There can be no doubt that 2008-9 has been a vintage year for the ChChBC, culminating as it did in victories at pretty well every level of the Club, most notably the Men's1st Eight's capture of the Headship of the River, both in Torpids and in Eights - a feat unmatched in some years.
Following on from a very sound year in 2007-8, where both Torpids and Eights saw splendid rises by crews on both sides of the Club, it was clear that this ought to be a good season - and it certainly began well. The ChCh Regatta was marked by the sheer number and enthusiasm of our novices who went on afterwards to figure so largely in the fortunes of the Club - especially on the Women's side. Michaelmas saw steady progress and plenty of work, both on and off the water, at all levels and the shape of the Torpid crews for Hilary began to appear as successes were recorded at the Cambridge Head. Torpids itself brought more - and better; the girls boated two crews and each rose, the 1st to bump Oriel and finish second (matching any previous position) while the 2nd won blades. Since all the Men's crews also went up - the 1st by three bumps to take the Headship - and since not a single House crew suffered a single bump, this was truly a tremendous result for the Club.
With three returning (and winning) Blues added to the strength of the Torpid, the Men's 1st VIII was expected to do well - and so indeed it did, bumping Oriel and Balliol at the head of the Gut and then rowing over by wide margins (eight lengths on the Saturday.) The Ladies' 1st VIII alone suffered a fall, losing two places in plucky racing against far larger and more experienced crews. All the same, the results for Summer Eights were genuinely spectacular; the Ladies' 2nd VIII gained the status of being the highest in its class for the first time ever, while the Men's 2nds tightened their grip on their own 2nd VIII Headship with two bumps, leaving them one place away from Division II. The Ladies' 3rds won blades and the Men's equivalent just missed out - rising an amazing six places and entering the Fixed Divisions to win the 3rd VIII Headship - just like their female counterpart. Overall the House finished Eights holding the top crew for Men's 1st, 2nd and 3rd Eights, while the Ladies now hold the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th crew top positions - a truly remarkable dominance of the Isis, and one not equalled by any college in previous racing history.
In sumary, then, a truly wonderful year - and celebrated by the Club, SCR, old members and college staff in due style, with two ritual boat burnings on the Long Walk and plenty of good cheer. Although unable to match the 2008 Henley result of a place in the Final of the Visitors' Fours, in all this was an even stronger year, coming on top of successes before. Well done to all the House crews, and many thanks to all the old members who support our work with the Club; it really does make a huge difference.
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