Starting 108th this year and after a strong showing at Hammersmith the 1st VIII were keen to go out and build on that result. With finally some water time in a crew before the race we were confident going into it. Unfortunately further injuries and so on caused a reshuffle in the crew. Trusting in the depth of talent in the squad the crew were unperturbed and went out looking to make their mark.
Off the start we set a powerful and rapid rate, looking and feeling comfortable we dropped HSBC’s first boat behind us. By the time we had got through Barnes Bridge and to the bandstand we had almost lost sight of them as they struggled to stay afloat in our wake.
Coming up to the lifeboat station the crew from Cambois began to make ground on us; they tried to push us out of the way but holding both her line and nerve with equal steel E-L was not bullied, and the neither were the crew. They may have caught up with us but we were determined to give them a battle to get past! Good commitment from the crew, confident coxing from E-L, and several calls reminding the crew of a sculler called Dave who had helped bring the crew together in earlier outings all helped to ensure they did not pass us until Hammersmith bridge.
With some choppy water from Hammersmith for a few hundred meters we lost our rhythm but getting back on it we began to reel Cambois back in. Unfortunately we couldn’t catch them before the finish line, even with a heroic sprint to hold off an encroaching Hampton 8 (blasted school boys again!).
Ultimately we finished 165th (not the result, we hoped for) but not only did we beat the crews we were looking to, it was also the best result for the club in 6 years and second best for 14 years.