What was you and your crew's initial reaction when you caught Lady Margaret?
Our reaction is really hard to describe. Initially, our race started and we quickly had 2 whistles on Fitz. However, they escaped us with a fortunate bump! Credit must be give to the crews ahead for leaving us with a river free of carnage. As you would expect, we passed boat after boat and really began to settle in to a strong row over. Coming onto the reach, Harri (Cox) said she could see a boat ahead. In many ways, we probably thought it was a trick to inspire us through the last big stretch. About half way along the reach, I was mentally considering how well we have rowed and that blades were off – but that we should be proud of such a solid outing. Reality began to hit when, about 3/4 the way along the Reach, just passed the abandoned house, our bank party gave a very loud "gaining" call. With real fitness Harri and Pedro (Stroke) brought the rate up to around 39 strokes per minute. This was quickly followed by our first whistle. In hearing the whistle, just before the bridge, we really seemed to find renewed belief in ourselves. We sat up and got maximum length into our strokes. Coming under the railway bridge, we advanced to just a canvas between the two boats. With mere metres left in our course, we caught LMBC M4 with a fearsome bump – more thank likely spurred on by our W2 crew who were marshalled at the bank opposite.
So to answer your first question, utter disbelief was the first reaction. The range of emotions we went through during the race, only to catch a boat at the very limits of our course and endurance!
Has M4 broke the internet since then?
The celeb status definitely developed well over the weekend. Rowbridge has built our fame and made Magdalene M4 memeworthy. An unexpected accolade! In the immediate aftermath there was a lot of chatter from other clubs and individuals – we were that Quadruple Over-Bump boat from Magdalene!
Unfortunately, our Friday was not as successful. We were cruelly denied an early bump on Jesus due to a slower Clare crew ahead. We rowed over with much disappointment and not a crew to catch ahead. Credit should go to our M3 boys who worked hard to hold off a strong Downing crew, but were bumped just at the reach.
Saturday's bump, on the Clare M4 boat was quick and vengeful as their previous outing had seemingly denied us blades.
Any post-race revelries on Saturday?
So, with an unprecedented campaign over we turned our minds to celebration, the marquee and the BCD that evening. With M1 getting blades and setting themselves up for a run at headship next year, we knew the night would be a good one.
What transpired was even more unexpected. Magdalene Boat Club held an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the constitutional rules regarding the award of blades. A vote was taken and a chorus of "Huzzahs" deemed that Magdalene M4 was worthy of a rules change and should, accordingly, be awarded blades
I don't think any of this has settled in yet! So it just shows what a little self-belief can do!
It is hard to contend with the fact that it is all over. Thanks must be given to Harri, clearly one of the finest coxes on the river. Rev. Nick, our captain and leader – who always believed in what we could do (even if 10 Hail Marys and 6 Ergs were the penance for a missed session). Finally, Pedro, Luke, Chris, Alex, Julian and Greg – your power, finesse and experience really made the difference to our boat!