Torpids 2022: M1 rowing

Torpids 2022

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Alec Berry, Balliol College Boat Club Men’s Captain, writes: 

After a couple of years off due to flooding and Covid, at long last Torpids made its return to Hilary Term! After having been run as a hybrid ‘Summer Torpeights’ last year, this was the first time that a proper Torpids event had been held in Hilary for three years.

BCBC entered five crews in total, with the Men’s First and Second crews (M1 and M2) )as well as the Women’s First Crew (W1) qualifying automatically because of their finishing positions in previous years. A Second Women’s and Third Men’s crew were also entered, and they raced at the Rowing-On Races in an attempt to qualify for the main Torpids race. Sadly, in a heavily oversubscribed field, both these crews missed out on qualification, but everyone still enjoyed the chance to get out and race.

Day 1 of Torpids saw an immense start to the week for BCBC, with all crews bumping, and going +4 overall. M2 were the first to row and set a strong precedent for the week by bumping both Brasenose M2 and Lincoln M2, moving up to Division IV in the process. Keen to continue this strong start, W1 bumped Jesus W1 to get revenge after being bumped by them in Summer Torpids last year. It was then up to M1 to chase down Teddy Hall M1, a crew that had just managed to escape their clutches last year. After a blistering start, they were reeled in, and bumped just before the gut, rounding off a great start to the week.

After resting well, the crews went out to repeat their feats on Day 2. M2 were harried off the start by Regents Park M1, and sadly were bumped by them, but they swiftly went on to bump Merton M2, maintaining their position overall. W1 came within feet of bumping New College W1, only for a seat to come off the runners at the worst possible moment, and due to this were then bumped twice. Once again, M1 went out fast, achieving a quick and decisive bump on Pembroke, which put them up to 4th place on the river, the joint highest position Balliol M1 has been in at Torpids since 1980!

Sadly M1’s run hit a bump on the Friday, as a strong Wolfson crew caught them just after Longbridges and they were then not able to catch St Catherine’s for an overbump. W1 took another hit too, going down four places on day 3 on a tough day’s racing. After being bumped by Regents Park M1 the day before, M2 were out for revenge, and swiftly chased them down for yet another bump, leaving them in a position to go for blades on the final day.

With anticipation building for M2’s race for blades, there was a great turnout at the Boat Club for the final day, and they did not disappoint! After holding off a fly-and-die effort from Regents Park, M2 found their rhythm to bump Jesus M2, and became only the 11th men’s crew at Balliol to win blades! To add to that, every one of their bumps came before the gut, so it was quite an impressive achievement.

W1 were keen to hit back after the previous day and ended up in a tight battle to hold off Lincoln past Boathouse Island. Despite several strong pushes, and a last-ditch effort as they came past the Balliol boathouse, they had to concede.

Finally, M1 were not going to let Wolfson get away easily and chased hard them hard through the gut. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, with Wolfson rowing away, leading to a Row Over for M1.

Overall, it was a great week of racing made even better by the return of spectators. M2 have set a strong foundation for the future of BCBC by winning blades (7 of the 9 crew members are Freshers), W1 have been building up experience with several rowers who started this year in their crew, and M1 have sent out a statement of intent, keen to move up from their current position of 9th on the river in Summer Eights.

Next term, we are looking forward to racing in the first Summer Eights for three years and hope we will have a strong Balliol contingent down at the boathouse to cheer us on!

Photos: above: M1; below: (top) M2 after winning bladesand (bottom) W2 on the last day.

Torpids 2022: team photo outside boathouse of M2 after winning blades
Torpids 2022: team photo of W1 on the last day