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The Club's Results

Lent Term 2022

2nd men's VIII

Newnham Short Course (1st division), M2(a)

Time: 8:17
Newnham Head was set to be M2(a)'s first race together following a productive training week of head injuries, late nights and later catches. However, crew captain Xander 'Judas' Povey was to be struck with a case of Covid-19 and forced into isolation, thus missing the race. His absence was a disappointment, but also foreshadowing of the shocking betrayal that would follow as he abandoned the funniest VIII on the Cam to join the slow and uninteresting M1(b).

Fortunately, M1(boring) were not racing due to over-testing among their crew which had led to multiple cases of Covid-19. This meant that fortunately James Brownlie was free to sub in and provide a small amount of additional speed to the crew.

The first half of the race was on the whole good with all 8 rowers taking strokes, Emily not asking people to make the boat fly, and only 7 different catches. Fordie's coaching was obviously paying off. This would not last however, as technique quickly broke down and Emily started specifically targeting seats for not rowing hard and proclaiming 'squeeEEEZEE' in a voice I can only compare to someone falling off a cliff. Also, in remarkably similar fashion to the 2015 2nd VIII's Newnham Head race, very early on in the race the cox box simply gave up.

Overall, there were 3 or 4 good strokes taken, most of them by Canadine, along the 2k course which, bolstered with the insane volume of free speed afforded by Canadine's wraparound sunnies, Versteegen's beanie and Westwood's bunny ears, allowed M2(agile) to close the gap on Lucy Cav's formidable M1. Halfway down the Long Reach the M2(attractive) boys had nearly completely overtaken the LCCBC M1 with just 2 seats to go before a clean gap emerged.

Now, the fair-spirited and sporting among you will surely be thinking how disheartening and discouraging this must have been for the poor LCCBC boys who I'm certain were all essentially novices. Westwood would certainly agree with you, and in the interest of competitive racing and second chances caught an almighty crab, nearly decapitating himself, killing the boat speed, and demolishing any semblance of rhythm that could have been identified in the boat beforehand (i.e. none.) LCCBC M1 pulled back 2 seats in what was becoming some seriously intense side-by-side Cam racing but the M2(avaricious) crew were determined they would overtake the Lucy Cav M1, and claim a splendid victory.

Unfortunately, the details of the rest of the race are lost to history. Some sources claim this was because Overall Captain Luke Barratt couldn't keep up with the unbelievable speed of the crew, despite riding a bike and so was unable to record the final 500m ("It was sooooo windy - and the bike was way too small for me which didn't help.") Less reputable sources argue it was because the battery died on the phone he was recording with.

What can be said for sure though was that M2(awesome) completely crushed the hopes and dreams of Lucy Cav's M1, secured a faster Newnham Head time than M1(bottle-jobs) - 8:17 versus DNS - and subsequently enjoyed pints in the Fort St. George. All in all, a positive start to M2(alcoholics) racing season.
(Callum Westwood)
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Bedford Head (College VIIIs), M2(a), M2(a)

Time: 6:58
M2(a)’s first time gracing an off-Cam race was a roaring success by all measures with 0 crabs caught, the “shake and bake” call debuted, and several pints consumed.

Having worked on our rate builds and rhythm in the preceding week M2(a) was well prepared for the 2k challenge presented by our little away day to Bedford. Departing Cambridge at roughly 7:30am, depending on your form of transport, the journey down to Bedford was one full of mental preparation, reflection on technique, and if you were in Westwood's car, carbs to soak up the alcohol consumed the night before. On arrival, the crew was generally in good spirits, bar Canadine who had been out well past his 9:30pm bedtime the night before! Speaking of 'bar,' Yoko was quick to establish the location of the nearest pub in Bedford, at 8:30am, anticipating the 5 hour gap between the two divisions we were racing in. This was an appropriately prescient move from our resident rocket scientist as after our first performance we were quick to rally the troops and advance on 'the Pilgrim's Progress.' For the record, FaT does not have an unhealthy drinking culture.

Now to report on the actual racing of the day. We had been entered into 2 divisions (the reason for which remains unknown) and so this arguably had an effect mentally on the amount of power the crew laid down in the first run of course. With a strong tailwind, the boys clocked in a respectable 6:58, just 19 seconds behind the try-hards in M1(b) who were fraudulently occupying 804, the rightful boat of M2(a)

The second race was one plagued by rain, a robust headwind and a power-crazed marshal who threatened to disqualify us for spinning early. However, the run was salvaged by a renewed determination to get the legs down following claims by some in M1(b) that they would beat our time by 30 seconds. This determined attitude was topped up of course by Feher's bucket hat and Westwood's bunny ears providing a healthy dose of free speed. A second crab free run featuring deranged cheering from the remaining W1 contingent ( Shorrock, Watts, Harper), the debut of the much-hyped "shake and bake" call from Man, and some laser focus from the boys themselves led to a respectable row that felt generally better than the attempt earlier in the day. Clocking in at 7:03, the boys were just 20 seconds behind M1(b), crushing their half a minute hopes, and once again demonstrating our general supremacy.

We probably failed to get enough RP for HoRR, but the real RP was the friends we made along the way!
(Callum Westwood)
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Bedford Head (Open Eights (Band 4)), M2(a)

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Lent Bumps, M2(a)

Rowed over
Tuesday 1st of March marked the first bumps experience for all in M2(a), a historic day for British Rowing, with the exception of Sam Kittle who had subbed in at 7 seat last minute to replace Callum Westwood who was nursing an equally last-minute lateral collateral ligament sprain (mostly self-diagnosed.)

Rowing over is never the most exciting start to a bumps campaign but was certainly better than being bumped. As a spectator, I assumed I would have a better view of what occurred during the race, and could thus provide a more accurate and insightful race report. This was unfortunately not the case, and so this report is based off; 1, things the boys told me when we got back to the boathouse; 2, the date dutifully collected by Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter; 3, what I could make out of the race whilst dodging spectators and massive puddles on the towpath; and 4, some slightly-made up stuff that will glorify the crew in the history books.

After a chunky row to the start, sandwiched between a roundly bumpable Darwin and an entirely non-threatening St. Edmund’s, a combination of nerves and excitement settled in. Hours of work had gone into preparing for this week and the boys were hungry for victory. After de-kitting the only thing left to do before pushing off was to explain to Emily Man/Wyd Boblo (cox) how we do starts. Although we had been working on this for more than a week prior to bumps, Emily had always executed the appropriate calls with varying success. As the one-minute cannon fires, Coach Fordy begins the monumental task of trying to count down from 60, constantly worried he’d begin counting up again or forget how long a second was. (It’s always sad to see the malicious effects of ageing on such great minds of the past.)

With the push-off complete and just seconds away from the start, the boys focus in on getting to work with a super-chunky start that will send them into the stern of Darwin M1. As the race begins the start seemed powerful from the towpath’s point of view but was described by George Canadine (6) as ‘super splashy.’ Let the record show we must assume EM got the start calls correct because neither GC nor Matthew Yoko (stroke) started screaming out alternative calls to get the boat back in order. However, there was a minor mutiny at this stage and one the rhythm call MY broke away from the race plan and kept the rate at an ambitious 38, inspire of the 34 target rate, claiming “there was much whistling and shouts of “gaining on Darwin,” which the stroke man took as justification for disobeying a direct order. This probably was the right call though.

I was filled with optimism at the very start of M2(a)’s bumps campaign as the gap between Black Prince 804 and Darwin was closing steadily down First Post Reach, at a 1:39 split, with “good evidence for being well under 1:30 for a while” according to Fordy. However, that gap was not closing as fast as the gap between Darwin and Wolfson. Wolfson managed to hold off Darwin for a very short while but were ultimately bumped somewhere between the Ditch and Grassy Corner. It is at this stage that Máté Fehér (2), so certain of M2(a)’s supremacy, was “60% sure we bumped Darwin when we rowed past them,” and came within milliseconds of holding it up. This of course was not the case, as he soon found out, as EM expertly steered the crew through Darwin and Wolfson, receiving high praise from the Marshalls at the end of the race. Rumour has it was at this point that reliable MY caught a cheeky crab in honour of his stern partner CW. Notably, though, it was nowhere near as big or chonky as the overhead crabs CW has a particular appetite for.

Once Darwin had bumped Wolfson, and were out of the race, the boys were faced with clear waters in front and behind them heading down Plough Reach and into Ditton. At this point, the rate was brought down to a chunkier 34 after passing Darwin, and then to 32 once the “coast was largely clear.” It was here we discovered both the unique boredom and excitement bumps can bring. A row over seemed like a certain result at this stage, but that didn’t deter EM from pointing out to the crew that she could see the crew in front (on the long reach, probably a good 5/6 lengths ahead.) There was some relatively technical rowing, though ultimately I’m tempted to say the boys fell into a false sense of security. Towards the middle of the Long Reach it's fair to say Pembroke were gaining significantly, and coming into a threatening position. The last thing we wanted was to be over bumped on our first day out. By the White House the gap was looking good for Pembroke who obviously thought we were eminently bumpable. And suddenly the excitement of bumps was back as the boys got back on the legs, dug in, and began laying down the power this crew is so well-known for…

At the Railway Bridge, the Pembroke crew call an impressive power 10 and manage to gain a length with almost miraculous pace. At this point, it's a real nail biter and it's getting very close to the finish. But the boys accordingly empty the tanks, leaving it all in the boat in the final 200m to secure a row over.

My general sense was that the boys seemed disheartened by a neutral result on the first day of the campaign, but I knew this would renew their determination for a bump on Wolfson when we would come to race again on Wednesday.

By the miracle of modern technology, Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter has been able to provide us with these insightful statistics for the enjoyment of the readership;

Average pace: 1:55
Average HR: 190
Max HR: 197
Total strokes: 306
Average rate: 32
Calories burnt: 126
Time: 9:46.2
Sweat: 86ml
(Callum Westwood)
Bumped Wolfson
WHETHER we like it or not, there are many things that are short about M2(a);
• Westwood's strokes
• K-Dog's attention span
• Versteegen's tolerance for Canadine
• Emily's list of acceptable coxing calls
• The actual crew

ON the 3rd of March 2022, M2(a)'s second day of Bumps, it was the time taken to secure the first bump that was short. And in honour of this, I will keep my race report relatively shorter than I usually do.

LEARNING from Day 1's mistakes M2(a)'s start was much more technical and effective on Day 2. And whilst I'd like to report that an improvement to the start was the reason we were able to bump Wolfson so quickly, factual accuracy demands I inform the readers it was more likely the 45º angle that Wolfson set off on at the start of the race. The gap was closed to a great extent by our first three strokes purely by aiming down the river, rather than across it. Following their skewed start, Wolfson crawled under the A14 bridge, and onto First Post Reach tight to field-side at a relatively low pace. Some skilled coxing from Emily kept us tight to towpath-side, making the bump all the much easier by avoiding any of the wash from Wolfson's stern. Homerton offered a degree of competition coming from behind, building off a strong start, but they backed off after the first 30 or so strokes, never really threatening FaT's bump.

FOLLOWING the first 20 strokes it was simply more determination, more leg press, and more free speed (via stash) that secured the bump for M2(a) in the following 30 strokes. As the boys approach for the overtake the noise of whistles, cheering and general bumps riotousness drowned out any attempts by Bomber, Fordy or myself (no, I cannot actually coach anyone on anything even mildly related to rowing) to offer technical calls along First Post Reach. However, this was all unnecessary as Wolfson never stood a chance, even against some of the most technically unsound rowing I've ever seen M2(a) produce. The Wolfson cox was slow to concede and thus Emily thought it prudent to remind them of the rules with a gentle tap with our bow, and this marked the end of the race and the start of M2(a)'s inevitable rise through the Div 2 Bumps ranks.

SUCH a result would have been welcome and surprising on its own, however, the speed with which the bump was secured is made only more shocking by the final words of strokeman Yoko. On pushing off, I asked the crew for any final thoughts that could be included in this very race report. Yoko replied with what at the time seemed rather optimistic but turned out to be almost exactly true; "see you in 2 minutes."

ONCE the bump was secured, the celebrations began with the boys delighted to have secured their first victory, and everyone was keen to get their hands on some shrubbery to appropriately denote their glorious performance.

NOW the focus for the boys will be on securing a bump on Homerton, our boathouse neighbours, and if not securing a row over with a strong distance between us and the Pembroke crew who will likely again be in hot pursuit of our stern.

By the miracle of modern technology, Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter has been able to provide us with these insightful statistic for the enjoyment of the readership;

Average pace: 2:13
Average HR: 192
Max HR: 205
Total strokes: 50
Average rate: 29
Calories burnt: 23
Time: 1:46.9
Sweat: 10ml
(Callum Westwood)
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