The Can Tabs and the Can’t Tabs: The Cambridge Men’s Trial Eights
22 December 2021
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch follows the heavy Light Blues.
Commentator Martin Cross called the crews “One of the strongest squads that coach Rob Baker has put together”. While the Oxford Squad has five returning Blues and Cambridge three, the Light Blues do have a lot of last year’s reserve crew, Goldie, all of whom have obviously been through the Boat Race experience.
The “landing craft” style press boat and umpires launch is steered from the stern and so the assistant umpire, Matthew Holland, had to relay instructions regarding speed and distance from umpire Matt Smith in the bows. Smith and/or Holland were keen that they should be very close to the nearest eight and the result was that with the landing craft’s high bow ramp, the crews were often lost to the view of everyone but the standing umpire. In the previous day’s Oxford race, the umpire was content to stay further back.
I could not see anything for the first two minutes of the race but, looking at the recoding of it on YouTube, off the start, cox Charlie Marcus on Middlesex steered Mr Sleepy aggressively to Surrey to get the centre line – though this early use of the rudder did not stop his crew taking an immediate 1/3 length lead.