Bouncing Back: The Bottom of the Bounce

Five Durham Alumni competed under the banner of DUBC at Oxford City Regatta this Summer and won Elite 4+. Here is a report from Simon French, who also competed at the Alumni Races at the start of this year:

Three long years have elapsed since the last DUBC alumni crew took to the water and it took the “Bring out the big stick and smash it in the face” encouragement of this year’s club entry Secretary, Lewis Weaver, and the Administrative abilities of Simon “” French (DUBC 1999-2002 and 2005-2006) to get the Palatine machine rolling once again. The chosen event was the prestigious Elite coxed fours at Oxford City Royal Regatta, the distance a tricky 550m and the opposition a cheeky, if ‘mature’ unit from HSBC.

After a crew fry-up, the like of which hasn’t been seen since the days the club got fleeced at The Boathouse in Newburn, tension was high. The crew took their understated pick-up truck, “The Animal”, through the narrow streets of Oxford and down to the riverbank with MeatLoaf providing the soundtrack. Toby “Sitting in your tower” Mack (DUBC 2003-2004) was showing visible signs of cracking but Phil “Fingers” O’Regan (DUBC 2003-2006) was a calming influence and safely negotiated a crafty pre-race outing with the unsuspecting marshals. The crew think-tank agreed that a bucket rig was required to tie-in French to the rhythm of Paul “the scales are broken” Kelly (DUBC 2002-2005).

Studying for a PhD in physiology, Kelly managed to convince the crew that no statistical research has ever been published that concludes that the effect of small amounts of alcohol is negative. Armed with this information the crew raided the City of Oxford bar for a sharpener and went to weigh in. The weights ranged from 55.0kg to 92.6kg but for both privacy and credibility reasons Kelly has asked that exact weights of each crew member are not released at this time.

The race itself was a cracking affair with experience and flair of the alumni bettering the brutal commitment and training regime of the opposition. O’Regan, clearly still angry about the banking crisis, made a series of aggressive calls at our Bank-based opposition demonstrating his complete misunderstanding of the current financial and economic situation. We would like to take this opportunity to make it clear we do not hold HSBC responsible for the problems with growth and lending.

By the closing stages the punishing pace was taking its toll on James “Lottery Funded” Clarke (DUBC 2003-2006) but he dug deep and found another gear to power past the stewards enclosure and to victory in a time that turned out was the fastest of the day (including the eights events). Pots were collected, points were stamped and ageing Palatinate lycras were folded away with new stains of sweat and bitter shandy. In celebration the crew rowed a “victory lap” back to the boat house. James suggested finding some “top totty” to impress with our start sequence. Fingers O’Regan came back over the microphone: “I see some girls up ahead who will do…no wait…keep rowing, those ones have babies”.

We would like to thank the DUBC president for his support and the opportunity to represent the University once again. There is talk of Cambridge Autumn regatta (11th September) over 650m so watch this space however the commentator on the day spotted our secret plan of ‘being technical’ and having announced it to the crowd we fear that future race plans have been thrown into chaos…

Quote of the day:

“Your three man is very powerfully built” (Ms Charlotte French)