Newnham once again organised a tough day wonderfully, running nearly to time even with a slight delay to the first division. Record numbers of novices volunteered to help out with the marshalling and their enthusiasm made the day all the more memorable.
Cheers were heard for every crew on the finish line, giving shattered rowers the energy for that final push to the line. A particular highlight of the day was convincing dominos to deliver to the towpath, a new tradition but one that will surely stick in years to come.
Jesus took home half the prizes for the day, with their W2 deserving a particular mention, equalling the time put down by Queens’ W1. Their first boats didn’t race, but this surely bodes well for their defence of the women’s headship and the men’s hopes of blading to headship. Further down the bumps charts, both second boats also seem to have good chances for blades coming up in the next few weeks.
Clare M1 took home the men’s crown, beating Robinson and Christ’s by a mere two seconds. Another college with strength in depth, missing out on the M2 prize by three seconds, I look forward to seeing if they can keep their momentum from Mays 2016 going – winning blades near the top of the first division, a rare feat. Similarly, their lower crews look to be in very strong form with distinct chances coming in to Lents.
Queens’ W1 shared victory on the women’s side with Jesus W2, taking the prize as fastest W1. However, it seems likely that they will fall away as stronger colleges like Jesus and Downing field their crews. If they can keep their momentum they will hopefully avoid the infamy that comes with super-spoons as they suffered last Lents.
On the men’s side, things seem even more gloomy, as their M1 was beaten by three second division crews, they will need to make serious gains in the last few weeks to avoid the dreaded spoons.
The last winners were Caius M3, beating Jesus M3 by five seconds. Caius are fielding some strong lower boats but it feels as if their top crews are suffering at the moment, disappointing finishes of seventh and fifth for their first and second boats in winter head to head (by considerable margins) suggests headship will be difficult to defend. On the women’s side, it must be hoped they can regain some of the places lost to a spooning last Lents.
Finally, some honourable mentions for crews to watch come bumps. Tit Hall’s M2 is looking very strong for a boat at the bottom of division three, and a tussle with Jesus’s M3 is a very juicy prospect. This coupled with a strong King’s M2 fighting back from spoons last year could make the sandwich boat of division 3/4 very exciting. On the women’s side, Downing and Caius seconds fighting it out at the bottom of division three seems a sure bet for excitement, with definite prospects for over-bumps.
All in all, it looks like we are in for a treat, with the classically exciting lower boats and movement likely at the top of the bumps charts to add some fun to the evenings as well.
For all times and results, head to http://newnhamcollegeboatclub.com/ShortCourse.html