The Club's Results

Lent Term 2016

1st men's VIII

Cambridge Head-2-Head (Lents 1st Division)

2nd/15; 6:27.6 + 7:10.8
Time: 13:38.4
Polished, composed, sharp and well-marshalled are adjectives that could not be used to describe this race. This was a scratch combination and it showed through the finish timing and finesse, there was however a great deal of commitment throughout the boat and many encouraging signs. Given a couple of weeks to tighten up the rowing, we should be able add a lot more style and speed to our rowing.  A pleasing result which bodes well for the rest of the term and year. (Matthew)
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Lent Bumps

Wednesday
Bumped by LMBC
Nerves ran high. For more than half the boat it was the first set of bumps in M1. Our pre-paddle yesterday evening was gorgeous - beautiful sunset over glassy water and very relaxed rowing. Today, as on any day of bumps, we faced a challenge. Ahead: Pembroke , Queens, Jesus. Behind: LMBC. We reckoned that we could get Pembroke over the course, but the chances of them catching the less than impressive Queens were depressingly high. If we rowed over behind a Pembroke-on-Queens bump we would be able to get Queens tomorrow. Overall a very good chance of going up 3 over the four days. 
Alas, it was not to be. An ok start saw us stay on station with Pembroke, who bumped Queens much later than they should have done (Queens practically went backwards, but the Pembroke cox took awful lines). Poor clearing saw my blade hitting something (a blade?) hard as but we came round grassy, but we came out of it fine. Good thing that the 'soft hands' we have been working on all term weren't too soft. Our race plan - go hard, with pushes out of all the corners up to Ditton was excecuted well. At Ditton, we were on station with Maggie and I thought that we had a reasonable chance of rowing over ahead of them. We gained a solid rythmn at 36-7 and it felt good.  At the kink Maggie suddenly started to move and Ed called for a "Gut push". 10 legs, 5 finishes, 10 backs. We held them off for a while, but they began to move again and we called for another push. Going under the railway bridge they had closed to half a length. The handbrake came off, the rate came up and we held them for a while longer. But not long enough - they simply had another gear that we did not have, and our race finished just before Peter's posts, in exactly the same place that we bumped them on the last day last year. 

Although the result was not the one we wanted, I didn't personally feel down for too long - we had been bumped fair and square by a faster crew. I think members of the crew who were in last year's Lent VIII were hurting more. Perhaps we would have been able to hold them off for a few more lengths, but not for the 90 seconds required to row over. We rowed very well and I think to the best of our ability. If we row the same way that we did today, I will be very pleased and we will do well. 
(Jake Rowe)
Going into the day there were nerves, but also plenty of reasons to be confident. The crew was quick, well-drilled and ready to execute the race plan. A scrappy-ish start saw us move slightly inside station on Pembroke, but soon there were whistles for them and sure enough Queens were hit somewhere coming out of First Post or in the Gut: some evasive steering and a clash of Jake's blade on Pembroke's stern didn't dampen our rhythm and having gotten through the worst of the wash we managed a good lift out of Grassy.

Pushing hard out of Ditton we were holding Maggie on about station, settling onto a strong, pressed-out 36-37. At this point Maggie started to move up on us; we responded in kind and did our best to close them out, but moving out of the railway bridge we threw everything at them as they sat at half a length. Sadly they found another gear and ground us down, their bow ball hitting Emily's arm just past Peter's posts and a couple hundred metres short of the finish. It hurt bitterly, but with a calmer head I can say there's nothing we would have changed in our execution - while not the result we wanted we can be proud of the performance and are looking forward to a positive few days to come.
(A. Strange)
Thursday
Rowed over
After the disappointment of yesterday's bump by Maggie, confidence in a rowover was high.  The cannon didn't even seem that loud, despite its proximity. A good start saw us move on LMBC getting inside 1 1/4 lengths. However, we were correct in predicting that the four crews ahead of us would bump out fairly early and that we would be subject to a short intense period of spectularly choppy water going into grassy. Luckily they cleared much quicker than yesteday and we were able to row onto clean water pretty soon. We executed our plan to sprint to Ditton before settling onto a solid 34. Actually it wasn't that solid. It was a bit scrappy and instead of opening up the gap between us and Peterhouse and finishing the race nice and early we slightly minced down the course doing 85% pushes and maintained 2-4 boat lengths all the way to top finish. Did the job though. 
Comedy whistle from Peterhouse's bank party as they ran out of towpath at the P&E to try and urge their crew to not give in to the gaining Robinson.
Overall not the prettiest race, but did the job it needed to. Excited for a shorter race tomorrow. 
(Jake Rowe)
Putting the previous day's trials behind us, we went out and executed what we needed to. It wasn't particularly pretty, and we didn't kill off the chasing Peterhouse's race as effectively as we should have - we moved away when pushes were called for and allowed them to come back into it slightly whilst in our steady rhythm. Despite this they never troubled, staying somewhere between 2-4 lengths away down the course. The coming few days should have good prospects and will hopefully give an exciting end to the week. (A. Strange)
Saturday
Rowed over
Ugly, but effective.  The start was decent, and we moved quickly to a length on Queens' with gears left in the tank.  Pushing into 1st post corner, we hit some wash and lost our cool a bit.  Despite having neither style nor substance, we continued to move on them through the Gut.  At this point we all sensed that the bump was inevitable and we got two whistles going round Grassy and were held for a few strokes.  Down Plough reach we slowly ate them up until we got overlap.  Two massive strokes were enough to complete the bump, although we all agreed it should have happened sooner.
The gain train rolls on to Saturday.
(Jedge)
Today was a bit like Thursday, where we did the job but could have done it better. The row down was clean and clinical; sadly we didn't carry that well into the race. We had a good start and got our first whistle 20 strokes or so in. Round First Post and into the Gut we allowed the boat to roll around but continued to eat them up slowly. Coming out of Grassy we moved again on them to 3 whistles and had overlap nearing Ditton and hit them somewhere near the entrance to the corner. Once their stern had disappeared underneath my rigger I was able to lean over and hit their stern rather loudly, much as Ed did with Maggie last Lents, but sadly there was no GoPro to dislodge this time to avenge the unsuccessful 'Operation Tripod' of last year. Overall a good result, but a performance with room for improvement. (A. Strange)
Awesome row up to the start. "Cool and clinical", as planned. 
The cannon master turned up the reverb today, as I regained hearing we seemed to be in the middle of a fairly good start and soon had gained half a length on Queens' and a whistle to show for it.
This was the end of anything resembling good rowing, and we stayed at 1 whistle until we reached the gut. A low-flying drone and pack of very yappy dogs momentarily took my attention before we started to turn into Grassy. The exit of grassy saw two whistles and a large FaT contingent on the bank cheering us on. It also saw us encounter a monstrous amount of wash. The quality of the rowing did not really improve (not hugely surprising given that there were waves crashing over the riggers), butwe were able to close the distance on Queens' before catching them with two massive strokes.
Although we bumped up, the general mood was that we could have rowed far better. So ready to go large tomorrow for the chase on Jesus. 
(Jake Rowe)
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Head of the River Race (IM3 Academic)

145th Overall, 23rd in Category, 6th fastest Cambridge college
Time: 19:58.33
After three days of solid training on the Tideway, we approached Saturday morning feeling quietly confident about the race. We'd spent the time we had looking at getting a clean but effective move through the front end, and we were sure this would come in handy. We started the day with a quick pre-paddle up to Hammersmith and back. On the way out we practised our frontstops warm-up we planned to use for the race. After spinning near the Dove we returned home, taking the time to do two solid 20 stroke bursts. We finished the outing with a 90 second burst on our race rhythm, and we managed to find the solid, chunky kind of rhythm we knew we could produce. We left the water, content that we had a good race rhythm to work on, and relieved to see just how calm the river was.

After racking our boat and getting changed, we reconvened in spoons (our spiritual home for the week) to chat about our plan. The idea was pretty simple; go out hard to Barnes, find a more relaxed rhythm to work through to Hammersmith, then attack again.  We returned to the IC boat house and prepared to boat with a slightly ridiculous amount of kit, knowing that the tideway can be a cruel mistress in marshalling.

In the warm up we executed our front stops work as we had practised all week. We took a quick race pace burst through hammersmith, and happy with that, we returned to a chunky paddle. At this point we noticed that we had moved past Leander II. We then proceeded to enter into an impromptu round of battle paddling. They clearly didn't get the message that this was what we were doing however, as they suddenly went to race pace (we think this was just in desperation to try to keep up). They managed to move up a bit, but our chunky rhythm held and we soon pushed them away. At this point they gave up and brought in a tag-team of Leander I to try to give us a challenge. This crew gave us a better challenge and we found ourselves holding station with them until the marshals decided they had seen enough of our dominance and we were sent to the other side of the river, apparently there was some sort of race going on, interrupting our private fixture.

With our spirits now buoyed we moved up to our marshaling position on a solid paddle and felt very confident about our ability to execute the plan. In the hour or so we spent trying to stay stationary, I must have told Emily to turn off the cox box about 30 times. That being said there was a particularly good use of the cox box where Emily declared her love for bow pair and their ability to keep the boat exactly on station. We watched as the other crews span one by one and eventually came our turn.

Once we were spun, we got straight back on to our chunky paddle, with Clare starting their paddle hot on our tails. As we moved through Chiswick Bridge we took the rate up to attack the start and quickly found a nice chunky 34. Through the start we had a solid first minute and pressed on around Barnes bend. We kept the rhythm strong through to Barnes Bridge and pressed Clare slightly away. As we came through Barnes Bridge we naturally settled onto our mid race rhythm to work through the slightly choppier water on this stretch. Emily took a fantastic line to keep us making some progress on Clare, whilst reassuring us that we were moving up on the crew in front of us.

At this point, the crew 2 behind us started to make some real ground. Conscious of this we moved slightly away from the optimum line  to make room. Meanwhile Clare doggedly stuck with their line and this helped them as they started to move towards us. I can't remember a lot of the Chiswick stretch, but it was in the choppier water here that my inside shoulder did not take merrily to the baldes clipping the chop. This left me in a lot of pain here from old injuries and gave a bit fo welcome relief from the pain elsewhere courtesy of extreme agony in my shoulder. About here Emily let us know we were 10 minutes in and I have to admit I found myself thinking I wasn't sure how much longer I could go for.

As we came round the Hammersmith bend both Clare and the other crew continued to move up on us. We kept working within our rhythm, and some fantastic work by Emily kept us as close to best line as we could do with double overlap. We managed to force our way to hit the second lamp post under Hammersmith Bridge and the other two crews scrapped it out leading to a blade clash and a brief moment of reprise for us. At this point we went back to our plan and took a step up to move to a big two minutes off of the bridge. We found a new rhythm at 34 that we would carry all the way to Craven Cottage. Unfortunately, the crew 2 behind us were now more angered than ever from the clash and really started to loom down.  Emily did all she could, and I could have sworn Clare seemed to teleport through the buoy by Harrods.

Sadly, the inevitable 3 abreast racing meant that Emily had to move out from the stream, but not without fighting hard for the best water she could get us. The other two crews finally started to move having had the best of the stream for about 7 minutes at this point. This should have given us the chance to take the stream back again for our final 4 minutes. However, this wasn't to be, as a very rapid Radley crew were bearing down on us. Hence we had to complete the race somewhat in the slacks.

That being said, we wound from Craven Cottage and really wound the screw, leaving nothing behind. I don't remember a lot of the final couple of minutes, apart from my desperate screams of finishes as my shoulder reminded me quite how unhappy it was. The stroke coach tells me we finished at a strong 36. We paddled through and came home, heads held high.

The result probably reflects fairly what happened in the race. A position pretty much equivalent to the previous year. It is very easy for us to come away disheartened, we had hoped to break the top 120. However, the race was well executed and I think we can say it was a good row. It's a shame we had to spend so long away from the water we wanted and I've no doubt that we'll have lost a fair bit of time from this. That being said I must say a huge well done to Emily, for someone who first saw the Tideway on Wednesday she did and amazing job getting us the best water she could. The tideway is a formidable beast for experienced rowers and especially coxes, so for a cox who first stepped into a boat only 5 months previously, Emily did fantastically, especially when you consider we spent about 12 out of the 20 minutes of racing with a crew struggling to overtake us. I've seen much, much more experienced coxes struggle to hold their own line, nevermind having the confidence to aggressively fight for their own water. I can't wait to see what you can do with more experience under your belt.

Racing with this crew has been a real privilege and I want to say thank you to everyone involved (and a sorry for the fact that I only had 2 weeks training under my belt as we started this race, how I survived I still have no idea). I think there is a lot of potential on the mens side and I can't wait to see what next term has in store for us. In my time in Cambridge, M1 has never finished Mays up for the week, but if we approach the next term like we did the last 2 weeks, I know it's time for that trend to change.
(Jon)
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