Day 1 - rowed over

After the loss of all bar one of the previous year’s Mays W1, QCBC women were facing a term of development and growth. They rose to the challenge spectacularly and, come Day 1, had spent the term with some very promising results as well as some excellent sparring results under their belts. Nerves were high as we arrived to marshal behind FaT W1. We spent a jolly few minutes ‘psyching them out’ before it was time to row to the start. The cannons boomed and we were off. Immediately off the start we were 2 lengths clear of Tit Hall and had our first whistle. By First Post we had 2 whistles on FaT but - due to some shoddy parking around the Gut - we had to steer wide and lost them. We rowed over well clear of anything behind us but back on station with FaT. On the Reach, with very little feedback from the bank and Anisha, we had no real clue where FaT were and our doubts crept in and we assumed they were well clear. We crossed the line with a solid row over but feeling we should have bumped

Day 2 - bumped by LMBC W1

Day 2 dawned and we knew LMBC were quick. We also knew we could sprint for the bump on FaT if we tried. Off the start, we hit the first whistle but the second just didn’t come. We were rowing out of time, affected by the crosswind. Out of Grassy we put in a fantastic push but LMBC had gone for a sprint. Between Grassy and the Plough they had closed down from 2 lengths to a half. We lost even more speed around Ditton and by halfway down the reach they had bumped us. It was a well deserved bump on their part - they put in a push and we just couldn’t respond to it. It wasn’t our best rowing by a long shot and it was unlucky for us that on our sub-par day we came across a very fast crew who took advantage of our weakness.

As we rowed back to the boathouse, realisation dawned. We were being chased by Catz tomorrow. Catz - who we had spent the whole of Lent Bumps grappling with - had become something of our ‘enemies’ on the river. Emotionally exhausted after Lents, we had no desire to repeat what had happened three months earlier. We sat down and re-planned. We changed around some of the calls, deciding to introduce a ‘re-start’ out of Grassy and get away. We also changed our whistles tactic - instead of trying to get whistles on the crew in front, we would have Chris shout the lengths between us and Catz. each push we did would send us further away from Catz and we wouldn’t worry about getting closer to Johns.

Day 3 - rowed over

Judgement day had arrived. We were nervous, enraged and pumped for an epic race. The sun was shining and we were full of steely determination. At marshalling, Catz were gathered around one another in a group huddle. We were quiet, readying ourselves. we knew they would be thinking they could get us and we knew we wanted that about as much as an ejector seat in a helicopter. We practiced the restart under the bridge. We flew. It felt great. But we were still terrified. The cannons started and we fell silent. After a few choice words from captain Abi, we waited for the 1 minute gun. START - we were off. Off our start we were 2 lengths up. By First Post it was 3 1/2. Chris and Antonia on the bank were motivating us to within an inch of our lives. Anisha was remaining calm. Out of Grassy we set ourselves up for the restart - we were OFF. Our first whistle on LMBC came and we were 5 1/2 lengths clear of Catz. Onto Ditton the wind hit us hard and we were terrified they would close the gap. But they suffered more and we were 9 lengths clear by the end. Having to steer around a bump at the bridge, we rowed over utterly victorious. We had DONE it. 9 lengths. In the words of Catz bank party ‘It was a solid rowover…but it (a bump) was never going to happen’. Antonia had shouted herself hoarse, the crew had rowed themselves exhausted and Anisha had coxed her socks off. It was epic. But we still had the last day.

Day 4 - rowed over

Final day arrived and this was it. For Abi, Mathilde and Becky this was their last chance to bump at Queens’. For Becky, who had never got a bump, it was her last chance to earn the elusive prize. They were all leaving and emotions were high. At the startline we almost had a fit of horror when Anisha realised she had forgotten her life jacket. The FaT boatman saved our life(jacket) with 3 minutes to go and we were ready. Jittery and nervous after the shock of losing the jacket, we took a minute to compose ourselves. It was the last day, the last race and we were not getting bumped. Off the start we were 1 3/4 lengths clear. By First Post it was 2 1/2. They weren’t giving in as easily as yesterday. Out of Grassy we increased it to 3 1/2. We had our first whistle on Christs but, out of Ditton, got the shock of our lives when we realised that Christs had bumped LMBC back after getting bumped the day before. There was no bump for us to chase so we just had to keep off Catz. The wind was horrific and the Georgina was parked across the Reach (silly boat) but we dug deep and gave it our all to cross the line 4 lengths clear of Catz. Decisive and solidly proven - we had defended our place for 2 days running and had earned the spot 11th on the river.

After a week of tension, excitement and (thankfully) not as much drama as the previous term, we had finished on a high. The crew were now seasoned Mays rowers who had proved why they deserved their spot in the first division. It was wonderful to go out as Captain and as a Queens’ rower on such a high and this is a term I - as Captain - will treasure. Well done to all of W1 for a fantastic few days racing!


C - Anisha Mistry

S - Abi Smitton (Capt)

7 - Claire Armstrong

6 - Becky Lawrence

5 - Mathilde Spiess

4 - Valentina Futoryanova

3 - Anna te Water Naudé

2 - Jemima Graham

B - Rachel Salter

Coach - Chris Clark