Summer Eights 2016 – Saturday Race Reports

W1 rounded off an excellent Eights for HCBC by winning blades and moving up to 8th in Women’s Division I, whilst a klaxon in Men’s Division IV cruelly denied M2 their own opportunity to win blades.  M1, W2 and M3 also gave the HCBC supporters plenty to cheer on. Please read on to hear the crews’ recount of an action packed conclusion to Eights 2016.

M1: Rowed Over – finish 13th Division I

Hertford M1 met on Saturday afternoon with the plan of finally rowing the race we knew we had in us. Waiting and watching in the boat bay as W1 pushed off we were driven to sign off with a bang. We set off with our eyes firmly ahead on Balliol we started strongly pushing ourselves up to rate 44. St Catz set off strongly behind and closed up half a length, but they had done that everyday, and we had pulled away every day so no need to panic…. Unfortunately St Catz hadn’t read the script, a big push coming out of the gut and they were sitting a third of a length of our stern. The crew kicked on and the technique came together as we moved up greenbanks. St Catz weren’t to be broken and the gap between us wavered between ¼ and ½ of a length. A strong fight between the two crews repeated every day this week ending with a spectacle for the massed crowds.

Steve Crabb – Six Seat

Stroke: Simon Zieleniewski
7: Henry Penrose
6: Steve Crabb (P)
5: Chris Jones
4: Simon Jacobi
3: Guy Pilbeam
2: Rob House
Bow: Mitch Fruin
Cox: Ruairidh South

W1: Bumped St. Johns to win Blades – finish 8th Div I

On Saturday of Eights, after everyone was pretty much too excited to sleep, W1 took to the river an average of 6 hours before our race time. After sitting around/ mainly walking around excitedly at the prospect of the potential ‘B-Word’, everyone turned eerily quiet around half an hour before race start. With a klaxon having gone off in one of the previous divisions, depriving others of blades and after our experience yesterday it seemed as though everyone was more terrified of that happening than the racing itself. Luckily any prospects of a thunderstorm had passed, although as Joe said, that wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because ‘The Hype Train doesn’t stop for rain’.

To make it short- we arrived at our bung line, after admittedly one of the most focused warm ups in the history of warm ups and lined up behind the blue and black hue of St John’s. Cheering on our beloved Wolfson friends (we really need to thank them for doing lots of the hard work for us), we were ready for our start. Some inspirational words were said by Joe and Hannah and off we went. We strode to a solid rhythm at 35 (sorry to everyone in the boat- I got over-excited and forgot what a stride was) and started closing on John’s. Pushing off the long wall of Hertford cheers, we fought against a determined John’s which was putting up more of a fight than expected (Torpids déjà vu). However, at the entrance of the gut, the Hype Train of W1 yet again drove them to exhaustion and they soon surrendered, with no John’s supporters in sight. BLADES for W1, as the highest blade winning crew on the river…without ever having to row beyond the gut- not bad for the crew voted as one of the least likely to bump in Div 1.

Until about two days ago, no one would have ever imagined that this was something we were actually capable of. However, maybe stressing and moving to 6 outings a week and only having one day off in a month was a useful, if admittedly tiring decision. Thank you so much to everyone in the crew who decided to put in the hours and was incredibly determined to work with what we had! Their continued enthusiasm and drive has been absolutely inspiring and I could not be prouder of all these women (and Joe). Not listening to the doubts of rowchat and all others, everyone gave it everything they got and worked themselves into the ground in the run up for these 4 days of racing. Their willingness to accept the constant changes and never ending training and criticism by coaches to improve, is beyond inspirational. The spirit of the Hype Train has been successfully maintained and Hertford’s march up the river continues!

Thank you to all those that came down to support us across the week- we could not have done it without you. And again to all the members of the club, for being such a lovely bunch of people who have devoted so much of their time to this Campaign. BLADES BLADES BLADES- it all paid off & for all those leaving; what a way to end our time rowing for Hertford!

I look forward to seeing what Hertford Women have in store in the future!

Marie Becker – Stroke

Stroke: Marie Becker (C)
7: Annie Taylor (VC)
6: Emma Lukasiewicz
5: Hannie Knox
4: Abie Witts
3: Sarah Edwards
2: Amy Holguin
Bow: Ros Martin
Cox: Joe Hitchen (CofC)

M2: Rowed Over – finish 6th Div IV

Race report pending Eights Dinner recovery!

W2: Bumped by Regents – finish 7th Div IV

We knew this was going to be a tough race between two crews going for blades. We were being chased by Regents W1 so our only hope was to catch Lincoln before they caught us. After a messy performance on Friday we were determined to row our best on Saturday. We were all very focused and the anticipation was high as we waited for the delayed start gun. The gun went and we set off at high speed. The first few strokes were clean and all in time – looking promising – but then disaster struck. A savage crab in the middle of the boat sent 4 flying off her seat (fortunately not into the river) but she was sadly unable to recover and we all had to stop. Regents W1 caught up with us, but as we were blocking the river they were too stressed to sing their victory song, which we were all very glad about. All in all a disappointing end to VIIIs, but we tried our best and could all see that our performance was a massive improvement from a disastrous torpids!

Amy Grace Whitsey Franklin – Two Seat

Stroke: Ella Walsh
7: Nicollette Herrera
6: Kaja Fenn
5: Bridget Johns
4: Marilyn Vaccaro
3: Dustin Fire
2: Amy Grace Whitsey Franklin
Bow: Libera Assini
Cox: Katie Hiscocks

M3: Bumped by Antony’s II – finish 1st Div VII

It had not been a great week for M3, but this last day looked like it could change that: we were finally chasing Linacre II; a crew that was on for spoons and was much slower than us in rowing on – an easy target for the mighty Deer. However, the Jesus boat which we had previously held off with ease had been bumped by St Antony’s II; their 4th bump of Eights, meaning we were being chased by a much more formidable team. Disaster struck before the race had even begun, as Charles Wang’s beloved GoPro, practically a 10th member of our boat at this point, fell off its holster to a watery grave at the bottom of the ISIS. Even this sacrifice to the river did not bring us good fortune; when the gun went off we had a much shakier start than we’d practised. Nonetheless we were soon underway, and gaining on Linacre II (who had also had a slow start). We struggled to sit the boat in their wake and our speed fell, but soon we were less than a length away from Linacre and it looked like things were finally going our way to our cox Joe, until he was rammed in the back by the bow of Antony’s II, spearing both the deer and our hopes of breaking the 7 year long M3 bumping dry spell in Eights. Still, at least we got to show the world our pasty shoulders and lack of DIY skills in our home-made tank tops. Bring on next year!

Rob Parkin-O’Brien – Four Seat

Stroke: Ali “Stroke” Duffey
7: Tobi “7” Endlich
6: Patrick “6” Austin
5: Matt “5” Wilson
4: Rob “4” Parkin-O’Brien
3: Gary “3” Wu
2: Kostas “2” Laurinaitis
Bow: Charles “Bow” Wang
Cox: Joe “Joe” Wynn


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