M1 - 2nd 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 W1 - 10th in May’s Women Eights Division 1 in 18:01 M2 - 3rd 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. Crew: 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.

M3 - 3rd in May’s Eights Division 3 in 14:39 M4 - 2nd in May’s Eights Division Lower in 14:38