In the last IWL of the season, HCBC’s W8 entry raced in Division 2 at 14:00, the forecasted rainiest time of the day. However, a cracking amount of effort and enthusiasm drove them to come 4th out of the women’s crews on the river, according to provisional results!
IWL E – W1 – Lottie
Storm Eunice could not stop Hertford’s W1 from racing in IWL E (it did stop M1 though)! After a pre-race brunch all 8 made their way to the boathouse to confirm with the coach that we could race in any conditions.
Pushing off, immediately the stream sucked the crew under longbridges. This was not the racing start that we had imagined. Niamh’s bow blade became fully wedged in the bridge’s foundations and could no longer “take a tap”. As a result, the boat drifted further and further down the danger zone. All on board were clinging onto any branches they could get a hold of – meanwhile our coach was concerned that the X-rated cox was not up to scratch. However, this short blip was soon recovered and all 8 rowed on through the gut, managing to squeeze a 32s/m burst in after the gut.
As predicted, the marshalling area was chaos, but nothing that our trusty stand-in cox Rowan couldn’t handle. Whilst all other crews on the river were drifting in and out of near collisions, we managed to stay under control. Our only opponent was the tree but backing down from stern pair and a few taps from bow pair quickly sorted us out.
The course was shortened very slightly due to the bad conditions and timing started just after Donny Bridge and just before the cox stone. Of course, as forecasted, we were met by 52mph crosswinds which powered through after the gut. The St Johns men’s crew that set off after was nowhere to be seen as we stormed through the stretch.
Kindly Oriel’s women’s captain subbed into 3 seat and provided extra cheers for the crew as we passed boathouse island. Despite the crowd chanting “Orielll” we knew that support was on Hertford’s side.
We were met with more cheers and waves when we saw that our favourite supporters (Georgie’s parents) were there at the head to congratulate the very tired but very happy crew! Our heads stayed in the boat though as, again, the spinning area was hectic! After much backing and tapping, in the strongest stream we had seen yet, we managed to escape the chaos of the other crews and paddle home safely back to Longbridges.
There was much excitement on the W1 group chat that was eagerly watching the live results of the race. Up until Div 7 the crew was in 3rd place – unfortunately Wolfson, who were racing in Div 8, smashed through to top spot and knocked us down a place (not the first time that’s happened…). Despite this, we were so happy with how we have come on as a crew and are ready to tackle the trials and tribulations of torpids next week.