Summer VIIIs 2018 Day 4: Race Reports

A huge thank you to everyone who came down to watch the Hertford crews throughout their Summer VIIIs campaign. While the results weren’t perfect, all crews gave it their best and should be proud of what they’ve achieved over the year. Hopefully next year will see even greater drive, and greater success in the races to come.

W2 – Rowed over, overall result: down 3

Cox: Abbigail Colwyn

Stroke: Ella Walsh

7: Philli Kent

6: Faye Heron

5: Maddy Czura

4: Lobke Timans

3: Irish Volkers

2: Rosie Bound

Bow: Sophie Allen

It was the final day of Summer Eights, and considering that we had been bumped over the last 3 days, the pressure was definitely on! It looked like it could be a Spoons campaign for W2, and we were determined not to get bumped today (or, at least to make it to our boathouse).

We were, unsurprisingly, very nervous on the start-line. But, lots of the boat had their families (and dogs!) lined up along the tow path, ready to cheer us on and boost morale. Though there was a slight hiccup with a swan on the racing line, there wasn’t a huge delay and in what seemed like no time the start gun went off.

After we did our start sequence, we could see Regent’s Park W1 getting closer and closer! Here we go again, we all thought: another bump. As we went under Donnington Bridge, Regent’s were within a canvas away from out boat, but suddenly Abbi the cox starting shouting for us all to build up the rate, and the gap then widened between the two boats. Our coach was running alongside us (as well as lots of family and friends). Though we were starting to get really tired, we kept pushing. The gap between us and Regent’s stayed at about one length, but the gap between Regent’s and Balliol started getting smaller. And, in a perfect position, right outside the Hertford boathouse, Balliol managed to bump Regent’s!

To the relief of us in the boat, Abbi then allowed us to take the rate down a bit, now that there was not such a panic. We then rowed up to the Head of the river. It was an amazing feeling being able to row past Boathouse Island, with all the banners and barbeques. Then, Abbi called a final “Power 10!” to take us home, and we managed to row over and avoid Spoons!

Though we were absolutely exhausted after rowing the whole course, we paddled back to our boathouse and smiled for lots of photos – Catherine even sprayed a bottle of prosecco over us while we were on the raft. We then had a quick debrief, and got ourselves plenty of Pimms, ready to cheer on the rest of the Hertford boats before all going to the Summer Eights dinner in the evening.

M2 – Bumped by St Peter’s M2, overall result: down 4

Cox: Naomi

Stroke: Justus

7: Dominik

6: Maciej

5: Antonis

4: Mahmoud

3: Berlin

2: Brian

Bow: Shashvat

Coach: Simon

M2 began the day in high spirits. It was our best chance to not get bumped and thus avoid the dreaded spoons. Our usual race prep started- a pep talk from Simon, a quick erg warm-up and then onto the water. Getting the boat out, we paused to cheer on the passing W2 crew, and then focussed.

After negotiating a busy raft, we pushed off and warmed up with no problems, arriving at our bungline 15 minutes before the race was due to start. Simon gave us some more encouraging words and we gained a young fan on the bank. However, nothing encouraged us more than the arrival of James (who ran alongside us for the whole race, despite his recovering dislocated shoulder- madman), Hamish and Danny. Naomi chatted shit to keep everyone calm, with Justus and Maciej begging for quiet. The one-minute gun sounded and we got our heads in the boat. Simon counted us down, then- bang!

We had a brilliant start, three really steady ¾ length strokes followed by a speedy six stroke build to rate 41. Naomi called “find our rhythm- and go!” and we settled into our race pace. Soon after, she announced that we were gaining fast on Regent’s Park M1. Bolstered by this, and Simon’s whistling from the bank, the crew pushed on to reduce the gap to just half a length. Heading under Donnington Bridge, Naomi called a power 10 and we came so close to bumping them, but sadly it wasn’t to be. Swerving left out of the racing line and their crew pushing hard, followed by a series of crabs in our boat, Regent’s escaped us. Heading into the gut, Regent’s continued to pull away, while Peter’s remained a comfortable distance behind us.

Coming out of the gut, Peter’s began to gain on us. Another power 10 and the loud cheers from the supporters at our boat house allowed us to hold them off past Longbridges. But the bump was inevitable. Soon Peters had overlap, another power 10 was called, but by now the crew were tired. We emptied the tank holding them off, but when their bow hit the side of our boat and trapped stroke’s blade, we had to accept it was over. We quickly untangled from Peters and there was no damage done to our crew or boat. A truly artful bump from Peters, we have to admit.

The crew feeling tired, and perhaps a little dejected by spoons, we returned to Longbridges. Our spirits were soon raised by the prosecco that was sprayed over us by Hamish, the brilliant supporters from Hertford, and of course the bar at the boathouse. Simon congratulated us on a good race and a good year of rowing, and we said an emotional farewell to Justus, Mahmoud, Berlin and Maciej. However, the rest of us will be back next year, at the top of division V and ready for revenge!

A big thank you to everyone who made this week possible, especially Hamish and all the people who subbed in. We had a fantastic time and received our spoons with pride!

M1 – Rowed over, overall result: level

Cox: Ettie Caverly Stroke: Danny de Rozairo

7: Harry Connor

6: Hamish Streeter

5: Jack Waterman

4: Oscar Dimdore-Miles

3: Alex Allison

2: Freddie Von Kaufmann

Bow: Patrick Austin

The last day of racing arrived hot and muggy, with huge crowds of spectators flanking both sides of the river. Throughout the warmup the crew had to work hard to keep the noise, heat and river traffic from rattling us, but we managed to squeeze in a few high-rate bursts and starts to collect ourselves before we paddled to our bungline, with cheers from HCBC supporters accompanying us on our way down. After having our collective mettle tested the previous day with Queens attempting to capitalise on a bump, we knew that today’s goal was to prevent them from even getting a sniff of weakness. It was also our final opportunity to try and bump LMH (and hopefully gain the opportunity for some excellent sconces at dinner later that evening). A swan-based delay in the starting gun gave the crew time to calm down, reflect, and enjoy the sunshine, and when we were finally off it was with a controlled, powerful start that took half a length on LMH almost straightaway. Within the first twenty strokes it became apparent that Queens behind us were to be no threat today, so we focussed our attention instead on the pursuit of the crew in front. What followed was a tight, well-paddled race, and we demonstrated our skill by continuing to close the gap between us and LMH: we remained between half-a-length and a length behind them for most of the course. Ultimately however, we were not quite able to drop the hammer and get the bump, although this was not from lack of trying with many pushes and a final call to ‘empty the tanks’. We crossed the finish line, and completed the race course just in time before a swan caused the bottom half of the division to be klaxoned. Finally, we negotiated our way back through the busy river to the boathouse in a final paddle, with the knowledge that we had rowed well for what would be the last ever bumps race for some of the crew.

W1 – Bumped by Oriel W1

Cox – Jack Yates
Stroke – Philippa Thornton
7 – Harriet Thomas
6 – Sophie Clark
5 – Becky Kirk
4 – Kaja Fenn
3 – Grace Davies
2 – Emily Pagden
Bow – Ellie Van Vogt
It was the famed Saturday of 8’s, the Sun was out and the crowds were gathering. With an early meet to avoid the crowds we had plenty of time to get our heads together and focus in our race. A swift warm up on the erg and some Tetris shuffling to get the boat out put us in position and waiting on our raft in time to cheer our M1 past as they valiantly chased our coach in LMH’s M1. The passing of their boat was swiftly followed by the klaxon sounding, thanks to a swan in the racing line. Apparently for a swan, being chased by a launch is no big deal and so it was after some time that we were allowed to push off and begin our cut-down warm up, only to be held once again on our bung line this time due to a stray balloon. We didn’t let that phase us and as the gun went we had a fast and controlled start that really, in the words of our coach, Ollie Watson ‘moved the boat’. We powered away getting the boat speed high and then strode on to a chunky, strong rhythm and we started to gain on Johns who had bumped us the day before. However, Oriel was also closing in on us and despite getting the call to ‘dig the knife in’ and push them away our efforts failed to hold them off and we were bumped coming out of the gut. It will always be a disappointing day to not row past the bustling boat house island let alone not make it past your boat house, but the feeling we had in the boat was so powerful and together and we were all proud of how we rowed. You can’t be sad when you know you’ve done your best and given we didn’t have Oriel closing in on us, who knows what the result would have been – I’d have backed us for getting Johns back!

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