Summer Eights 2006
Saturday of Summer Eights has always drawn the largest attendance out of all of the regattas held on the Isis, and the bad weather did nothing to discourage the rowers, their families and numerous supporters this year. Exeter’s boat house was once again full to bursting point and the crews were delighted to have such an audience.
The Exeter Men’s Third VIII rowed well, inspired by the presence of “Macy”, the resident Exeter cheerleading teddy bear, but were sadly caught by St John’s just before the gut. The crew then challenged the Christ Church Third VIII to a mini row-off on the paddle home, which involved more splashing each other than rowing!
Exeter’s Men’s and Women’s Second boats both lost out to blades-winning crews, the women to Jesus, and the men to Wadham. Both crews put on a good performance and held the chasing crew for a good stretch of the river.
The Women’s First VIII showed their impressive strength by bumping Linacre early on in the race. The crew and coach, Tom Williams, were very pleased, in spite of being denied blades by the unfortunate events of Thursday’s race. The Men’s First VIII put up a heroic effort and were both technically impressive and aggressively fast off the start but sadly could not hold off the University College VIII for the entire 1.5 km course length.
Exeter’s crews performed excellently and the hard work and intensive training undertaken were clearly evident in all of the races, but the competition from other colleges was fierce: three of today’s bumps were won by crews that had bumped each day and will now collect their “blades.” Tonight Exeter plays host to the annual ECBCA dinner, where the Men’s and Women’s First VIIIs will have a chance to relax and swap stories with Old Members who raced in Summer Eights when they were students.
Today saw yet another eventful day down at the boat house, this time with the added bonus of Pimms being served! The weather started off patchy with light rain, but soon ameliorated into blue sky and calm river conditions. The Men’s 3rd VIII rowed well and were close to gaining a bump, but unfortunately were bumped by Trinity III before they could close on LMH II. The Women’s 2nd VIII continued the trend of being bumped with the added excitement of being blown into the trees, and their cox, Holly Mears, being hit by a St Anne’s blade! Nonetheless, their spirits remained buoyant and were heard singing “row row row your boat” on their return journey.
The Men’s 2nd VIII rowed over for a second day, whilst the Women’s 1st VIII satisfyingly bumped Brasenose, their opponents from Thursday, after a mere 28 strokes. The Men’s 1st Division was delayed by a pleasure boat full of cheering children who were promptly booed by spectators at the boat houses. When the division was finally able to begin, it was klaxoned because of a faulty starting gun! After an eventual restart, the Men’s 1st VIII were unfortunately bumped by a “lucky” (according to the crew) St Catz boat.
From elsewhere on the river, Christ Church bumped Oriel for the first time in twenty one years! All in all, a good day’s rowing was had down on the Isis with mixed results.
ECBC as a collective put in a resilient performance on what eventually became a bright and warm second day of Summer Eights. Both the Men’s Third VIII and the Women’s Second VIII recorded successful row overs which were later emulated by the senior crews. The Herculean efforts of the Men’s Second VIII saw them hold off a confident Lincoln crew, proving their commitment and fitness after the misfortune of Wednesday’s bump. Endurance and passion saw the crew open up a substantial distance between themselves and their ardent Turl street pursuers.
The Women’s First VIII were cheated out of a bump that would have set them up for another round of “blades.” Confusion and the eventual decision of a technical row over left a sour taste in the mouth of a crew that is markedly superior to the remainder of the division. We can only hope for better luck on the penultimate day of racing. The Men’s First VIII, however, once again held their ground in the 1st Division; a clear sign of the rapid development of a young crew that can now stand up to the world class opposition with which they are faced. Tomorrow will see a tougher test as the fast St Catz crew challenge our men for sixth place in the river. Let us hope that Friday will bring success so that the sound of “floreat exon” may drown out the unimaginative and more abrasive chants of lesser rowing colleges.
Like the weather, the rowing today saw a mixed range of results. The Men’s Third VIII heroically kept the boat behind them at bay to “row over” while the Women’s Second VIII conceded a bump from a crew provocatively dressed in snazzy sailor outfits — their tactics were clearly those of distraction rather than technique!
The Men’s Seconds were also bumped but the Women’s First VIII managed to lift Exeter’s spirits by securing a speedy bump — hopefully the first on the way to a second round of “blades” in two terms. The Men’s First VIII rowed over, a tough feat in a competitive division.
Overall, Exeter Boat Club displayed some solid rowing that will hopefully stand us in good stead for the rest of the week.