May races of 1936
With an amount of good material the boat promised well for the races, and for the first month of so we were very optimistic. Then things began to go wrong, our coach letting us down two days before he was due to arrive. A fortnight before the race the crew rowed a course with three men unfit, and this did it an amount of harm from which it never recovered. On the first night of the races the crew was one bundle of disorganisation. After passing the Ditch slight crabs were caught by about four members of the boat, which ended in one bad crab, so that Queens’ came up and made a bump within three strokes. The second night of the races showed a definite improvement, and the boat got within half a length of Queens’, who then made a bump. The third and fourth nights were the same, Clare getting within a foot at the bottom of the Reach but being unable to bump us on either occasion, while on the last night we were within a third of a length of an LMBC I. This crew, considering its material, turned out to be definitely disappointing.
The crew decided to enter for the Marlow eights at Marlow this year, and considering of they only had three days practice before the races they did very well. They beat St. Catharine’s and Lensbury in the first round, and in the second round beat Kingston but were boy-flogged by Westminster School. At Henley the crew was coached by JC Philpot of Worcester, Oxford, who was a great success in every way. The crew improved more than was thought possible and easily beat RMC Sandhurst in the first round of the Ladies’. In the second round we were unfortunately beaten by New College, Oxford, by a third of a length. The crew stayed at Weir Grange.
After losing in the final of last year’s Clinker Fours by just over a second, this year with two First Boat men and two Second Boat men we managed to win without being pressed to a close decision. First-round a bye. Second round, with the back station, they nearly overlapped “Cat’s” at First Post Corner, and paddled home from there to win by 90 yards. In the semifinal they beat Selwyn by 10 seconds. After a good start they led by six seconds at the Ditch, and gradually increased this up to the finish. In the final they beat Clare by 5 seconds; after a good start, they led at the Ditch by 2 seconds. From here they “sculled” their boat nicely along to the Plough. A good “ten” by Clare had reduced our lead to half a second, but from here to the finish Caius gradually started to work it up, and brought it in very well at 42.
In these races the club as a whole was definitely successful, the First Boat being the only boat to lose any places. This was probably due to the fact that stroke had been in bed the day before and should probably not have been rowing at all, with the result that the boat, which had been very good in the few days practice that it had had, did not go at all well on the day of the race. The Second Boat gave us a most encouraging outlook for the Lents, when it will be supplemented by three people from the First Boat. It went up nine places and is now 25th on the river, which is higher that it has ever been before. The Third Boat gained 6 places to end 46th (top of the Second Division). The Fourth Boat gained eights places and is now sixty-first, and the Fifth Boat, which was put on for the first time, ended with three boats below it. We are sure that old Caians will be pleased to note that the Boat club again has five boats on the river, all of which consist of true rowing members.
Lent Races, 1937
The first two boats were very difficult to select, as there were so many oarsmen of the same standard with no outstanding man round whom a crew could be built. The results of the First Boat may sound a little disheartening to read, but these are offset in a small part by the fact we shall have 6 May colours and two other experience oarsmen rowing next term, who were unable to row this term.
To turn to a brighter subject the Second Boat was very good. Their bump on Saturday night was one of the best made by a Caius Boat for many a long day.
As to actual details, the First Boat had a good row the first night and only just missed their bump on Peterhouse. Had they continued in this form, they would never have been bumped the next night by Christ’s, as in fact they were. Disaster now overtook them. A re-row between the five bottom boats on Friday night was ordered for Saturday morning. Strokes slide broke on the third stroke. In the afternoon Corpus caught us in the Plough Reach. Enough said!
The Second Boat bumped Clare II at Ditton on the first night, rowed over the next two, and caught Trinity Hall II by the Glass Houses after a plucky chase up the Reach. The Third Boat continued down the primrose path each night. Some day this boat will have to go up. May the day come next term!
The Fourth Boat took the races in an excellent spirit and made sure of a bump on the last night, when they broke the boat containing 8 Pembroke Rugger stalwarts in half. Here’s to more cheerful reading in the next Christmas Caian.
The Mays, 1937
This year all boats were quite successful in the May races. The First Boat, although bumped on the first night by Clare – who went up four places and won the “Ladies'” – regained their position of ninth on the river by bumping Queens’ on the third night. They were unlucky not to bump Lady Margaret on the last night as they got within a third of a length.
The Second Boat after a very troublesome first part of training, had to be completely reorganised 10 days before the races, but in spite of this they maintained their position by rowing over for four nights – a creditable performance, only made possible by the excellence spirit of the boat as finally constituted.
The laurels of the races, however, go to the Third Boat, who after many years of little success, firmly re-established themselves in the Third Division by going up no less than 6 places. The bumps were LMBC 4, Emmanuel 3, Jesus 5 (over St. Catharine’s 3,Queens 3) and Clare 3.
Marlow and Henley, 1937
At Marlow, rowing with a scratch boat, as several of the May Boat were unable to be present, they won their first heat by three feet from Radley College and in the second heat were beaten by Jesus 2.
At Henley there were even fewer of the May crew in the boat, owing to illness, and they were reduced to their fifth substitute. On top of this they drew Clare in the first round of the Ladies Plate and were in no way able to hinder their triumphant process to final victory in this event.
Light Fours and Clinker Fours, 1937
For the first time for several years a boat was entered for the Light Fours, but on again meeting Clare in the first round it was beaten.
The Clinker Four gave Selwyn a very hard race in the first round but were beaten by four seconds in the second fastest time of the day. Selwyn proceeded to the final.
Fairbairn Cup, 1937
Once again most of the boats went up substantially in this race and the results were very satisfactory as a net total 14 places were gained.
The First Boat, after only being together for nine days (owing to the Fours races and trials), rose from 18th to 12th. The Second Boat rowed well and rose six places to the position of 20th – by far the highest position the Second Boat has ever held in this event. The Third Boat dropped one place to 47th, but the Fourth Boat again rose very creditably, gaining nine places and finishing 52nd. It is significant to note that the Fourth Boat is now as high as the Second Boat was four years ago.
The Fifth Boat dropped from 65th to 68th.
The Lents, 1938
We celebrated the boat house renovations this term by having the most encouraging Lent Races for some years, as eight bumps in all were recorded.
The First Boat, starting from the difficult position of sandwich boat, did extraordinarily well to regain the three places lost last year by bumping Peterhouse, Pembroke II and First Trinity 2. They were probably considerably faster than several boats higher up in the First Division and were only robbed of their oars by their misfortune in starting behind Corpus (who made a quick bump) in their second row on the first night.
The promised showed by the Second Boat at the beginning of the term failed to materialise as the races approached, although during the races they pulled themselves together and raced extraordinarily well. They were pressed very hard on all four nights but lost only one place and at the position of 26th, still remains one of the highest Second Boats on the river.
The Third Boat were above the average and went up three places by bumping Lady Margaret 4,Clare III and Jesus 5. They looked like winning their oars, until, on the last night, the boat in front of them made a bump when the they were only half a length away.
The Fourth Boat, a regular boat for the first time for many years, also did well and made two bumps at the expense of Downing IV and Pembroke 4.
The Rugger Boat found its position one from the bottom of the river after losing one place on the first night to Third Trinity 2.
The heating installations, hot showers and modern sanitary arrangements which were made possible only by the generosity of the College, and which were installed during the latter part of the Christmas vacation and the first week of this term, are an invaluable asset and are very greatly appreciating by all.
Head of the River Race, Putney, 1938
After the lent races a somewhat scratch crew, including two freshmen who had not rowed before they came up, went to Putney for this race. Five days of practice were available, and on the 26th March the crew, which had finished 16th in the last race, started 13th, owing to other boats having been taken off. The crew rowed well and kept their place, thus finishing higher than Caius has ever been before in this event. The crew was composed of:
May races, 1938
The high hopes entertained about these races, after our success at Putney, failed to materialise. The First Eight was extremely inexperienced, containing only one old colour, and only two men in their third year. On the first night the boat panicked and was bumped by Jesus II on Grassy, and on the second night, unable to escape from Queens 1,were bumped on Ditton. The Second Eight were also unfortunate in going down two places, being bumped by First Trinity III and Trinity Hall 2. The Third Eight also went down two places, thus returning to the Fourth Division.
The crew went to Henley on 16 June, and raced at Marlow on the 18th, being easily beaten by Corpus, the winners. J. H. L. Ferguson did well in the Junior Sculls, and was unlucky enough to hit a punt when leading in his heat.
At Henley, in the Ladies’ Plate, several changes were made and we were unlucky enough to draw LMBC in the first round. The race was in an extremely bad head wind, which favoured the LMBC station, and they won by two lengths. A four had also been entered for the Visitors, and were beaten by BNC, Oxford, in the second round after a good race.
Clinker Fours, 1938
For the first time on record two fours were entered for this event. The first four drew Trinity Hall, the holders, in the first round, and after a magnificent race, there never being more than one and a half seconds between of the crews, lost by a bare second. The Second four was seriously handicapped by their boat, and also by the fact that stroke sprained his wrist four days before the event. They rowed a good race.
The First Boat was unlucky owing to illness, losing its stroke a week before the races and Bow only returning to days before the races. In any case it was never a good boat, and so it is not surprising that it went down three places to finish 16th.
The Second Boat did well to bump Christ’s II on the first night, but unfortunately were unable to keep away from Downing I on the third night. They retain their place of 26th – rowing over the other two nights.
Head of the river race, 1939
This year for the first time we entered two boats for the head of the river race at Putney. The First Boat started 13th and did quite well to finish 16th. The Second Boat did very well to finish third in the Clinker Division, thereby winning a pennant. They actually returned the 34th fastest time out of 149 entries.
The May races 1939
In the May Races the First Boat rose to the position of 10th at the expense of Queens’, but were not fast enough to bump Third Trinity in three hard and exciting races. This was unfortunate, as the crew had broken several college records in practice. The Second crew bumped Christ’s II, while the Third crew maintained its place.
Marlow Regatta, 1939
The Marlow crew beat Trinity Hall II easily in the first round of the Marlow eights cup. In the semi-final, they defeated Imperial College Boat Club, returning a fast time, and it seemed they had a good chance of winning the final. They had had a hard day, however, and faded away over the second half of the course, to the benefit of Westminster School.
Henley Regatta, 1939
At Henley, the college drew Corpus Christi (Cambridge) in the second round of the Ladies’ Plate.
Corpus led Caius from the start, in a strong head wind, but Caius replied and reduced the lead by length, till at the Mile Post, the crews were level. Caius were by then exhausted, and Corpus drew away to win by a length in the best time of the day.
Corpus was subsequently beaten by Clare in the final.
The thanks of the boat club are due to A. G. S. Bailey who gave a lot of time and trouble to coaching during the past year.
A century ago, Caius were head of the river. It seems doubtful this year whether the college will be on the river.
This state of affairs, although directly due to the war, has been anticipated for some time. Each year the Boat Club suffers more from lack of rowing men coming up to Caius, and the time and effort required to produce a crew from men without previous experience becomes a more serious factor. This year the club has five freshmen, one of whom has rowed before.
The abnormal conditions under which this year began caused not only a considerable fall in the Membership of the club but also a change in its spirit, whereby it has been in danger of losing its traditional position of authority over the individual member and of service to the College, and becoming simply a facility for casual exercise. However, this change, which was the experience of many of the Boat clubs, has not prevented participation in the main activities of the year.
Into the Michaelmas Term a single crew, consisting entirely of last year’s members, competed in the November Eights and succeeded in maintaining its former position at 15th. Although the time spent in regular practices had been halved by agreement of the Boat Clubs, an appeal for new members at the beginning of the Lent Term met with little response. However, two crews were raised and entered for the March Eights. Persistent illness and failure to secure a regular coach gave the First Boat a difficult task; it started at 16th as sandwich boat and went down two places to 18th, while the Second Boat sank from 26th to 29th.
A change of style from “Jesus” to a compromise between “Jesus” and “Orthodox”, at the beginning of the Easter Term, had encouraging results; but since then the First Boat has found its task to be a hard one, and will have to make a determined effort to maintain its position in the Mays. The Second Boat also a long way to go, though it shows much more promise than the Second Boat of the Lent Term.
At the beginning of the Michaelmas Term the Boat Club was unfortunate in having only seven members left from the previous year. An arduous campaign during the first few days secured some 30 recruits. It was decided to enter two Eights for the December races. The Secretary and Third Boat Captain were unable to row, but relieved the Captain of much of the coaching. The First Eight went out for the first time after three weeks of tubbing. It contained two novices and, though it eventually acquired some style, it came only twelfth in the race. The Second Eight was composed entirely of beginners and did not go out until late in the term. Its achievement was due to energy rather than style, yet it took only 12 seconds longer on the course than the First Eight and was placed forth in the Second Division.
The Lent Term started badly owing to the lack of coaches, and there was difficulty in raising three Eights. The First Eight was coached by Captain Miles (R.A.M.C.), but unfortunately, though much in need of practice, it was able to go out only twice a week. It worked harder than the Michaelmas boat, but lacked style. On the first night of the races Caius I rowed away from Peterhouse I and gained on the Jesus II until, in the Gut, an unfortunate “crab” enabled Peterhouse to catch up. On the other nights we gained on Peterhouse but did not make a bump. L. G. Evans was unable to row in the First Eight and stroked the Second. This was a hard-working crew which improved in style during the term and made two well-deserved bumps. The Third Eight was a light and not very skilful crew, which sank three places (and more than once nearly sank the boat) to finish one place from bottom of the river.
At the beginning of the Easter Term the Club was handicapped by the retirement of about one-third of its members owing to the importunity of the Ministry of National Service. Moreover the short course Service cadets, who have during the war formed the nucleus of the Third May Boat, numbered only nine, of whom six consented to row. Injuries to two of these removed any hope of producing a Third Eight. At this stage a number or sporting enthusiasts came to our rescue and formed a Rugger Boat, even providing their own coach. We are very grateful for their performance in the races, when they made one bump and were bumped once, maintaining their position. The Second Eight contained three freshmen who had not rowed before, and was also handicapped by the number of coaches it had to endure. It showed a commendable keenness and was never afraid of work. By concentrating on a quick finish and a long stroke it succeeded in bumping Jesus III on the first night, after which it a “went down”.
The First Eight was coached by D. C. H. Garrod, Trinity Hall and CUBC. He did all he could for a crew which produced disappointing times in practice. However, on the first night the boat bumped Pembroke I at the beginning of the Gut. On the last light it was bumped by Queens’ 1, thus maintaining its former position of eighth on the river.
At a meeting of First Boat Colours on the 31st May the following officers were elected for next year: Captain of Boats A.C. Townsend; Secretary, C.D. Neame.
On the Monday 4 June the Boat Club held a May Week Ball, a great success.