The weather gods conspired against Oxford rowers this term, wiping out large chucks of water time, and confining the squads to training on the ergs. Nevertheless, LCBC went into the week with confidence.
Unfortunately, W3 and W4 were desperately unlucky to miss out on qualification for Torpids by 1 and 6 seconds respectively, but demonstrated great potential for Summer Eights. Their enthusiasm and commitment to train this term has been exemplary, and will stand them in good stead for Trinity Term.
The first Lincoln crew to race was the Women’s second boat, W2. They had showed considerable speed in training, putting in an excellent performance in the one IWL of the term, and they did not disappoint, bumping out within 30 strokes. This would be a trend that would continue throughout the week, with women’s crews across Oxford terrified of the devastating speed and stylish attire of W2. Mike Skidmore demonstrated a cool head, and velvet fingers on the rudder strings to steer the boat to glory.
Perennial blades winner, Emily Howe set a silky smooth rhythm in the stroke seat, while Chelsea Souza backed her up with enthusiasm. Grit and determination was provided in the 6 seat by fresher Olivia Lamming, who we knew would push herself to the point of throwing up rather than throwing in the towel, while the power and drive was provided by Claire Wills and Rhianna Cearns in the middle of the boat. The sharp, technical skills in the bows came from Nicky Andrews, while Megan Milarski and Lise Noyau floated down the course with the touch and dexterity of seasoned veterans. Rowing a maximum of 30 strokes a day, Merton 2, Exeter 2, Trinity 2 and Hertford 2 all fell, with W2 finishing the week 6th in Division 4, and securing BLADES for the second year in a row.
M2’s Torpids was more turbulent. A crash following being bumped by Linacre M1 on the first day put them at the bottom of Division 4, and they would fall again on Thursday. However, they redeemed themselves on Friday with a strong performance, securing their first bump of the week, stroked by the indomitable Patrick Jones. On the Saturday, they fell victim to a fast Wadham crew behind them, but gained vital experience and showed grit and spirit that will be vital for Summer Eights.
Lincoln W1 had risen rapidly in recent years, and was showing good speed in preparation for Torpids. However, they knew their task would be difficult, with a fast LMH crew in front of them. On Wednesday, they showed great determination to secure an overbump on Balliol, after LMH bumped out. This would become a habit. On Thursday, they secured a triple overbump on Exeter, and on Friday put in a great performance
to overbump Keble. On Saturday, however, their task proved too great, and despite a spirited row, came up just short of another overbump, and ended the week up 3, 5th in Division 2.
M1 were bolstered this term by the return of the two Alexs, Bostrom and Thomas, returning from injury after stints trialling for OUBC and OULRC respectively. The crew knew little about the crews around them, but shot off the bungline on the first day, and rapidly closed in on Pembroke M2. The race turned into an epic, with Pembroke matching every push from Lincoln and holding the crew at a canvas all along the boathouses. With the finish line in sight, Paul ‘cool-head’ Cruickshank urged the crew on for one final push, breaking the Pembroke spirit just ten strokes from the line and securing an epic bump. Things would not prove easier on Thursday, with a strong New College boat in front, however M1 put together some of their best rowing of the term when it really mattered. A strong rhythm was sent down from Alex Bostrom and captain Tom Frost in the stern, and when the call came to charge, New College were no match for the power of Sheldon Edwards and Alex ‘the ironman’ Thomas, securing the bump at the end of Boathouse Island. The drama continued on Friday, as Lincoln chased LMH, who were chasing a sluggish St Anne’s boat. As LMH missed bumping out in the gut due to an untimely crab, M1 scented blood, and went for the kill. With unerring technique from Sam Diana and the silky-smooth rowing of fresher James Plimmer at bow pair, LMH fell to the Lincoln sword, and M1 marched onto Saturday, with the potential to bump up to division 1 for the first time since ‘The Great Fall’ of 2006. St Anne’s crumbled in the gut, leaving M1 as the sandwich crew for Division 1, chasing Hertford. They remained calm and focused, and roared off the start at rate 40. Hertford held on valiantly until the gut, and there was a fear that Lincoln were beginning to wheelspin. However, inspirational coach Doug Bruce called for a gear change, and M1 responded. This time, power woke in the bows, and slumbering giants Asgeir Birkisson and Michael ‘the instructor’ Shaw drove the crew on, taking half a length in ten strokes and securing a historic bump in the exit to the gut. At the end of the week, LM1 finished up 5, securing blades for a second year in a row, and finishing 12th in Division 1.
Overall, LCBC continued their recent successes with another excellent performance, with two crews obtaining blades and a third missing out narrowly. Results aside, however, it is the enthusiasm and commitment of all involved that truly emphasises the spirit of the boat club, and will hopefully drive the club on to further success in the future.