Queens’ Back on Top as Downing Lose Ground

Smashed boat steals the show at Bedford Head. Race report and photos here.

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Sunday’s Bedford Head saw a dramatic return to form for Queens’ M1, as a magic 05:59 over the 2k course blew the rest out of the water. Having recorded 6:04 at their first attempt (in the IM3 division), they later shaved five seconds off to break the six-minute barrier and scoop the IM2 pots.

Captain Nick Gates, fast-becoming a Tab celebrity, was delighted with the result:

“After a weak row at Robinson Head, we did not arrive to come second again. I’m really proud of all the guys and we’re all looking forward to bumps.”

When asked what they had changed to take five seconds off the time, Gates admitted that their first run – which was still 8 seconds faster than any other college crew – had not been at full pressure. The plan had been to get to know the course in the morning before mounting an assault on the 6-minute barrier in the afternoon. Executed to perfection, you might say.

Downing, who had sensationally toppled Queens’ at Robinson Head, were left trailing with a comparatively pedestrian 6:12. Shock of the day, however, came from the unfancied Peterhouse, who clocked 6:12 in both attempts to show they really can mix it with the big boys, winning the praises of Gates and his Queens’ crew in the process.

Jesus finally turned up for a race and posted a best time of 6:13, much better than many had expected, while King’s slipped off the pace with 6:22.

It was, however, a good day at the office for most of the Cambridge crews; the best Oxford college on show, John’s, was way off the pace with 6:24.

Not such a good day for certain members of Staines rowing club either. As competitors walked over the main road bridge to get to the start, an almighty crash sent the crowds scattering. As they turned around, they were confronted with quite a scene: one irate competitor leaping out of his car, one extremely apologetic bus driver rushing back down the road, and tens of thousands of pounds-worth of shattered boat lying all over the road.

Jesus 3-man Phil Laddleton was present at the smash and captured this photo in the aftermath:

Far from ideal pre-race preparation

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