It is an unfortunate refrain of Boat Club reports in recent years to have to speak of the training time on the water significantly reduced due to fast stream conditions on the Isis after importune high levels of rainfall. And it is once again on that note that both Captains’ reports begin, with the disappointing cancellation of a lot of training sessions in Hilary and Trinity. Thankfully however, as you’ll read in the Captains’ accounts, those rainclouds did not manage to spend the whole year hanging over SPCBC rowing — far from it!
Working alongside our President Oliver Bristowe were two enthusiastic and efficient Captains, Hannah Ledbury and Robert Sheeran, who both did a marvellous job in their tenure of what is really an unenviable task, having to organise coaches, coxes and eight-member crews for every SPCBC outing. The Club is rightly grateful to them for their efforts and says thanks for all the hard work they have done for us.
Robert Sheeran, Men’s Captain
The mens side of the boat club had a mixed year – A disappointing Torpids result in contrast to the top 4 winning the Worcester regatta novice category.
After a long summer away from the river and with a few St. Peter’s stalwarts leaving us the focus in Michaelmas was, as always, recruitment. We managed to enter 2 boats for the novice regatta – ChristChurch Regatta – and most of those who took part continue to row for the club. The two boats showed a lot of promise but bad luck and a hard draw resulted in an early exit for both crews.
Hilary can be summed up for a rower in a single word – chilly. Incredibly low temperatures and icy conditions kept an inexperienced Peter’s torpids crew from the water time it so desperately needed – resulting in a large drop in torpids standings for both the mens first and second eights (the latter gaining the unenviable honour of badly painted wooden spoons). The effort and dedication of the crews was not in question – technical ability and inexperience (4 of the mens first eight had rowed for less than 6 months) led to the poor result.
With morale at an all time low the new look Peter’s eight went to Worcester regatta with low expectations. We had entered a 4 and an 8 – both of which were drawn against some strong university crews in the early rounds. While the 8 was knocked out in the first round (by the eventual winners – University of West England) the 4 managed to progress through to the final which they won in emphatic style, beating some 14 year olds clearly entered into the wrong age category, two strong Worcester University crews and the old enemy – UWE – along the way. After 5 races in all the mens 4, in the world class standard boat the Robert Calderisi and Jean Daniel Rossi, had finally brought some much deserved success back to St. Peter’s.
By the time Trinity rolled around one could replace “chilly” with “moist” as record breaking spring rainfall flooded the river to such an extent that rowing would be dangerous. Once again an inexperienced 8 lost vital training time out on the water – and even the return of OUBC president Karl Hudspith could not sway the Oxford Rowing communities’ opinion of the Peter’s men being “driftwood”. A four place fall in Summer Eights was, in the eyes of some, an inevitability. This was not so, as a determined effort reduced this drop to only two places – a result that would have been snapped up after the disappointing Torpids. The mens seconds, under the watchful eye of their coach Andreas Kranke, pulled off an unbelievably good result, managing a strong bump on day 1 and an Eights performance that saw them equal their standings going into the regatta.
Hannah Ledbury, Women’s Captain
The SPCBC women started strong this year with a large pool of enthusiastic novices and a few experienced, but nonetheless equally enthusiastic, returning rowers. Michaelmas term saw the experienced girls setting the pace as the fastest women’s 4+ on the river during IWL. The St Peter’s representation in the Christ Church regatta at the end of term included 2 women’s boats. While neither crew progressed beyond the 3rd round, the first taste of competition saw the novices vying for victory upon integration into the college VIIIs in Hilary term. W2 sadly narrowly failed to qualify for Torpids, but made up for it cheering W1 on in the later days as they fought back from an unfortunate start to the competition to bump on the Friday and Saturday. Ambitions for Summer VIIIs were high up.
After a term’s training largely disrupted by river-closures, W1 and W2 had mixed success in VIIIs. W1 fought back from an initial few days fraught with klaxons, illness and an unfortunate concession to a very competitive crew to level off at our original starting position on Saturday with a glorious bump on Brasenose at the exit of the gut. W2’s efforts were less fruitful, though their finishing position at the foot of the river was met with much good humour and blamed upon the apparent lack of a rudder on the W2 boat.