Cambridge '99 – Summer 2001


Leicester Regatta – S3 8+ beat City of Cambridge, lost to Christ Church

The first race of the season, and my first competitive outing for almost two years, was the Leicester Regatta, held on 22 April over 1000 metres. We made a quick start in our first round race against City of Cambridge and we had clear water by half way down the course. From then on, we controlled the race through to finish. In the final, Christ Church got the jump on us at the start but we came back at them to be half a length down at the half way mark. Coming up towards the finish line, they pushed strongly and we were unable to respond, losing by three quarters of a length.

Crew: Steve Sanders (bow), Simon Newton, David Sampson, Mike Taylor, Martin Kelly, Tom Waterfall, Mark Hanman, David Rothe (stroke), Anne Harrison (cox).

(poor)Bedford Amateur Regatta – S3 8+ lost to 1st & 3rd Trinity and CCAT; S4 4+ beat University of York, lost to St Edward's School

The second race of the season was the Bedford Amateur Regatta, held on 12 May over 1200 metres. I competed in both the S3 8+ and the S4 4+ events.

In the opening round of the eights, we were soundly beaten by four lengths by First & Third. Relegated to the plate event, we had a disastrous start against CCAT, slewing into the bank off the start. By the time we had rejoined the course, CCAT had a healthy lead, and although we closed in during the middle stages of the race, we were unable to challenge for the win, eventually losing by a little over a length.

We had more luck in the fours, recording a solid four length win over University of York in the opening round. In the semi-final against St Edward's School, we went down off the start, but we were still in contention at the half way mark. However, we never settled into a strong rhythm, and St Edward's ran out winners by three and a half lengths.

Crews: S3 8+: Steve Sanders (bow), Simon Hargraves, Martin Kelly, Chris Mills, David Sampson, Mike Taylor, Mark Hanman, Andrew Hodgkinson (stroke), Anne Harrison (cox); S4 4+: Chris Mills (bow), David Sampson, Andrew Hodgkinson, Martin Kelly (stroke), Derek Bell (cox).

Cambridge Town Bumps – Third VIII bumped City of Cambridge II and Cantabrigians II, finished 11th

We started Cambridge Town Bumps in 13th place, chasing City of Cambridge II and chased by our own Fourth VIII. On the first day, we made a steady start and began closing on City II around First Post Corner. By the Plough, we were right with them, but we lost composure in their rough water and they began to pull clear. Coming around Ditton Corner, we closed in again, and we completed the bump at the start of the Reach.

Chasing Cambridge Blue II on the second day, we made a leisurely start and started to come under pressure from City II behind. Coming around Grassy Corner, the gap closed to as little as five feet, with Cambridge Blue still on station ahead. However we kept our heads and rowed away from City up Plough Reach, stretching the gap to over half a length by Ditton Corner and two lengths by the end of the course.

On the third day, we were much more focused at the start, and we closed in steadily on Cambridge Blue II. Around Grassy Corner, the margin was three quarters of a length, but Cambridge Blue were right on top of Cantabs II and they completed their bump in Plough Reach. At this point, we had a three length margin over City, and we rowed comfortably to the end of the course with over a length still in hand by the end.

On the fourth day, Cantabs II ahead made a smooth start and we were on station going into First Post corner. We began to close the gap through the Gut and the margin was little more than half a length by the start of Plough Reach. Determined not to repeat our poor rough water performance of the first day, we dug deep and continued to inch closer up Plough Reach, eventually earning the bump at the exit of Ditton Corner. Thus we finished the Bumps in 11th place.

Crew: Tim Elliot (bow), Chris Kent, Thomas Berrimen, Nick Wright, David Sampson, Richard Lingard, Paul Mathew, Andrew Hodgkinson (stroke), Jon Anderson (cox). Claire Kwan coxed on the first day.

(pot)Abingdon Sprint Regatta – S4 4+ beat Weybridge and Burway

My third regatta of the season was the Abingdon Sprint Regatta, held on 19 August over 600 metres. Our opponents in the first round failed to appear, as did the opposition of the Cambridge '99 S3 4+, so we held a private match to familiarise ourselves with the course. We made a good start to open up an early lead and, despite some wayward strokes late in the race, we crossed the line several lengths ahead. Our first proper race was the semi-final against Weybridge, and we made a messy start, slewing across to stroke side and losing half a length. However, we retained our composure and quickly closed the gap, powering through to a comfortable win by a length and a half. In the final against Burway, we throttled back slightly on the start and made a much cleaner getaway, moving into a narrow lead as reached full race pace. We continued to extend our advantage over the remainder of the course, running out winners by two and a quarter lengths for my first win in an ARA regatta. It was also a first win for Pete Kelly, and the first points for Simon Newton and Andy Ardron, who had won the N 4+ at St Neot's two weeks before. It was a successful day for Nines crews, with further wins in S1 4+ and E 2-.

Crew: David Sampson (bow), Pete Kelly, Andy Ardron, Simon Newton (stroke), Anne Harrison (cox).

Race results


I enjoyed my first six months of rowing with the Cambridge '99 squad. Although our early season was disrupted heavily by injury and misadventure, we performed well in Town Bumps and capped the season with a solid win at Abingdon Regatta. Thanks to all those who took time to coach during the season.

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