The Club's Results

May Term 2016

1st men's VIII

Head of the Cam (1st Mays)

4th in Mays 1st
Time: 9:07

A scratch crew with three triallists back in the boat plus two entries from the Lents M2 made this an exciting, if nervous experience.

As it turned out, we could row quite well together. Tom Rose's coaching for the past couple weeks on clean extraction and powerful first half of the drive came into play well during the race, and served us a good time in the end, seeing as we slaughtered most of the other M1s on the water and the CULRC second boat. LMBC seem pretty far ahead (by 14 seconds), but we've got a term to catch them up.

Our row up was one of slight dread as we were met by a fairly furious hailstorm. Fortunately, this past, and when we wound up through the motorway bridge start we were greeted by sunshine. The boat was moving quickly and relatively smoothly through the water. Power and technique began to sag around Ditton but Juliet called for a push and we bit down. Juliet took to coxing the Empacher (her first time even touching the boat) with gusto and did a great job, and when she called for us to 'stick the knife in' as we came under the railway bridge, we rocketed through the lactate past the P&E to Top Finish where we crumpled in an exhausted heap. I know that Tom and I were well aboard the chunder train for the good part of the finale, but our retention skills were as strong as the pain coursing through our bodies.

I think it's safe to say everyone gave their all in what was a gruelling race, and the result reflects that perfectly. Being raced on the same course, Head of the Cam served as excellent bumps practice, and has set the stage for the Mays Campaign to come - we're looking good, fast, and driven. Let's go smash Bumps.

(Forbes)
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May Bumps

Wednesday
Bumped Downing
Although no one said so, the nerves ran high. For almost half the crew it was our first race in the top division, but nevertheless we had confidence that we would be able to catch Downing over the course. 
The row up was not our best, and the bursts were slightly scrappy and we didn't really find the nice rhythm that we had previously found.
Arriving at the start, we were delayed by a re-row which gave us more time than expected. In this time, I relaxed quite a lot, but when we got back in the boat after the first cannon I found myself a little tense. 

We remained present during the first three minutes of the race, but the rowing was choppy, the corners were not very good. Despite this, we got our first whistle on Downing going past the Plough. This brought us together and as we swung round the corner on the reach we stepped up to the plate (although the rowing didn't really improve) and started to grind them down. Two whistles happened, and we "Took it to the plough". Three whistles happened as we passed the railings, and there weren't enough strokes between this and the bump for continuous whistling to even be considered. 
Amid cries of "Hold it up!" from the bank, Hugo looked across to RTT to see that his hand was up (to confirm the bump), ahead to the  Downing cox, who's hand was indeed up, then sat back in his seat with a grin on his face and passed on the instruction to us to hold it up. No doubt about it.
Onwards and upwards!
(Jake Rowe)
Thursday
Rowed over
After a solid warm up on the ergs we took to the water looser than yesterday. After a slightly stop-start warm up we hit the P&E. Things appeared to be running more smoothly here than yesterday. With a slightly more lax attitude we hit the reach, with cheers for us left, right and centre (except for the centre- no other crews shouted for us, understandably). Some houseboat decided to get in the way. The race start was solid past a more crowded Plough than yesterday, and we held the rhythm well through to station 5. The lack of pressure from Downing helped us settle our nerves and focus on the task at hand - nailing Jesus. 
The start felt slightly rushed but we soon settled into a slightly faster rate than previously. We smashed it down First Post reach, round the corner, through the gut and out of grassy. Squeezing through out onto Plough reach felt more necessary than we would have liked, as Downing appeared quite close on our heels. Down Plough reach we screamed on for Jesus, and passing the Plough we heard more than just the crowds - the first whistle. Invigorated by the whistle we (tried to) produce a solid Ditton. The squeeze out of Ditton was sadly less rhythmic than yesterday, and this seemed to continue down the Reach. Suddenly the bank erupted - the Jesus trialist (who had become a panic-sub for their bumps campaign) had managed to catch a crab. We 'Took it to the Plough'. Unfortunately this brought us at closest approach to within a canvas, as they recovered from the crab and put in some huge strokes to open up the gap to half a length. Our unsustainable push was truly unsustainable. Regressing to two whistles was demoralising and suffice it to say it could no longer be taken to the Plough. Despite it being called. A second time. The five massive strokes were exactly the same as the previous 30 massive strokes and Jesus crept away. Realising that the day was probably lost we strode it down, conserving energy for tomorrow's task. Bump or be bumped. Simple as that.
(Tom)
Friday
Bumped by Clare
We got got.

With Clare M1 behind, who were probably the fastest crew on the river, and Jesus M1 ahead, whom we'd come close to hitting the day before after some crabbage on their part, we were expecting a short race. Having geared up, we pushed off with a plan to race to the Plough, in the less popular variant of Downing's notorious "head or dead" strategy, "fourth or dead". We had a fast start, lengthening out into a good rhythm, and got our first whistle on Jesus going around First Post corner. We continued gained on them more slowly through the Gut, and through Grassy. Out of Grassy, we took our bumps push as planned, and reeled Jesus in, until we were about 10 feet away on the entrance to Ditton. We continued to gain, and took another bumps push on the exit of Ditton, coming closest with a foot or two of overlap on Jesus. Throughout this, Clare had gained on us. We took more pushes, this time away from Clare, eventually getting hit around the railings.

It was a good race, with some of the best rhythm we've found. Shame we weren't a few feet quicker, but we executed our race plan perfectly. Just need bigger legs.
(Barney)
So close. So so close.
The race plan was "We get, or we get got". We got got. 
We geared up and prepared for a fast and furious sprint to the Plough, where Clare had got Downing the previous day.  The row up was awesome.
A fast and clean start, followed by a solid first minute saw us coming into the gut with our first whistle on Jesus, where we executed our first push. Coming round Grassy, we powered on, achieving two whistles as we entered plough reach. We "took it to the Plough", quite literally, beginning to flag a little as we passed the crowds on the bank. Hearing shouts of "10 feet" from the bank, we were buoyed on and executed another push round Ditton corner and onto the reach. Having closed to six feet, with Clare still 3/4 of a length off our stern, I really started to feel the effects of the heavier gearing, but was surprised that Clare weren't closer. We pushed on, closing to two feet and overlap, before I noticed Clare looking much closer than they had before. Now at the railings, we fell apart, absolutely finished. Clare munched us up and Jesus moved away. So, so close.
We didn't get the result we wanted but this was by far and away the best row in the crew and I felt extremely proud to have been able to take part in this race.
We shall take it to the Plough once more.
(Jake Rowe)
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