that cost them a race they could well have won. Such is rowing however, but the least ideal way to go through to the next round. (Jij)
The start felt reasonable, perhaps a little rushed, but after the first 25 strokes, albeit with a little encouragement from feeling Queens blades on bowside clashing continuously for about 25 seconds (and some not particularly pleasant but probably necessary evasive action from me), the rowing disintegrated badly. Catches stopped going in, people stopped tapping down, people forgot to square, dragged themselves up the slide, and the rhythm felt dreadful. It's not particularly surprising therefore that we lost (before the disqualification was given) by the margin we did.

If there's one thing that makes our crew fast, it's technique. It has been pointed out to us by almost all our coaches that (especially when we row in RC) our main problem is a lack of raw power. This is a difficult problem to correct quickly. A much easier problem to correct quickly is to make sure that next time we hit rate 36 for a 1k piece we treat it like rate 26 but faster, and we can then really take advantage of the technique we have been complimented on during outings. That said, as our first piece at rate in a racing shell it wasn't as awful as one could make out, and there was still full committment coming from most of the boat.

As regards the result, it could be argued that the blade clash stressed us out and caused the drop in technique. If so, we have a real psychological issue to overcome before bumps, where equally offputting things will probably happen. Unlucky to Queens who rowed an excellent race, and we didn't enjoy winning it by disqualification. (Tom L)
A novel row and result. All semblance of timing, bladework and other good things disappeared and we spacked our way along. 15 strokes in Queens' decided to head into our water, and in spite of me using up precious air shouting at them to move over they continued into us, and 3, 5 and 7 clashed with their strokeside for half a dozen strokes. They moved back out, settled into their rhythm and rowed clear to win by something over a length.
I appealed semi-automatically as we crossed the line, and was rather surprised to discover a few minutes later that Queens' had been disqualified. I'd probably expect that result in an ARA regatta, but I wasn't expecting coxes to be held to the same standards here. Whatever. (Peter)
So the rowing wasn't great. I think we were still getting used to a boat moving under us faster than usual... Catch and finish timing was poor, hand heights were all over the place and the rush was something quite special. I do think the crash contributed a reasonable amount to this, particularly when I found my blade hitting the top of another blade rather than the water at the catch... I think Swords suffered the same. Not helpful for boat rhythm. We rowed like dickheads and the result is indeed fortunate but stuff happens, you move on. (Tsunami)
Beat Clare Hall by a third of a length
This race started far more effectively than the last, perhaps unsurprisingly as we had now rowed at least a kilometre at rate. We went a seat up pretty quickly, and then gradually took about half a length out of them. We sat at about that until near the railway bridge where they pushed, and gained on us, however we still had a counter push left in us, and emptied the tanks to hold them behind us up to the line to record a victory. The race was still a bit scrappy, however the power and commitment is very much there, particularly when this was the crew we will be chasing in bumps. On that front it was disappointing not to beat them by more, giving us confidence for bumps, but hopefully with more training we can do something about that. (Swords)
Better rowing, but still not optimal. We need to work on that high rate if we're to get anything worthwhile in Bumps. Rowing in 801 today gave us the edge over a crew that were 20 or so seconds quicker than us over 1.3km last week, and we didn't row as well as we did last time. Kinda puts it all into perspective - losing the Janousek is going to cost us a result we deserve in the Bumps.

Both crews made a decent start but we steadily left them behind until about halfway down the reach where they stopped falling back. Then just under the railway bridge Clare Hall made a valiant push and took nearly all the ground back. A final, well placed 'up 2' call from Tom Lovering finalised the win as we left them behind once more just before the finish line.

A very tight win, and a very worthy opposition. Glad to have raced them. (Jij)
Hell, this was an exciting race. Comparable to the almost incredible final of Pembroke Regatta last Lent term (before some unfortunate steering resulting in LMBC III being disqualified). Knowing these guys would be ahead of us on day 1 of Mays, this would be an important result.

We had a good start, and managed to build the lead to about a seat and a half by the kink, but both crews were looking fairly even, so as it translated into about 3 seats after the kink it could still have gone either way. We then put in an impressive push and built the lead to approaching a length.

However, our rowing was starting to flag noticeably coming under the railway bridge and with the advantage of the inside corner, Clare Hall put in their killer push to draw back to a position of almost level behind (though with the staggered finish it was difficult to judge the actual margin). It came down to the last ten strokes or so, when we managed to pull a little bit more energy out of the bag and grab the win, but heavens it was close.

Congratulations to Clare Hall on an impressive row. We still have a lot of work to do if we are to bump them on day 1.

Thanks to Liz, Anne, Pedro and Laura for their revision procrastination in supporting from the bank at various times, and to Peter Ford for subbing in at bow. (Tom L)
And so we did move on and got on with it. I guess this one felt a lot more chunky and marginally less rushed, rhythm felt better. We moved off them from the start and it was nice to hear from our cox that we had something to push off of. It really came down to the wire and we pulled clear of them for a few seats after they seemed to blow up under the railway bridge.

Certainly going to be quite a task bumping these boys on the first day but it's certainly progress from the Head-2-Head result. We lost to these guys by a good 30 seconds or so during that race. To come back and beat them a couple of weeks later is really quite awesome. Then again the lighter shell may have had quite a part to play in it. Pity that we won't be able to use it come bumps day. Although it'll perhaps cost us the bump, you move on.

Good to see this crew is carrying on the form from last term. You still can't stop us motherf**kers cause we're still on a boat ;).

Many thanks again to our bankparty and particularly to Pete for subbing in for us today :). (Tsunami)
My view of the distances was slightly different to everyone else's, but I wasn't hugely aware of what was going on in the other boat so maybe they're right. I really wasn't expecting much from this race, Clare Hall looked pretty big and had beaten these guys by 39s over 4k earlier in term. Maybe we scared them earlier with our flair easying; not sure many crews in Div 4 can easy in a racing shell, sit the boat for 10s, and carry on rowing.
Whatever, we took most of half a length early on with a semi-decent start, the stride wasn't particularly ridiculous, and we settled probably a quarter of a length up. At this point I was quite worried; with a crew who'd shown some pretty ropey bladework under pressure in the previous race, sitting 1/4 of a length up on a closing crew is probably about as hard mentally as it gets. Both the power and the technique held together well though, and we sat more or less there to the finish, with them closing a little through the railway bridge. The power I could put down varied with the togetherness through the race, but in what I assumed to be the good bits (in that I could pull very hard) we took a few seats in not many strokes, then drifted back again. We came towards Morley's Holt probably a canvas up on them, with the stagger taking it out to the esoteric official margin of 1/3 of a length.
I can't remember the last time I competed in a race this close; it's conceivable it was 4 years ago where I won a sculling race by the truly bizarre margin of "305mm", judged by eye after a free start... Anyway, this was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's entertainment, and I hope the crew manages to take some of its finesse into rowing at rate over the next fortnight, and starts to realise the potential locked away in these lightweights. (Peter)

1. Clearing the puddles
2. Coming past the boat...
3. On the way home

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