The Club's Results

Fairbairn Cup 2014

2nd men's novice VIII (Lower VIIIs)

Coxed by: T.E. Dunne

Beat Jesus NM1
Time: 17:44.3

This was a longer and from my point of view much less smooth race than the day before. We put Jason and Adam in the boat (with a big fish little fish call designed to get them to stop quiching and start putting a bit of effort in) thinking that things would go a lot better with two senior subs in the boat. What ended up happening, however, was on the first draw stroke they got connected just that little bit earlier and managed to turn the boat a surprising amount. With the rudder hard over I let the start sequence look after itself, put the rudder hard over and bellowed for a bit of bowside pressure. Our angle lasted rather longer than I would have liked until finally we got straight but on the wrong side of the river (let's hope not too many people watching our race noticed), only 7's blade in the end clipping one of the barges. What with this stress over we settled on something like 30 where we valiantly stayed. While desperately trying to calm my nerves and get some race plan back in my head Dougall decided that what he wanted to do most, immediately before Elizabeth Way corner, was catch a crab - clearly he thought it would be embarrassing if we beat M1 and thought to nip that one in the bud. Luckily it was recovered quickly and we got back on some semblance of rowing, pushing off the bridges and gaining on Jesus who were ahead of us.

Sadly, this calm was not to last. Deciding that Adam had set a good precedent trying to screw up strokeside corners, Jason managed to break his seat on the approach into Chesterton. A decent effort from Dougall powered us round well enough for me to feel like my worry had been misplaced. Good job. A few tens of strokes out of the corner Jason thought he'd start rowing again and we promptly got back on Mission: Overtake Jesus. Some more surely indistinguishable shouting later and we were pushing off the bridge and trying to get the overtake before the end of the reach. Credit where it's due, Jesus did a sterling effort keeping us off, and we closed to with a handful of lengths round Ditton, Plough Reach, Grassy and then the gut (where I have a vague memory of trying to get the bump). Finally on First Post Reach I got to use the call Jason had been waiting for all race and asked (unnecessarily, it turned out) Jesus to clear the racing line. An enormous row for the last few hundred metres of the race (Ben's face illustrated the effort the boys had been putting into this race) and we crossed the line, about a length behind Jesus. A solid performance.

Standard Fairbairn's marshalling at the end gave us plenty of practice waiting, and we managed to be the last crew to leave the lock (Neil being Neil wanting to share some stollen with us). The delay at the far end as every crew decided to wait to let other crews push off and join the queue was really quite special. We might have looked a mite impatient.

Thank you to Emma S-C for giving Harry and me a lesson the evening before - from a personal point of view it increased the quality of the drivel I was producing no end, even though anything I thought of as carefully prepared went immediately out of my head.

(John)

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