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The Club's Results

Emma Sprints, Mich Term 2018

2nd men's novice VIII (NM2 Division)

Coxed by: Maelle-Marie Troadec

1st round
Beat Clare NM2 by 4 Lengths
There were many unknowns before this rate. The 2-boat rule had prevented us from achieving as much high-rate work as we had wanted, or frankly needed. I impressed into them that we had to turn on a racing mindset and hit high and break the other crews off the start. Clare always have numbers and quality, so this draw was a little unsettling to those in the know.

Beforehand, we did a tasty erg, practising our start with discipline, moving together, attacking it with vigour. The row-up was solid, with the boys moving together, but we failed to get in any high rate work before the inevitable queueing began. I was now nervous.

On the startline, Maelle-Marie suddenly morphed into a monster and started revving the crew up like some kind of hellish motorbike to the extent that I was terrified. But boy was it HYPE. The vibes were all positive and everyone was itching to take it to Clare.

The marshall managed to say "Attention, Go" with a megaphone, quieter than I usually whisper without one, so Clare bounded out of the start on towpath side and Anna, Kerem and I were left to frantically shout go to our crew. Despite the 3 stroke advantage, and the frantic nature of the start, Maelle-Marie whipped the crew into rhythm and we surged off in front of Clare, not even giving them a chance for some level rowing. We tore down the Reach and ended up winning the race with about 4 lengths to spare (at least).

This was awesome - the boys had taken on board everything from the erg this morning and then some. And there weren't even any crabs!
Quarter finals
Beat Jesus NM2 by 4 Lengths
I was somehow convinced that we would be facing Caius NM2 this round, but upon learning it was Jesus NM2, and having seen Jesus NM2 in their previous race, I was not particularly worried.

And I did not need to be - our boys churned down the river at pace, and despite some rather large crustacean infestations in the last 150m, managed to cross the start line many lengths ahead of their opposition.
Semi finals
Beat Caius NM2 easily (6+ Lengths)
This was the most nerve-wracking race - for different reasons before and during.

Before, Caius NM2 were about twice our size, and we knew that Caius NM1 were likely to be one of the best boats on the river. Therefore logic followed that their NM2, like ours, would be a serious challenger as well.

However, as soon as the boats went off the start, it became readily apparent that Caius NM2's threat was not in their power, or their technique. Instead, it was their cox, whose methodical inability to steer in a straight line became a weapon of mass destruction. Within about 10 strokes they had collided with us, although we were by this point about half a length up, so this only really hurt Ahmed and Leszek, who just smashed through them and whipped the boat on. Just like before the island at Henley, the Caius cox steered at it again, weaseling away and then sweeping back in for the kill. This time she managed to prevent most of our bowside rowing, which resulted in us curving back towards them, and eliminating most of their bowside presence.

It was from here that Maelle-Marie won the race. She kept everyone locked in, and steered straight through, and guided us out of the carnage. Gobsmacked by our resolve, Caius then decided to stop rowing altogether, which led to a monumental victory on our part. The Caius bank parties rolled in speaking off their seat coming off, only for the Emma management to laugh at them for their steering issues and remind them that technical malfunctions don't generate re-rows at Emma Sprints - plus we were never behind Caius at any point, and Maelle-Marie expertly kept her line. An expectedly exciting race in a highly unexpected fashion, but another testament to this crew's discipline and raciness.
Beat Emma NM2 by 3/4 of a Length
It's always nice to face the race-hosts in the their own regatta. We didn't expect Emmanuel to be the real opponent in this regatta, but they were very much so.

From the start we didn't manage to get away by more than a couple of seats. They were longer in the water and had better suspension, so our whipped cream was starting to suffer to their silky Waitrose single. However, eventually Emma got tired of silk and decided hemp was the way forward, and the boats drew level, and our boys even started to edge out by a few seat. It was at this point that Bow 4 decided they were hungry for some shellfish and decided to go digging. This slowed us down significantly, and allowed Emmanuel's bows to inch back ahead by almost half a length. However clearly the seafood was nutritious, as the boys immediately jumped back on the footplate, and started edging back towards Emma's bowball. I counted about 10 seconds where the bowballs were exactly level, fluctuations and all, coming past the kink. After this however, our boys knew it was all or nothing, and turned it up to 11 for the final 100m. We came through the finish line 3/4 of a length up from Emma with arguably the best race of the Regatta. Awesome stuff!!!! We capped this off with a swim in the river for Maelle-Marie, a trip to Nando's and our complementary winners' cocktails, to round off an altogether incredible day. Bring on Clare Novices!

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