Summer Eights 2017 – Wednesday Race Reports

It’s that time of year again, when coxes and crews take to the Isis to showcase the fruits of their training efforts throughout the year. For blow-by-blow updates throughout the week and an excessive amount of hashtagging, follow @hecbc on Instagram, or read on to hear how the crews got on on the first day of racing:

W1 – Level at 8th Division I

Cox: Jess ‘you are stronger than the wind’ Li
Stroke: Abie ‘saviour to us all’ Witts
7: Ros ‘also coxes and runs marathons’ Martin
5: Annie ‘lives for the social media likes please follow @HECBC on Instagram’ Ault
4: Cat ‘fiery eyes/super novice’ Zhao
3: Johanna ‘better late than never’ Gewolker
2: Amy ‘secretly dated the cox’ Holguin
Bow: Bridget ‘do you have a Bridget though’ Johns

W1 went into Wednesday hoping to hold off St Johns, who were very keen for a bump after we ended their goal of getting blades by bumping out ahead of them in Torpids. We were chasing Wolfson, who have been looking strong all year, meaning that we decided beforehand that our intention was to concentrate on getting away from Johns, and only going for Wolfson if we managed to gain considerably on them off the start. After an incredibly strong start from Hertford W1 (even after 2 strides we were still on rate 36!), we realised by Donnington Bridge that we were clearly strong enough to hold off St Johns, who dropped further and further back the more the race went on. By the time we were out of the gut, we had gained half a length on Wolfson, which they unfortunately recovered throughout the second half of the race. The race was relatively uneventful in our part of the division, with the two boats in front and the two boats behind us all being unable to bump. This means that the Division 1 starting order in the middle of the group (we’re currently ranked 8th) will be broadly similar tomorrow, and we expect to row over again tomorrow. Hopefully we will get some bumps by the end of the week, but we were all very happy to row over today, as this was the result we had always been aiming for for the first day of the tournament. We rowed long and strong, and all of the W1 women are ready to come back and do the same thing again tomorrow.

Annie Ault – 5 seat

M1 – Down 1 to 1st in Division II

Cox: Alice Vacani – Halfling Princess
Stroke: Chris Nicholls – Elvish Mage
7: Alex Allison – The Professor
6: Jack Waterman – Gym Troll
5: Steve Crabb – Cave Troll
4: Hamish Streeter – ‘Baby’ Troll
3: Chris (CJ) Jones – River Troll
2: Rob House – Wizard of Stored Energy
Bow: Maciej Bugala – The Promising Apprentice

M1 gathered under the glorious Oxford sunshine focussed on chasing down the crews ahead. A crew comprising a mixture of gnarled old veterans and bright young things (and a couple in between) took the opportunity of an extended erg warm up to get loose and ready to take on division 1. Ahead lay Balliol, not looking like the formidable opponents of former years, behind lay St Catz but our attention was ahead. An empty river greeted our warm up and we took full advantage hitting each and every one of our targets. The bungline awaited and we drew breath, stillness came over the crew as the seconds ticked down, even the oak hearted senior citizens felt the pulse rate rise as Alice called us forward and to square up. The cannon echoed across the bunglines, we surged away from the start but after what felt like milliseconds the churning of Balliol M1 hit our bows and threw us off our usual calm and accelerated start sequence. St Catz; after rowing over at the top of division 2 were flying, a massively front loaded race was their plan and our troubles left us in their clutches. They mercilessly closed on us until the inevitable had to occur and Alice had to concede. It was only once we had landed and Catz came to commiserate that we realised our problem, they were bigger than we thought, our depth perception had been tricked by what can only be attributed to a dedicate genetic modification programme to breed a boat full of trolls. Even with our trollish middle four and wizardly outside pairs they were too big and too strong for us today. Tomorrow we face the top spot in division 2, a new challenge but one we are looking forward to experiencing for as few days as possible.

Steve Crabb – 5 seat

W2 –  Up 1 to 5th in Division IV

Cox: Ros Martin
Stroke: Amy Wright
7: Mollie Appleton
6: Hillary Wynne
5: Hae Jin Yang
4: Ellie Foster
3: Sonya Chen
2: Catherine Dumbill
Bow: Miranda Ryan

First day of racing for W2. In glorious weather we set off the the warm up paddle. All was going to well until a giant crab ! Hoping that’s all the crabs out of our system we headed to the bung line. At the bung line motivational words we’re given and the intimidation of Regent’s Park began. The gun went off and we began. Our start was long and strong we weren’t going to let anyone intimidate us. After about 30s of rowing we heard that whistle. We knew we had them. We were gaining on them through long banks but we couldn’t get that last push. We were dying and need to get it back together. Somehow through Ros’s excellent coxing we found the energy to push on and get that bump. Regent’s Park your blade winning streak is over!

Amy Wright – Stroke


M2 –  Down 1 to 7th in Division IV

Cox: Jack “Clip-ON” Yates
Stroke: Patrick “Golden Eye” Austin
7: Ross “Last Reminder” Johnstone
6: Harry Connor
5: Oliver Jones
4: Simon “Footplate” Neumaier
3: Matt Bosomworth
2: Freddy „Run von Kaufmann
Bow: Andrew “Charlie Wang” Ng

After having spent weeks of dedicated training and strenuous morning outings, Hertford M2 finally wanted to show off all the progress they had made under Simon Kirk’s watch. After a strong warm- up session in the erg-room (admittedly the strongest part of the entire performance), the crew went to set out from on overpopulated raft, eager to show Wolfson in front and St. Catz behind, what they were capable of. However signs of tension started to appear, when a crab was caught during the warm-up session and the delayed start kept the slightly nervous crew in a psychological limbo. When the gun finally went on, the crew put on their best effort despite being nervous and pushed as hard as they could. Unfortunately, this did not carry them too far, as the superior St Catz crew behind them managed to catch up quite quickly. Despite encouraging calls from their cox, Hertford M2 got bumped close to Donnington Bridge and ended the first day of racing without making it to the cheering Hertford crowd close to the gut. Although the crew was disappointed by the result, coach and captain were satisfied with the groups effort, stressing that they showed off a good start, and tried their best.


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