Day 1 – Bumped LMBC
As day one approached Queens’ M1 felt confident that all the ergs, outings and weights would allow them to achieve the results they deserve. Earlier results at Pembroke Regatta had hinted that FAT behind were very quick over a 1000m course, and with our start being traditionally one of the weaker parts of our race this provided a challenge.
After a strong warm up and row down to the start the boat were calm and ready to race. From the first cannon the boat surged off the start as the crew comfortably achieved the quickest start of the term. Unfortunately this counted for very little compared to FAT who were on us from the start. Before first post they had already closed to a length and were starting to put pressure on the crew. Coming through the gut this closed to half a length and the crew were having to react to hold them off. Going around Grassy the boat did not respond as anticipated leading to Bronwyn the cox having to deploy a full handbrake turn, just missing the outside of the corner. The crew reacted quickly, re-asserting the river but with FAT having taken the corner normally found that FAT had over 6 foot of overlap with their bow ball nearly level with Mark, Queens’ stroke; one more centimetre would have been the bump!!
At this point the crew really had to dig in, and confidence in our rhythm and base speed allowed the crew to start moving away, inch by inch until by Ditton FAT had been broken, having dropped back to clear water. The crew could re-focus on running down LMBC. Taking clear water down the reach allowed the crew to reset and start to move up on LMBC steadily taking inch by inch before drifting across making the bump three quarters of the way down the reach.
Dr Walker described it as one of the most exciting bumps races he has ever seen and one where we had no right not to get bumped. Bring on the next day. Day 2 – Rowed Over
After the excitement of the first day the crew reported for day two knowing that today Downing awaited. Three weeks previously at Bedford Downing had given Queens’M1 a bit of a hiding beating us by 18 seconds over 2k.
After another powerful warm up with some strong paddling to the start the boat felt much calmer and more relaxed at the start. The boat once against launched itself off the start even quicker than the day before. We expected LMBC to try and fly at us to try and avoid FAT but today our start had the legs to move away from LMBC from the start. Settling into a powerful rhythm Queens’ set themselves the task of grinding in Downing. The Downing crew had flown at Caius to try and make an impact and moved away from us over the first half of the course, moving out to three of four lengths ahead. From the reach to the finish the strong fitness of the Queens’ crew allowed us to start to close the gap. Over the final 500m we started to gain back on Downing closing the gap finishing about two and a half lengths behind.
The debrief after suggested that the crew had approached the race a little too much like a training piece rather than a race. Technically it felt alright just needed to be turned up an extra couple of percent for the next day. Day 3 – Rowed Over
The crew came down to the Friday of Bumps knowing how we are going to try and make the difference and attack Downing. Of course with LMBC being bumped by FAT the day before we are also aware of the fast starting FAT boat chasing us once again.
Off the start the crew put together the best start of the week hitting a comfortable 48 and then striding down into race rhythm. Unlike the first day the extra aggression and technique meant that FAT did not get anywhere near us and all attention could be focussed on Downing. Round the corners we managed to stay on if not slightly inside station. With the crew attacking every stroke a see-saw battle ensued between pushes. Downing would move away to nearly two lengths and then being pulled back to just over a length. The Queens’ crew threw everything at Downing finishing within station both crews collapsing over the line. Day 4 – Rowed Over
After throwing everything at Downing the day before the crew knew that only an extra 1% per stroke would make the final difference. Although it was planned that the race today would be against Downing in reality it proved to be FAT once again who gave the racing challenge.
Similar to the first day off the start FAT moved up on us getting to nearly within half a length into the gut. Buoyed by the support of the bank FAT continued to move getting to overlap out of Grassy corner. Once again led by Bronwyn in the coxes seat the boat had the feeling that we were not finishing the week by having FAT get us and once again the boat started to move away. Some evasive coxing around Ditton as FAT threw everything they had at us allowed Queens’ to break FAT and start to move away. By half way down the reach FAT had dropped to three or four lengths behind and were in severe danger of being of being caught from behind.
We ultimately finished once again about on station with Downing just ahead of us.
With such a young M1 to finish third on the river and in doing so showed that over the course we were in the same league as the traditional college rowing powerhouses. From the start of term we said we wanted to put together four rows that we could be proud of, and I can safely that the crew achieved that and can now kick on to May’s.
Finished up one, third on the river
Crew Order: Cox – Bronwyn Jones Stroke – Mark Varley (c) 7 – Tom Bury 6 – Matt Chipping 5 – Rob Emery 4 – Helge Dietert 3 – Jack Robinson 2 – Matt Edmondson-Jones Bow – James Edgley