It was looking like a poor start for Chesterton: m3 went down to a fast Press crew off a harried start; w2 were rowed down by St Mary's; and M2 did a superb start outside the Plough but then crabbed just after the start in the actual race.
However, W1 came back happy and smiley with willow in their hair having bumped City 5; and M1 had an excellent row-over.
W1From our in-crew reporter:
W1 - With a warm up on the ergs at the Combined followed by a confident row up to our station we were ready to hunt down City 5. Even the premature firing of the four minute gun didn't spook us. Janice was soon counting us down for the final minute and Freya pushing us out. We were tuned into Janice's voice 15...14... (all except Alex our Bumps Virgin who was caught by surprise by the start!).
After a shaky start we soon got into our rhythm, going round First Post Corner we were still on station. The crews had bumped out behind us so we knew we were safe and we knew we would catch City because Alison, our cox, said so, so we knew it was true even if from the bank it looked like the gap wasn't closing.
With fabulous coxing round Grassy and out of Ditton us older ladies came into our own. Alison called for a Bumps 10 and we went off like a rocket. Alex could hear their cox saying they're going to get you - and we did! Lots of smiley faces and willow.
For City's view (from which I nicked the pic, about 0.1 secs before they concede), see this video. They look so tired by Grassy.
M1M1, you'll remember, ended last year in a Champs sandwich with their M1 ahead and their M2 behind. We knew we were about as fast as last year - and the timed race confirmed that - but we knew very little about Champs, since they hadn't entered. St Neots, behind Champs 2, were rumoured to be fast; as were City 3 behind them.
I'd gone to watch M3 and W2 and found that my pre-race calm was being disturbed by all the excitement and the cheering. I settled down as we fell into our pre-race routine, which I found enormously helpful: we did just the kind of stuff we'd normally do, and James called the practice starts just as he normally would. All routine. Steven Andrews was just back from Greenland, and due to the rainfall and treefall on we hadn't managed to have our Sunday "re-integrate Steven" outing; but that didn't seem to matter.
For the race itself: we got a good start, and rowed well. Before first post St Neots had got Champs 2 behind us, and City were way back; and just before first post we passed Champs 1 who had bumped an apparently poor Tabs 3 (Hills Road) crew. At that point we needed to be heedful of the pre-race warning to not relax too much, in case City 3 did the unthinkable and overbumped us. But as we went past the Plough they were still way back, and although they caught up a little on the reach it was a calm make-no-mistakes row on our part by then.
For the second day: we have a fast crew behind us and a slower crew ahead: there is all to play for.
[Pic: David Ponting. See his facebook page for many more.]
[Update: it turns out that City 3 are very short-sighted ;-)]
M2From William D:
After being polled out at 40 seconds to go our bow was pointed a little too far out to the far side of the river and our cox had to make some quick calls to get bow pair pointing us back into position for the start. We were still manoeuvring when the final gun sounded but we managed to get it together quickly enough for a fast start. Now, from what I heard, the city boat we were chasing did not have a such great start, so I think we had a very good chance of catching them in the gut if all things had remained equal. However our 4 seat managed to get the crab from hell within 3 or 4 strokes of lengthening out and he had a hell of time to recover it giving the chasing boat time to get within half a boats length of us before we could get our selves together for another big push. Now with the Champs crew less than a boats length behind us we were off again and for about 5 strokes we actually managed to push away from them. But, the panic had set in at that point and too many in the crew shorten-up to try match the rating stroke needed. And that was it; Champs made the bump before the A14 overpass. What a miserable way to start and end the first night.
In consolation, we have an excellent chance at catching Champs for day two.
Crew: Boat: PO Kane. Cox - Fio B; s - Ralph; 7 - Dave R.; 6 - Will D.; 5 - David B.; 4 - Andi R.; 3 - Simon G. (Boat Captain); 2 - Giulio B.; b - Simon E.
PixJET (thanks Meg): M1 (Chris stop diving at the catch), M2, W1 (nice backsplash). By goodness there is some ropey old rowing at the top of M1: Robs 2 look awful.
Every year tech advances...
W2: an exciting race, and when you pulled away to clear water around first post I thought you stood a good chance. But alas.
M3: the start is a bit harried (and getting the blade the right way round will help tomorrow; well recovered, though). Watch out for the worlds slowest runner in white. The Press crew behind you looked to be pretty good for their position. Another M3 fragment from someone else; much better quality video.
M2: practice start.
This one isn't Chesterton: but its for M3. Its the bottom of div 3, and shows Press (who bumped M3) bumping Outspoken very quickly; rather quicker than they got you. So tomorrow you should start at #2, and have Outspoken at #1, and should have a good chance of getting them.