The last year was a consistently disappointing one as far as the First Boat was concerned – the performance of the lower boats, however, was most promising, particularly the Second Boat in the Mays, when the crew narrowly missed their oars.
The present year has started under the most favourable conditions, for a member of the Club, I. M. Lang, has been elected president of the CUBC. We have a substantial residue of old members and our intake of freshman has been most encouraging. The result is that the Club is numerically stronger now than it has been for many years, and much keenness, enthusiasm and willingness is evident amongst all members. We hope, therefore, but we can look forward with justified confidence to a successful year’s rowing.
The Club started the year somewhat depleted in numbers. The memory of the previous year’s unsatisfactory and dispirited performances served to show how easy it was to allow the fortunes of the Club to slip into a gentle decline, and so the immediate aim this season was numerical strength at all costs. We hoped that by the end of the year we should begin to reap the advantage of this increased membership, but we all realised that it was a hope and not a certainty, and that in the last resort the success of the Club depended on our own keenness, happiness and individual loyalty.
25 freshman responded to the call as full-time rowing members – a further sixteen joined us in the May Term and enabled us to muster seven crews, six of which rowed in the May Races. This marked the achievement of our immediate objective and also constituted something of a record, for it is the first time that Caius has ever had six crews rowing in the Mays. We were pleased that many of those joining us in the Easter Term were second- and third-year men, and as the year progressed, there was much encouraging evidence to show that the Boat Club’s performances were being watched, and the efforts of its members, albeit sometimes unsuccessful, appreciating to a much greater extent – indeed, one of the features of this year has been the consistent mutual support of the various Amalgamated Clubs in Caius for each other, and for our part, we hope that interest in rowing is no longer the specific preserve of oarsmen alone.
We were fortunate at the start of the year in that Ian Lang was elected President of the CUBC, but he was not destined to complete his term of office as he was called up early in the Lent Term before the Boat Race was held. John Walker rowed in the second Trial Eight and we must congratulate him on being awarded his Trial Cap in his first year. We entered five boats for the Fairbairn Race, an increase of two on the previous year. The First Boat dropped to 13th in a somewhat unspectacular row, but it was never a very powerful crew and seemed unable to race in a really full-blooded fashion. The Second Boat went up one place but was not outstanding. The Third Boat put up the best performance by going up eight places to 45th, which was a welcome indication of the racing ability of John Knight as a stroke. The Fourth and Fifth Boat came in 64th and 76th respectively, the latter being stroked by Brian Sitch, who, with a very rough and untrained crew behind him, brought them home as a rating of 36 – we were to see more of this later in the year.