Buoyed by their recent QErgs victory last weekend Queens’ NM1 turned their rudder towards Emma Sprints. Far from it being a case of the usual suspects, NM1’s first ever race on the water also represented the first time that the 8 rowers had taken to the river together.

Inspired by the namesake of their glorious leader the team decided on the fancy dress theme of Noah and the Ark, and so, when judgment day arrived, Queens’ NM1 arrived at the boathouse looking like the castoffs from Disney’s latest storyboard. Never before have Rudolph, Vixen, a Gorilla, two ducks, two zebras and one Igor taken to the water. Special mention must be given to Turnbull who made for a very convincing gorilla. On the other hand, Selway and Gandhi somewhat undermined the theological cogency of the outfits, failing to realise that, should we be smitten by the Great Flood then ducks, with their innate ability to swim would not be given a berth aboard HMS Noah’s Ark. With a David Attenborough narrative ringing in our heads we set forth for Emma Sprints.

First up, the squatters in Queens’ boat house, Magdalene NM1. Magdalene had much the better of the start with Queens 6 catching a crab in the first 10 strokes, an honourable dedication to completing Noah’s task and bringing all wildlife onto the Ark. Once Queens’ found their rhythm they quickly pulled back Magdalene’s lead and, one hundred metres out from the finish, the lead was with Queens’. However, in search of partner for our recent crustacean stowaway, Queens 7 caught a second crab and so, with the finish line in sight, Magdalene pulled ahead to claim victory.

With dreams of silverware out of mind Queens’ were paired up against the eight sperm swimmers of Christ’s for the return race. Christ’s ejected off the start line, too strong for Queens’ rather impotent wind-up. Christ’s quickly established a lead of one or two boat-lengths. As before, once Queens’ were in their groove, they displayed a rhythm that Freddie Mercury himself would have been proud of and slowly started to eat in Christ’s lead. It was unfortunately a case of too little too late and Christ’s crossed the line deserved-winners.

Post-match video analysis demonstrates that, despite minimal time in the boat together, there were times when NM1 found a tidy and powerful rhythm. With Fairbairns and some material faces to make a return to the boat, there is much to be optimistic about as NM1 look to secure their second piece of silverware for the term.