Enthusiasm for the Fairbairn cup amongst KCBC alumni was at an unprecedented level this year and before Chris Braithwaite could even begin his annual grooming of recent graduates the 2012/13 M1 crew decided to reunite.
So it came about that on the evening of Thursday 3rd December, as the current M1 finalised their mental and nutritional preparation for the culmination of a hard term, several early-career professionals and PhD students turned up and interrupted them with outdated banter fuelled by whiskey and observations of unwanted weight gains.
‘MLegend,’ as they arrogantly dubbed themselves, had a combined rowing experience of decades as well as first division blades (and spoons), university medals, HRR qualifications and Paddy’s achievements back in M2. 8 of the 9 had also won the Fairbairn cup in 2012, so felt no apprehension at the prospect of a 14-minute slog through the fens. Reconvening on the Friday morning, nobody felt fresh, loose, fit or keen but there was ample laughter and reminiscence and that made everything seem alright.
The details of the race were unremarkable; marshalling was a shambles, MLegend flew like a cannonball past the boathouses and that cannonball then rolled slowly down the rest of the course. Waiting at Baitsbite lock, there were many happy cross-college reunions, and other alumni crews confirmed suspicions that the river had in fact got longer.
With the sun unable to cut through the cold air and old blisters being painfully rediscovered, the long row home began in low spirits. However, the boat seemed to be moving more smoothly now that the race had shaken off the cobwebs from long-unused muscle groups, and it wasn’t long before jubilant and unimaginative shouts of “yeah King’s” were once again irritating every other boat on the river.
Another win always seemed an unlikely prospect, and the race results showed the leaders almost a minute ahead up the river. Surprisingly, though, many college M1 crews trailed in MLegend’s wake. It can thus be stated conclusively that fitness is a poor substitute for friendship.
Cox: Will Miller M1 2011-present
Stroke: Lachlan Jardine M1 2011-2015
7: Joel Wilson M1 2011-2014
6: Paddy Buchanan M1 2011-2014
5: Algernon Wallis M1 2012-2013
4: Conor Burgess M1 2012-2015
3: Craig Lambert M1 2012-2014
2: Neil Paul M1 2011-present
Bow: JT Baird M1 2014
Huge thanks to Captain Oli Slooj who allowed us to piss around in his boat.
Special mention to Will and Neil who had already rowed the race with M1.
Best of luck to King’s M1 for the rest of the year, you’re a great group of guys.
Kindest regards to Chris Braithwaite, sorry for not carrying your tub of old men down the course.
Commiserations to Jesus M1. Sorry not sorry. You’re s***.
Finally a tip of that hat to Paddy for being chauffeur for the weekend in his company BMW.