With Novice Women A having come second in Nephthys and Novice Men A reaching the semi-final, we went into Christ Church with strong hopes for all five of our boats – two Men’s, two Women’s, and one Mixed. We were not to be disappointed.
Men’s A continued their good form by storming into Final’s Day having dispatched of Mansfield A, Univ B, and LMH A in the process. Each race was a dominant display, winning all three by over 3 lengths. The Saturday began in the same vein, as strokeman Simon Evered – from Stanford – led the boat to an easy win against St. Antony’s C to take us to the Quarter Fianls. Here we faced St. Hugh’s A who proved to be much tougher competition. St. Hugh’s got off to a good start and despite them catching a crab in front of the Brasenose Boathouse – much to the delight of the crowd watching on – we were unable to pull them back, eventually losing by 1 length.
Our slick WA crew – stroked by Lizzy Matthams – proved how good they were over the first couple of days beating both LMH A and St. Catz A by clear water. Sitting at a lower rate than most other boats on the water, it was the sheer power in the boat that was catching the eye, spearheaded by our 5 and 6 pair of Julia Kuhn and Anna Dobson. They faced a tougher challenge against Mansfeild A in the Quarter Finals but used the bend well to pull away in the second half of the race and win by ¾ of a length. On the Saturday, however, they finally met their match as an impressive Pembroke crew held off a big push – again round the bend – to win by a length.
Performance of the week came from the Men’s B boat who in round one found themselves one and a half lengths down against Mansfield A at Brasenose Boathouse, only to stage an incredible comeback to nick it on the line by inches! The most delighted person at this result was bowman Gregory Hartley, who was saved from potential ridicule, having the found the allure of Park End too great the night before! Finding themselves in a similar position in round two against Queens A, they attempted the impossible for a second day in a row. However, despite having Joe Sibley back in the boat post-injury, they could not quite catch them and lost by ½ a length.
Women’s B faced a difficult start to the regatta, facing Nepthys winners Wolfson A in round one. Despite our best efforts, Wolfson won by 2 lengths. That put WB into the repechage where they faced Somerville A. Stroke Petra Kone got Brasenose off to a good start but, unfortunately, we could not hold them off.
The Mixed boat faced crisis two hours before the race as injuries and academia gutted our crew. After many frantic calls, 6 seniors were found to pack out our newly formed ‘friendly’ crew. Living up to their ‘friendly’ name they put on all the rowing stash they could find in an attempt to intimidate the opposition – Wolfson B. Cries of “Yeah GB” were even said to be heard from bowman Sam White. However, despite the heavy Childe of Hale representation, we laboured to only a two-length win.
This was a great week of racing and is hopefully just the start for this brilliant batch of novices!
– Peter Edmondson, Men’s Co-Captain