Christ Church Regatta – Day 1 Race Reports

Chris Church Regatta 2017 kicked off today with four crews of Hertford “fawns” taking to the Isis for their first taste of Oxford racing. Read on to find out how they got on!


Men’s A – Beat Lincoln A

Cox: Maciej Arcadius Bugala
Stroke: Ryan Gould
7: Tom Blackmore
6: Paddy Christy-Parker
5: Oscar DM
4: Robin Van Aeken
3: James Parr
2: Justus Mentzel
Bow: Dominik Koller

In the first round of the Christ Church Regatta 2017 Hertford Mens A novices took to the water in a show of force not seen since Jack Waterman ‘accidentally’ posted his ‘fat erg’ to the novice Facebook page. The wind was howling at a terrifying 23 miles per hour as seat mechanical failure threatened to ‘derail’ Hertford’s efforts to succeed. However, Fear the Deer was not emblazoned on every members’ shirt for nothing. Warming up, the boat caught four crabs, this was a tactical move to lull Lincoln College into a false sense of security, and lull it did. The race started with the unfazed voice of Maciej Bugala at Cox urging the boats onwards and a high rate set by Ryan Gould which peaked at a fantastic 37. The boat sliced through the water guided by its near simultaneous catches, Hamish Streeter’s emphatic cheers and James Parr’s Santa hat. Lincoln were no match and as the gap widened, Hertford galloped to the finish beating its opposition ‘easily’. The men congratulated the Lincoln boat with three cheers and had time to reflect on the challenges of the races ahead.

Robin Van Aeken – 4 seat


Women’s A – Beat Exeter A

Cox: Catherine Dumbill
Stroke: Sophie Clark
7: Marcia Zimmerman
6: Maddie Burrell
5: Madalyn Ferrar
4: Ellie Van Vogt
3: Harriet Thomas
2: Faye Heron
Bow: Phili Kent

Hertford’s A boat race day began slowly, with Exeter nowhere to be seen for at least 20 minutes after the race was due to start. After sending Ollie off to search for our opposition discussion rose of whether they had backed out following our performance at Nepthys, and whether we could automatically win or simply drift to the finish line before they had chance to get to the start. However the wait wasn’t without entertainment, with many boats around us crashing into each other, crossing blades, piling up on the bank beneath the trees, and in one race a boat almost beaching onto Univ’s raft then crashing into the bridge. Amongst all this carnage, Catherine the super-cox remained calm and despite the occasional confusion between 2 and bow kept Hertford straight and collision free. Finally our opposition materialised, and soon after we lined up on the start line ready to race. Although I couldn’t see how the race went, the race felt great and that we were all in time on each catch and set the boat well, with our backs straight and Hertford heads high. After a strong start we were ahead, and we gradually widened this gap as the race went on. Despite Exeter rowing well and putting up a good fight the Hertford girls never backed down, remaining strong and together for the whole (admittedly short) race. After crossing the line we remembered to hold it up quickly this time, followed by three cheers for Exeter. The return to the boathouse had a few ‘technical glitches’ with myself catching a crab whilst not even rowing, a near-capsize when tucking in and an aggressive martial (who shall not be named) attempting to dampen our spirits. Little did he know that nothing could get Hertford down, and as we landed smoothly onto the raft our thoughts went straight to tomorrow and to proving that people really should Fear the Deer.

Sophie Clark – Stroke


Men’s B – lost to Green Templeton B

Cox: Joe Wynn
Stroke: Atakan Baltacı
7: Shashvat Shukla
6: Mahmoud Ghanem
5: Mateo Galdeano Solans
4: Yifu Tao
3: Ka Ho Tam
2: Fenella Sentance
Bow: Christina Nahanni

Last minute drop outs and uncertainty about race times left B crew uncertain if they were going to race in Christchurch regatta at all this year! On Tuesday evening, just a night before the first race, Hamish the lower boats captain breaks the good news to us. Thanks to two keen substitutions from the women’s team we have a full eight. Those of us who can head down to the junior common room for a last minute carb load and pre race bonding over pizza. Cut to race day one. Hamish’s wise words from the night before still echo in our heads: “a crew that eats together wins together”. The race starts and our boat zips ahead of GTC’s as the pizza from previous night is converted into pure power on the water. Much more power than GTC can muster as we hold our lead down the first part of the race. Alas, it turns out to also be more power than our equipment can handle. Stroke’s seat comes right off its rails leaving four rather important looking screws rattling around underneath him. We drop to sixes, but fail to recover from the mechanical failure. GTC overtake us and they go on to win the race. But we demonstrate to any future opponents that, mechanical failures aside, Hertford B crew is a force to be reckoned with.

Mahmoud Ghanem – 6 seat


Women’s B – beat Magdalen B

Cox: Abbie Colwyn
Stroke: Emily Padgen
7: Becky Kirk
6: Sheherezade Scott
5: Kat Trout
4: Rosie Bound
3: Emma Swidler
2: Kez Smith
Bow: Grace Davies

After a whole-crew recital of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on the boathouse balcony (throughout which Annie Ault was clutching her phone, eager to “gram” the inspiring pre-race prep), we knew we were as ready as we’d ever be. Our last bites of Mr Kipling’s Angel Slices had been taken, our shiny new ‘FEAR THE DEER’ shirts were atop our adrenaline-filled torsos, our women’s A boat had just come bounding down to the raft full of post-win glee, and we were yearning to do the same. Once on the river, the crew was calm, but the water was not. The high speed winds meant that little cox Abbie was sounding like a broken record: “And a tap from bow, please…and seven back it down, please”. We tapped towards the start line. The gale was relentless, pushing us off course before the race had even started, but unfortunately so was the marshal: “Come Forward! Attention! Go!”. We sped ahead, cheered on from the side! Regrettably, we continued to push full pelt, as the cheering had turned into disheartened and confused mutters… we had rowed, ‘full pelt’, in the wrong direction. We came to a very abrupt halt as the bow collided with the wall, crossing the path of our displeased opponents, Magdalen B. The marshal boat glided over, and declared “It’s okay, they’re not embedded.” (Embedded?!) The entire crew looks at each other, a little dazed, and little Abbie sighs through the mic “Well…that was a good start.” The crash couldn’t dampen our spirits, and in fact I think it took the pressure off a little bit. We paddled back to the start line, mumbling the start sequence to our Rocky IV pep-song, ready to push just as hard – but this time in the right direction. The green-flagged marshal yells his commencing orders, for the last race of the day. “SQUEEEEEZE ONE, SQUEEEEEZE TWO, SQUEEEEZE THREE…”, shouts little Abbie. The start was strong, and as we passed our previous crash-location I could already see that we’d taken a significant lead. We kept our heads in the boat, our backs straight, and our heads high. We gained a steady rhythm, and row row rowed our boat (not-so-gently) down the stream! Our little cox and our side-line supporters kept us pushing on, full power, and we crossed the finish line, with (exhausted and pained) smiles on our faces. Same again tomorrow, girls.

Kez Chappell-Smith – 2 seat

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