Rowing - 2009


Head of the Cam – Shovellers B 8+ finished 36th

For the second successive year, I raced in a Churchill alumni VIII in the Head of the Cam in Cambridge on 2 May. We improved on our 2008 time with 10'44", 36th overall and 1" ahead of the current M2. The younger alumni were 8" behind M1, and the alumnae were 2" ahead of W1 and fastest of the CRA women's crews.

Crew: 1 (bow), 2, 3, 4, Oli Thorpe, Wimp, David Sampson, Jonathan Thompson (stroke), C (cox).

Cambridge - Oxford - Aniene private match – Cambridge 8+ finished second

I was kindly asked to participate in the latest installment of the three-way veterans' contest between Cambridge, Oxford and Aniene Rowing Club of Rome. We and our charming Italian opponents travelled to Oxford for the sprint race on 27 June. Our borrowed boat was bow-rigged so I was promoted to stroke when others failed to step forward. After one mid-week outing, our practice on race morning was curtailed when my rigger pin sheared during a start. I felt suitably manly as bow six paddled back to the boat house.

In the race, we took the pragmatic approach of jacking up the rate as high as possible. We led initially, but Oxford's superior quality began to tell, and we were left to battle with our Italian opponents on the far side. Never dipping below 39, we crossed the line a length behind Oxford and half a length ahead of Aniene.

Sue Brown's Cambridge women took on a crew of contemptorary OUWBC rowers. After anticipating the start (jumping sounds like cheating), Cambridge maintained a slight advantage throughout, with an official margin of four feet at the line. The Oxford ladies, somewhat aggrieved, declined to attend the medals presentation.

Crew: Clive Rees (bow), John Martin, Patrick Hoskin, Peter Langley, Tim Rhodes, Mike Edey, Iain Law, David Sampson (stroke), Scherzade Westwood (cox). Chris Lloyd substituted for Tim Rhodes in practice.

CRA Town Bumps – Rob Roy II finished 7th

I returned to the Cambridge Town Bumps in the colours of Rob Roy, starting in 7th place, chasing Rob Roy I and chased by Chesterton I.

On the first day, we had an uneventful row, as Rob Roy I ahead bumped X-Press I, and Chesterton I behind were bumped by City II.

On the second day, we had a tough row over ahead of City II. They had closed to a canvas in the Gut, and they stayed there until we finally broke free in the Reach. We were never closer than a length from X-Press I ahead.

On the third day, we went off harder, and City II were never inside three-quarters of a length. We were slightly up on X-Press at one point, although they pulled away later in the race.

On the fourth day, we went off at a higher rate, but it was counterproductive and we were soon under pressure from City II behind. Into Grassy, they were overlapping on the outside, but our cox took a tight line and we came out of the corner with a gap. We drew away from City over the remainder of the course, finishing a couple of lengths clear, relieved to have escaped. Four row overs but a lot of racing!

Crew: Giles Dakin White (bow), John Dennis, David Sampson, Nick Shepherd, Andrew Watson, Mark Lawrence, Stefan Gräf, Ed Pain (stroke), Izzy Jones (cox).

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