Fashionably one month late, but we promise it's worth a read ...
The 2017/18 season began with a productive preseason, where we put away plenty of mileage to hit the ground running for what we anticipated would be a relentless season. Our first test of the season was on the tideway for Pairs Head. This saw numerous promising results, including Jake Bedford and Alex Dawson placing third in the club pairs division. As new recruits settled in, we then turned our attention to Fours Head and Wallingford Head, coming 2nd and 3rd in our division in the latter, whilst laying down two decent results at Fours Head, including 2nd in our category.
After ending the calendar year on what was seen as a solid set of results so far, we headed to Reading to finish the year with a week of winter camp. Despite being snowed in for day 1 of camp, we conquered the northern-like conditions to execute a productive, exciting and hugely beneficial camp.
We were swiftly back in routine in the New Year, after a few weeks at home devouring many Christmas treats, from Christmas Pudding to steak bakes. With some members of the squad carrying a few extra kilograms than before the winter break, we hit the training hard with Quintin head only a couple of weeks away. The year began with a spirited and very satisfying row at Quintin Head, having the fastest time in our division by nearly 10 seconds. Great success!
The pace exhibited at Quintin was further demonstrated at both Henley Fours and Eights Head and BUCS head on the Tyne, just under a month later. Whilst the 1st VIII trained for BUCS Head, we sent a IV to Henley where they came a narrow second in their event- highlighting the depth in the squad. The 1st VIII then took to Newcastle hoping to come back with a good result, and with 7th in Intermediate men’s eights, we weren’t too disheartened.
We aimed to conclude our Head season at the Eight's Head of the River Race in the fine form we carried through the rest of the year. However, a 79th place for the first eight did not reflect our expectations, nor our ability and capability. Yet, the second eight charged to a massive UWBC second eight record which brought joy to the squad before we embarked on regatta season, but not before we went touring in Mimizan, France.
Our spring training camp in Mimizan was one of the highlights of the year. After meeting a very lovely woman called Audrey and settling into our pristine accomodation for the week, we spent a week grinding out some hugely beneficial rowing with multiple boats side by side, dominating the lake (which did not contain whales, despite the club’s President, Daisy, thinking so).
We returned back from France and our heads were diverted to BUCS regatta in May. This regatta was a case of being the wrong side of luck. On the Saturday, the 1st VIII were one placing off being in the A/B semis. Luck was not too affectionate to us the following day either. We entered two fours in the Intermediate fours event, with one placing in the E final, only 0.2 seconds off the D final and the other four, believe it or not, one place away from the A/B semis, missing out by 0.3 seconds. With pairs on the Monday, we weren’t expecting as much consistency, but with Josh and Owen only 2 seconds off the A/B final and Christian and Jack also racing well in the time trial to enter the C final, we were not too disheartened. It was a particularly impressive start from our old man Christian, as the whole squad has been reminded on many occasions...
Metropolitan and Marlow regattas saw us placed firmly in the pack with a view to Henley qualifiers and only a couple of seconds separating us from potential Temple Challenge Cup opposition. We were around about where we ought to have been considering where we started from at the beginning of the year. Despite slightly disappointing results at Reading Regatta for both eights, a win was seen in the four comprised of Jake, Dawson, Alfie and Godfrey (and Jude) to bring back some success from an otherwise disappointing day.
Unfortunately, we did not prequalify for Henley in the Prince Albert or the Temple, which meant the beers had to wait as we headed to qualifiers on a scorching Friday morning. Spending most of the day in the shade, for the benefit of our eight’s bowman, we got ourselves in the mindset for a time trial to define our season. Despite valiant efforts however, neither the four nor the eight qualified. Flashbacks from BUCS regatta haunted the eight as they were the fastest non-qualifier. Heart-breaking.
With some of the lads graduating into the big wide world, we wish them the best of luck in their rowing and professional careers. We can't wait to see our boy Bish on the Tyne! We'd also like to thank our coach, Carl, for the continuous voluntary hours he puts into the club and our captain, Jack Hutchinson, for his solid year of leadership, motivation and dedication to the squad.
But also, we look forward to welcoming new recruits and those returning for the 2018/19 season, which promises to be a step up from the previous. The grind starts at pre-season on the 22nd of September. If you are interested in attending, please get in contact with us.