W2 Mays: Day 2

Today W2 were chasing Hughes/Lucy W2 and they were chasing Jesus W3 in what we knew was likely to become a three-boat sandwich. We welcomed Alice Vaughan as today's special guest sub, and now that everyone was back to rowing on the right side, the plan was to return to the normal aggressive start sequence and grind Hughes/Lucy down, knowing we could catch them eventually.

H/L seemed to go for the fly-and-die approach as they held us roughly on station for the first minute and a half, by which point they'd narrowed their own gap on Jesus to about half a length. They got to canvas on Jesus but began to break as we closed our gap to a length. As we hit grassy corner, the two crews close ahead of Jesus bumped out and Jesus escaped unscathed, but Hughes/Lucy got stuck in the bank going wide and we had to hold it up behind them. Determined to continue, and thanks to some excellent coxing under pressure by Sid, we navigated around Hughes/Lucy and restarted strongly, ready to hunt down Jesus. They had extended the distance between us to about 3 lengths while we reset, but we demolished the gap with some nice chunky rowing and it was down to a length by the end of plough reach. Within a further minute, we'd easily caught them in what was neither a bump nor an overbump, but can probably be called a bump-and-a-half.

Then came the wait to find out what the umpires would make of the chaos earlier on. Hughes/Lucy had crucially been denied the chance to bump Jesus at grassy, but at that point we had been gaining faster than they were. It was decided that the three of us would have to rerow - this was disappointing after a great effort in chasing down the bump-and-a-half, but we put our game faces back on and turned around to go again, knowing that we were well-prepared after a term of hard work on the ergs.

We knew we needed to move earlier this time if we were to have a decent chance of catching Hughes/Lucy before they got Jesus. After a solid start and delayed stride, we were clearly gaining better on Hughes/Lucy than in the first row, and got them down to a length within 2 minutes. Both gaps narrowed to half a length but we lost some ground coming out of grassy and Hughes/Lucy continued to close on Jesus. It was time for the kill call and we upped the rate on plough reach, but sadly could not close the three-quarter-length gap in the time it took Hughes/Lucy to get from one-quarter to a bump, as Jesus fell back on them coming into the headwind on the reach.

It was a really frustrating row-over as Hughes/Lucy were easily catchable over a slightly longer distance and Jesus were frankly too pathetic to hold them off for long enough to allow us to save their sorry behinds.  But we will be chasing said sorry behinds tomorrow with a vengeance.


Steely determination in the rerow

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