Wolfson College Boat Club once again entered the Oxford City Royal Regatta this year. Coxed by Edward Mills, a new arrival at Wolfson, the men’s four was made up of Thomas Aarholt, incoming President, at stroke; Gido van de Ven at 3; Nick Hartley at 2; and Rémi Tirfoin at bow. Under the (mostly) obliging sunshine, they lined up to race a straight IM2 quarter-final against Nephthys BC, the club of the Oxford University Lightweight Blues. Wolfson quickly took the lead by a third of a length out of the start, but before they could get to clear water Nephthys were being warned for encroaching into their lane. It quickly became clear that Nephthys had lost their rudder, and in the ensuing collision the cable on “Weapon X” came off decidedly worse in an encounter with Nephthys’ riggers. Although Nephthys could legitimately have been disqualified for being the crew that committed the foul, the (rather more sporting) decision was made to order a re-row. After a quick change-over of boats at Univ boathouse, the four (now in “Hermione”) rowed up to the start for a second time.
The second start was even better for Wolfson, as they once again moved out to a third of a length. As their early advantage run out, however, Nephthys began to move back into contention, drawing level coming out of the slight bend past the boathouses. The crews were neck-and-neck coming into the finish, and an amazingly tense final minute led to the race being declared a dead heat.
The ensuing re-row — the third time that these two crews had lined up on the start — proved one too many for Wolfson, as Nephthys took a lead coming through 250m and extended it to one and a half lengths by the finish. Nevertheless, the level-headed approach going into each race and the commitment throughout stood Wolfson in good stead, particularly when racing such quality opposition. To hold a crew containing several Blues is no mean achievement, and speaks volumes to the quality of coaching given by James “Jimbo” Kirkbride over the preceding week. As we approach Michaelmas Term, the entire men’s squad will benefit the confidence boost and experience that the summer’s training and racing has provided.
Edward Mills, 16 Aug 2014