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ยป Torpids 2009 & the Men's Headship

Torpids 2009 & the Men's Headship

04 Mar 2009

In 2009, ChChBC crowned the spectacular results of the previous year with another set of excellent results - in particular the capture of the men's Headship. This year we were particularly reliant on a strong novice intake; their achievements are testament to all the hard training they put in, and the expert coaching they enjoyed.

The women fielded two boats, both of which performed admirably. W2 bumped Wolfson III, St Antony’s II, St Peter’s II, St Catherine’s II on consecutive nights to secure well-deserved blades. We are particularly grateful to Lenny Martin for his coaching, and congratulate W2 on their success. W1, under the leadership of Karl Offord, consolidated and built on the strong position they inherited from last year, and bumped Oriel on Friday to move from third to second on the river. They achieved this triumph despite suffering from some logistical difficulties earlier in the term and in the face of stiff competition from some extremely well-drilled crews.

On the men's side, M3 and M2 also included many novice rowers in their ranks. We are particularly grateful to Rahul Raghuram for putting together and organising the third boat, which bumped Jesus III and Mansfield II. M2, displaying enthusiasm and dedication unparalleled by other college 2nd Torpids (aptly demonstrated by their outings at Wallingford in the snow) were rewarded for their efforts with a bump on Corpus Christi. They proved their mettle on Friday, when having been bumped by Somerville, they staged a fantastic comeback to bump Exeter II. Nick Kenworthy-Browne and Jon Carley's expert instruction was clearly in evidence, and M2's progress during Torpids augurs well for the 2nd Summer Eight.

This year, however, M1 stole most of the limelight with their nailbiting races. There was no doubt that the top two crews in the Men's Division 1, Christ Church and Pembroke, were in a league of their own. Consequently, it was only after the House's 1st Torpid had ploughed comfortably through Oriel and Magdalen on Wednesday and Thursday respectively that the real battle began. There was a clear contrast in rowing styles between Christ Church and Pembroke - the latter relied on a high rating and short, front-loaded strokes; whilst under the tutelage of Ben Reed the former had adopted an exceptionally long, heavily back-loaded style. On Friday, fresh from their recent successes against Oriel and Magdalen, a somewhat complacent House Torpid were held off by a whisker for the duration of boat house island by a dogged and determined Pembroke. Come Saturday, nerves were frayed and the tension was palpable. However, after a blistering start and a concerted and relentless push coming out of the gut, Christ Church caught Pembroke towards the end of the green bank.

Pembroke had worked for many years to secure the Headship, and had held it for only two days. After the race, many of their oarsmen were on the point of tears. Such is the harsh reality of Torpids. Undoubtedly, however, the best crew won on the day - and the House now holds the Headship for the first time in eighteen years, having secured it by bumping (rather than by default) for the first time since the 1960s.

All in all, much to be proud of: twelve bumps for, only one against, and the Men's Headship. The Boat Club is particularly grateful to Arabella MacDonald and Victoria Flynn (the Women's Captains), and Tristan Wood (the Men's Captain) for all their hard work this year. Let us look to the future, and make sure to crown these achievements with similar successes in this year's Eights.

-Johan Kjellgren

BC President

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