City qualify for Thames Challenge Cup at Henley

City of Cambridge rowing at Henley 2011Following 2010's success at Womens Henley, City once again sent crews to Womens Henley, Henley Royal and Henley Masters Regatta in 2011. All crews produced competitive performances.

The Senior Women's squad sent a quad and an eight to Womens Henley, competing in the Senior Quads and Intermediate Club Eights events respectively.



On the men's side, M1 became the first City eight for many years to qualify for the Thames Cup at HRR. They raced one of the seeds, Kent School Alumni, USA in the first round, becoming the first City crew to race at HRR since 2006.

At Henley Master's Regatta, our master's squad showed its growing strength by winning the Masters A/B 8+ event.

James's Race Report

For the first time in years and years, a City of Cambridge men's 8 qualified for Henley Royal Regatta 2011. An achievement on its own and the qualifying race being one of our strongest, most together and powerful row. We were overwhelmed and drunk with success. Guy put it best:

"after years of trying, the secret seems to be, find a crew of young fit lads, all twenty something and it's possible to do!" He forgot that including himself, half the crew is 30 or over!

The Wednesday heat for us was going to be a tough one. Kent School Alumni USA. First thoughts were, "Great, fat old boys from the USA on a jolly" exclaimed Chris Sinclair. But a quick scan at Marlow Regatta showed Kent were about 20-25s quicker than us over 2km! Balls.

We didn't tell Chris, but after he saw a few of them in the competitor's area, the man in Mankini shrank.

Race plan. It's theirs to lose, so we go for it hard, what could possibly go wrong?

Race day arrived, Stu was zoning in with his head phones in with Girls Aloud on again, Chris S was lost, James was trying to find Chris S, Guy was in the toilet, Hefin was being Welsh, Sven was charging his bionic heart with a car battery, Chris D was meditating, Barney was ironing his blazer, Jess was starving and Brian was pretending he didn't know us.

Boat was thrown into the water, and blade bitches Jack and Geoff followed with the rowing sticks. Off we went down the river to take our position with Kent.

After convincing Sven to remove his top to have the whole crew sporting CCRC Mankinis only, we lined up at the start. The start marshall demonstrated his start for us, only Hefin, in the entire regatta, and likely history, didn't hear the word 'demonstrated'. 15 composed rowers waiting to start and one Welshman trying to start on his own!

The go was given, and both crews were off like a shot, Kent pulling ahead straight away. By the end of the island they were already maybe half a length ahead. From then it was a case of trying to hold on. All the boys pushed hard to stay in the game, Kent passed the Barrier at 1:54, we were just behind at maybe 1:57.

Jess called for our pairs pushes down the course and crew pushes. We never gave up and were then holding on through the wash of Kent. Through the enclosures and stands, people cheered us on, but Kent crossed the line 3.5 lengths ahead. Maybe an inevitable result, and a bit disappointing knowing our qualifying race was a better row.

It was difficult to be happy getting knocked out in the first heat, but we achieved what we set out to do. The aim was to qualify, and we did it. No other Cambridge town club did it, and only Goldie and the Cambridge Lightweights were there from the Colleges.

Bumps next... And 99s, Robs, and Cantabs will be sat there, in front, before the cannon goes off knowing the City 1 Henley Qualifiers are after them all!


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