Cambridge University Boat Club took on an Italian national crew today in some tough conditions on the Tideway.
The recently named Cambridge Blue Boat raced in two pieces across the Championship Course, firstly from the start to the end of Chiswick Eyot and then from the Eyot to the finish just before Chiswick Bridge. Cambridge won the toss and chose Middlesex.
In the first piece, the Italians got the better start, leading by half a length at the Boathouses before Cambridge used the Middlesex station to their advantage and began to work back onto level terms. Along the milepost straight the crews went stroke for stroke side-by-side into an increasing headwind. Approaching Harrod’s Depository, the Italians took a tight line inside the buoy, clearly unsure where the best of the stream lay. Once the Italians returned back onto the racing line they had regained their advantage of nearly half a length and had the first part of the Surrey bend ahead to continue to help them. Once through Hammersmith Bridge both crews began to battle with the weather. The crews began trading pushes as they approached the final minute, with the weather proving too much for them to demonstrate the best they had. Whilst Cambridge did make some headway into the Italian lead, they were unable to get ahead. The Italians, vocal in the aftermath of their efforts, won the first piece by a quarter of a length.
Cambridge began the second piece with more impetus and finished the first minute level. They began to work out an advantage despite the river moving around to Surrey, finding themselves three seats up passing Chiswick Steps. Cambridge held the advantage to the Bandstand but struggled to get away, the Italians fighting hard in blustery Tideway conditions. Once through Barnes Bridge, the wind picked up again and Cambridge went on the offensive. In the space of 45 strokes, Cambridge went from half a length up to having an advantage of nearly three lengths, their lead growing all the time. By this stage, after 15 minutes of side-by-side racing, the Italian effort had faded and Cambridge went on to win the second piece by some four lengths.
The fixture provided some valuable side-by-side full-pressure racing for Cambridge with only two weeks until The Cancer Research UK Boat Race. They showed grit and determination amongst some challenging conditions and capitalised on the Italians’ difficulty towards the end of the race. Overall, it was a tough but positive fixture for Cambridge and will help them put the finishing touches together ahead of Race Day.
S. Henry Meek
7. Lance Tredell
6. Patrick Eble
5. Aleksander Malowany
4. Timothy Tracey
3. James Letten
2. Freddie Davidson
B. Ben Ruble
Cox. Hugo Ramambason
Italy (not in seat order)
Marco Di Costanzo
Enrico D’Aniello (cox)
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