On a grey morning at the end of February RUMSBC took to the Thames once again, this time to prove once and for all that we are the best UH Club on the Tideway and to win the inaugural UH Cup. We were making history. UH Head is the race we all want to win and this year we smashed it with four crews being the fastest UH crews in their category and the other two coming in the top three; it was a great day for RUMS.
The morning that all RUMSBC Rowers savour dawned, albeit rather too early with a 7am alarm. Gathering at the boat house for a pre-race paddle both crews steeled themselves for the day ahead. Rowing most of the course beforehand proved very beneficial as it allowed everyone to appreciate the changing conditions that the tideway is famous for. A rower's favorite tailwind at the start turned into a tricky headwind at a crucial point just past mid way. With this knowledge, and only mild head trauma from coxwain Kit Hunters, "if you can row through trees you can row through anything" mentality, they returned back to the boat house to relax and begin the build up to the race itself.
Starting in 4th position on the river the Men's 1sts stormed off the line. Watching RVC over his shoulder Kit settled all 8 into a strong rhythm, not flinching as they drew closer. At that minute he called the first big push. As they rounded the bend he took another backwards glance shouted 'they've snapped boys, time to go!', calling a bigger push and a rate build. Eyes on the crew in front. Coming through the bridges the gap between the Hudson and the Georges crew yo-yo'd with every push that both crews put in. This is where all race reporting must really end as you would be hard pushed to find anyone in the crew that remembers the rest of the race to any great extent. All rowers entered what can only be referred to as a 'pain cave' and all exits were blocked. The build to the line being where memory's return. One final push put in and an 'easy there' could not have come soon enough. Had we closed on Georges? What had happened between GKT and ICSM? All would be revealed.
Finishing 4th overall and 3rd out of the Uh crew's is certainly and excellent result and a huge step forward. Losing out to an indomitable ICSM and coming within 9 seconds of a strong GKT crew is not to be knocked.
Onto Eights head and BUMPS!!
Middle Middle Middle!!
Cowan's Commendations go to:
The 1st VIII - Reversing a 15 second deficit at Quintin into a 5 second lead over St Georges is an excellent result. Everyone in the boat upped their game in the build up and can now consider themselves real rowers. With training and everything!
The 2nd VII - After putting in the hard miles over the course of the year they have shown that "miles are where the magic happens" by elevating themselves to the status of other UH clubs 1st VIII, beating RVC 1sts and making amends for narrowly losing to them at Allom Cup (we'll have those medals back now RVC), while at the same time rowing the same time as Barts and the London 1sts shows these boys are in a strong place for bumps. Do I hear the sound of blades?
...and finally....The whole damn club. Inaugural winners of the UH CUP. Well Done All!!!
- Alex Cowan - Men's Captain
After months of training both on the water and off, it was time for the women's firsts to tackle UH head. Gains had been made in the gym and via pasta bakes and needless to say, we were pumped.
Post a last minute viewing of the 'Inches' speech, we came down feeling nervous but excited. Looking forward to pitching ourselves against our biggest rowing rivals, UH Head is the race every crew wants to win the most. Being amongst the first crews to boat we headed off for a confident paddle, getting rid of last minute jitters with some bursts past our UH rival George's. Soon, we were building it up over five and the race was on. Chasing our arch nemeses GKT we had a strong start, hitting our target rate with ease and settling into a strong rhythm. Hannah successfully urged us on through the first half and before we knew it we were on to Kew Road bridge. A push for ten off the supporters brought us into a new higher paced baseline that got us to the boathouse, from where we knew we were almost home. We dug deep for the final kilometre of the race with Hannah calling for us to empty the tank to take seconds off the other crew's every stroke. After crossing the finish line there was a sense through the crew that whatever the result, we had given it our all.
The dinner saw the medals go to GKT, who rowed a strong race with an impressive time. We knew they were the crew to beat, having been within seconds of them in previous years, and this year again showed how strong that rivalry is. Obviously we were disappointed to miss out on medals, but having beaten the rest of our UH rivals and coming second we were pleased with our performance. It later transpired, after further investigation, that 'GKT' were in fact the KCL W1 with non-medics rowing, making us even more pleased with how we did.
Middle middle middle!
- Katie Westbrook - W1 rower
Having lost our seven year reign as the top Men’s Seconds crew at UH Head last year, this year’s crew were determined to wrestle the title back and start a new and lasting streak. For the last two months, the focus has been on producing our best possible performance on the day and it is doubtful our Men’s Second VIII has ever put in more time on the water pre-race. The big day arrived and the crew started with a short outing to ease the nerves and get loose. We made our final adjustments to the boat and after a short crew chat, rowed up to the start line. With a lack of other seconds crews entering, we knew that beating the crew chasing us, St. George’s, would result in us winning our category. However, that wasn’t enough for us, our plan was to beat every seconds crew on the water that day and a fair few firsts crews if possible. Following a short rest just past the start line and some eyeing up of the opposing boats, we span and headed to the line, building up to race pace for the start line. With the Women’s firsts cheering us on as we crossed the line, we quickly settled into our race rhythm. We could see St. George’s set off twenty seconds behind us and for the first few minutes, they provided a good crew to push off. As the race went on, we began to pull away, responding to every single one of Lucy’s calls and we seemed to be putting some distance into George’s. We held our strong pace and knew that we were producing some of our best rowing to date. As we passed the half way mark, we had put some considerable time into George’s but there was more to give and we weren’t letting off. Passing under Kew Bridge and being urged onwards by the cheers of the RUMS supporters, I could hear the effort that the boys behind me were putting in and it showed, as we upped our rate and behind the steady wind towards the finish line. Pushing under Kew Rail Bridge, everyone started to empty the tank. Despite our technique fading a touch, the extra effort being provided by all eight sent our puddles even further away from us. At this point, the crews behind us were almost out of sight and we needed every last bit of motivation from Lucy to keep that strong rowing to the line. When we heard the buzzer on the finish line, everyone collapsed from sheer exhaustion and I was immensely proud to turn round and see that no one in that boat had anything left to give. No matter the results, we were incredibly happy with our race and the improvements made as a crew that led us to some of our best ever rowing. After a few minutes to let everyone regain their breath and for a few to be sick, we headed back to the boat house to cheer on the RUMS crews in the next division. The results came out later that day and we were ecstatic to have won our category comfortably. Furthermore, we had beaten a couple of firsts crews and had set a time that would have been very respectable in the top category. In particular, it was cathartic to beat a crew who had denied us of victory at Allom Cup. I cannot express how deserved the victory was for the whole crew, everyone gave everything on the day, after months of focused and dedicated training. Bring on HORR!
- Sam Jackson - M2 rower
After a rather extravagant crew meal the night before, the women's seconds had energy to burn at UH head, and everyone was feelIng pumped and ready. Our first port of call was Kew bridge to cheer on the first division, and after that we were away for our turn. Seeing the faces of the crews coming under the bridge made us slightly nervous about our predicament - but we remembered that pain is temporary and we set off all the same. Our race was dramatic to say the least - with a double overtake of GKT and Barts just before Kew bridge, not to mention a massive blade clash - but at the end we knew we had given our all, and eagerly awaited results. With baited breath at the dinner, we discovered that all the training paid off, and we had WON UH HEAD by 34 seconds!!! Massive well done ladies, a well deserved win and a very proud captain!! Smashed it!
- Laura Cousins - W2 Captain
Having stepped up our training in the weeks running up to UH Head, the men’s novices were all determined to make it count - so with the number of UH points between RUMS and St George’s scarily close we were ready to give this everything we had (row well).
Eager to get going, even with TFL against us, we were all at the boathouse early with more than enough time to get the boat ready and support W1, M1 and M2.
When it was finally our time to be unleashed onto the tideway, excitement and anticipation were running high. Waiting around was enough time for Julia to be hit by the blade of the Vet’s four – but this only made her coxing angrier, making us row harder. Through the pain, the race felt good. This was possibly the best we’d ever rowed. Overtaking the Vets (supposedly our main rivals) was definitely the highlight, although when they wouldn’t get out of the way we thought Julia would jump into their boat and do it for them. We then managed to catch up with a Barts 4 and leave them in our wake, emptying the tank until the finish line to cross 37 seconds faster than ICSM.
We were all extremely pleased with the result, coming close to a perfect season. It was fantastic to be able to contribute to winning the inaugural UH Cup!
- Callum Fields - MN rower
After a stressful week of not knowing whether they were be going to row as a team, or even race at all, the novice girls approached the biggest race of the year with their renowned steely determination. A crew very suited to Head racing, the girls were pumped and ready; in it to win it. With a solid paddle up to the start line, they settled into a strong race rhythm. Despite a shaky patch under Kew Bridge, where they got a bit excited about the waves of RUMSBC cheers (a hint of spider rowing may have emerged), the girls recovered quickly and maintained their strength right up until the finish. Unanimous report from the team was that, regardless of the result, it was their best race yet.
Sadly, the girls lost out to our main rival, RVC, who finished a full minute ahead of the rest of the competition. However, with both the crew and cox new to head racing, a solid time of 16.04 is certainly nothing to be ashamed of!
‘Despite not bringing home the medals, the fact that we got to row all 8 with the original crew meant we absolutely rowed our best and I think we've never felt stronger as a crew. We can be very proud of ourselves knowing that we definitely gave it our all till the last vom inducing stroke!’ - Nadia Eden
The culmination of weeks of training and build up, what more could we want than knowing we rowed our best race yet. A very proud captain indeed.
- Libi Hawkes - WN Captain
This is the beginning of the UH Cup; hopefully a competition that grows and develops into something that will stand the test of time and we as RUMSBC are its first champions. We have trained hard this year and it has paid off and now with WEHoRR and HORR in the next few weeks we have to take that training and smash out more great performances. Revision season is coming but that also means that the smell of Bumps is in the air. We may have won the UH Cup but the year is not yet over and we'll be aiming for medals and blades come May because as everyone knows, victory makes the party that much sweeter.
Congratulations to all the medal winners once again and to all the rowers; we've made RUMSBC proud.
MIDDLE MIDDLE MIDDLE!!