Cambridge '99 – Summer 2004


X-Press Head – Mixed 8+ finished 10th

We entered a mixed Churchill College / Cambridge '99 crew for the X-Press Head in Cambridge on 16 June. Four women from the Churchill crew that I had been coaching that term were joined by four men with Churchill and/or Cambridge '99 connections. I spent the previous week cycling in California, only returning to Cambridge a couple of hours before the race, so we didn't get a chance to practice. However, we quickly settled in during the warm-up and established some degree of balance and rhythm. Our plan was to place the girls in stern pair to set up a great rhythm, with the boys in middle four providing the grunt. This worked to a greater or lesser extent extent, and we completed the course in a very respectable time of 10'13", 10th overall and 2nd of the mixed crews (won by Wolfson in 9'56"). The crew then headed to the Cambridge Blue where we spent a very pleasant evening enjoying the hog roast and beer.

Crew: Ann Marie Cody (bow), Becky Hughes, Ewan Main, Pete Kelly, David Sampson, David Rothe, Claire Witham, Claudia Kunze (stroke), Faye Karababa (cox).

CRA Town Bumps – Third VIII were bumped by Cantabrigians II and Rob Roy V, finished 12th

We started Cambridge Town Bumps in 10th place, chasing Rob Roy IV and chased by Cantabs II. Our Third VIII crew were somewhat underprepared (no recent rowing for most and certainly no practice together), but that wasn't going to stop us enjoying the event.

On the first day, we worked hard but simply didn't row well together. Though we had a decent base speed, we had major problems with the balance and we succumbed to Cantabs II just after Ditton Corner.

On the second day, we started to get into our stride, rowing much better to hold off Rob Roy V comfortably. We even stayed in touch with Cantabs II.

Rob Roy strengthened their crew for the third day, and we also had to cope with a complete reshuffle of bow four as we reinforced our Second VIII. Somehow I ended up in the exceedingly narrow bow seat, grazing my right thigh on the shoulder of the boat as I struggled to get out to length each stroke. Rob Roy closed steadily on us through the early stages, trailing by half a length coming out of Grassy Corner. Though we tried to push away, they overpowered us at the end of Plough Reach.

On the final day, I managed to negotiate a move to the five seat, where I could be much more effective. At the gun, Cantabs III behind made an exceptionally fast start. Flustered, we had a serious case of the wobbles as we passed the outflow, and Cantabs were inside half a length as we approached First Post Corner. It looked like it was going to be a short race as they continued to gain through the Gut, gaining overlap before Grassy Corner. We fought hard and Rachel took a great line around Grassy, narrowly staying clear as their bows passed across the line of our stern. We pushed out a couple of feet early in Plough Reach, but they attacked again and had significant overlap as we passed the screaming fans at the pub. Holding the inside line into Ditton, we continued to stay fractionally ahead, and they finally started cracking as we entered the Reach. By the Railings, we were a couple of metres clear, and we extended the advantage to a length by the finish line. It just goes to show, it's never over till it's over.

Crew: Tuesday: Scuz (bow), Pete Kelly, David Sampson, Chris Kent, Chris Emmett, Richard Lingard, John Harradine, Nigel Bush (stroke), Rachel Allen (cox). Wednesday: Scuz (bow), David Rothe, David Sampson, Chris Kent, Chris Emmett, Richard Lingard, John Harradine, Nigel Bush (stroke), Rachel Allen (cox). Thursday: David Sampson (bow), Chris Kent, Pete Kelly, Tim Fisher-Jeffes, Chris Emmett, Richard Lingard, John Harradine, Nigel Bush (stroke), Rachel Allen (cox). Friday: John Harradine (bow), Chris Kent, Phil Sheppard, Tim Fisher-Jeffes, David Sampson, Richard Lingard, Dave Tracey, Nigel Bush (stroke), Rachel Allen (cox). That's 13 different rowers over 4 nights!

Race results

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