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Pembroke Regatta 2015

Saturday 14th February

Previous event: Robinson Head - Following event: Bedford Eights and Fours Head

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Richard Gunning, 2: Ed Oughton, 3: Callum McKenzie, 4: Ross Buckingham, 5: Anders Kjemtrup, 6: Ben Evans, 7: Andrzej Hunt, Stroke: Jon Swain, Cox: Esther Momcilovic

Round 1: Beat Hughes Hall easily; Round 2: Lost to Jesus by ~1 length

Esther Momcilovic reports:

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We had a strong warm-up paddle, and for once got our timings spot on so that there was no needless hanging around in the marshalling area. Our start against Hughes Hall was functional, but needed a bit more fire. As a result, it was only as we lengthened out that our rhythm started to take us away from them. Nevertheless, we were on clear water before the Railway Bridge, and so to conserve energy for the next round, we stepped it down to 32. Another step down just before Morley's Holt brought us to 30, which we then held until the finish line.

We agreed that we needed more aggression and precision in the start of our next race - we knew that Jesus would be tough opponents but were determined to give it everything. Our start was much more powerful and as we came out onto rhythm, we were about half a seat up. We traded bowballs until the slight bend in our favour halfway up the Reach, where we gained a seat, and then a seat-and-a-half's lead. Jesus pushed on though, and drew back to level as we approached the Railway Bridge. Knowing the corner was about to turn in Jesus' favour, we took it up - sadly, Jesus made a similar move, and this, combined with their corner, drew them out to about half a length's lead as we came out straight. We did our best to take it up again in response, but Jesus had an extra gear that we didn't have. We crossed the line with Jesus around a length up on us.

Overall, we're continuing to make good progress. Yes, our race against Jesus was a little rough and ready, but we have a further week to polish that up. Our start is good and we're only going to get faster!

Uploaded Sunday 15th February, 17:00

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1st Women's VIII

Bow: Riana Betzler, 2: Lydia Price, 3: Olivia Jenkins, 4: Anna Zeugner, 5: Mateja Sborchia, 6: Edith Ross, 7: Chrysoula Litina, Stroke: Imogen Sharkey Ochoa, Cox: Tom Watson

Round 1: Beat King's W1 by 3 lengths, Quarter Final: Lost to Emmanuel W1 by 1 1/2 lengths

Tom Watson reports:

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After a string of disappointing results in the first two races of term, it was really important that we come out of this with a win, and we did. I think we were all acutely aware of that going into the first race; fortunately the last few outings had seen major improvements in our technique at higher rates, so the nerves translated into some excellent racing. We lengthened out off the start and were still at rate 40! I was tempted to keep it there but decided that would be a little too risky, so a quick stride call took us down to 36. We'd moved up on King's very slightly by the end of the start sequence, and a strong power 10, coupled with me calling out the seat I was up to on the other boat at various points, kept us pushing ahead nicely. By the time the bridge was coming up I was past their bow girl, and another push gave us clear water to take the racing line around the corner. By this point it was our race to lose, and although it got a little shaky as fatigue set in and the pressure of the race lifted, we kept pushing King's away with every stroke. The call to imagine they were chasing us in bumps and had come up to striking distance got a good response, and as we came towards the finish we'd put two lengths of clear water between us and them.

Emma were always going to be a much tougher race, but there were a lot of positives for us in how we performed. We started without much space between us, so the start sequences for both crews were slightly choppy but we remained level. We lost a little ground when ordered to move away from the centre (I was surprised we were the only crew that had to move across - classic losing cox blaming the marshals!) and although they crept up on us down the reach we were still very much in the race until the bridge. They had the meadow side so could take the corner as tight as they liked, and we were never going to come back from that. I did my best to take a tight line in response, but they got half a length out of us by the time we were straight again and almost had clear water. We hung on as best we could to the finish, a combination of fatigue and resignation meaning they pulled away but only by about another half a length, if that. To be fair to Emma they were the better crew, but it was the corner that really sealed the deal.

Now for the positives. A few weeks ago we had some distinctly unimpressive head race times - I think Emma may have been something like 20-25 seconds faster than us over Newnham short course. According to my back of the envelope calculations, to lose by 1.5 lengths over 1200m means we've more than halved that gap - we're starting to punch within our weight category as a crew. We've come on leaps and bounds in the last week or so, and we've notched up one victory already. A lot of crews will have dismissed us entirely when they saw our times at the start of term; now we're back on the radar, and we're only going to get better. Cave Adsum.

Uploaded Saturday 14th February, 22:08

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2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Karel Nanninga, 2: James Henderson, 3: Dominic Schröder, 4: Ollie Rusk, 5: Euan Beck, 6: Joe Thompson, 7: Louis Tate, Stroke: Fred Benham‑Crosswell, Cox: Clement Chan

Round 1: Beat Hughes Hall M2 by 3 lengths, Round 2: Beat Queens M2 by 2 1/2 lengths, Quater Finals: Lost to Caius M2 by 1 length.

Louis Tate reports:

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After finally making it out of massive congestion at Chesterton, which turned out to be the only kind of marshaling we had to do before round 1, we had a decent row up, going on to beat Hughes Hall M2 fairly convincingly. The start was a bit messy, not helped by the starting marshal who appeared to whisper 'go' so only Hughes Hall would hear resulting into us starting slightly after the opposition. Thankfully this turned out not to be an issue as we'd put over a length into them by half way down the reach. Some slightly more organised marshaling followed allowing us to get nice and cold ready for round 2. Another less than ideal start saw Queens M2 gain an initial advantage off the start however we settled into a very nice rhythm (in time and with good power) which again saw us pulling away down the reach. The power stayed well unlike the first round but technique less so. Going on to the quarter finals saw us facing Caius M2 who got a much better start than us (bad starts seem to be a recurring theme here). The initial ground they put on us created a bit of panic within the boat leading to a decline in technique and quite a bit of splashing. A fantastic response to a build call under the railway bridge enabled us to reign in their lead pulling us level with their stern (this seemed to panic their cox somewhat) but there wasn't enough ground to left to race resulting in a defeat.

A great showing today saw us mixing it up with the top M2 crews, another promising result ahead of bumps. What surprised me to be the highlight of the day was our paddling which was very good technique-wise, a marked improvement over recent outings. Hopefully this new-found ability to sit a boat and row in time will stay with us throughout our next outings. We do however need to do quite a bit of work on our starts and maintaining technique under pressure before bumps.

Uploaded Saturday 14th February, 14:56

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3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Ben Leitch, 2: Matthew Coates, 3: Tai Anwar, 4: Hector Newman, 5: Olivier Grouille, 6: Matt Simpson, 7: Adam Sanders, Stroke: Toby Roeder, Cox: Lydia Price

Round 1: Beat Clare Hall M2 by 3 lenghts, Round 2: Beat Pembroke M3 by 1 length, Semi Finals: Lost to FaT M3 by 2 1/2 lengths

Tobias Roeder reports:

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Having fought adverse conditions, namely the two boat rule and the prospect of competing for very few places in Lent Bumps, we were looking forward to putting our training to the test in our first race as a crew. While no official alcohol ban had been given out, most crew members turned up in good spirits and proper physical conditions at 7am. After some work on the boat and marshalling under the Railway Bridge, we did a short practice start down the reach which looked promising, while ever so slightly rushed. The collateral damage we inflicted after winding it down, – ramming a town club double scull, which had sneaked up into our cox’s blind spot – has, no doubt, to be taken as proportional to the purpose and possibly even an exercise for the Bumps.

The first opponent of the regatta were our boathouse mates from Clare Hall M2. Yet, having arrived at the marshalling area around Ditton Corner, we were told it would be a scratch race, as Clare Hall was missing a bow ball. While we were eager to race, we accepted this decision in a sportsmen’s way (‘yeah, one race less’). Little did we know that as we were waiting to paddle down at the end of the division, someone fetched a bow ball, so that Clare Hall got the chance to finally row against us. The race was quite straightforward. Pulling away from the start, we held our lead firmly with a good rhythm at rate 32 and increased it over time to three boat lengths at the finishing line.

Next up was Pembroke M3, our boathouse neighbours and organising club of the regatta. They turned out to be a tougher opponent, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Still in the winds of the start sequence, our blades clashed. Needless to say, that it was not our cox’s fault. We, however, got the better of it and saw them behind after the first 100 meters. This, as Lydia reminded us constantly, could not be taken as an easy victory. Keeping us concentrated and calling power 10s at various times, which yielded a strong response, we thwarted Pembroke’s dangerous attempts to catch us until the end. A hard fought battle, in any case.

Slightly exhausted and out of water provisions, we went back down the Reach for our Valentine’s date with the fat man … ah … FaT Men’s 3. After a long marshalling time and some physical exercises (of sorts) on the bank, we went to meet our most formidable opponent that day. The FaT rowers were able to pull away quite early at the start. We were managed to keep them at around 2 lengths, but they were just too fast to be caught. Still, we were committed to the race until the very end and Lydia’s call “Empty the tanks” brought a massive surge just after the Railway Bridge. The victorious FaT 3 went on to win the division in the following finals.

In the end, we could be satisfied with a solid performance and fairly happy with being among the top four M3s. Especially with a look at the Getting-On-Race, we are confident that we have a fighting chance to row at the Lent Bumps; successfully, of course.

Uploaded Saturday 14th February, 21:07

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