Churchill First VIII – May 1998


First VIII (Smart Alec): Ewan Main (bow), Rob Thatcher, Nick Guillard, Richard Gregory, David Sampson, David Bulmer, Alistair Jones, Andrew Galbraith (stroke), Olli Martin (cox).


Nottingham City Regatta – First VIII finished 2nd

The first race of term was the Nottingham City Regatta, held on 10 May at the 2000 metre National Water Sports Centre. Competing in the final of the S3 category, we enjoyed a thrilling battle throughout the race with Downing and Royal Shrewsbury School. The gap to Downing fluctuated, but at the finish they were half a length ahead. Shrewsbury briefly threatened our second place, but we moved away from them as we pushed on Downing. Queens' from Cambridge were also entered, but they were never in contention.

(poor)City of Cambridge Sprint Regatta – First VIII lost to 1st & 3rd

The second race of term was the City of Cambridge Sprint Regatta, held on 17 May on a 500 metre course in front of the boathouses opposite Midsummer Common. Racing in the May First Division competition, we met a composite 1st & 3rd Trinity crew, consisting of members of their First and Second VIIIs, in the opening round. We made a reasonable start but never settled properly, and although we made up ground in the closing stages, we were disappointed to lose by two feet.

May Bumps – First VIII were bumped by Pembroke and Emmanuel and bumped Robinson, finished 11th

We started May Bumps in 10th place, behind LMBC and ahead of Pembroke. On the first day, we started steadily, but Pembroke behind soon began to make up ground. LMBC ahead bumped Robinson at Grassy Corner, by which time Pembroke was right on our tail. Though we tried, we were unable to resist their challenge, and we were bumped at the Plough.

It was Emmanuel's turn to chase us on the second day. We made a more aggressive start, but they closed slowly through the Gut and down Plough Reach. Coming around Ditton Corner, the gap was half a length, but a series of pushes from Emma nibbled away at our advantage. They gained overlap past the Railings, and they finally hit us at the White House.

On the third day, with Christ's now behind, we made our fastest start yet. We held Christ's and even closed slightly on Emmanuel before they bumped Robinson. Christ's succumbed to Fitzwilliam in Plough Reach, leaving us to comfortably row over the second half of the course.

As ever, large crowds lined the river for the final day. We lined up 12th, ahead of Fitzwilliam (on course for blades) and behind Robinson (on course for spoons). Having halted our freefall, we were finally in a position to challenge the boat ahead. We started briskly and moved inside a length on Robinson by First Post, taking another half length by Grassy Corner. They fought hard up Plough Reach, but we finally overcame them turning into Ditton Corner. Fitz behind were two lengths down when we bumped out.

Our overall result of down one was not what we had hoped for, but we recovered well after a difficult start and we ended the term on a high. With the entire crew staying on, we have a solid base for next year.

Race results


May Term was enjoyable and successful for Churchill Men's First VIII. We improved significantly, raced successfully, and had a lot of fun along the way. The stage is set for another good year in 1998-1999. Thanks to all our coaches -- Chris Lloyd, Martin Hoather, Pete Convey, Mike Barham, Andy White, Don Hefferon, Kieran Jennings and Andrew Tristram.

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