Having enjoyed the chance to recover, reflect and get some work done during our day off, M2 once again assembled upon 1 Sylvester for the third pasta faff. As often happens, it rapidly became a meal full of revelations, most notable being the fact both Henryk and Ed really could recite Inches word for word and even more controversially, the origin of our cox Laura’s vegetarianism.
Buoyed by our exploits on the Tuesday, there was a strong sense of optimism around the boathouse as we prepared for our 3rd day of racing. The big question for everyone (our Maggie friends included) was would we be able to catch LMBC 3 before Clare Hall could take us back? After some light-hearted mind games, a team huddle and a pre-race game of pooh-sticks, we headed off feeling somewhat confident of our chances yet wary of the potential for disaster.
Returning to our original starting station was received well by most – except of course Conor, whom Henryk still didn’t allow to visit Queens 3 – and with growing familiarity, the 4 minutes flew by. Bang. For a third time we were off, and this time in style. Despite the odd missed stroke and even though we had 2 days of racing in our legs, this was our best start so far and the whistles agreed. Before the end of the wind 5 we were already within a length of Maggie and by the 9th of the legs 10 that was down to just half. Employing our new favourite coxing call, we pushed off the motorway bridge (or Ewan’s face) and continued our chase. But as had happened many times previously, Clare Hall followed suit and before too long, they were gaining rapidly. It was getting close. All we needed was to hold them off until first post corner where Laura would steer us into Maggie 3, or so we hoped. But once again Clare Hall just kept coming and coming until it was inevitable and the re-re-bump was made.
Lets all be honest, this was always the most likely outcome of the race, yet still there was a palpable sense on the row of home of what could have been – if only we had held them off for a few more minutes! Still, there was one more day and anything could happen. What’s more, in the words of our own coach, today had been the gutsiest 2nd boat race he’d ever seen.