Novice Men’s Falcons by Adam Jelley

After a slightly disastrous performance at Emma Sprints ( a member of our crew ‘ejector crabbed’, getting us disqualified - despite crossing the line first with only 6 men rowing), we were keen to give a better performance at Clare Novices.

Our opposition were Selwyn A, which brought to mind the old rivalry between Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. As we approached the start line we could see the Selwyn crew in their matching gear being shouted at by their intimidating Scottish coach, while we chatted and passed a bag of sweets down the boat ‘for energy’.

We didn’t get off to the best start, falling behind to about a length in the first hundred metres. At one point we seemed to be gaining and really went for it, thinking we might be able to make a comeback, but Selwyn finished strong and ended up crossing the line in front.

Initially we all felt pretty disappointed, but after the post-race team talk with our coach we all cheered up and realised how well we had actually raced. Even though we had to admit Selwyn were the better team on the day, everyone had a great time and we’re all really looking forward to racing in Fairbairns at the end of the week. The longer distance should suit us better so there are high hopes that we will really be able to show what we are capable of!

Novice Men’s Eagles by Oliver Whitehead

Clare novices was a great experience. It allowed our crew to get a feeling for real life racing conditions. Organisation was at the highest level, with everyone was coordinating well and very supportive. We raced against Trinity’s First and Third C boat.

We started with a great pace, ahead for most of the race. However, about 200 meters to the finish, everything went wrong at the same time. People were catching bad crabs, the boat became very unstable and at the same time, the opposition crew were taking over our side, so we almost crashed. Our cox had to call for “easy there” and we stopped rowing. We thought that we would restart the race, but the stewards did not call for a restart. By the time we began to row again, Trinity were almost at the finish. Hence we lost the race. But we did show some good rowing and had great fun.