Week 5 of Trinity term saw the rowers of Jesus College compete in the flagship event of the Oxford college rowing calendar: Summer Eights. Impressively, a total of 7 crews (4 men’s and 3 women’s) represented the college over the 4 days. The oarsmen, oarswomen and coxswains were all particularly keen to triumph, given severe weather had blighted the majority of racing during Torpids earlier in the year.
The men’s first boat went +3 over the week, securing their place in the first division for the first time since 2004. They quite rightly say that fast crews get three bumps and lucky crews get four; unfortunately their blades ambitions were scuppered by some questionable coxing by Magdalen on the first day. Having bumped on Wednesday and Thursday, M1 were well aware that obtaining a bump on Friday would be a monumental task, as the crew ordering ahead of them implied that they would have to go for a quadruple overbump on University College, an improbable 12 boatlengths ahead at the start. The crew managed to make up about eight lengths, but alas, they ran out of river and rowed over. Quickly dispatching Magdalen on the Saturday capped off another strong year for the men, as they continue their meteoric rise up the bumps charts.
W1 were a force to be reckoned with this Summer VIII’s, with the crew getting blades without needing to row past the gut (and without the need for luck in this case!). As well as catching Trinity, Mansfield, Lincoln, and St. Anne’s, they successfully held off St. Peter’s M1 in training the weekend before racing. With two blues rowers in the boat (Caitlin O’Brien and Madeline Goss), as well as 6 returning W1 from Torpids, they were always going to be speedy. Regardless, obtaining a bump within 1min 40s every day was an incredible achievement for a crew placed towards the top of Division 2, facing fierce opposition. Next year the girls are looking to solidify themselves as a Division 1 crew for both Torpids and Eights, and they look primed to do just that, with an extremely impressive intake of novice rowers this year!
Despite rather late changes in coaching staff, M2 performed outstandingly this Eights. 2 bumps, a row over and a klaxoned race (which arguably may have saved their bacon from a closing Linacre M1) placed them 11th in Division 3: the highest Jesus M2 have ever been in the history of the event.
Truth be told, the women’s second boat had a frustrating week. They were sublime at rowing-on, coming third: things were looking promising! Sadly the only two crews faster than them were Wolfson W3 and St Hugh’s W2. As bad luck would have it, these crews both ended up chasing them during Eights week. Despite being bumped on Wednesday and Thursday, the girls kept fighting, and claimed a well-deserved bump on Trinity W2 in no time at all, just beyond Donnington Bridge.
For the first time in a number of years, Jesus was able to put out a Fellows and Staff boat for Summer Eights, which were labelled as the M3 crew. The Principal, Sir Nigel Shadbolt, was able to row with the boat on the Friday and Saturday making him (we believe) the first Head of House to ever compete in the competition. Despite Nigel’s presence in the boat, the staff couldn’t avoid being bumped on four days consecutively.
W3 started their Eight’s campaign with an unfortunate setback, being bumped by Catz W2. However, for the remaining days they managed to escape being bumped and rowed over every day. With 7 of the crew members having learnt to row this year (two of which learnt during Trinity term, mere weeks before Eights), they can hold their heads high!
Last but not least: another VIIIs campaign meant another call to arms for the Jesus “Vikings” (M4). Despite intense preparations, which included one entire training session, nothing could prevent the Vikings getting bumped every day and receiving spoons. Even on Saturday, with a boat largely composed of members from the M1 crew of last year, being bumped couldn’t be avoided. Clearly crew cohesion is an important facet of rowing.
All in all, it was another successful Eight’s campaign for the men and women of JCBC, with equal amounts of pain and enjoyment experienced by all, except for W1 who barely had to row at all… The boat club would like to thank college and the Cadwallader Club for their continued support; without it, JCBC would simply not be able to function.