Torpids 2017 – Thursday Race Reports

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M1 – level at 7th Division I

Cox: Alice Vacani
Stroke: Jack Waterman
7: Alex Allison
6: Chris Nicholls
5: Chris Jones
4: Rowan Schrecker
3: Ali Duffey
2: Jacob Vivian
Bow: Jong Kwon

Despite rushing onto our bungline by a delayed warm-up and an unforgiving OURCs, Hertford M1 sat awaiting the cannon in quiet confidence. After observing Baliol yesterday, we were pretty sure that we wouldn’t have too much trouble rowing away from them. The instruction from our beloved coach was to ‘kill the race in the first 2 minutes’, which, based on what happened next when the start gun fired, seemed to be what Balliol’s coach had told them. Whilst we executed our start sequence in a rather smart and crisp manner, Balliol went off hard. They had taken a ¼ of a length by the time we rowed under Donnington Bridge, and, such was the ferocity of their efforts, appeared to be attempting to summon the Kraken. It was at this point that we started to row away from them. Much like yesterday, we rowed strongly past Longbridges at which time the gap had increased to 2 ½ or 3 lengths. Despite a rocky patch as we rowed past the middle of Boathouse Island, which was probably to do with us being quite tired, we crossed the finish line with a similar distance of clear water behind us. We now have two days to catch Christ Church, who were bumped into the position above us today.

Chris Nicholls – 6-seat

W1 – up 1 to 6th Division I

Cox: Joe Wynn
Stroke: Abie Witts
7: Rosalind Martin
6: Marie Becker
5: Penny Hyde
4: Philippa Thornton
2: Amy Holguin
3: Hannie Knox
Bow: Annie Ault

In 1448, the original ‘Hart Hall’ college was usurped and its land taken into the ownership of Magdalen Hall. The move was orchestrated by Magdalen College, and so it was that some 569 years later the brave souls of Hart Hall(/Hertford) W1 decided to wreak some sort of boatie revenge…

Compared to the deluge of Wednesday the second day of Torpids was bright and clear, with a slight tailwind anticipated off the start. W1 assembled early, and without dwelling (too much) on past successes warmed up. Bursts were completed, starts practiced and without too much incident they were soon in position, with the cox along a length of rope from the bank. Following a delayed cannon the race was eventually under way, and a decent start saw Hertford hold onto Wolfson, whilst keeping station with the University crew behind. Over the bow the shape of a Magdalen VIII was visible, their line wide and their advantage over Wolfson diminishing. The inevitable Wolfson bump was short, sharp and completed by Donnington Bridge. As a consequence, Hertford took a wide line round the resting crew and set their crosshairs firmly on their ailing opponents.

Settling down to an agreeable rate, Hertford ate up the distance to Magdalen whilst reducing University to an inconspicuous blob. Not that the rowers noticed, such was the depth of their concentration. 2 lengths came the call from the stern. Then 1 length. Then half a length. The shout for the final 18 strokes came from the coxswain and the crew shifted up a gear. The gap was closing fast now, and a canvas became half a canvas became overlap in no time at all. Soon, our heroes were subjected to a series of jolting bumps, and they knew contact had been made. Evidently Magdalen thought so too, and as soon as their concession was registered Hertford wound it down and left the racing line. Once again it appeared that Hertford just didn’t “do” racing past Longbridges, and once again everyone’s legs were spared. In the meantime, the Magdalen quarry were having a torrid time of it and haemorrhaged even more places. The message was clear: don’t mess with Hertford, or in 569 years we’ll beat you in an outdated race format.

Joe Wynn – Cox

M2 – down 2 to 8th Division IV

Cox: Nayyar “Ever appealing” Jamie
Stroke: Patrick “Well groomed” Austin
7: Toran “Cold feet” Sharma
6: Maciej “Always Concede” Bugala
5: Hamish “Did we bump?” Streeter
4: Maciek “Part-timer” Peplinski
3: Harry “The optimist” Connor
2: Freddie “As good as New” von Kaufmann
Bow: Ross “Too perfect” Johnstone
Coach: Simon “This is my whistle” Kirk

*BOOM* 5 minute gun goes off and we’re still in the gut, an added pressure 10 helps Hertford M2 get to bungline 6 and spun on time. *BOOM* 1 minute gun goes off, the crew are weirdly quiet for once. *BOOM* Division IV is underway, M2 has a good start, we’re gaining towards Wadham II ahead. As we settle into the rhythm we lost some of the distance between us and Trinity II behind us. We continue to hold them off at half a length. “GO WIDE!” shouting from Simon on the bank alerts us to the stationary New College crew ahead just after Donnington Bridge. Despite aggressive steering and a pressure call we end up entangled in the New crew as Trinity II makes quick work of closing the distance and crashing into our stroke blade. As we finally manage to extricate ourselves from the mess and continue past them we soon have St Catz II bearing down on us, and have to concede to them outside Falcon club. After dodging a few more crews we’re almost out of the gut when a klaxon is called. (Due to disobedient swans who disregard OURCs rules of circulation.) The confusion begins to set in: did we bump New? Did we bump Wadham? Is our boat in one piece? Did we hit a swan? A couple appeals later, it seems we have been bumped down two places. With a positive attitude, and taking solace in the fact that at least we didn’t capsize on the raft *cough* Mansfield W2 *cough*, like the phoenix, M2 is ready to rise from the ashes and show men’s division IV tomorrow what we have, avoiding impending spoons.

Nayyar Jamie – Cox

W2 – down 4 to 7th Division V

Cox: Jessica Li
Stroke: Amy Wright
7: Bridget Johns
6: Holly Redford Jones
5: Hae Jin Yang
4: Catalina Zhao
3: Miranda Ryan
2: Catherine Dumbill
Bow: Johanna Gewolker

After a victorious first day at torpids, W2 was in good spirits as we met in the morning. We knew today was going to harder, Lincoln II were just a better crew than those we had bumped yesterday, but we were confident. Coming up to the race line, I felt nervous, the pain of racing for a longer period of time laid in front of all of us, and there was no way of avoiding it. But boy did we know what was in store for us…

The klaxon went, and we were off to a strong start, just like the day before. Ollie used his whistle to inform us that we were closing in on them, and we all went for the kill… again and again Jess called for us to ‘just give it a bit more’ but we still didn’t seem to be bumping. ‘This time it’ll happen’ I thought, but it just never did, as we came up to the gut, the boat began to slow, we had all completely emptied our tanks and felt weak, but we fought on.

As we came out of the gut, I noticed that we seemed to come out at an angle, pointing towards our boathouse, though hoped that it was because Lincoln II were going that way too. I had a bad feeling, ‘And Hertford still seem to be chasing Lincoln II, even though they’re no longer a racing crew!’. We were all confused, yet Jess was still telling us to go go go.

SMASH

We hit the raft. Like. Our own raft. We had crashed. It was all gone. We watched as some crews went past us, and our hearts sank. ‘You’ve got to keep racing!’ Ollie cried, we pushed off again and fought on, but Mansfield II bumped us, and we continued to the end, catching up to Wadham II. The pain by this point was unreal, we fought so hard but the knowledge that we had lost blades lurked in all our minds. As we crossed the finish, we were all silent, disappointed didn’t even cover it. Beside us, a crew shouted ‘we overtook Hertford! We bumped!’. This was a low point, but we knew we were going to come back fighting tomorrow.

Miranda Ryan – 3-seat

 

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