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SSBC Alumni Fundraising Dinner

Posted: Thursday 24 July 2008, 7:57PM by Mike Marsh


On the evening of Saturday 1st November the Boat Club will be holding a dinner for the ex-rowers of the club. The aim is to improve the Boat Club's connections with its alumni and to raise funds for a new women's first eight. Tickets cost £60 and there will be the chance to have a row during the day.

Some invitations were sent by post, but, despite our best efforts, our list of addresses was by no means exhaustive. So, for more information, or to be sent a formal invitation by email, please get in contact by emailing the Captain (see the committee page for the email address).

Edited on Tue, 29th Jul 08 by Mike Marsh

Development Squads 2008

Posted: Tuesday 22 July 2008, 9:54AM by Mike Marsh


This summer SSBC sent 4 rowers to the university development squads: Emily Whitelock and Nora Staack training with CUWBC, and Sam O'Boy and myself with CULRC.

Both Dev Squads offered an intensive month of training and racing at Kingston and Molesey Regattas, and the National Championships. Their aim is to give people an idea of what's involved in their trialling processes in September.

Videos of the SSBC rowers competing for the university are available here.

Edited on Tue, 29th Jul 08 by Mike Marsh

M1 - Marlow International Regatta

Posted: Thursday 26 June 2008, 10:30AM by Mike Marsh


Marlow 2008

M1 rounded off their term with a trip to Eton’s multi-lane rowing lake at Dorney (venue for the 2012 Olympic rowing) racing at Marlow International Regatta. This meant training through May Week: We started with a win in our division at Xpress Head in a bit of a composite crew (after some negotiations about our time between Martin and the organisers) and a couple of tired outings at the end of the week following the May Ball.

After an eventful journey down: train failures, teaching Veronica some new snazzy phrases in English, legendary faff from O’Boy at Paddington and a mix up thanks to the foreign phone operator at the taxi company over whether I or a similarly named glamour model had in fact booked our taxi, we finally made it to Dorney. The facility was an awesome sight, eight lanes wide, over two kilometres long; from one end of the course the other was just a haze in the distance.

On the row up everyone seemed excited; May week was behind us now and there was the same focus in the boat that we’d had through the Bumps. After a bit of a wait we lined up at the stake boats at the start and after what seemed an eternity the umpire called “attention, GO!”. We had one of our best starts, but lost a bit of ground to the more powerful crews around us. We settled well and pushed our way down the course. Everyone was concentrating and giving everything they had; the boat sat up well and the distance markers seemed to just fly by. Before we knew it we were at the 500m mark and did a big jump and push into the finish, picking the boat up and bringing us back slightly on the crews who’d slipped ahead of us. We crossed the line exhausted, but very pleased with our row, which was certainly one of the best we’d done all term.

In the end it wasn’t enough, however. We crossed the line in 6:56.59, coming 5th in our heat, thus failing to qualify. When all the results were published, it transpired we were the 22nd fastest of the 30 crews entered in our Division, so we weren’t t all disappointed. We’d entered the S4 category, in the absence of a Novice category, so knew it was going to be tough, but despite not qualifying, everyone had a great experience and lots of fun. Hopefully we can come back next year and make a bit more of an impression!

Edited on Thu, 26th Jun 08 by Joe Payton

M1 Day 4

Posted: Sunday 22 June 2008, 11:57AM by Mike Marsh


It was the final day and we saw ourselves lining up behind St. Edmund’s once again. The bump the day before had buoyed up our confidence and we went in thinking that we could definitely do something special. We knew that there was little danger from behind, so all our attention was focussed on how we sneak the bump on a more powerful Blues-packed Eddies crew. We decided to go strong off the start and take Catz II and Queens’ II out of the equation early on and then settle and press on to grind out the bump over the length of the course.

The row down was superb; everything came together beautifully in front of the enormous crowds that the final day of Mays inevitably draw. Our practice starts were strong and as we passed the spectators lining the banks the boat sat up well, each stroke long and powerful. Things were looking and feeling good.

When the race finally got underway we put our plan into practice almost perfectly. We pushed well off Catz despite them flying off the start, and Queens’ caught them somewhere around the Gut, leaving us in control of our own race. We pushed on, Veronica taking some good lines, and were steadily closing on Eddies. As we rounded Ditton into the Reach, our bankparty gave us a whistle, lifting the boat. We continued with our strong steady rhythm and drew even closer. Halfway down the Reach we got our ‘Jump’ call and we went for the kill. We moved to within half a length of Eddies and Jan went crazy on the whistle, but they put in a move of their own and pulled away leaving us with only a row-over, but a row-over we were all very pleased with.

We knew that we were quicker than our final position indicated, we were just a victim of Bumps: being stuck near crews who were of a similar pace or quicker than us. We took the opportunities we were given, and there wasn’t one day, with the exception of possibly the first (although Homerton did go on to win blades), where we were disappointed with our row. In all, it was a successful Mays for both the club and for M1.

M1 Day 3

Posted: Sunday 22 June 2008, 11:56AM by Mike Marsh


With a free falling Catz boat in front and a reasonable, but by no means brilliant Queens’ II behind us, we were confident of a good result. Most of the talk was about where we’d bump rather than whether we’d do it at all. It turned out that it’d take a little longer than we thought, however.

A wobbly start saw Queens’ II move towards us (they had a pretty quick start anyway), and their bankparty got all whistle happy again… The prospect of falling into the third division was not an appealing one though and we got ourselves back together and started pushing into Catz. By the Motorway Bridge we had a whistle and we pushed on down First Post Reach, getting two whistles as we approached the corner. Some appalling umpiring from the bank forced us to take the wide line and we lost half a length through the Gut. This was not what we’d planned, we were hoping for a quick easy bump… Drawing back up to within striking distance on the approach to Grassy, we went for the kill, but as is always the way with Bumps, just missed out. This forced us wide on Grassy, and we lost ground again…

Just at this point, after a chorus of whistles for our entire race, the whistles stopped and everyone’s hearts sank. Had Catz really slipped away unbumped? Soon after though we heard what sounded like the cannon going off again… it turned out it was actually Rob thumping away at Catz’s stern making absolutely sure that we’d made contact. We got the hold it up call. We’d made the bump!

Everyone was exhausted, but utterly elated. For many in the boat, this was their first bump. As people crowded around our boat congratulating us, Rob’s dad pushed to the front and asked me “can you catch?” Before I could answer I had a bottle of champagne launched at me, which I only just managed to hang on to by the skin of my teeth. Greenery was collected and we rowed home triumphant with our eyes on Eddies for the final day.

M1 Day 2

Posted: Sunday 22 June 2008, 11:56AM by Mike Marsh


Most of the talk on the Thursday was about subs: who, when and where they should be used, or if they’d be needed at all. After a day on a cocktail of painkillers my back wasn’t feeling great, and it looked like we might have to shuffle things around a bit to make room for a sub. Eventually, after an impossibly large dosage of ibuprofen (Me: “…so, should I take one or two of these then?”, Martin: “best make it three…”) and enough deep heat to melt a polar ice cap, it was decided I should row.

We paddled down to marshalling knowing that today was going to be a hard row: we had to really pull something out of the bag if wanted to catch Homerton before they bumped Catz, otherwise there was the long row-over in front of Queens’ II to avoid becoming sandwich boat…

When we pulled into the bank Jan and Martin decided to guess each others ages, the answers coming out at 34 and 38 respectively, who’d have thought it? Mid-twenties surely? Meanwhile, we in the boat were thinking about what lay ahead and that if we put our plan into effect we could still come out with a successful bumps campaign.

The row up was alright, a little tentative, but a couple of reasonable practice starts helped. We pulled in up at the other end, far too near the lock for my liking – only having one boat behind you isn’t terribly nice – and waited for the cannons.

The start gun went and disaster! We fluffed a draw stroke and lurched horribly to one side. It took a couple of strokes to recover fully, but the boat accelerated over the winds and lengthens and we settled at a high, powerful rating, taking back the half length we’d lost to Queens’ off the start.

According to our bankparty we got within about a length of Homerton before they bumped Catz, leaving us to go after the overbump on Eddies, who, apparently, we were gaining on (I’d been suspicious about the number of Blues they’d put in the Bumps Programme from the start…). We opened up a few lengths on Queens’: their bankparty, clearly oblivious of how the whistles system works (one blast for a length, two for half a length, three for canvas and continuous for overlap), decided to whistle anyway. This spurred us on even more and we settled into a nice strong rhythm for the row-over, giving us a chance at the spooning Catz. on the Friday.

M1 Day 1

Posted: Sunday 22 June 2008, 11:55AM by Mike Marsh


The first day saw us sandwiched between the Herculean teachers from Homerton behind and the Blue boat rowing in fancy dress St. Edmunds lycra in front. We’d heard rumours that the Eddies crew had suffered a couple of national call-ups, a problem that regularly blights SSBC, especially this Olympic year…

The row down was a little nervy, but otherwise pretty solid, made all the better by the crew’s matching kit (except for O’Boy, of course, who still hasn’t figured out how to enter his card details into Godfrey’s…). We had a strong practice start outside the Plough and were feeling confident, despite our impossible position on the Bumps chart.

A couple of stories of the more outrageous Sidney Boat Club Dinners past from Martin helped settle the nerves and we got into the boat at the four minute gun expectantly: could we in fact get Eddies before they got a snail-like Catz. II? The answer was in fact a resounding ‘no’. Despite a strong start, where we made ground on Eddies, getting a whistle, and initially pushing of Homerton, they ground us down over the course of First Post Reach, leaving us to concede the bump just as we entered the Gut.

We were disappointed, but not despondent. Homerton were just a more powerful crew than us, and we knew that rowing over in front of them would have been a big ask.

Helpfully, on the row home, my back went out, leaving bow 6 to take us all the way back to the boat house, and M1 with an uncertain week ahead…

99's Regatta - W2

Posted: Tuesday 17 June 2008, 10:20AM by Sarah Parks


Torrential rain meant that we were not at our most enthusiastic as we set
off for the start. Thankfully as we lined up for our first race against
Robinson II the rain had eased off and we were quietly confident that we
could win the race. We pushed hard off the start and after 10 power strokes
were already a length head. We opend up the gap to 2 lengths and settled
there making sure we had some energy left for the next race.

After watching Peterhouse II row down to the start line we were quite
nervous about our next race and knew that we would have to work harder if
we wanted to win this time. We pushed off Peterhouse with a strong start
and after Rob called for some power strokes we were beginning to pull away.
This race was harder than the first but we managed to settle into a
reasonable rhythm and win by about 2 lengths.

We were stunned to find ourselves in the final and were anxious about
racing the Corpus first boat. We knew that this would be a challenging race
and that we would have to give everything we had if we wanted to win.
Worryingly, Corpus pulled away from us at the start but Rob soon had us
working hard and pushing back off them. There was some clashing of blades
as we began to pull away but we seemed to come off best and held them off
until the railway bridge. As we began to tire there were several technical
slips allowing Corpus to regain some distance. Shear determination along
with much encouragement and an 'up 2' call from Rob gave the boat a lift
and we managed to win the race by just over a length.

This was another excellent crew effort, well done W2!

Race report written by Beth Parker

Edited on Tue, 17th Jun 08 by Sarah Parks

W2- Last day

Posted: Tuesday 17 June 2008, 10:14AM by Sarah Parks


Bumped Magdalene 3 and Kings 2

Now 2nd in our division we knew today was the day we really needed to try hard so we could move up to the 4th division. Due to unexpected bumps in the division above the day before (partly due to one of the boats not turning up) we were chasing Magdalene 3.

After a tidy row up with some good practice starts we waited anxiously on the bank for the four minute gun, and explained to Alice how exactly bumps worked. When the go gun went we had a good start and settled into a good rhythm, we were aware that this was going to be a bit tougher than bumping girton so were out for a good race. We got our first whistle just after the motorway bridge and then powered on, catching them on first post corner.

We were now the sandwich boat so rowed back down to the penny ferry and span and waited for the next race. In the next race we were chasing kings 2 but had heard a rumour the boat they were chasing wasnt going to turn up again, so we would have to go for an overbump on Newnham 4 if we wanted to stay in this division. However as the four minute gun was going CCAT 3 did indeed turn up so now it was a race to catch Kings before they caught CCAT.

We got off to another good start and were closing on kings when Rob called that we had to do this quickly as there was carnage under the motorway bridge and we wouldn't be able to get through. We made a big push and caught them just before the motorway bridge. We then pulled in, got our greenery and flag and rowed home extremely happy and proud.

A big thank you to both Rachel and Alice who subbed in during the week due to Becky's illness, you were both fantastic.

Edited on Tue, 17th Jun 08 by Sarah Parks

W1 - Day 4

Posted: Monday 16 June 2008, 5:47PM by Lisa Meegan


Bumped Downing II

Once again, we were chasing Downing II, and we were hoping to make it a tougher day for them. Ahead of them, Homerton were likely to bump New Hall, and with clear river ahead of them and us pushing behind, we hoped we'd finally be able to crack Downing.

We got off to a good start, with a strong push under the motorway bridge, and by the time we reached the Gut we were just inside station. Coming around Grassy, Homerton and New Hall bumped out, and with Downing aware that a bump for them was now out of the question we made our move. As we came out of Grassy, we heard our first whistle. Everyone responded well to Owen's calls for a big push, and as we approached Ditton corner we began to edge closer and closer to Downing II.

Encouraged by the crowds and the increasing noise of whistles (and a hooter) from our bank party, we pushed hard into Ditton. Owen's kill call increased the boat speed further as we reached overlap, and just as we came into the reach we were told to hold it up.

This was the furthest any of us had ever had to row for a bump, which made it all the more satisfying as we knew we'd really earnt it, capping off an excellent term for W1 with a fantastic result.

Thanks to everyone who has coached, bank partied or supported us this term!

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