After the disappointment of finding out that the BUCS Head beginners category had been cancelled only two days earlier, the Novice squads were glad to put their hard work this term to good use, with a last minute entry for both eights into the UH Head. Rather than taking a coach up to Boston, Lincs, at the ungodly hour of 5am, we would be on home turf and just had to be at the UL boathouse for 1130am. Every cloud has a silver lining! The BUCS senior events were still going ahead, leaving our squad without their captains, Sachin and Florrie, and the first crew’s cox, Isolde, for the day, but still in the capable hands of coach Woody and Ian Bates (Chairman of Bentham Boat Club).
The first eight paddled off slightly late but reached the start-line on time, and had just enough time to de-kit before starting the race. We got off to a sprint start and, despite the strong winds, soon found our rhythm and settled in for the race ahead, punctuated with some tactically placed sets of “Power 10” strokes from our cox, Maria. It was a shame that we had to move up a division because, with no opponents on the water immediately in front of or behind us, it was more difficult to get into a competitive frame-of-mind. Nevertheless, we kept firmly focused and before we knew it, we were approaching the boathouse, being cheered on from the banks to loud chants of “U-C-L, U-C-L,” when we gave it everything we had left for the finish line.
There was a quick turn-around when the firsts got back to the boathouse and, after a debrief from Woody, the seconds set off with Maria coxing again. We next saw them coming down the course and approaching the boathouse at quite a pace – until they slowed down and, to our shock, started to turn around! It transpired that, at the start line, a bolt fell from the rigger at bow seat and it subsequently started to fall apart, meaning that they could not race. Even though they could have had a leisurely paddle back, they came back at full race pace, even getting cheered on along the length of the course from the banks. It was really bad luck and a shame especially because they looked so strong compared to the subsequent crews that passed by in their category, even with a man down.
The results came out that evening, with the first boat finishing 3rd in the Novice Men’s category, only 2 seconds behind ICSM in 2nd place. It was a good result considering that the other crews had been preparing for this race specifically for the past few weeks and both of our crews had technical difficulties with the speakers over the course of the race. We capped-off the day with a (what is rapidly turning into traditional) post-race karaoke night at Mully’s bar back on the UCL campus! There were some stunning renditions of Hotel California and Hot ’n Cold, and we celebrated what may well be our last race together as novices before merging with the senior squad ahead of the HoRR in only a few weeks time.
1st NM: Cox – Maria Luksergen, S: Rishi Anand 7: Paul Knoops 6: Juuso Turtiainen 5: Patrick Guthrie 4: Harry Robins 3: Stefanos Ziomas 2: Boyang Pan B: Daniel Blackwell
2nd NM: Cox – Maria Luksergen, S: Hugo Horstmann 7: Tom Anderson 6: Martin Ellingsen 5: Paul Bley 4: Lee Pattenden 3: Antonio Sorgi 2: Andre Stuhldreher B: Jacob Seamons
The Novice women entered the race with confidence, as the course ran 3.6km over our home turf, from just past the Pink Lodge to MAA (Mortlake Anglian and Alpha Boat Club). Despite headwind and rough water, the girls were not put off, and stuck to their consistent rhythm. Urged on by Jess’ motivation and the support from the banks they put in a strong performance and won their category (Novice Womens VIIIs). Furthermore, they scored an impressive 4th place overall within the Women’s category, beating many of the Senior and Intermediate 8s from other colleges! This was a great opportunity for the Novice Women to showcase how much they’d stepped on with all the hard work and training this term, and was a perfect warm up as we look ahead to WeHoRR this weekend.
1st NW: Cox – Jessica Knapman, S: Tamsin Howard, 7:Phoebe Gayle-Farlow, 6: Georgia Statham, 5: Jodie Clarke, 4: Inga Sagolla, 3: Lucy Garland, 2: Gemma Wells, B: Hannah James