On Sunday 16th October, the club sent 9 crews to the Tideway to compete at the Pairs Head of the River. The weather forecast leading up to the race saw the organisers consider cancelling it, leaving it only until a couple of hours before to decide the conditions were safe enough for small boats to race. This meant that the Cantabs crews faced a greater challenge than most, the near-perfect conditions on the Cam in recent months providing little similarity to the Tideway.
The club sent a mixture of men’s, women’s and mixed crews to the event, and were the best-represented and most successful of all the Cambridge town clubs who entered. There was particular success for the Senior Women’s Squad, where each of the four crews emerged as the fastest non-Tideway crews in their event.
After a tumultous few weeks of training, Ellie Darlington and Millie Perrin scored a win in the W.IM1.2-, finishing 56.7s clear of the 2nd placed Auriol Kensington crew. Realising that they had won after the first 8 minutes, having overtaken all of the IM1 crews ahead of them and pulling away from those behind, Ellie said “we relaxed the rate and pressure, and were just focusing on not cocking it up, particularly when the conditions were quite vicious in the middle 3rd of the race”. Despite this tactic, they finished as the 2nd fastest women’s pair of the day, even beating the winners of W.IM3.2x and W.IM2.2x from TSS and many men’s pairs. Ellie and Millie will return to London on 30th October to the prizegiving by Stuart Innes and John Inverdale.
There was also success for their squadmates, with Georgia Vann taking part in her 2nd ever race on the Tideway only a couple of months after learning to scull. After more than comfortably weighing in, she and Harriet Cross finished 3rd in in the IM3 lightweight doubles, the fastest non-Tideway crew. Similarly, Gill Cooper and Judith Weik took to the Tideway for the first time in a small boat – only the 2nd time they’ve raced a pair after their victory at the Robs Autumn Head a couple of weeks before – finishing as the fastest masters C pair, 2nd in W.MasBCD.2- and the fastest non-Tideway crew, comfortably ahead of crews from X-Press, Weybridge Ladies and Putney Town.
Completing the women’s run of the fastest non-Tideway crews were Jordan Bruce and Georgie Plunkett who came 4th in W.IM2.2- after losing some speed when slower crews didn’t concede the racing line quickly enough, and overtaking mixed doubles took too long overtaking, keeping them out of the stream! Their time would have had them finish 2nd in the IM1 event won by Millie and Ellie.
Meanwhile, the Senior Men’s Squad had some good results in the IM1 pairs, where they had three crews entered. Jimmy Adams and Finn Grimwood earned bragging rights when they finished fastest of the 3, finishing 3rd and the fastest non-Tideway crew in their event. James King, racing with CUL blue Charlie Cummins, finished 5th, and Ricci Herreros-Symons finished 6th in a Jesus composite. Sean Collins finished 4th in the IM3 doubles in a FaT composite, in his first small boat race on the Thames, despite racing in one of the club’s more rickety boats!
Finally, only weeks after competing at the World Rowing Masters Regatta, Cecile Jacklin and David Richardson raced in the mixed masters D doubles, finishing 6th. The duo are now en route to Boston, USA, to race at the Head of the Charles.