Summer Eights 2015 – Thursday Race Reports

M1: Row over – Overall down 1

With a good New crew ahead and a slow Lincoln boat behind, we had no choice but to throw everything at New and see what happened. We held them into the gut and moved well clear of Lincoln, who proceeded to be bumped by Brasenose. With miles of empty water behind us we continued to pursue New, but they solidly held on and extended the lead, although I don’t really know by how much. So it’s another crack at them tomorrow, with what is probably a decent Brasenose crew behind.

– Chris Hughs (C)

W1: Row over – Overall level

Another strong performance from W1 today. Oriel gained ground rapidly off the start, and as we moved through the gut their bow ball started to get uncomfortably close. However, Joe knows all too well what works to motivate us, and our determination focused with the call ‘you are strong, they are weak’. Putting on a great show for the home crowd at Longbridges, we pulled back the lost ground as we exited the gut, allowing New College the space to push through and bump Oriel, leaving us to a controlled and relaxed row to the finish behind a strong Wolfson crew.

Despite initially losing our edge we really did show our mettle, and proved that we can hold our hand in the fire longer than the other crews out there. There is as good reason as always to fear the deer.

– Rosie Worster (VC)

M2: Row over – Overall up 1

Graham Topping II started off strong. A solid rate 36 start – 3 3/4 lengths then into gear 1, 2 and 3 bringing in the backs. Settled into race pace (34) after 10 strokes. However Osler house had caught GTC M1 before Donny Bridge, before we could get them. Graham Topping II was allowed to establish a nice rhythm and pushed hard to the finish line. With crews bumping all around us, it was a stylistic row today.

– Dan Heasman – 6 seat

W2: Up 1 – Overall up 1

Corrected result of Wednesday’s racing after an appeal  – technical row over

‘The (L)oar(d) of the Ri(n)gs: The Two Bow-ers

(May contain slight elborations on the truth for the sake of the story)

Last night had been one of turmoil, as Stuart the Sab had sacrificed himself to battle the firery Bumprog that had caught the fellowship yesterday in its snatches, narrowly running away from the ruins of the the gut of the Mines of Moria. Stuart the Sab had slipped into the murky depths of the OURCs cavern, fighting the appeal. However, last night the verdict had been settled: the evil Bumprog had been defeated so no bumps had occurred for the fellowship, and they now looked ahead to catching the treacherous Gol(lum)lincoln who yesterday lost their ‘precious’ bump and looked to race ahead to (Head of the) Mordor.  The fellowship intended to capture Gol(lum)lincoln by Gondor (Gut-dor), and leave the now approaching Oriel-hai behind in the dust.

Guided by the trusted Roodo, the fellowship once again rode out of Rivendell Longbridges. Riding out in front was the legendary warrior ‘I Am No Finalist’ Éow-Helen in place of Samwise-Naomi; subbing for Marianne-mir was the mystical Laurarwen; Mendy and Corellippin followed; then Gand-allison, Laralas, Gimlessye, and Ellagorn.

Great chat had hyped the fellowship before their quest. Gimlessye commented, ‘We Hertfordians are natural sprinters, great at short distances!'(*Actual film quote). Those of equally average height agreed, and promised to capture Gol(lum)lincoln as quickly as possible.

The battle gun fired and the fellowship strided out, strong as Ents. In less than 20 seconds, the horns of Gut-dor were sounding – one length away from the scrambling Gol(lum)lincoln. The fellowship put their legs down, and charged towards them, leaving the Oriel-hai in the dirt. Then, two soundings of the horns of Gut-dor! The fellowship ebbed closer and closer, and on the call of ‘a third of a length’ and three sounds from the horns of Gut-dor, Éow-Helen shouted, ‘There are no brakes on the hype train!’  The fellowship rode Gol(lum)lincoln to the doors of Gut-dor, burnt down their houses and wrote their names in the ashes (metaphorically).

The successful Fellowship of the Bumps rode home victorious, only to find Stuart the Sab had been resurrected, and upgraded to honorary Stuart the Soreen, the most hyped of coaches in Middle Oxford.  The Fellowship had won their first victory – the hype train continues…’

– Jessye Aggleton

M3: Row over – Overall down 1

The 5 minute cannon sounded out across the water as crews manoeuvred in to position at their bunglines. Four minutes seemed to last an eternity as we awaited the countdown that would launch us into action. We knew what we had to do, with the fearsome Keble ahead and Merton lined up behind, keep the red chevrons within touching distance for as long as possible ready to pounce on any mistake, whilst keeping chasing crew at bay. As the coaches fell silent and the last few inches of fuse sparked into life, heads pointed forward, expressions turned steely.

BANG! We were off.

Winding up into our race rhythm, Merton loomed large. Memories of Keble’s vicious assault came flashing back and the crew started to tense up, our previously lightning start faultered and Merton started to close in.

As we entered the gut Merton had overlap, their coxswain swiped the bow at us but to no avail. We pushed on, walking to line between falling prey to their boat and breaking free of their persuit. All the while Oriel had been hot on Merton’s tail. Three boats had entered to gut with overlap, but only one boat left.

We managed to hold on long enough for Oriel to force a concession out of the Merton cox. We passed Hertford College Boat Club with about three clear lengths between us and Keble IV.

The slight relief felt as we saw the clear water was soon snatched from us. Four seat had crabbed. As we approached green banks we rowed with only six men as Evan and Mike fought to recover. Keble started to close in, three became two and two narrowed to one. All eight were back in action by the end of green banks and we pushed off with Keble now on our tail. Approaching boat house island, the gap stayed fixed while we settled back into our rhythm.

“Power” was called by Gary and the boat started to pick up. Tiring legs pushed on, building the gap to Keble to over a length. The finish line approaching, Keble slowly drifting away. We crossed the line with breathing space having had one of the most nerve racking rows this crew had ever experienced.

Race finished, our goal was achieved by the skins of our teeth. Next up, Friday, a fierce fight with Linacre and Oriel is sure to come.

– Toran Sharma – pushing hard from seat five.

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