This was it, the biggest and last race of the year was upon us, and RUMSBC showed the other UH Crews that they should be worried in 2016!
Women's 1st VIII and IV
Captain, Eimear McKavanagh
December came and the end of term was looming but first for W1 we had Allom Cup to battle. With approximately 1 tonne of risotto served up at the crew meal the night before, pasta ready for race day and lots of layers packed the women were ready. We climbed on the 27 at ridiculous o'clock and made it to the boathouse for a pre-race outing to get rid of that nervous energy.
The pre-race outings weren't just to get rid of the butterflies, earlier in the week there had been a quick decision to enter half of W1 into the Senior 4 Category. Having never practised before in a four we decided it would probably be good to have a go in one before the races. One 20 minute outing later and it was time to get off the water and rest before races.
W4+ were up first against their first Royal Holloway crew. We knew we had nothing to lose but everything to gain and with a strong start we quickly pushed ahead of the other crew. We extended the lead throughout the race and won easily. Exhilarated and ready to take on the other Royal Holloway crew in the final.
W1 then had to tackle the Royal Holloway 8. With half the crew having already taken on RHUL the RUMS women were ready to take them on again. It wasn't our best race... nerves were running high as we didn't pull ahead as quickly as we w. ere expecting but we stayed constantly ahead of the other crew throughout and managed to win solidly. Now ready for the final!
Again the women's 4 were up first, this time against Royal Holloway for the third and final time. We knew this race would be tougher but we also knew how determined we were to have medals around our necks. The race was neck-and-neck the entire time with RUMS having the slight lead. But this is where we shine. Side by side having the threat of competition near is what fuels our women's squad and the four were no exception. They managed to extend the lead and with Lucinda's fierce coxing, rowed past RHUL to victory. The cheers when we came back to land made the pain worth it. But there was still one race left... the W8+ senior final against Kings.
It was the last race of the day and dusk was falling. We have raced Kings in the past and know that they are strong but us RUMSBC ladies do not go without a fight. We rowed so much better than the first 8s race, building a strong rhythm after a speedy start however we didn't manage to get to the same feeling of flying we had achieved in outings previously. All girls in the crew admit that we were beaten by the better crew and well done to Kings...
However this is not the end.
First term is over and our sights are now set on the races to come. This is only the beginning for RUMSBC Senior Women.
So what a term! W2 won the Intermediate category at Novice Sprints and W1 got to the final just missing out on medals to Kings at Allom Cup and with the women's four winning the only medals for RUMSBC at Allom after a 20 minute outing! After this brief taste of victory its only making us want it more. Roll on 2016!
Men's 1st VIII
Allom cup started barbarically early for M1, with a 7am paddle overseen by RUMSBC's finest sprints coach Georgina Lloyd. Owing to Connor Price's post ULU head trauma, he was unable to row so I subbed into the two seat desperately unfit and famously useless anywhere except at stroke. The pre race outing went incredibly well with M1 coming off the water in high spirits and hopeful for the races to come. After a few hours rest and some motivational, Lord or the Rings inspired chat from Mr Shadwell we boated for the first race against ICSM and Holloway. We flew off the start above rate 40 and by the white crane we were five seats up on ICSM. This was when things started to go wrong and for several strokes it seemed like we forgot how to row, only just managing to hold the ICSM crew at bay until the line. Despite this, we achieved something RUMSBC hasn't managed in over five years by reaching the final of Allom cup and also learning several valuable lessons about racing. In the final we unfortunately lost to the returning ICSM Henley eight but I was very proud of the way everyone took what we'd learnt from the first race and applied it to make a very smooth and powerful finish. All in all very promising stuff, and RUMSBC M1 will certainly be back in the new year to steal ICSM's crown!
Women's Novice VIII
After a hefty crew meal, the novice women were certainly wanting to finish what they started at novice sprints. Having improved so quickly over such a short space of time, things were looking extremely positive for the girls, but with their first race against ICSM, they narrowly lost against a good crew. The girls should all be very proud of themselves for some fabulous rowing. Keep up those ergs over Christmas girls, and 2016 will be ours for the taking!
Men's Novice VIII
Men's Novice Captain, Sam Jackson
Just one week after the disappointment of losing Novice Sprints, the new flock of RUMSBC men was back in action, this time taking on the best that the University of London has to offer. The crew was greeted with a late start to racing and by the time they took to the water, club spirits were high with W1 and M1 having made their way to the final, the latter especially inspiring as it was their first sprints victory in half a decade – going to show the continued improvements across the senior squad. We had psyched the boys up with the possibility of racing ICSM, the crew that had beaten them the previous week. However, nothing goes as planned on race day and we were erroneously up against an LSE crew – an LSE crew who looked far too well coordinated and well dressed to be novices. Undeterred, Hannah urged the boys on and they got off to a pleasingly clean start. A very nervous set of RUMS supporters echoed the cries of MIDDLE and SEX as the boys looked to be making a small amount of ground on the LSE crew. However, from the bank it looked like the LSE crew were catching up and things were too close to call. From the boat, the guys report feeling like it was a fantastic race and that they could feel each and every man pushing to his limits. When the results came in, we were disappointed to hear that they had lost by a canvas. However, the finishing line photo didn’t correlate with this. As I went about trying to find the organizers to protest, the news came in that the result was overturned and we had won by a bow ball, see the photo below. This is the smallest margin of rowing victory since the unfair result of mince pies 2013. Furthermore, our post race investigations uncovered that this LSE crew was in fact a senior crew, making our victory over them even more special. There wasn’t much time to celebrate, there wasn’t even time for the crew to get out of the boat and they were straight back to the start line, this time actually racing against ICSM. Again, they got off to a clean start but within ten strokes found themselves a third of a boat length down. Despite their best efforts and everyone giving it their all, they were too tired and not fast enough to close this gap completely. They managed to move up a slight amount on the ICSM crew but the margin was still a third of a length to ICSM. Given that there was virtually no difference between the top ICSM crew and our crew for 750m, this will make head races all the more exciting later this year and with an extra bit of training, hopefully we will prevail. Well done to everyone involved, especially Adam Jones who only had a week of sprint training but made it look easy. A massive thank you goes out to Hannah who has been a fantastic cox for us this term and has been a huge part in training the guys and getting them excited in rowing. She’s been a perfect cox and we now look forward to Grace making this crew her own. Roll on sprints (and tour)!