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City Sprints 2017

Sunday 30th April

Previous event: Cambridge Spring Head to Head - Following event: Champs Eights Head

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Jordan Thornton, 2: Matt Simpson, 3: Euan Beck, 4: Gabriel Bliard, 5: Stephen Kindness, 6: Peter Rees, 7: Jon Swain, Stroke: Riccardo Conci, Cox: Clement Chan

Winners. Beating Girton M1

Jon Swain reports:


With yet another new crew lineup, we had a quick pre-race paddle to the lock and back to line things up. Our rowing improved during the outing, but it still wasn't quite clicking as we'd hoped it would.

Our start was unconventional, more reminiscent of the 1920s experiments with syncopated rowing. Riccardo wound up to the low 40s, I was still at r36, middle 4 were averaging somewhere in the middle and Gabriel decided to have a break on the second stroke as the first had proved too tiring.

With our less than perfect start, Girton had jumped us and I think moved up on us a seat. As they had the bend it felt like we weren't making much progress cutting their lead, but slowly we were edging back in front. A big 10 strokes to finish it off and we had limped across the line ahead. Not a vintage performance, but good to get the first win of the season.

Uploaded Tuesday 2nd May, 9:56


1st Women's VIII

Bow: Abbie Currington, 2: Philippa Slay, 3: Rosie Boxall, 4: Robyn Hamer, 5: Elly Cockman, 6: Anna Peel, 7: Ariane Dupas, Stroke: Ada Krzak, Cox: Harry Ellison‑Wright

Winners. Beating Girton W1

Harry Ellison-Wright reports:


Our race was a straight final against Girton, and despite feeling confident we were well aware that in such a short sprint anything could happen. And it certainly did... The wait for the stake boats was eventful: we had just recovered from being skirmished by a rogue Downing tub when some cheerful Girton supporters decided to show their support for our opposition by soaking them with water pistols.

Despite this excitement, we lined up on the boathouse side ready for our recently rehearsed start sequence. We were clean off the blocks, and despite starting a third of a length back due to the staggered start, we were inching nicely into Girton's lead by stroke five. But it was just at this moment when a fateful gust of wind began to push Girton out towards our side of the river. I watched with growing concern as my plan for a clean race quickly unravelled. Braced for a clash, our greater momentum worked in our favour and after a prolonged fracas we came out the other side in a stronger position. All the credit goes to the rowers for maintaining impressive composure throughout, and immediately re-establishing a lively rhythm as we made our break for freedom, and for the finish line. Striking rate 37 in the final sprint, we pushed away from Girton and crossed the line first by a healthy margin.

A dramatic finish to a successful weekend of racing!

Uploaded Monday 1st May, 15:23


2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Rosie Vince, 2: Kerry Smith, 3: Olivia Brett, 4: Eilidh Thompson, 5: Jess Lindley, 6: Hermione Burn, 7: Marta Uncio‑Ribera, Stroke: Rachael Young, Cox: Ben Williams

Winners. Beating Catz W1

Rosie Vince reports:


We were facing Catz W1, who beat us by a minute yesterday at the H2H so nobody was expecting to win (to quote Kerry ‘we are going to get trounced’). Although there were a thread of tentative optimism too. 1 minute over 4km = 30 seconds over 2km = only 7 seconds over 500m, or so our maths went. We can claw back 7 seconds right?

We practiced our start on the ergs 3 times. ¾, ½, ¾: get that power and rate up fast. It was only going to be a couple of minutes of racing and so every second counted and we were determined to make a race of it.

We were on the midsummer side of the river, so had the outside line round the sweeping bend. To compensate, we started with our bow just that much ahead of Catz.

Our start was fantastic, the boat leapt forward immediately. Catz didn’t eat into our initial lead. Maybe we could actually keep them at bay? Round the bend we went, and Catz began to creep closer as they got the advantage of the inside line. Still they weren’t jumping to close that gap, so we just kept pushing. Coming towards the finish line, their blades were now side by side with ours, bow to bow, stern to stern. From the shouts, everyone outside City of Cambridge was enjoying the show

Honk, honk! Race was over. Who had won? We had no idea. Either way there was only centimetres in it. We exchanged cheers with Catz, and their cox admitted ‘I think you might have that one’. We still weren’t sure. Ben shouted to the bank, asking for confirmation. WE WON! And we have the pots to match :) .

What a race girls! And huge shout out to Ben who coxed the hell out of it.

Uploaded Sunday 30th April, 22:23


3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Bethany Mason, 2: Julie Ramambason, 3: Vashti Davies, 4: Nina Cooper, 5: Anna Crucefix, 6: Helen Llambias Maw, 7: Josie Newman, Stroke: Katie Wilkinson, Cox: Izzy Rudd

Beat Catz W2, lost to LMBC W2.

Fred Benham‑Crosswell / Tom Hilbourne (Men's Double Scull A)

Semi-finals. Lost to City of Cambridge Rowing Club.

Tom Hilbourne reports:


It was a drunken night that the Kraken double was born. I'm not sure who's idea it was initially but we both claimed credit for the shear brilliance of it. With only 1 male boat entered and the day written off for Caesarean Sunday (Google it if unaware), Fred and I were looking for something to do. Fate answered.

The day started the only way it could: a 2k test. The logic being, if we both did a 2k, the race couldn't be the worst thing that would happen that day. After much vomiting and a BBQ later, we arrived at the boat house with only one goal in sight: not to capsize. Gripper was somewhat absent, we assume because he knew there was nothing he would be able to contribute to the perfection that was this double scull.

It started the only way it could; with us holding up the division since we boated late. Never fear, we could tell the stewards appreciated the importance of us participating in the race and made everyone else wait. We managed to get in the boat without capsizing (aim 1 complete) and paddled to the start line, a good 15 strokes away. With a practice race start, we found that we weren't totally hopeless and could go in a vaguely straight line. We span and ended up waiting by Downing boat club for the race to start. This was unfortunate as it turned out they were having some "initiation" for rowing (I'm sorry but what type of boat club has an initiation?) To make things worse, it seemed to be the women's side of the club. Long story short, we found ourselves with a somewhat intoxicated bank party (no change there then ;)) who tried to get our phone numbers...

Anyway, we sized up the opposition and decided that they looked quite good. But then we thought we did as well. We rowed to the start line and waited for the marshall to do some shouting... and then we were off! Now I'm going to give you two versions of events that happened and not tell you which one is true. I'll let you decide based on what you consider more feasible/more comedic/more heroic (delete as appropriate).

Scenario 1: We screamed off the start line and had a 3 length lead before Clare Boat House. The other crew didn't know what had hit them. We stormed up the course and crossed the line in a record time. Both Fred and I were then scouted for the GB team for the 2020 Olympics and, as a consequence, have decided to drop out of university in search of greater things in Japan.

Scenario 2: We screamed off the start line and 3 strokes later, I caught a huge crab. The other team stormed passed and didn't look like slowing. We picked ourselves up and managed 5 strokes at a time before a mini-crab or unbalance occurred. We passed the finish line a finite amount of time later and then rowed back at steady state in a much quicker time than in the race.

Whichever you believe, Fred and I both agreed afterwards that we would make this an annual tradition regardless of whether we're still attending university or not, until one of us leaves this mortal world.

Uploaded Monday 1st May, 20:13