W3 May Bumps, 2015

W3’s first outing of the term ended up being the Spring Head to Head race. Despite never having rowed as a crew together, the race made a great first outing, with a respectable time and Queens’ W3 being the only Women’s Thirds boat to compete.

The bumps campaign did not go quite as planned with a different cox everyday and a needing a couple of subs for the rowing (thanks W4!), but was still fantastic fun. Whilst closing in on Darwin II on the first day we were sadly bumped by Christ’s behind us. After two more bumps, however, the crew put everything into the race of the last day, storming ahead of Jesus IV to gain a row-over and avoid spoons!

Lent Bumps 2015, W1

Day 1: We started the week at Station 9, hoping to go up, but with a fairly novice crew, unsure of our prospects. Day 1 of bumps, always the most nerve-wracking, no matter how many times you’ve done it before – and for 3 of us, it WAS the first time! Plus our captain had a job interview (a successful one, congrats Rachel!), so Sammy, missing rowing on her term off, had agreed to row instead. We warmed up and rowed down, as we’d been practising every outing, Jenny catching a nerve-induced crab that knocked her hat off as we battle-paddled past M2! Such low-rate, high-pressure paddling, we had to do pauses to stop us bumping the crews in front! (Pity pre-race bumps don’t count) .. After sitting around again at the bottom, it was time to get heads in, and Dr Walker’s cannon countdown began … We had an okay start (though actually I can’t remember much, except the adrenaline rush), winding it to above 40, and striding down, but to 37 – we really really wanted to bump Catz, but Newnham were also very keen to bump us! Having started at station 10 and able to cut the corner, they had a whistle from behind (somewhat optimistically?) but we didn’t let them gain any more, and pushed on to get to a length on Catz – spurred on by this, we got 2 and then 3 whistles faster than we had time to think, and bumped them just coming out of First Post! First bump for 4 of us, in less than 500m we rowed home very happy, looking forward to the next day and the chance of another bump!

Day 2: Knowing that we could take on Caius if we rowed well, and with the success of yesterday fresh in our minds, we started off hard. Striding to 33 we gave chase. The first whistle was ours by First Post and from there we just stepped it up. Caius had no hope as we raced from one whistle, to two, to three to overlap, all within Plough reach. We got the bump before Ditton corner. A second successful day.

Day 3: The pressure was on for day 3. We were starting under the motorway bridge, with the canon deafening us as it sounded. We were aware that Clare were slightly faster the Caius so we were prepared for a longer, harder race today. It took us until Grassy corner to get our first whistle, but then, as the day before, the whistles just kept on coming. With onlookers cheering us from the Plough, and Michael and bow four’s excellent cornering, we took them round Ditton. Three bumps, three days.

Day 4: We were psyched for a hard row on our final day of bumps. With three bumps already, we were both excited and nervous. We knew that FaT could mess up all our hopes if they got caught by Downing too early. Having escaped the canon under the motorway bridge, we were still not prepared for the noise of the canon. We absolutely went for it off the start, and gained our first whistle on Downing just past First Post. This spurred us on with both the rate and the power coming up. Then we heard the almost inevitable from Michael “they’ve bumped out in front of us, we are going to have to go for the overbump”. Downing had bumped FaT just before the Plough. We continued the long slog of the rowover, with Clare in the dust far behind us. Jesus were unable to pull away from us but the initial gap was just too big. Tired, but happy with the overall week we rowed home, and subsequently went for a brief, if chilly dip in the Cam to celebrate!

Lent Bumps 2015, W2

Cox – Emily Don and Sophie Chung

Stoke – Lizzie Popli

7 – Jess Moxom

6 – Emily Marr

5 – Katherine Rolph

4 – Kirsten Spry

3 – Issy Spiro

2 – Jess Tray

Bow – Beth Jones

Coach – Tayo Moore

W2 Lents 2015

As the only Queens’ crew to have successfully completed the getting-on-race, we knew that we had a considerable chance of doing well at Lent Bumps. We had trained hard and were all determined to make sure that the 3k piece followed by 1.5k impromptu race had all been worth it.

Fitted in the finest stash that £2.50 can by, we rowed down to the start line. The sun was shining, the jelly babies were out and we were nervous, anxiously waiting for the canons marking the majority of our crew’s first experience of bumps. We’d put in the training, but now was the time where it would make or break us. As the canon we were off, and despite a slightly rusty start we strode down to a slightly unsustainable rate and began to eat into the water between us and Sidney Sussex, we flew past the motorway bridge, gaining our first whistle. Sidney put up a good fight but with each whistle we became more and more motivated, and Emily’s cry of “hold it up” saw us secure Queens’ first bump of the Lent campaign.

With Day 2 saw a change of cox and a new challenge: Murray Edwards. In a marked contrast from the day before, the heavens had opened and we knew that conditions would be tough. We launched into our start sequence, slightly shaken by the weather, but strode down to a much more sustainable rate and began to eat away at the water between us and Murray Edwards. Despite crabbing under the Motorway Bridge, they put up a good fight, but we continued to power through, securing the second bump of our campaign just before Grassy Corner.

Day 3 was the big one. We were chasing a good Wolfson W1 crew, who were in turn chasing FaT who had already been bumped three times. Nerves were high and Moxom was unsettled by the mysterious disappearance of all the red jelly babies. We knew that it was going to be a tough race, with an angry Murray Edwards behind us. On the canon’s blast we launched into our best start sequence yet. Gaining ground on Wolfson we kept up the rate, but they were already gaining on FaT, so we strode down the rate. Wolfson bumped FaT just after First Post but we kept the commitment and power on, powering through the course for what was our first experience of Grassy Corner in Bumps. Despite rowing over, we left Murray Edwards far behind and were happy with what was our best rowing yet.

The last day of Bumps arrived, and a proud W2 grouped together at the boat house. The bump today was a personal one, we wanted to firmly secure Queens’ at the top of the W3 division and mark the improvements we had made as a crew. After a cold marshalling session in the strong wind, the green tops were out for the last time and we came to front stops. We powered through our start sequence, settling down into a comfortable rate and began a controlled row, eating at the distance between us and First and Third. After the first whistle we began to power through the wind around first-post corner, securing our third bump despite a late concession by their cox.

We had blossomed from a “malformed spider” of mostly ex-novices, into a crew that we could all be proud of. A boat that could not be stopped by wind, snow or Christ M1. A fantastic terms worth of rowing that will stand us in great stead for Mays. Power of the Boar!