City of Cambridge: Winter Head to Head

by Jessica Phillips on 31 January 2015

Daunting beginnings

On Saturday 24th January, City of Cambridge Rowing Club held their annual Winter Head to Head event. This event consists of a 2 kilometre course from the railway bridge to the motorway bridge that has to be completed twice; a daunting prospect with it being the first race after a long Christmas break and being in a higher division than we competed in last year.

We set off on the first 2k chasing Jesus’ W2 with the stream in our favour. Through the first kilometre we were gaining on them and managed to close the gap between us to about four boat lengths with some encouraging calls from our coach, Hannah Spry, and cox, Gemma Schofield. However, Jesus managed a last minute surge and finished the first leg 4 seconds faster than our, still impressive, time of exactly 8 minutes.

A powerful return

After spinning, we were thinking about attacking the course for the second time. This time the stream and the wind would be against us, but it was also the race homewards and we knew it was the last chance to give it everything we had. Again, we had JCBC in our sights; this time we wanted to catch them! We set off and quickly flowed through the corners, with Gemma keeping an excellent line we were powering the boat on towards the reach, losing sight of Trinity First and Third W2 behind us. On the reach the wind hit us and we had to sit up against it, keep our catches sharp and squaring early.

We approached the finish with Gemma calling for powerful strokes to carry us across the finish line. We completed the second leg in 8 minutes 34, beating Jesus by 4 seconds, the same amount they had previously beaten us by. This meant that at the end of our division, we were joint first with an overall time of 16.34. We just had to wait for the results of 5 boats in division 4 to come in before we knew where we had come overall.

A nervous wait brings rewards

After a long afternoon waiting for the rest of the times to come in, we were finally delighted by the news that none of the 5 crews had beaten our time and we had won Pots. We had beaten Fitzwilliam W1 (who came second) by 12 seconds, and we’d also achieved a faster time than a number of crews in the division above ours such as Clare W1, Caius W1 and Lady Margaret W1.

I hope to have more fantastic news over the rest of the term, with a few more races to go before the highly anticipated Lent Bumps we’ve had an encouraging start to the term.