For the 2nd consecutive year, WEHORR was cancelled, once again due to high winds resulting in conditions which would have been dangerous to race in. In 2018, Cantabs A finished 20th overall, just 1 second behind Nottingham RC, who took home the Provincial Pennant that year, after Cantabs won in 2017. After a successful training camp, and great results in races on the Cam which saw Cantabs A and B and the J18s finishing as the top 3 women’s eights, an alternative (and very unofficial) event was arranged at the London Docklands to give these crews the opportunity to test their speed on WEHORR race day against top crews from other clubs.
Crews from Nottingham RC and Lea RC joined Cantabs to race at the Docklands, a venue new to most of the Cantabs athletes. Conditions weren’t pleasant, of course, and made things challenging for coxes and rowers alike.
The crews raced over a series of rate-capped pieces and a free rate piece, with Cantabs A finishing as clear winners in each of their races ahead of Nottingham and Lea. Cantabs B raced well against a strong crew from Lea, with the Cantabs junior crew racing a Lea masters crew.
Women’s captain Ellie Darlington said,
We were understandably gutted not to be able to race again this year, especially as we were confident that this was the fastest 8+ we’ve ever produced. Winning all of our pieces was bittersweet, finding that we were faster than who were probably our strongest opposition for the Provincial Pennant, without the official race to truly find out. However, we were really grateful to our coaches and to Sam and Dez, coaches of Lea and Nottingham, for arranging the match-up. The coaches did a great job of arranging this with only a couple of hours’ notice, giving the crews the opportunity to get some closure and experience a ‘finale’ after all their training.
The unofficial races at the Docklands came just a week after Cambridge Winter League 2 was cancelled, which also saw Cantabs take to the water in some extremely bouncy conditions to race other crews in an unofficial ‘Wind-ter League’ race. Cantabs A and B finished as the fastest women’s crews overall, with Cantabs A beating their usual close Winter League rivals, Lysander, by 18 seconds, and less than 5 seconds behind City of Cambridge’s men’s 1st eight.
The crews were:
Cantabs A ::: Elena Williams, Ellie Darlington, Ann Laube, Rachel Borrows, Jen Titterington, Katie Brown, Chiara Avancini, Molly Shaw, Isabel Nimmo (cox)
Cantabs B ::: Jennie Astley, Maria Stroyakovski, Lin Slapakova, Charlotte Anderson, Isabella Mahoney, Alice Mason, Evelyn Svingen, Coco Newton, Catherine Bowden (cox)
Cantabs J18 :::
Unfortunately, the crews entered as Cantabs C and D at WEHORR were unable to race.
Thank you to Guy Beauchamp for some fantastic photos.