Churchill Novice A – Michaelmas 1996


Novice A (Sir William Hawthorne): Ewan Main (bow), Richard Bounds, James King, Owen Kennington, Mark Alexander, Mark Hersam, David Sampson, Stephen Frank (stroke), Alan Barr (cox).


As novices, we had never rowed before until we pushed off from the boathouse in mid-October. With our first race just five weeks into term, we had to work hard from the outset on both technique and fitness. Training was held between 6:30 and 9:00 AM on the Cam. On cold, wet English mornings in late November, the warm Australian weather I had left behind seemed a long way away! We normally had two to three outings per week, complemented by ergo work and weekly circuit training.

As term progressed, the crowding on the river intensified, leading occasionally to spectacular but happily damage-free collisions with other crews. The morning carnage could be avoided by getting up particularly early to be the first crew out on the river, but unfortunately several crew members demonstrated a reluctance to be prised from their warm beds for the freezing cycle down to the boathouse.


Cam Winter Head – Novice A finished 6th

The first race of the term for Novices was the Cam Winter Head on 16 November. This 2800 metre race attracted a large entry of crews from Cambridge and Oxford. The race was eventful as we worked hard to establish a rhythm and moved past several slower boats. At the finish, our time of 11'28" was good enough for 6th place, an excellent effort. The race was won by Queens' in a time of 10'48".

(poor)Clare Novice Sprints – Novice A lost to Clare

Our second race of the term was the Clare Novice Regatta, a knock-out competition held over a 1000 metre course, on 30 November. After a bye in the first round, we met Clare in round 2 of the Cup competition. We got away well from the standing start, but a badly missed stroke as we passed under the railway bridge lost us a lot of time. Although we were closing fast at the finish, Clare held us off, and we were disappointingly forced to spend the rest of the afternoon as spectators. The event was won by LMBC, who beat Magdalene in a thrilling and high-quality final.

Fairbairn Cup – Novice A finished 7th

The final race of the term was the prestigious Fairbairn Cup, held on 5 December over 2500 metres. Starting second between Jesus and LMBC, we quickly settled into an excellent rhythm. We pushed hard and maintained our composure throughout, holding off the excellent LMBC crew in by far our best row of the term. Our time of 10'30" was good enough for 7th place. LMBC won the race in a time of 9'48".

Race results


Michaelmas 1996 was an enjoyable and productive first term of rowing for the crew of Churchill Men's Novice A. We improved throughout the term, and put in very good performances in two of our three races. Thanks to our many coaches... Wes, Ben, Hiro, Slob, Dara, Jon... (have I forgotten any?)

Michaelmas 1996 | Lent 1997 »