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M1 Autumn Head 2012Men’s IV race report - Autumn Head 2012 [won IM3 division]
by Simon Kirk, Men's Officer
At the end of the second week of training the Peterhouse men’s IV raced the Autumn Head. The heavy rain in the previous days meant the stream had picked up. Although it was early in the term the crew were keen to compete.
The row to the start was a bit forceful, but after a few words from the coach we began to move better. We got down to the start, but as is tradition with town club run events, the division went off half an hour late. This left plenty of time to contemplate the race ahead and it was clear the crew was in good spirits.
Eventually the division started and we rowed down to the start. We built up the rate as we went under the motorway bridge and crossed the start line. The row along First Post Reach was rough and ready, but everyone was working hard and we kept on the rates. Steering through the corners we found more of a rhythm and began to put the power down coherently. We had a push along the Plough Reach which really got the boat moving. As we turned onto the Long Reach the wind picked up slightly, but we kept pushing. As we headed through the Railway Bridge we knew we were on the final straight and began to increase the rate. Going passed the Pike & Eel we got stronger again and kept it going all the way to top finish.
We finished with a time of 10:39 in slow conditions, winning the IM3 IV+ event and our time ranking us 4th in the college IVs.
The race was particularly well steered by Charlotte Coles - this was her first time coxing a race. Although there is still plenty of work to be done, it showed that at this early stage we are in the mix of the fast college IVs. The crew picked up some valuable racing experience as well as a new drinking tankard.
W1 Autumn Head 2012Autumn Head 2012
W1 won the College Women's 1st IV+ division
An early start for the women’s first IV found us marshalling in chilly but calm conditions amid the usual chaos of boats assembling for the start of a head race. It was to be the first race of the term, and of the new academic year, and we were confident that our new line-up could produce enough speed to provide a serious challenge to the other crews in the college IVs category.
A strong start led to us making good time to the Plough, settled in a very consistent, fairly quick rhythm - the crew performed exceptionally well for their first race together. As we turned onto the Long Reach we were slowed somewhat by a headwind but still reached the Railings in the time we had been targeting. From here we failed to gather as much extra speed as we had originally hoped to, but still kept a good rhythm and a few minutes later, as we passed under the Railway Bridge, sheer bloody-mindedness seemed to come into play and the crew drove the boat hard to the line, bringing the rate up and throwing everything into the last burst.
We were rewarded with a time of 12 minutes, 29 seconds - which turned out to be sufficient to win in our category and compared favourably with many other crews in other women’s IVs categories. Hopefully this will be the first of many successes this term!
M1 May Bumps 2012Wednesday
No record of Wednesday can be found.
With a reputedly speedy Selwyn crew directly behind and a piece of driftwood with First & Third blades two ahead there was every chance Thursday wouldn't be the nicest experience. We took a solid start and a good transition into the second minute, but nothing could be done about Homerton and FaT bumping out quickly.
Selwyn had closed up behind and were moving well. A tight line around Grassy Corner opened up some breathing space so there was no need to panic as they pushed coming into the Plough Reach, at this point they sat half a length behind and the river ahead was empty. The pressure remained upon us moving into Ditton Corner, where contrasting approaches saw them close to within six feet of our stern - but coming onto the Long Reach this opened out again as they ran wide. Half of the course left, 10% of the original gap between boats remained.
Up to The Railings very little changed, but after that the gap started to open up. The gentle wind blowing was turning our puddles into waves, knowing we were making conditions as uncomfortable as possible for Selwyn made the prolonged exertion easier to cope with. Coming up to the Railway Bridge the gap stood at half a length and once this landmark was passed the threat faded away. As we approached Peter's Posts a glance along the boat saw Selwyn a length off, and with the pressure off the final push to Top Finish was almost pleasant in comparison with the row between The Plough and The Railings. No greenery, but it felt like a victory as we paused after Green Dragon Footbridge.
Comic relief was provided when Selwyn finally arrived - "Did we tag your stern?" asked their coxswain. No. Of course you didn't. Prat.
The effort put in on the first two days provided a reward on Friday. The sweet sound of our whistles rang out before we'd settled from the start. Entering First Post Corner we had closed the gap to First & Third M2 but completed the turn before making the final push to force the concession.
Peterhouse M1 perhaps isn't quite in a position to challenge for headship, but to have another club's second boat above us is unacceptable. Chasing Downing M2, proud possessors of "second-boat-headship", on the last day was a nice chance to correct this. They would surely be no pushover like FaT M2, but there was plenty of confidence we could take them out without
The first minute or so didn't see much progress, but the gap started to close down The Gut. Nearly at one length as we entered Grassy Corner, less than that at the exit, and astonishingly for a bumps race everything seemed to be going to plan. Coming out of Ditton Corner the result was inevitable but Downing ran to the meadowside, their wash slapping into the
strokeside of Wilson. A glance out to the right revealed plentiful overlap and with a subtle tweak to the rudder our shell started to move across. One blade hitting their shell wasn't enough to raise their coxswain's hand, the next impact ensured acknowledgement. We paddled past them and pulled in near The Railings, our week over with a plus two result.
X-press HeadIt was just after a rather satisfying bump on Downing M2 that a few of the more adventurous members of M1 decided it would be a good idea to enter X-press Head. One May Ball and several rounds of Peterhouse Imperial Pimms later, it still seemed like a good plan. When the intrepid cox was offered a spot in a town crew, containing none other than local celebrity Steve Trapmore, the gauntlet had been thrown down. Gallantly, the opportunity to cox an Olympic Gold medallist was spurned in favour of Peterhouse pride (remember the Steve Trapmore bit though, it’s an important part of the story). Thus it was that a gentleman’s agreement was made between Bob Evans, Karel ‘Charlie’ KabelÍk, John Harris, Pete Wilkes and Lizzie Bennett that a Peterhouse IV should be entered into X-press Head 2012. We decided that a quick outing on the Monday morning would be no bad thing, partly so that we could reassure ourselves that the crew was light enough to use Danny without sinking - yes, just. Despite Bob’s reluctance to take the rate above a frankly pedestrian 34, we had a tidy outing and paddled home feeling reasonably confident.
When we met up later in the day, there was a slightly strange atmosphere. The motivational chats from Skirk and Bomber were notable by their absence, although the presence of Charles’ Lucky Lube was reassuringly familiar in the pre-race routine. Our paddle down gave us a good opportunity to sit behind the Trapmore IV, which we were using as our main opposition. They looked quite technical and their practice start was none too shabby (certainly better than some of the VIIIs whose practice starts we had watched the week before). A quick sussing out of the other IVs entered suggested that we’d have little to worry about from them - the Trapmore IV would be our opposition. 'CUBC Charlie' was particularly feeling the heat, and may once or twice have dented his image as ‘the nice one’ in M1 by getting a little exasperated with Bob’s constant tomfoolery.
For once, marshalling was a pleasure, perhaps because there was almost enough room for all the boats and it was quite a warm evening. After a heart-stopping moment when we thought we’d be following a mixed IV (and some sneaky coxing to get back in front) we set off after all the VIIIs and just the Trapmore IV. The course was from the Motorway Bridge to Top Finish and we had planned to race it in a similar way to our Bumps race plan. This worked nicely and we were making really good time throughout - perhaps helped by Bob deciding to take the rate to the high 30s at the start after all. The rhythm was really good and it was refreshing to have some flat water to relax into and really put some power down. Richard and Alex cheered on expertly from the bank and by the time we emerged on the Reach it was clear that we’d taken a lot out of the distance between us and the Trapmore IV. Rounding Ditton, Lizzie decided that we were close enough to be heard by him and his crew, and so began the process of shouting his name and her desire to beat an Olympic Gold medallist in an attempt to distract, intimidate and destroy. Coupled with some very neat and powerful rowing from the guys, this had a dramatic effect, and the distance between the crews continued to concertina, also helped by their cox’s bizarre decisions on racing lines (ie, don’t bother).
Coming out of the Railway Bridge there was another good push, and the might of four [*five] boaties who had recently undergone exams, bumps, a ball, and a big piss-up on some grass was shown. The call of ‘HUNT HIM DOWN!’ was particularly effective at the P&E, and when we crossed the finish line we were almost close enough to crash into the crew which had started so far ahead. The crew behind still could not be seen, and it was decided that we had probably done rather well - Bob even admitted to putting his legs down throughout, and was a bit out of breath at the end [to Bob - sorry you’re getting so much abuse in this report, but you *did* really want to stroke it, and in the absence of Manuel we have to make fun of someone]. We had a nice relaxing paddle back, and as a bonus got to have a look at some small and fluffy baby waterfowl on the way home (maybe that was just Lizzie).
Once finished at the boathouse, we headed down to City Boathouse to check the results. Sure enough, we were the fastest IV, by 20 seconds. Crew and bank party rapidly availed themselves of the facilities (the bar), arguing that a ball and Peterhouse Imperial had not quite made up for the lack of alcohol in the rest of the term. Zider and beer were particularly sweet out of our new pots.
Thanks to John Harris for organising, and a special mention must be made to Richard Dearden and Alex Lee, who gamely bank partied us throughout the race (and applauded loudly when we collected our pots) - and of course to Steve Trapmore for only pretending to try!
Result - fastest IV. Time - 10 minutes and 8 seconds.
Crew - cox: Lizzie Bennett. Stroke: Bob Evans. 3: Karel KabelÍk. 2: John Harris. Bow: Pete Wilkes
W2 99s Regatta 2012W2 won their division.
W2 arrived at the race with a renewed fighting spirit, ready to put the memory of last term’s disastrous Pembroke Regatta behind us. Racing in a crew very similar to that of Lent term, we had bonded over early morning Goldie spotting, infamous exam term swaps and our six seat’s traumatic childhood; we were determined to not mess around and to win some pots. After a lacklustre performance during our Friday outing (see: infamous exam term swaps) opinion in the boat was divided as to what rate to settle to, with calls from the five seat and gimp seat to get the rate down and put the legs down- thankfully this issue was resolved halfway through our second race. Having ensured that Sadie ‘Bow’ Jarrett’s gate was actually done up this time, and having finally found a place to spin- albeit a few hundred metres from where we were originally told to- we rowed down to the top of the Long Reach, eager to begin.
Our first race was against Selwyn III and we went into it feeling confident. Having watched their getting on race video on youtube, as well as our own, we were hopeful that our power would outmatch theirs on the day. This is exactly what happened: we settled a little too high for the liking of five and three- leading to shouting from the middle four- but pulled away from Selwyn immediately off of the start. We continued to increase the gap over the 1k course, as Selwyn, while looking technically competent and together, were simply not moving the boat through the water as quickly. The photo at the finish near Morley’s Holt shows us as winning ‘easily’, with no distance given. We were pleased with the win, but were also all determined to row better in the next race, knowing that it was perhaps not our best piece.
We were less confident going into our division final against King’s II (we only raced twice, due to the small number of entries into our division). Our opponents arrived at the start line looking intimidating in matching unisuits, and we knew immediately that this race would be more of a challenge. Their start was slightly more forceful than ours, as our first three strokes were not as strong as they could have been, and they immediately drew a seat in front of us. Despite repeated calls from Ollie, our cox, the settle took a while to come, and we showed no signs for the first 600m of the race of regaining the advantage we had lost. Once we reached the railway bridge, however, calls to lengthen finally got through to the crew, and we began to aggressively gain back our lost inches, accompanied by some animalistic grunting from middle four. In a situation reminiscent of the recent Boat Race, Ollie ‘De Toledo’ Bond was focused enough on winning to be unable to avoid a blade clash with our opponents- about 200m from the finish line our five seat’s blade hit that of our opponents’ seven seat. Both crews, however, stayed focused, and continued to push for the finish as five’s parents somewhat comically ran alongside. Our race was the closest of the day, and as both crews were told to wind it down, we looked to our opponents with no clue as to the final outcome. The marshals announced that the winner had won by a mere six inches, and we did not restrain our shouts of exhilaration when we discovered that victory was ours.
Nines Regatta marked the first win for Sadie, Hannah and Rachel, who had not won pots at Head of the Cam, and was also the first success story for this year’s new crop of W2 girls, who have come a long way together since novice term. We were extremely proud of this victory and of its contribution to the club’s win of best overall performance. It is better, we think, to drink (free) celebration beer in the evening after Nines, than it was to drink commiseration cider at nine in the morning after Pembroke. Hopefully this is an indication of great things to come.
Abigail Mitchell, Women's Officer
(5 seat, W2)