The Club's Results

University IVs 2010

Light IV, Gents/2nd four (Light IVs)

Light IV
in Michael Proctor
bow (steers) Peter Ford 3 Aaron Outhwaite
str Jacob Fries
Semi finals
Lost by almost an overtake
With two of our original "Gents" crew unfortunately in another country and at a seminar, we gained Aaron and Jacob to have a second go at uni fours 2010, having raced in their 2nd 4+ earlier in the week. The benefits of the new crew were immediately apparent; most notably, we could now keep the bow canvas out of the water almost all the time.
Our brief practise outing (an extra reach on the way to the start) was promising; Pedro and I didn't seem to have entirely forgotten how to row, and Jacob and Aaron were sending back a solid rhythm. We hoped the delicacies of rowing well, like actually catching and finishing in time, would come with the few km of practise we gained on the way to the start.

We moved away from the line remarkably cleanly, with the kind of power application I'd be pretty happy with after 10 outings in a four, rather than after 10 strokes of practise start. Settling onto a smooth, aggressive rhythm, we looked up to find that in spite of our nice rowing and Neil's early adventurous lines, Maggie were already looming towards us. As we had previously feared, whilst Maggie nicely fulfilled the first necessary attribute for a gents crew (a strong rowing history), it seemed likely they were most ungentlemanly in the others (being fit and having trained together)

The next parts of the race were relatively uneventful; we rowed along quite nicely, with only minor wobbles on the corners, Maggie plowed along much faster than us through the water but with some remarkably circuitous routes along the river.

Coming upto the railway bridge, their relentless charge had brought them to only a length or two off our stern; at this point, a big lift from us pushed them back a couple of lengths, but unfortunately I got a bit too excited by this and decided that the quickest route from Morley's Holt to the finish was a straight line. After we scraped all the way along two barges before pushing off, Maggie had gained to overlap on us. We set off at a sprint, just about matching their speed, and I realised that my last hope was that Neil was in fact a 'gent' after all and would fancy stopping for a drink after all this rowing. With them 3/4 of a length down and slightly to bowside, I headed across the river, straightening up just before landing at the P&E. Sadly, just before they would have ended up in the bank Neil pulled out his tenth remarkable recovery in the race and straightened up. With no more tactics left, we held them at a length until they reached their finish line.

I've now lost to the winning LMBC crew three years in a row in Light Fours, and continue to be disappointed by everyone else's failure to provide some opposition to some very classy crews; in two of the years we turned up with reasonable crews and were completely outclassed, and in the other year even Strawson dragging us down the river was only enough to lose by a few lengths.

Hopefully one year I'll actually do some training and get the captain to put the top rowers in a 4-, and we might finally manage to stop this LMBC small boats machine.
Alternatively, we could get the engineers to perfect some kind of remote-controlled and/or parking sensor based steering system, and some faster people could row without having to drag me down the course. (Peter)

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