The ‘graduation race’ for 2015’s novices found NM1 a lot more enthusiastic than we had expected to be. As the morning’s grew colder and the winds more gruelling all of ‘NM Voldemort’ knew that Fairbairns marked the end of a long Michaelmas of crabs, spoons, spanners and answering to ‘novice’. Surely upon our rowing graduation we could finally become the tall, strong, purple lycra clad heroes that we had dreamed of since freshers.
With a 7:30 meet the mist still hung low over our fair river as we pushed off and then cleared at the start line to reveal a plague of incompetent coxes. Luckily our main man Charles, seasoned with all manner of unfortunate events (see Winter Head race report), guided the legendary wood workmanship known as ‘Neil Saigal’ safely to the start line. A reluctant power gipped our eight as we accelerated from the start line under Victoria Avenue Bridge, uncomfortably close behind a spannering Sidney Sussex crew. Our rate remained high as Daro and Charles drove us round the twisting waterways of Riverside.
After this strong start we finally passed King’s ‘boathouse’ and into familiar territory… and a familiar position of being stuck behind other boats on the Cam! It was the stern of Sidney fast approaching. Our cox’s calls for water echoed across the water but alas there was no room in this narrow-boat ridden section. “HOLD IT DEAD” bellowed forth from the cox box above the coaches’ clamour. Blades clawed against the stream as the mass of the Saigal was dragged to an unwilling halt. Soon Sidney had spluttered their way forward and our rowing resumed, now with the men of King’s filled with rage (and a sneaky swig of water).
Taking a tight line under the green dragon bridge we thereon proceeded to up the power and rate until we seized the chance to take Sidney on the reach. Inspired by our second ever race overtake the strokes remained hard and fast as we navigated the gut then bust forth from under Newnham Bridge and into seniorship!
I’ve no idea where we placed but we still get called ex-novices so not much good came of it.