The WCBC Annual Report for 2012-2013 is now online! Please click the link below to view it.
Welcome to Worcester College Boat Club
Welcome to the website for the Worcester College Boat Club at the University of Oxford. Not only is Worcester one of the most stunningly beautiful and friendly of the Oxford colleges, it also boasts one of the most popular, vibrant and up-and-coming boat clubs in the university.
And so with the conclusion of Summer VIIIs for another year, comes great triumphs for the WCBC programme. Here are the 4th day and final results for Worcester College Boat Club.
In all fairness, it would have been a miracle for our only beer boat to bump up on the last day. That being said, they were the highlight of the lower divisions and managed to row the 4th full length in four days, much further than any other Worcester crew on the water this week. They will be remembered for amusing the swarming crowds with their Noah’s Ark attire and drinking beer whilst racing. Here’s to the Enigbeers! Overall result: Down one place.
The biggest thing to happen to the women’s thirds for some time was about to take place. After three consecutive bumps in three races, could W3 catch that all important 4th boat to grant them as blade winners? This was no easy race. Although Anne’s IIs were dropping like a stone, they were desperate not to be humiliated further. What looked to be a longer race than expected suddenly ended. The girls didn’t back down or falter and their strong and steady performance is a credit to their final bump. Congratulations girls and coxswain Walter on winning the first set of blades of the day. Overall result: Up four places, blades.
Whilst having a bad pool, M3 still managed to remain optimistic even after dropping three places in three days. The third boat’s coaches set out a marker to reach Donny Bridge, the milestone not having yet been reached by the unfortunate crew. After a final crew huddle (and some distractive sweet talking from the VC to the Corpus II Cox), the starting cannon promptly fired. The expected quick bump was not announced on the speaker system and it was a few minutes later until the supporting Worcester crowds heard of the inevitable. Bump to Corpus II. Spoons to Worcester III. However, the mark post was met and exceeded with the greatest piece of rowing seen by their coaches. Unlucky gentlemen, but let’s make sure we show Oxford what we’ve got next year. Overall result: Down four places, spoons.
It has been a rocky week for the W2 crew. After being bumped on their first day, they claimed their rightful place with rising crews. However, with a fast chasing Linacre boat quickly approaching them, the Worcester Boat House watched with anticipation to see if they could maintain their winning streak. Although they kept stiff competition with the postgraduate boat, alas were knocked out of Division IV, for which they broke into the day before. A valient effort girls. Overall result: No change.
Today was vital for the seconds. After losing two achieved bumps due to late claxons, their patience was wearing thin; they wanted that Keble bump and they wanted it today. This was not a race against a rival crew. This was a race against the claxon gods. No more rehearsals, no more ‘phantom bumps’, this was the real thing. The firing gun sounded and they crew quickly realised their close contact with Keble. However, so did their prey. After holding their rivals at a quarter length for a good minute, the dreaded call from coxswain Rayney came: “they’re getting away boys”. The rowers, haunted by the events of the days before, took this and within ten strokes, bumped the Keble boat off the course. Justice was served, eventually, however the best M2 could settle with was ‘phantom blades’. Overall result: Up two places.
It has, so far, been a successful week for the Women’s 1st Eight. Could they replicate their winning streak for the 4th and final day? The task was to catch the strong Wolfson boat ahead before they could take down the plummeting Osler boat. This would have proved a near impossible task for most and unluckily for our home team, the fortunes of their week did not prevail and did not manage to get their all important final bump. However, after a very successful week, the women are getting very close to regain their rightful place in the top division. Overall result: Up three places.
This was the final race of the day. Worcester 1sts have had a very successful week, already winning four races in three days to break into the top division. The task today was to catch the Hertford boat, the M1 coach’s boat in his rowing days, who were not having a great week. After a relatively early Trinity bump, our own bump with the deer seemed inevitable. All our crew had to do was keep their patience and hold their form. The boathouse was out in full support for the third Worcester boat on the road to blades and with eager anticipation, witnessed the celebrations of the men’s 1st boat rowing past. They had done it: an early bump had rewarded the long awaited Division 1 blades to the successful crew. Congratulations gentlemen; we hope to replicate or even better our fortunes of Torpids and Summer VIIIs 2013 next year. Overall result: Up five places, blades.
With two boats winning blades, it has proven to be a very successful year for the Boat Club. Celebrations were in full order at the termly Boat Club Dinner, which awaited the hungry crews on their return. It has been a very exciting week for the college and we’ve had tremendous support from every member. We look forward to next year to continue our positive growth of successes, both in Oxford and in other events.
M3 were arguably more successful today – Frontrunner behaved and the crew had a good start and began to settle in for the race. Unfortunately the pursuing St Antony’s M3 were (in the words of the coach) ‘bigger, fitter and meaner’ and so they were bumped again. The coach refuses to confirm whether in describing the other crew as ‘fitter’ he was referring to their athletic ability or their bikini-clad bodies. Or perhaps he just took a fancy to the unicorn at 4…
This of course cleared the water in front of MEng and forced them to row the full length of the course – wouldn’t want to be the owners of those onesies right now… However it appears that they have caught the bumps fever – with a crew member crying that he ‘just wanted to bump something’. As long it isn’t the klaxon tree…
W3’s start was a lot more sleek compared to previous days and this had Wadham W3 firmly in their sights. But at this point they appeared to decide that they didn’t want to catch Wadham too quickly, and so they put the handbrake on. Whilst some cynics may refer to this incident as two successive crabs and a reset for the crew, it was in fact all part of the master plan. W3 shot up Greenbanks to hit Wadham at the start of Boathouse Island much to the delight of the cheering crowd. However an obstinate Wadham cox continued to row and pulled away to a quarter length. So W3 pushed again and rebumped, making their point clear by mounting the stern of the boat. Clearly Wadham crews need a little more bumping than normal before they admit it…
Unfortunately Britney Spears was again blasted from the boathouse to prepare W2 to row over at the head of Div4. They were strong from the start and worked their way up Greenbanks whilst clearing water behind them. As they came into view for the boathouse crowd a gust of wind brought them to a standstill mid-stroke. However a force of nature was no match for these girls, they held tall against the wind and continued to fight their way up-river.
A quick pit-stop in the boathouse to refuel with bananas and motivation had them pushing off to race at the bottom of Div3. The start was announced and the WCBC crowd waited with baited breath for news until the klaxon sounded a minute into the race. The crowd’s disappointment was obvious until W2 landed and casually informed us of their bump on Hertford II which occurred pre-klaxon at bungline 6. W2 rowed spectacularly today, but it could be argued that their poor taste in pre-race music somewhat detracts from this. Tomorrow will see the return of the grudge match between them and Pembroke II who were denied blades by a row over today…
3 days, 3 races, 3 klaxons. It’s just not their year. So after their post-klaxon bump on Keble M2 yesterday, they were determined to repeat this and were gunning from the start. Evidence from their bump can still be seen on the bottom of Martlett but again the klaxon had sounded elsewhere prior to this. Still, tomorrow is a new day and if the escalation of the bumping force continues then we should expect the sinking of Keble tomorrow. It’s about pride now…
W1’s dreams were fulfilled today – they braved and beat the elements at bungline 4 to quickly gain on Catz by Donny Bridge. At the exit of the gut they mounted the stern of Catz W1 to obtain the superfluous concession from their cox (who clearly has a Napoleon complex). Although it is also possible that the repeated blows to his spine from bow’s blade paralysed him from the neck down…
As promised, M1 bumped something in what OURCs called a ’very boring division’. M1 chased Teddy Hall through the gut and watched as they crossed early in an attempt to run away. Which had M1’s cox breaking his cardinal rule of coxing and crossing early in order to T-bone Teddy Hall, gaining them another bump to add to the collection that a certain crew member was sad enough to film on his GoPro camera. So that they can ‘watch it when they are old’…
Men’s Div 7 was arguably the most entertaining division of the day and no-one is still 100% sure about what happened. Although it was probably M3’s fault…
A powered start from the fluffy MEng carried them up the bunglines until they were confronted at Donny bridge with a bit of a problem. There were crews everywhere. Pembroke had bumped our Worcester M3 after a ferocious crab had the 3 man waving his seat above his head, then a overzealous St Antony’s crew attempted a misguided bump on Pembroke. A combination of these threatened MEng’s route to the gut. So they rowed through a gap smaller than their boat under expert coxing but that does not end the saga of Div 7. M3 started rowing again. Why, no-one really knows but they wound it up with their 3 man dejectedly clutching his blade to follow MEng through the gut. Then St Antony’s decided that they hadn’t finished racing yet either and began the chase again. M3 stopped somewhere along Greenbanks as the fact that they were racing post-bump dawned, leaving MEng being chased by the crew that started 2 bunglines in front of them. This odd situation continued until a ‘klaxon’ occurred – although the Univ marshal got a little too excited and ineffectively yelled ‘STOP STOP STOP’ instead of using the klaxon which was in her right hand…
Regardless of the spectacular entertainment provided by this division the results stand as M3 having been bumped by Pembroke, and everyone below being awarded a technical row-over.
Perhaps M3 should ask the engineers to check over the boat before racing tomorrow to avoid any further equipment failures?
After the rapid bump of yesterday the W3 girls were ready to go and had energy to spare. A calm bungline chatter about ‘anything but rowing’ had them relaxed at the start. Arguably this may not be the best method – they took off like a drunk spider and Queen’s quickly pulled away leaving W3 to move through the gut looking vaguely like an accordion. A reset call by the cox saved the day, the rhythm came back and they began to row like they actually belonged in a boat. Along boathouse island they showed their true abilities and closed Queens to a length and a half. An (optimistic) whistle to signal a length became a self-fulfilling prophecy as the crew realized that they had them in their sights. Quickly they closed to canvas – the coach whistling so much that she forgot to breathe and realized that they had to bump soon or she would pass out. Luckily the cox once again spurred the crew on – yells of ‘They have NOTHING!!!’ whilst staring ferociously into strokes eyes galvanised the boat to bump at the end of boathouse island. A tough race where the crew showed their either their steely determination or their fear of the cox to earn a fine bump.
W2 kept the atmosphere light with a rendition of ‘Stronger’ by Britney Spears (complete with choreography) in the boathouse which had them psyched to catch Merton W2. And had their coach denying all association with them. But a sexy start, an amazing lengthen and an unparalled determination to get their very first bump had them regain their sandwich boat status that was lost the day before. Unfortunately they were then chasing Pembroke again which meant that the next race was tough. Luckily they had a guest star to bankride this race, complete with inspirational speech – Mark the Porter made his debut as part of WCBC. The cox (complete with handily drawn map of the best line from the bottom bungline) kept the crew calm and focused from the start. After a Pembroke bump ahead they gained on Antony’s W1 but were unable to make up the full 6 lengths to get them. So tomorrow the plan is for a casual row-over at the head of Div 4 and then attack Hertford W2 as the sandwich boat an hour later.
With regards to M2, possibly the less said the better – another klaxon but they weren’t so lucky this time. Their start was terrifying and impressively coxed by what OURCs labelled ‘an angry woman’. They held it hard until they obtained a concession from Keble M2 but the klaxon had apparently been sounded 10 seconds previously. It was caused by the particularly attractive tree in the gut which has since been wrapped in high visibility ‘Warning’ tape by OURCs. Let’s hope that this allows M2 a full race tomorrow to obtain what is rightly theirs.
Eager not to repeat the mistakes of yesterday, W1 arrived at the bunglines so early that it allowed for a tactical pre-race nap in the small gap of sun that appeared whilst they waited. However the race was further delayed as a Queen’s mens crew was extricated from the same tree in the gut which this time apparently fought back and ripped a hole in their brand new boat.
Off the start they gained half a length on New and watched as the Anne’s crew behind them ploughed straight into the bank. W1 continued to row strong and an impressive lengthening had New down to a canvas at Donny Bridge. The coach promptly abandoned the whistle and ‘got a bit excited’ and began to scream ‘Kill them!!! Kill them NOW!!!’ which raised both spectator’s eyebrows and expectations. A massive surge in response to this awarded them the bump, but there has been some disappointment in the boat at not having hit another boat yet. The crew still dreams of ‘putting a hole in someone else’s boat’ and the cox was heard to cry that she ‘just wanted physical contact’. Tomorrow is a new day (or perhaps a Catz day)?
At the end of yesterday M1 had just forced their way dramatically into Div1. Their aim now is simply to put as much distance between them and bungline 13 as possible over the next few days. As always, a good start and a bump-hungry crew had them quickly gaining on Wadham until contact was made. When Wadham continued to race, M1 pushed to make contact again but with a degree more force this time – in the words of the cox ‘less elegant, but more effective’. Friday will have them gunning for Teddy Hall if they want to continue creeping their way up Div 1.
With M3 and MEng sharing men’s Div 7 there was certainly enough excitement to kick off Summer VIII’s 2013. A series of unfortunate events was experienced by M3 – a bowside air stroke quickly followed by a crab in their start sequence sent them into the bank. Teddy Hall M3 attempted to row past but were confounded by a tree which vacated their bow from his seat and had him clinging like a koala to 2. M3 are confident that if they succeed in achieving a straight line tomorrow they have a chance of restoring some wounded pride by bumping back. Just remember to put those blades in the water…
MEng were keeping warm in their onesies today – Racedesk dubbing them ‘Noah’s Ark’. Whether this is in reference to their top speed or their furry animal appearance has yet to be confirmed… An uncertain start, with members celebrating the fact that they had rowed ‘really far’ before being caught by Corpus Christi M2. The fact that they got bumped before Donny Bridge suggests that the boat needs a quick recap of the race course… The fact that they are now sitting at the bottom of Div 7 means that they may not get to enjoy their ‘post-bumped’ beer in the boat again, but it is hoped that the addition of a bankrider for tomorrow’s race may make the difference (somehow) and change it to a ‘post-bump beer’. Tomorrow’s plan for bumping success includes such gems as ‘don’t be pointing downstream when the 1 minute gun goes’ and let the power do the rest..
W3 shot off the start in Div 5 with the immodestly-clad cox taking an excellent line up the bunglines to quickly gain on Hertford W3. The whistle sounded for a length, and rapidly after to signal canvas – whether this reflects the dizzying speed of W3 or their coach’s inability to judge distances is hotly debated. A concession from Hertford was obtained within 30 strokes and then the carnage began – a fleet of bumped boats at Donny bridge meant that Hertford had difficultly clearing the racing line and so W3 had to continue rowing in an attempt to steer clear. Unfortunately the following Brasenose crew then crashed into them, in a misguided bumping attempt despite the cries of their despairing coach as the rest of the division rowed past. Overall a great result from W3 with the coach being especially pleased at being able to use the whistle for the first time ever. Although she may need some lessons…
In true W2 tradition (*since last year) songs were sung on the start line – this year’s showcased the lead vocals of Anna Green in the aptly chosen ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’. A boat that consists of 9 novices stormed off the start at the head of Div 4 and fought bravely against Pembroke W2 but inevitably couldn’t hold off the more experienced crew and were forced to concede. However the clear water created by these two racing crews shows the sheer power that will be unleashed tomorrow on Merton W2 who were booted out of Div 3 by Pembroke an hour later. Hope it won’t make the boathouse too awkward…
A klaxon of unknown origin early in the race had the WCBC crowd worried – entirely needlessly as M2 had apparently decided that they couldn’t be bothered rowing too far. One ‘beautiful’ start of 25 powerful strokes and Exeter M2 were done for under Donny Bridge. Clearly this Worcester crew was conserving their energy for tomorrow when they aim their bow at a penalty-bumped Keble – this correspondent has been reliably informed that ‘the boys are ready to hunt again’. Not to release trade secrets, but their race plan is to ‘row hard and hit whatever gets in the way’ in time-honoured M2 style.
W1 arrived fashionably late to the bunglines, and so there was no time or space for nerves in the boat. Unfortunately there was also no time to de-kit so W1 had to bump or face heat exhaustion at the finish line. Fast off the start, they quickly gained on Annes W1 with Jesus W1 maintaining pressure from behind. However at the gut, Jesus ‘died’ allowing W1 the clear water to concentrate solely on Anne’s who pushed out of the gut to increase the gap to ¾ of a length. However in rowing (and life) persistence is a valid method – W1 took inches with each stroke and bow recalls the steady proportional increase of Anne’s cox’s voice as the gap closed. There are conflicting reports as to whether the lack of further octaves or the inability to cross without colliding with the Worcester boat was the decider in her decision to finally concede at the end of Greenbanks. The overly stashed crew will return tomorrow to see what damage they can do to New.
Sitting 2nd in Div 2, M1 have had their eyes trained upwards since they slipped out of Div 1 last year – their first race in their new baby ‘Tobias’ had them closing Keble to a length off the start but Keble showed tenacity and fought back hard. But nothing was a match for the ‘neo-Luftwaffe’ – they fought through the wash until they hit Keble so hard that the cox’s announcement of the bump was superfluous. At the thought of being the sandwich boat, apparently a member of the crew got so excited he forgot how to row and promptly caught a ‘spectacular’ crab.
There was no sign of this at the start of their Div1 comeback – the new stash, new boat and new crew combination had them executing a ‘textbook bump’. Apparently this is a rocketing start, a good lengthen and a casual rate 39 to catch the crew ahead before Donny bridge – somewhat marred by John’s cox refusing to raise his arm regardless of contact. A surprisingly polite instruction to ‘Concede dammit, we’ve hit you twice already’ miraculously caused John’s cox to recover from his temporary arm paralysis and concede to the superior crew.
Day three of Torpids had a great deal to commend it. Your correspondent is delighted to report to you with tales from the river bank once more. The headlines: W2 missed a bump by an absolute whisker and were sadly bumped themselves. M2 continued their bumps onward ever onward. W1 were bumped down one spot, but held their nerve to stay safely in Division 1. M1 gave Hertford a good thrashing, bumping at bungline 5 from bungline 12.
W2’s race was set to be a proper scrap. They had a fast crew behind, and a slower crew ahead. ‘Bump or be bumped’ was the motto. From the Boat House, your correspondent relied on the truly terrible commentary to hear with disappointment that W2 were being chased down to a canvas by Anne’s out of the Gut. Hill conceded in the narrowest point, deliberately. He has taken the view that a ‘bumped out’ crew is as good as a Mario Kart banana skin. The ploy worked and Anne’s were repeatedly told to get clear of the racing line – much to the delight of the escaping Lady P. We saw them rowing neatly past the Boat House, looking tired but safe from further bumps. What we had not seen, and what was later relayed to us was that W2 had been less than a canvas off Wolfson II. Captain Miller was screaming for the bump, but it never came. The legs just were not there at the crucial moment in the choppy water of an escaping crew. Perhaps tomorrow will offer the chance W2 need to take their first scalp.
M2 boated with plenty of gusto. Hashtags were flying around; release the kraken has now become their finishing move. Cruelly denied the double bump of yesterday, and so undoing the record 4-bumps-in-a-day score, they were keen to do the job today. Captain Harding appealed the St John’s appeal against the decision of the appeal taken overnight, but to no avail. The bump on Exeter II stood, so it was St John’s who were to face the howitzer once more. Speaking to your correspondent, Coach Calder-Smith explained that M2 don’t hit their stride until about their twentieth stroke. The chasing St Catz closed the gap considerably, before being left completely for dead at the stride. “They practically went backwards”. The John’s cox conceded early, but M2 still got the contact for which they are becoming rightly feared. Tomorrow, the stage is set for a wonderful battle for the great rowing trophy we all seek. It will require coolness, calmness and some real power. M2 deserve the bump tomorrow, but they will have to earn it from an M1 – it won’t come easily.
W1 boated with their eyes firmly set on holding off the Catz crew on the stern, and looking to get the overbump on a falling Christ Church boat. Sadly, neither part of the plan came off. The bump was reported over the loud speakers with merciless speed, and Worcester emerged from the Gut hotly pursued by an unidentified second boat. M1 abandoned their warm-up and joined the considerable crowd on the Boat House to cheer the girls on – it looked like they were close to breaking and the Univ crew behind was closing fast. But it was here that the girls dug in, and pushed hard for home. Unwilling to allow themselves to slide down the table, they showed real guts, some strong technique under pressure and the reward for the time on the erg was deservedly theirs. A safe, albeit close, finish to the race was granted.
Your correspondent is delighted to report that M1 didn’t just bump Hertford. M1 blew them out of the water. Coach Valentine’s old College capitulated by bungline 5, and M1 continued their rise into Division 1. A solid start, a powerful build and a settle onto a shockingly long rate 40 was all that was needed. Hertford were hauled in by the scruff of their neck. The cox appeared to be reluctant to concede. First her hand went up, and then it went back onto the rudder strings, with overlap on the stroke side, your correspondent is delighted to report that she obeyed Barker’s loud and instructive advice that she concede with all good speed. The hand went up high, M1 calmly easied and drifted neatly out of the racing line. A terrific bump.
M2 and W2 sit dead level in the rankings. M1 sit one place behind W1. Seldom has the Boat Club seen such unity between the genders. Except, perhaps, after Boat Club Dinner…
M2 bumped up 1 (4th in Div IV). W2 were bumped down 1 (4th in Div IV). W1 were bumped down 1 (10th in Div 1). M1 bumped up 1 (11th in Div 1).
Saturday will see M2 try to complete their run of 4 bumps tomorrow. M1 seek to boss their way right in amongst the Big Boys by bumping Wadham, who are coached by the most odious man in existence. W2 seek to reverse their fortunes with a bump and W1 seek to keep their solid hold on a Division 1 placing. TO THE RIVER!
From your corespondent, a fine day of bumps racing:
Your Correspondent must be forgiven for writing this with something of a satisfied smile. The headlines today: W1 overbump before the Gut, M2 continue their run, albeit under appeal, and M1 are back in Div 1 after a mighty pair of bumps.
First off were M2. Overstashed, overpowered and overtweeted, they tore up the river behind a reasonably nippy John’s crew. They closed on them so hard off the start that the John’s poleman barely had time to get his bungline out of the water but that did them no harm. Front Runner surged after the John’s stern. But under Donny Bridge lay murky water. Exeter, at the head of the division, had possible the worst start in history, when they appeared to take no notice of the start cannon whatsoever and were caught within five strokes. The cox’s hand was raised in concession whilst the other still appeared to be clutching the bungline. Further complications meant that crews were scattered about the place and Evington had to pick a line. He followed John’s into a narrow gap, and John’s collided with the stationary (and non-racing) Linacre boat before being hurtled into by Front Runner’s bows. At the time of going to press, this bump is still under review. In your correspondent’s opinion, it is quite obvious that the John’s cox made an error, for which the boat should pay – the bump, if there is any justice, will stand.
Next to take to the water were a nervous W2. Smarting from their bumps yesterday, they were keen to put up as much fight as possible at the top of Division IV. They held Peter’s off through the Gut, and when the Peter’s cox took a very early crossing, Hill did the job and stuck to the Greenbanks side as long as he dared. The girls dug deep, pushed on, and held them off until the Boat Houses, but by this time Peter’s had the bump acknowledged. Wolfson II steamed along behind W2 and took advantage of some silly steering from the Peter’s cox, right in front of W2 to put in a bump before the end. Down two places, perhaps, does not reflect the fight the girls put up against the Peter’s boat and much promise has been shown for tomorrow.
M1 took to the water next. Your correspondent is obliged to say that he did feel the hand of history on his shoulder. Two years ago to this very day, an LMH crew gave him his first taste of what it was like to be bumped, and he didn’t like it. The Rowing Gods had smiled upon us by dashing LMH’s chances in Division 1 on the first day with an unfortunate crash, and it was LMH that M1 chased from bungline 2 of Division 2. The start was fast, the settle was powerful and the reeling-in was a sight to behold. LMH’s cox, smarting from their crash yesterday, put up a creditable fight and M1 had to scrap for every inch. Eventually, a call to pin in the finishes and kill them off did the trick, and Worcester’s men returned to Division 1 to the sound of a bow neatly hitting against the stern of the LMH boat – all right in front of the OURCs camera. They returned home, elated, at M1’s first bump since Summer Eights 2010 and prepared for Division 1.
Meanwhile, W1 had set off. After the deeply unfair denial of their overbump on Hertford yesterday, they made sure to nail them today. In order to stay calm before the race, much of W1 had taken to doing work; the Boat House looked like some sort of library, and was bathed in winter sunshine. Your correspondent is delighted to report that W1 have returned to the sort of form that the Boat Club are not only used to hearing about, but have legitimately come to expect. W1 gloriously overbumped before the Gut, so secure themselves a little more safely into Division 1. As the esteemed Boat Club Party Trainer put it: “Oh. Back to the old days when the Gut wasn’t even part of the race.” By rights, they should have had that bump yesterday, but as the old saying goes: ‘better late than never’. There is work to be done for the rest of the week to keep this position, but your correspondent has absolute confidence that they will hold strong and fight off the chasing crews. If nothing else, the Captain has proven her ability to holler expletives with the best of them.
M1 returned to the water to secure a place in Division I against an Anne’s crew who had to fight them off as hard as they could, or risk a certain plummet into the depths of Division 2 with some far superior crews awaiting them. Your correspondent is delighted to report that despite the water being churned up so much that the boat was bounced around mercilessly and a few strokes were missed, Worcester calmed themselves, smashed on, built the power back up and forced the Anne’s concession before the bridge with a sudden turn of speed. Rightly thrilled, they returned to base with two bumps under their belt: not a bad haul for one day.
Assuming justice is done in the ongoing appeal for M2, Worcester’s men will have had a spectacular day, moving up two places each. W1 got the excellent overbump they so deserved, and W2 fought bravely to hold off the fast chasing crews in Division IV. As the deadline for Dinner Tickets approaches, all eyes are on the next few days of racing. It’s lining up to be an absolute cracker.
From our race correspondent:
It is with trepidation that your correspondent takes up his pen as the fourth in an unbroken line of Boat Club reporters; with Popes resigning on a whim, surely this great role is one of the few remaining hallowed and sacred offices. Torpids 2013 was always going to be a thriller because of a lack of water-time for all crews, a large change in personnel and some truly untested clubs hitting the Isis. Happily, Day 1 did not disappoint. Somehow, there were no klaxons but that does not mean there was no drama!
Kicking us off were the frankly dangerously fast M2. Last year saw this boat get overbump blades, and your correspondent recalls having to pass the Gut only once in the four days. This year’s crew is faster still. Front Runner, in what is billed as her retiring competition, has never had it so good. Owing to some late entries into M1, three excellent novice rowers joined an already speedy 2nd boat squad, and the magic happened. Easily passable for a scrappy College 1st VIII, they tore up their division and had the hash-tag ‘release the kraken’ attached. Your correspondent tried to piece together the reports, but it seems that a lot of crashing and some level-headedness from the cox Evington gave M2 the double-overbump on Lincoln in the Gut, and it is fair to say they are racing the klaxon for the rest of the week. Readers will be delighted to hear that Univ II crashed; this means a Univ crew has crashed every year for five years.
Next out were W2, fresh off the successes of previous years and keen to uphold the finest traditions of the Club. Sadly, they were bumped early, and were bumped twice. They will start tomorrow sitting atop Division IV, hoping to hold off the challengers for their coveted spot, but with substantial pressures on their stern.
M1 hit the water next, keen to smash their way into Division I where they certainly belong. A botched start, owing to bad time-keeping and a hurried countdown hampered their attack on Trinity, who, rumour had it, were on lightning form. They found a rhythm and soon set about reeling in their quarry, with New College falling ever further behind. M1 were fast, but simply ran out of river. Pushing off the Boat Houses, they reduced Trinity’s lead to a length and closing fast before crossing the line. Your correspondent can only suppose that if they’d been at the bottom of Division I, they may have had a fighting chance with the extra distance, but it will be Day 2 where M1 will get to put somebody to the sword. LMH, smarting after a crash which saw them drop 4 places are first up and could offer M1 the springboard they need to get into Div 1, to chase an Anne’s crew set for spoons.
W1 took to the river with much to prove – they have had little water time, and a serious reputation from the past few years. St John’s came at them apace, and an early concession from McFiggans looked like the sensible thing to do. The St John’s cox, however, failed to take notice and hit W1 hard, riding up onto Stroke’s blade and causing the boat to come to a near-standstill. The Ladies’ Captain leant out and gave instructions to the John’s boat in two words, the second of them being ‘OFF!’ With the blood up, W1 set off in hot pursuit of Hertford for an overbump, and came within half a length on the finish line. Without the John’s intervention, the overbump would have been completed for sure. Tomorrow they will be racing hard to make up for what John’s denied them today; Hertford are well within their reach.
M2 went up one spot (6th in Div IV), W2 went down two (1st in Div IV). M1 rowed over in some style and are keen to get moving tomorrow (2nd Div II), and W1 were bumped, but cruelly denied the overbump they so deserved (10th in Div I). Tomorrow has much to offer, and tweets will be forthcoming! @WCBC_Oxford
For a report of the boat club’s activity over the past year, see Annual Report 2012
M1 – ROW OVER
W1 – GOT BUMPED
M2 – ROW OVER
W2 – ROW OVER
W3 – GOT BUMPED
Day 4 round up:
It is admittedly not without a tinge of emotion with which Your Correspondent pens a final report of the year. In what has not only been an eventful week, but also an eventful year, WCBC has seen an influx of keenness that it hasn’t seen for a while. We look back, therefore, on a successful year, as well as a successful VIIIs.
Our final day saw drama at the Boat House, illness among the rowers and #klaxons galore.
W3 kicked off racing, but were impeded by a wall, and subsequently bumped by Lincoln, despite the fact that their coach struggled with his own flagging fitness to make the run around the start line. Chaos ensued in their division, as it was #klaxon[ed] for 2 concussed coxes and cruisers left right and centre. A member of W1 was marshaling at Bottom Gut and had the situation cooly and calmly under control, so there was absolutely no need to panic at all. AT ALL.
W2 finished the most successful crew of the week and (the stats have been checked) in the highest position on the river ever reached by a Worcester W2 in Summer VIIIs. Their (blue) Coach says, ‘although arguably over zealous #klaxon[ing] and a Merton W1 full of Blues denied them a shot at blades, I’m extremely proud of W2 for finishing as the most successful Worcester crew of the week”, which is frankly repetitive of Your Correspondent’s own phrasing, and a blatant demonstration of how she knows Blues. Their readiness as a crew to all arrive on time to the river, to come back each day despite the plethora of #klaxon[s] that impeded their march up the division shows really dedication to The Cause.
M2 didn’t sink. Kate Hawkes’s near decapitation by a blade the previous day had ruled her out of racing, but fortunately our Captain of Coxes happened to have her kit at the river, and was happy to step up to the most daunting task of her career: EmToo; a crew with pedigree and largely no tops on. Under her command, the boys put in an impressive row over. Their bowman was not seen without a steadily emptying bottle of rum for the rest of the afternoon.
Illness struck W1’s bow and demanded the step up of Elspeth once again. Despite the truly sensational walk-out song mix, St. Anne’s caught them after a tight race up to Greenbanks. Looking tidy, the girls rowed well, but ceded to the faster crew. W1’s captain pushed herself nearly as hard as the Blues bowman did at the Boat Race. Their coach failed to follow through on the promise of free tequila for all, later in the evening.
Another #klaxon prevented M1 from proving their mettle. Insufficient first aid cover for a division is enough to ruin anyone’s day. They were psyched for another go at Keble, but alas the new-look crew has not had the chance it deserves this week to show the river what it’s made of. Their Captain’s retrospective prediction of ‘probably would’ve got bumped’ was said in jest.
And then we come to the Dinner. Marion was not best pleased with the tardiness of the Club, but flowers and a good round of We Love you Marion, had her spirits raised to what they usually are. Nevertheless she had Your Correspondent dust the benches on which we stood to give her this accolade, so we know she didn’t get too happy, as that would be not normal to the extreme. Fines were a-flying, Bob was made to look a bit of a goon, and an incorrect use of a Friends reference was bandied about.
The presentation of Prizes saw the Most Dedicated Novice go to Jack Breuer. No explanation necessary. The Andy Short Club Man Trophy was presented in absentia to Martin Evans. His tireless dedication to EmToo and coaching within WCBC in general over the past two years are truly appreciated. He has touched so many with his wisdom, including the Torpids ’11 time trial suggestion at Godstow of ‘shooting a horse, and racing the herd to the top of the straight.’ The award for Outstanding and Ongoing Achievement was awarded to Flo Morton, Blue. As Captain of Boats, her quiet dedication to doing things properly has seen the club through difficult financial times, and rising erg prices.
The year ends, but WCBC carries on strong. Under the new-look committee, and the highest retention of keenness ever recorded, Your Correspondent leaves you to reflect on the year: Christ Church Semi-Finalists, Cambridge, Blades, Bumps, Launches, Ergs, Dinners and Marion. All of these pale in comparison to the WCBC attitude to inclusiveness and unity in College Rowing. Your Correspondent has passed on the mantle and a new Correspondent will shortly be revealed, but for now, Row Sexy, and don’t get fat over the Summer. Winning awaits come Michaelmas, and the Twitter Following is growing by the second. Give us a lot to read about.