Winter Head to Head 2013

M13rd in M1 division in a total time of 13:25
W110th in W1 division in a total time of 17:18

Following a week of training camp on the Cam, the newly formed and selected Queens’ W1 took to the river for the first race of term – 2x2k bridge to bridge. With super sub Charlie Drury filling in for Mathilde at 5, we rowed up to the start and waited….and waited….and got colder. By the time we got to the start line we were cold, flustered and nervous and this set us up for an uncomfortable race. Hitting rate 32 off the start and settling to 28, we rowed over the course up to the Motorway Bridge with City of Cambridge in hot pursuit. Pushing them out through the corners we held them off all the way to the finish line thanks to gutsy pushes from the 8 rowers and some fantastic motivational calls from Anisha. After the spin, we all agreed that it hadn’t felt all that great. We hadn’t settled on a rhythm and had simply rowed the course. But we knew that the motivation and the determination was there and we were proud of our ability to push off the much faster crew behind. We went into the second leg in the knowledge that we knew we would ‘Never Give Up’

The second 2k felt much better. Rowing into a headwind and with a very fast flowing stream meant the row took longer but our start was firmer and the settle came much more easily. Tiredness set in at Grassy corner and we had to deploy the big guns to get around onto Plough Reach but we eventually managed it. Calling for three of our specially designed ‘test strokes’ we reset the pace onto the Reach and went for the final push. The wind was battling against our backs but the ‘surge’ calls from Anisha spurred the crew on. It was tough and tiring but we completed the two legs in an overall time of 17.18. It placed us 10th out of the W1s – a result that was solid but slightly disappointing. We knew it had been a shoddy race and was the kick up the rudder we needed to spur us on this term. Next stop…Bedford!
Stroke – Abi Smitton (c)
7 – Claire Armstrong
6 – Becky Lawrence
5 – Charlie Drury
4 – Jemima Graham
3 – Elaina Davis
2 – Helena Wickham
Bow – Rachel Salter
Cox – Anisha Mistry

May Bumps 2013 Summary

9 boats on the river, including a W4, in what we think is a first for Queens’.

It was an astonishing first day with 7 out of 9 crews bumping up and only one crew being bumped. The men’s lower boats kept the bumping theme up throughout the week with both M2 and M4 flying the Boar on Saturday as they won their blades. Unlike their Lent’s campaign, M2 had some longer races and rowed very well to win their 4th set of blades of the year. Having had a crash on First Post cost them a Lent’s race, M4 were taking no chances and dispatched all 4 crews with a blistering start sequence, avoiding the corners entirely.

M3 and M5 both had a single row over. M3 on Saturday, having been on for blades, and were understandably disappointed. M5 on Thursday were as delighted as a crew escaping their spoons on Saturday, which was a real concern for a very inexperienced crew.

As is becoming traditional for Queens’ in the Mays, M1 held level. Just for variety, they go caught up with the magically accelerating Pembroke crew and were up one and down one.

The women squad had a very good week. W1 couldn’t hold off a fast LMBC crew but otherwise rowed over strongly at 11th on the river. The Lent’s fury bubbled gently when they found themselves in front of Catz again but the progress they had made in the term was plain to see, as they rowed over a long way ahead. With only one person in the crew having raced bumps before, W4 decided to sample bumps fully – bumped up, rowed over, got bumped, overbumped up. W3 fought hard in some long races to finish down 1. W2 capped off a good terms training with a well deserved up 2 to leave them placed to push for a spot in the 2nd division next Mays.

Thank you to everyone who coached, coxed or umpired for QCBC.

May Bumps 2013, M1

Stayed Level Maintaining 8th on the River
Day 1 – Bumped Pembroke

After all the waiting and disruption due to exams M1 finally arrived at May Bumps unsure of what to expect from all the crews around us. Predictions were difficult to make with all of the top boats appearing capable of beating all of the others on any given day. However M1 were quietly confident that a good result could be achieved.

A calm and powerful warm up set the stage nicely to really attack the race and see where the boat stands. Off the start the crew cranked the rate up towards the high forties before striding down onto race rhythm. As the crew hit its stride Clare behind started to fall behind as we started to eat slowly into Pembroke. Coming down Plough Reach a strong push dropped the distance down to approximately a length and Dr Walker signalled the first whistle. Coming round Ditton the distance was holding at about ¾ of a length before Bronwyn called for a large finishing move to end the race. The entire boat just started to launch itself out of the water as everyone committed entirely and the rate shot towards 43. The boat closed from ¾ of a length over the next 10 to 15 strokes bumping about one third of the way down the reach.

Up ahead FAT had fallen to St Catz giving us a shot at them next day.
Day 2 – Rowed Over

After the strong performance on day 1, M1 were confident about the next day. Having had some epic battles with FAT in Lents it was expected to be close again. The early season form had showed FAT losing badly to most crews but in the last race they beat most of the crews around them meaning predictions were meaningless.

From the gun Queens’ moved out and attacked the race similar to the day before. The crew set up a strong and powerful rhythm and started to move slowly into FAT. Coming past the plough the distance was down to just over a length and things were looking promising, Pembroke were nowhere to be seen and the crew were preparing to grind down the reach. However going around Ditton corner everything went wrong. The boat rapidly slowed as we drifted wide dropping about two lengths to all crews around bringing Pembroke back onto us and letting FAT off the hook. The row down the reach became a battle of guts, it wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t anywhere near our best and it just about held Pembroke off long enough for them to be bumped by Clare. This allowed us to simply row over and finish the race.

The crew was really disappointed by the row and the race generally. Unfortunately this is bumps and if you lose your focus for even a second you will be punished and we were lucky not to have been bumped today.
Day 3 – Rowed Over

After the issues of the day before the crew arrived much more relaxed than the day before aware that yesterday was a poor performance but today would be better. Everyone was aware that FAT are catchable but we would have to be at our best.

The race started in a similar manner to the previous going hard off the start and then striding down onto race rhythm. Round the early part of the course the rhythm felt much stronger and we kept just inside station on FAT. Coming onto the reach the crew had decided to make a really focussed attack to grind into the crews around. The boat was really moving however we were unable to move and make much of an impact on the FAT crew. A couple of lifts closed the gap to about a length but despite what we could throw at them we could not gain anymore.

At the finish we probably closed to about ¾ of a length but nothing more. FAT in tern had been all over the Catz crew in front but also had not quite been able to finish them either. Slightly more concerning, Pembroke had put one of their blues back in the boat today and bumped Clare back quite comfortably meaning we would be involved in a race tomorrow.
Day 4 – Bumped by Pembroke

The final day and the crew knew we were going to be in a battle with Pembroke coming from behind. Pembroke had both blues in the boat and would be difficult to hold off. The crew did know that we had done all the training and work and the best we could only put out the best row that we could.

Similar to the first three days the boat rocketed off the line and settled into a long and loose rhythm. Coming around grassy Pembroke started to move on us as we moved upon FAT. Coming down Plough Reach Pembroke started to gain coming towards half a length on us as we moved towards a length off FAT. Coming into Ditton the crew needed to really dig in and start pushing off the Pembroke crew that were starting to gain more rapidly moving towards overlap. Bronwyn showed some tricky coxing moving away from Pembroke and making them chase Queens’ across the river. Every time Pembroke pushed Queens’ responded giving everything to try and hold them off until Pembroke did one push too many bumping us back at the same point we bumped them on the first day. At this point we had closed to less than half a length on FAT but they escaped due to the luck of bumps.

All in all a campaign where the crew stayed level but got both a bump and a bump against. It really showed the benefits that blues bring back to the boat with Pembroke being bumped twice without and bumping back twice when they returned. The lessons learnt in this campaign will be taken forwards to next year.

By Mark Varley (Men’s Captain 12-13)
Stroke – James Edgley
7 – Peter Mildon
6 – Rob Emery
5 – Matt Chipping
4 – Jack Robinson
3 – Matt Edmondson-Jones
2 – Tom Bury
Bow – Mark Varley
Cox – Bronwyn Jones

May Bumps 2013, W1

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

May Bumps 2013, M2, W2, M3, W3, M4, W4, M5


Day 1 – bumped Wolfson M1
Day 2 – bumped Pembroke M2
Day 3 – bumped Sidney Sussex M1
Day 4 – bumped Jesus M2

Day 1 – bumped Trinity Hall W2
Day 2 – rowed over
Day 3 – rowed over
Day 4 – bumped Hughes Hall W1

Day 1 – bumped Fitzwilliam M2
Day 2 – bumped Magdalene M2
Day 3 – bumped Robinson M2
Day 4 – rowed over

Day 1 – bumped Hughes Hall W2
Day 2 – rowed over
Day 3 – bumped by Murray Edwards W3
Day 4 – bumped by Clare W3


Day 1 – bumped King’s M3
Day 2 – bumped Sidney Sussex M2
Day 3 – bumped LMBC M4
Day 4 – bumped Magdalene M3

Day 1 – bumped Jesus W4
Day 2 – rowed over
Day 3 – bumped by Churchill W2
Day 4 – overbumped Clare W4

Day 1 – bumped by Emma M4
Day 2 – rowed over
Day 3 – bumped by Darwin M3
Day 4 – bumped by Corpus Christi M3

St Radegund’s Mile 2013

Quickest Eight in 5:20

After a productive training camp in Norwich Queens’ M1 entered the traditional term opener of St Radegund’s Mile. This is a 1600m piece from outside the Plough to top finish and is a race Queens’ have traditionally done well in (but not so much in recent years). The crew was the same that had done the infamous 90 minute Norwich piece and confidence was high having trained hard over the break.

From the off the crew wound the rate up into the start hitting a comfortable r34 and striding into the rhythm from the last week. The motion was slightly scrappy with backs not quite coming through together as the boat started to rock as we came into Ditton. Onto the reach the crew called for a suspension and really firing the backs through leading to a lift in boat-speed backed up by the updated splits from the speed-coach.

As the crew started to get tired errors started to appear in the rowing as the catches started to wave about a bit and the bodies started to develop small discrepancies. Towards the P&E the crew started to lift for the finish before Bronwyn called an unexpected hold it up. It turned out a dog had decided to have a swim in the river and the crew had to completely stop the boat to avoid running it over. As soon as the dog had cleared the boat wound back and with a lot of aggression due to the unexpected stop powered past the finish line.

Although hardly any colleges entered the crew clocked a dog effected time of 5:20 seconds, 20 seconds clear of the next eight. This is a promising result for the term and shows that the fitness has been maintained over the Easter and hopefully bodes well for a good term.
Stroke – James Edgley
7 – Matt Chipping
6 – Rob Emery
5 – Helge Dietert
4 – Peter Mildon
3 – Matt Edmondson-Jones
2 – Tom Bury
Bow – Mark Varley (c)
Cox – Bronwyn Jones

Head of the Cam 2013

2nd in May’s 1st Division 8:54

After a second mini-training camp on the Cam through the week the new look M1 was selected and looking to lay down a marker for the term. Fierce competition for seats ensured that everyone in the crew deserved their place and even though we only had one outing in combination before the event we believed we could have a good result.

The Head of the Cam course is over 2.6km and all the big boys were present including overwhelming favourites Caius, 2nd on the river Downing and an LMBC boat completely changed from the Lents. The row up was jovial, the novelty of rowing in the sun meaning the crew was excited and looking forward to the off. With wind conditions unusual for this time of year being a tail-cross it was expected to be a reasonably quick day.

From the start the crew wound to the now traditional 34 and over the first 500m the boat felt like it was really motoring. The catches were sharp and views from the bank party suggested distance to Caius was reasonably constant. Heading into the corners the lack of rowing together in combination led to small differences meaning the boat didn’t quite send properly and LMBC who were chasing appeared to take great distance out of us. Out of each corner the crew lifted and really focusing on moving the backs together increased the boat speed allowing the boat to move away.

Hitting the reach the rate had slowed slightly as the crew tired but under the control of Bronwyn Jones the crew consistently lifted, really allowing the inherent power to be layed down even if it didn’t quite have the finesse we would have liked. From the railway bridge the crew started to lift for the finish. Although the rate didn’t really increase the effort going down definitely did and the split reflected that as the crew powered over the final section of the course.

The view from the boat was that it felt alright but wasn’t quite together. Time wise we were hoping to be near the top but not expecting too much. It was therefore a pleasant surprise to clock an 8:54 coming second only Caius beating us. This meant that we managed to put a marker down getting ahead of both Downing and LMBC at the start of term, this bodes well for the next race once a little more training together has been carried out.
Stroke – James Edgley
7 – Matt Edmondson-Jones
6 – Rob Emery
5 – Matt Chipping
4 – Jack Robinson
3 – Mark Varley (c)
2 – Tom Bury
Bow – Peter Mildon
Cox – Bronwyn Jones

2nd in May’s 2nd Division 9:20

After a 4 day training camp in Norwich and a mini camp back on the Cam it was becoming second nature to jump into a scratch crew and make the most of the outing, but nevertheless it was a tall order for the M2 which pushed off to race Head of the Cam, having never rowed together before. With 23 years of experience and some big names in the boat we had nothing to lose and everything to prove, so we gave it our all.
Off the start Jamey pushed the rate up to a strong 36; it felt slightly unnatural but the commitment was there from the guys to back him up. Out of first post we settled onto 31 and pushed hard out of the corners. We held strong down the reach, though the legs were hurting, not being used to such long pieces on the water after the Easter break. As we passed the P&E Emily called some great pushes to keep us going to top bumps finish.

We clocked 9:20, making us the fastest 2nd boat only 26 seconds off Queens’ M1. It’s gonna be a good term for M2.

S: Jack Amey
7: Luke Chapman
6: Helge Dietert
5: Greg John Steele
4: Duncan Wallace
3: Calum Jeffray
2: Hamish Houston
B: James Helliwell
C: Emily Baxter

Spring Head to Head 2013

M12nd in May’s Eights Division 1 in 13:09

After a hard week of training M1 approached the Head to Head racing feeling confident of putting in a strong performance. With the rhythm feeling much better, the crew prepared to really attack the first piece to try and break out of the normal comfort zone and really see what we could do.

From the start of the first piece the boat really accelerated into race rate settling onto a solid r36 coming down the reach. The tailwind that had aided the earlier divisions had faded meaning the crew could really focus on moving the boat. After a solid opening through the corners small errors in timing and accuracy allowed the boat to start to roll about a little not getting quite the run required and losing valuable seconds. However this was made up by the final 300m finish push where the rate built to about 40 and the crew gave everything in driving for the finish. On the whole the piece felt like it was on the edge throughout which was what was being aimed for and the crew was happy with the performance.

With only 10 minutes rest before the next piece the crew was always asking a lot to replicate the pervious performance. A combination of over-cooking the first piece and a large training load meant that despite full effort in the second piece there was simply very little left in the legs. This was really felt during the second half as the crew came onto the reach and simply had nothing left. Despite all the effort and commitment the time was always going to be disappointing as proved to be the case.

Overall Queens’ came second but were in total 19 seconds behind the Downing crew which is where we want to be. The whole crew was disappointed particularly with the second piece but will learn from the experience and will push forwards towards next week.
Stroke – James Edgley
7 – Matt Edmondson-Jones
6 – Rob Emery
5 – Matt Chipping
4 – Jack Robinson
3 – Mark Varley
2 – Tom Bury
Bow – Peter Mildon
Cox – Bronwyn Jones
W110th in May’s Women Eights Division 1 in 18:01
M23rd in May’s Eights Division 2 in 13:39

An intense and formative week of training took place between Head of the Cam and Spring Head to Head, with a re-rigged boat and more practiced crew rowing heading out on a windy Saturday morning. Chaos before the start line made pre-race preparations difficult but once the start order came for the first leg we stormed under the railway bridge with a strong tailwind blowing us down the reach. Emily, helped by some strong strokes from Hamish and Duncan, took a great line around Ditton with the boat speed barely dropping. As we tired our technique slipped a little into the bad habits we’d been trying to eradicate but we held the intensity until the motorway bridge to complete the first leg.

Our half an hour of rest between the legs was filled with some of the things we most love about rowing: eating Haribo, crew banter and heavy rain. Fun over we put the clams on for the second leg and psyched ourselves up to race back into a strong headwind.

Off the start the difference with the clams was notable as we hit high rate but without the cover we were used to. The bladework was a little messy as we rowed around the corners with determination. In anticipation for the blustery reach Emily called a fantastic push and a reset as soon as we were straight after Ditton. The boys responded well with a gutsy rate 32 which held for the whole reach. Downing M2 were in front of us and we used them as motivation to keep going, finishing just a length behind them having gained 17 seconds on the second leg.

We clocked 6:23 for the first leg, 7:16 for the second to give an overall time of 13:39. Later in the day LMBC M2 did 6:37 and 6:58 to beat us overall by 4 seconds, though the relative calm conditions of their division makes a comparison unrealistic. Champs should let us settle the difference once and for all.
S: Luke Chapman
7: Jack Amey
6: Alex Chappell
5: Helge Dietert
4: Calum Jeffray
3: Duncan Wallace
2: James Helliwell
B: Hamish Houston
C: Emily Baxter

Thanks to Alex Chappell who subbed for Greg John Steele.

M33rd in May’s Eights Division 3 in 14:39
M42nd in May’s Eights Division Lower in 14:38