When we left off the never-ending story last year we’d just bumped Press, and were rather regretting not getting a shot at Champs. Roll forwards a year, and its Tuesday again. We have six of our old crew back, losing Mr W and Dr H, and replacing them with old-hand-turned-fit Paul “finger” Holland and controversial noob Dave “not that Dave” Ifould. And I move up from seven to stroke: ah, the glory. I recall at Oxford there was fierce competition for the stroke seat, perhaps because we wished ot impress the girls, but now we’re all old the competition is to avoid the seat. So with Dr S firmly but politely refusing the poisonned chalice there was no-one else to fill the void left by Dr H.
We knew Press were somewhat faster than us – we’d lost to them by 3 feet in Nines regatta, and 5 seconds in the Timed Race – but Champs ahead were a mystery: no-one had seen them out, or in any races. Going up the start the answer appeared to be that they weren’t good; the race confirmed that: we bumped them in the Gut quite convincingly. What the video doesn’t show, somehow, is how the boat jumps around in the choppy water as you close in. Indeed the video doesn’t really show much at all – you can just see Champ’s orange in the distance a few times. They were fairly later conceding – we hit them several times – which makes no sense if you know you’re slow; and so there is a period of chaos while we (and they) clear. Press behind us had closed to half a length, but only while we were in the choppy water; probably a length more reasonably; they’ll get Champs tomorrow, and we can aim for Tabs 2, knocked down from 6 to 7 by City-2-featuring-Tom.
Here’s a somewhat more conventional image:
We’re coming into the Gut from First Post; City closing Tabs in the distance, and Champs blades just ahead of us.