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!

May Bumps 2014, M2

Day 1 – Bumped by Jesus M2

We had our closest chance of a bump on Day 1, with a three boat sandwich consisting of Jesus M2 chasing us and us chasing First and Third M2. Our start was good and we immediately gained on FaT, unfortunately Jesus (who went on to blade) started well too. We settled onto a solid rate 32 and began to eat up the distance between us and FaT, a push into first post corner brought us two whistles and the bump was within our grasp. Jesus had overlap as we started the approach into grassy corner and managed to get on the outside of our boat so as our stern moved outwards we made contact and the bump was awarded to Jesus. Had we been able to get the other side of Jesus’ bow we may have had a different result.

Day 2 – Bumped by Hughes Hall

Facing Hughes’ first boat we never stood much of a chance, we didn’t get much past our stride before we were bumped on the entry to first post corner.

Day 3 – Bumped by Darwin

We managed to pull away from Darwin initially, but with their much heavier crew and our disappointing campaign progress, we were caught just after first post corner. A better line into the corner may have helped, but it would have only delayed the inevitable.

Day 4 – Bumped by Wolfson

On the final day, we gave it our all. An explosive start helped us to hold station for a while, but again on the entry to first post corner we were caught by Wolfson.

Overall it was a disappointing campaign. The term was marred by absent coaches and a changing crew. We had many water sessions and our commitment was there, but unfortunately, we were just no match for the far bigger and more experienced crews we were facing.

May Bumps 2014, W2

Having been described as “technically awful”, “depressing” and “pathetic”, expectations were high for the Queens’ W2 May Bumps campaign.

The endless four days of pre-term rowing camp had left us broken, but our new boat had been formed and even though Michael had a temporary escape to W1, his return saw the end of our coxlessness and we began our bumps campaign on the 14th of April.

Despite the presence of a small level of commitment, surprisingly our campaign was not getting off to the best of starts as we encountered some difficulties, with Zoe being shat on by a bird and Laura having an asthma attack whilst stroking. On the bright side, our pursuit of motivational quotes was far more successful as we attempted to engage in ethical rowing (7/7), with the immortal realisation that “I am strong because of my boat”, as “my boat is me”. As bumps drew nearer we knew that every outing was crucial. So crucial that we temporarily forgot how to get into a boat, managing to capsize a four in front of the boat house with the entirety of M1 watching. Power of the Boar!

The first day of bumps had arrived, and we plodded down to the boat house knowing that the day was going to just be a “formality”. Hughes Hall had age, experience and three blues rowers on their side, but had at least warned Christine that our struggle would be over quickly. We marshalled in the sunshine, taking our place between Caius W2 (at the head of the river) and Hughes Hall W1. As the minute countdown began we turned our full attention and focus to the voice beneath our crotch and came to front stops. On the canon’s blast we were off. And what can only be described as Siggis’ “biggest shock of his rowing career” we did the impossible. As we pulled further and further away from Hughes Hall, the whistles started blowing, we were gaining on Caius, Michael kept the rate up and we had to power through the most painful piece of rowing any of us had done before. As Michael screamed hold it up, we knew we had done it, we had secured Queens’ first bump of Mays and almost caused Siggi to enter cardiac arrest out of shock.

Despite the elation of pulling away from Hughes, as we pulled into the bank we realised that we would have to do it all again as we gained the unwelcome title of “sandwich boat”. After practically marshalling in the lock, we knew that we had to bump Christ’s in order to minimise the amount of rowing we would have to do for the rest of the week. At the cannon’s blast we powered through our start sequence, hearing the first whistle before the stride. Christ’s put up a strong attempt to hold us off, but as Michael shouted “Kill!” we gave it everything we had left securing an overlap. Despite the fact that we mounted Christ, their cox did not concede and on one final shout of kill we hit their boat and looked to the bank to see Siggi’s fist pump of celebration. As we put on foliage for the second time of the day, we rowed back proudly to the boat house accompanied by an average at best rendition of “We Will Rock You”.

As the second day of bumps arrived, we were nervous: expectation and excitement now surrounded Queens’ W2, the only Queens’ boat to have bumped on day one. Downing W2 were ahead of us. In the words of Siggi, there was no pressure on us, except for the fact that we had to bump. As the canon went we powered through our start sequence. For the first time in our bump’s campaign we strode down to rate 32 and began to eat away at the water between us and Downing. As Michael shouted “Kill!” we gave one last push and bumped just after the railway bridge.

Friday saw the arrival of the critical third day of bumps. We knew that we had to bump today in order to avoid Hughes on Saturday as well as continue our chances of getting blades. At the canon’s blast we raced off, securing our first whistle after the stride. We powered through the heat, past the railway bridge, with the whistles blowing more and more frequently. At the “Kill!” call came we gave one last push and secured our fourth bump of our Mays’ campaign.

As Saturday arrived, the day we’d all been joking about for the past eight weeks materialised: the chance to row for blades. We were quietly confident, but knew that there with the strong Queens’ presence on the bank came expectation and pressure. We rowed down the river for the last time as a crew, and pulled up between John’s and Clare who posed our final challenge. The canon’s blast saw us unleash our fastest start yet and we raced down the river at rate 44, gaining our first whistle on our second wind. Clare were in our sights, and we powered through the pain, getting nearer with every stroke until finally Michael screamed “hold it up!”. Clare had become the fifth boat to fall during our bumps campaign, somehow the Queens’ W2 crew had been able to defy everyone’s expectations – mostly our own – and not only secure the boats place in the W2 division for the first time this century, but also bump five times, gaining blades.

As we were draped in practically a whole tree of foliage, Michael proudly held up the Boar’s Head Flag and we rowed round the corner past the Queens’ Pimms tent to a euphoric round of applause. Our shock and elation quickly turned into panic as Lizzie was put in the coxing seat and managed to successfully crash despite the river being straight, causing mayhem for the W1 crews lining the river. As we arrived back to the boat house for the last time of the year, cupcakes and champagne beckoned, and the celebrations that lasted into the early hours of the morning began.

Although Siggi didn’t find the “with sympathy” card as hilarious as we did, we knew that his tyrannical training regime had paid off. We had managed to blade, bumping five times in the process, whilst having a lot fun along the way.

From a boat of ex-novices, we had reinstated Queens’ W2 firmly within the W2 division, and were able to celebrate, happy in the knowledge that it would be a while before the phrase “arm’s only” emerged to haunt us again.

Lizzie Popli (W2 Captain Mays 2014)

Crew:

Cox – Michael Hope

Stroke – Lizzie Popli

7 – Jess Moxom

6 – Christine Cuthbert

5 – Elena Georgalla

4 – Laura Douglas

3 – Helena Pomfret

2 – Jess Tray

Bow – Zoe Sciver

Coach – Siggi Martinsson

Subs – Laura Dearman and Elaina Davis

May Bumps 2014, M4

Went down -2
Finished 3rd in the M5 division and as the 3rd fastest fourth men’s boat

Day 1 – bumped by Magdalene M3

We started our Bumps campaign at the head of the M5 division and with high hopes of moving up into M4 with a strong effort on Day 1. Our coach, Jack, had warned us, however, that being sandwich boat meant that we equally could row over twice and be subjected to the same plight again the next day. There was a lot of discussion in the boat about the best strategy to pursue, including conserving energy should the boats behind bump out. Above all, the general consensus was that “Queens’ don’t get bumped by Magdalene.” In the end, however, this was all moot, as Magdalene M3 proved to be just too fast off the start, and the day ended quite prematurely without the satisfaction of even one row over, even though we had all been in it “for the long haul.” The situation was complicated by one of our crew coming off his seat and the seat coming off the rails entirely, a bizarre commotion ahead involving sirens, and carnage behind that led to rerows for most of the division behind us. Our start sequence left much to be desired, so, admittedly, it might not have mattered in the end.
Day 2 – bumped by Sidney Sussex M2

On Day 2, despite our confidence having been knocked down a peg, we were determined as ever to hold off the boat behind us, which happened to be a second boat. The atmosphere of apprehension grew when the division was delayed at the start for about 15 minutes when a horse, jolted by the four-minute cannon, galloped down the towpath and had to be tracked down and guided back up towards the Lock. Our start sequence was markedly improved from Day 1, and it seemed that we had learned not to panic like we had the day before. Unfortunately, holding off a second boat proved to be too much to ask, and we were bumped around First Post Corner, having barely finished our start sequence. We could, however, take solace in knowing that we had made some gains on Jesus M4 in front of us and could give them a run for their money on another day.
Day 3 – row over!

On Day 3, Sidney Sussex M2 promptly bumped Trinity Hall M3 in front of us, so we were left to go for the row over. And boy did we do just that. Our lead on Kings M3 grew exponentially at each bend to the point where any observer might have assumed that there had been several bumps between us. The lead was reported by Cam FM as being “enormous” and quantified by our coach, Tayo (who is an engineer by the way), to be “six to eight lengths.” Several of the crew, including our cox, Tom, had deplorably been in the spoon-winning M3 boat in Lents, so this row over came as a huge and welcome relief. It was a pity we were so high up in the division, or we could have perhaps been close to an overbump otherwise.
Day 4 – row over

On Day 4, the deck was stacked, and we all knew it: Jesus M4, whom we had been chasing and gaining on back on Day 2, had been bumped by Sidney Sussex M2 and was again ripe for the taking. We rowed with ever more hunger as we raced past the congregation of Queens’ alumni gathered at First Post for the QCBC Garden Party. Unfortunately, Jesus M4 bumped up on First and Third M4 before we could make a pass at them, which left us settling for a row over again. Things were much more interesting on this day, however, as it seemed that Kings M3 had made some progress overnight, and they were “only” three to four lengths behind us at Ditton Corer. Halfway up the Long Reach, one of our crew caught a crab, which took over ten nerve-wracking seconds to resolve. Our lead dropped to three lengths…two lengths…one length, but, fortunately, once we recovered our rhythm, we were able to row over in convincing fashion. Overall not a bad effort for the week, as we had proven that we could row, as two row overs could not possibly be a fluke. But oh, how things might have been different…

Tim Xu (M4 Captain Mays 2014)

Crew:

Cox – Tom Hiom

Stroke – Tim Xu

7 – Tom Crawford

6 – Chris Bray

5 – Jamie Harris

4 – Tom Stafford

3 – Rob Davis

2 – Ben Sutherland

Bow – Dan Henderson

Coaches – Tayo Moore, Jack Amey

Lent Bumps 2014, M1

Crew

Cox: Chris Clark

Stroke: Tom Bury

7: Mark Varley

6: James Edgley (c)

5: Alex Duncomb

4: Henry Cathcart

3: Helge Dietert

2: Fernando Bravo

Bow: Jack Amey

Coach: Charlie Adams
Day 1 – Rowed over

With all the chaos from the term it was hard to tell how we measured up to the crews around us. Bedford was cancelled due to the weather and we were unable to do any sparring because of the erratic changing of the flag, so sitting on the start line on day one, anything could have happened. As it so happened Queens’ M1 did what they do best and rowed over with Downing ahead bumping Caius to gain headship, and behind us Jesus bumped FAT before first post corner. Our row over wasn’t particularly elegant but it got the job done keeping LMBC at a comfortable distance behind. We were still third on the river!

Day 2 – Bumped by Jesus

After seeing Jesus decapitate FAT in under a minute we knew we had to improve our performance drastically from the first day if we wanted to hold our podium position. We got off to a great start holding them off at a length by the time of our stride. Not going to lie, the race was over pretty quickly after that. Jesus pushed up on us extremely fast. We tried to respond but we just could not match the power they had in the boat and the inevitable happened half way down the gut. At least we made it further than FAT.

Day 3 – Bumped by LMBC

LMBC also bumped FAT extremely quick and we knew we had another difficult row ahead. We got off to a sensational start holding station with LMBC behind and Jesus in front. Keeping them at a length coming into grassy 4th place was all to play for. We took a good line round grassy but still lost about half a boats length. Quickly bringing the boat up to race pace out the corner we hit a strong rhythm and kept LMCB at bay. Just outside the plough LMBC put in a huge push to try and take us down. They got to within inches of our stern but no closer. Zigzagging around and giving it everything we had we held them off going into Ditton. Unfortunately they managed to get their bows down the inside round the corner and from then on it was game over. We put in a great rowing performance and showed great fighting spirit. Who knows if we had managed to hold them off round that last corner we might have been able to hold them off to the finish.

Day 4 – Bumped by Pembroke

Having put in such a good performance against a very strong LMBC crew we had a lot of positives to take into the next race against Pembroke. Again they caught FAT extremely quickly but we knew if we put in a good performance we could have them. Once again we put in a great start keeping Pembroke at station. Our performance went downhill from here. We were putting a lot of check on the boat and we could not find that efficient cruising speed. As a result Pembroke just steadily ate into the gap and bumped us on Ditton corner. If we had put in the same performance we did against LMBC no doubt we would have walked away from that fairly average Pembroke crew and it was a shame to end the campaign on such a disappointing note. Being 6th on the river is still isn’t though.

The fall from grace is a difficult pill to swallow but we shall use this experience to our advantage as extra motivation to train even harder for the all-important May Bumps and Henley Regatta.

James Edgley, Queens’ College Boat Club Men’s Captain 2013-2014

Lent Bumps 2014, W1

W1 were very pleased to be the most successful Queens’ boat this campaign, going up from 11th to 9th place in Division 1.

After many hours training and being coached by the wonderful Bill, we were raring to go on Day 1 and lined up at station 11, behind arch rivals Catz. This first day evolved into an incredibly gruelling row over. Despite our determination, Catz held us at half a length the whole way and we trailed in their dirty water, never quite able to close the gap. We were as demoralised as if we had been bumped (although King’s behind us had been bumped by Ditton) and returned to the boathouse to cheer ourselves up with cake.

On the second day, things were over much quicker than expected when Catz bumped Pembroke on First Post and neither cleared the river, forcing us and LMBC behind to stop. We were given a technical rowover (although LMBC were asking for a re-row) and rowed the rest of the way home calmly to conserve our energy for the next day when we would have a shot at a bump on the rather slow Pembroke crew who were coming down.

Day 3 we were quietly confident if not a bit scared of the very angry LMBC crew behind. Sure enough, one whistle of the start was easily ours, but then for an agonising minute or 2 down the motorway reach, LMBC got a whistle on us and we had nothing more on Pembroke in front. Then we made our move, LMBC dropped away and then within a few seconds it was 2 whistles, 3 whistles and Anisha shouting ‘2 feet!’ down the cox box and it was all over. We rowed home adorned in foliage; for some it was their first bump in Lents and it was Claire’s first since 2009!

On the final day of Lents, we had Newnham in front who had been bumped twice and rowed over once. We had hopes of catching them but knew it would take longer and we wouldn’t have any threat behind us pushing us on. Again, we had a whistle off the start and then until grassy we held them more or less on station as they got 2 whistles on Catz who had bumped them the day before. Coming out of grassy, Catz made a move to get away, Newnham died as they had given everything already and Anisha’s line easily gave us a length in a few strokes. We bumped them outside The Plough (clearly just waiting until we had the largest audience!), which importantly was quicker than Catz had bumped them the day before.

We finished the week pleased with the result and had a great Bumps dinner to celebrate. A huge thanks you to Paul, Dr Walker and friends who came to bank party and support us each day and Bill who has coached us with great dedication all term. We now look to Wehorr on the Thames with great excitement!
Crew:

Cox: Anisha Mistry

Str: Jemima Graham (Captain)

7 Elaina Davis

6 Helena Wickham

5 Anna te Water Naudé

4 Sammy Wallace

3 Rachel Salter

2 Laura Dearman

B: Claire Armstrong
Jemima Graham, Captain W1

Lent Bumps 2014, M2

Went up +1, finishing 9th in the M2 division and 5th fastest second men’s boat

Day 1 – row over

M2 approached the first day of Lent Bumps with quiet confidence and steely determination. Ahead of us was a strong Maggie M2, who we had been battling all throughout the term. On paper, they were a few seconds faster than us, but as we were waiting for the cannon we each knew that we had the potential to get the bump.

We started strong, rating up into the high 30s, and settled on a solid R34. We started pulling away from Sidney Sussex M1 behind us by First Post Corner, but we hadn’t achieved any whistles. On the Plough Reach we stepped up the pressure for 30 strokes to try and eat into John’s. We took nearly half a length off them, but they reacted well and we ended up just shy of a length off. The battle continued down the reach, and each of our valiant pushes was met with a dogged resistance from John’s. We brought the rate up under the railway bridge but John’s escaped our bows for the time being. It was a well-matched race, and a solid effort considering 3 of our crew hadn’t rowed a bumps race before.

Day 2 – row over

Rowing up to the line on the second day, the spark that had led us to push so hard the day before didn’t quite alight. We were aware that in front of Maggie were First and Third M2, a crew reputed to be serious contenders for spoons. They had been bumped by First Post the day before, so we envisioned John’s would bump them quickly.

Unfortunately, we allowed this negativity to detract from our focus, and our start wasn’t as powerful as it had been in training. Sure enough, John’s bumped up on FaT before First Post, and we were left with the knowledge that we would have to row the whole course. Visibly deflated, our rhythm faltered and the power dropped off. This allowed a determined Sidney Sussex M1 to move on us, and they were half a length from us by the Gut. We managed to walk away from their kill call convincingly, and they themselves fell to a bump from a strong Wolfson M1 behind. With no boats in front or behind, we allowed the pressure to drop to save our energy for the next day.

Day 3 – bump up on FaT M2

We arrived at the boat house more determined than ever, knowing that this day could make or break our bumps campaign. The focus was evident right from the start and the lacklustre performance of the day before was immediately left behind.

The row up felt incredibly powerful and synchronised; there was a tangible determination flowing through the boat. We knew that we had to be quick off the mark, as the Wolfson crew behind us were on for blades and knew that we had nearly been bumped the day before. With this in mind, we set our sights firmly on FaT M2. As the cannon fired we initiated a blistering start sequence. We put so much power down that we had our first whistle during our wind calls, and by our 16th stroke we had secured the bump. We were told that their 6 man had crabbed (evidently out of pure fear of the mighty boar charging towards them) but we didn’t let this detract from what was our best start all term.

Day 4 – row over

Our confidence was high as we rowed up for the last day of Bumps. John’s had bumped a faltering Homerton M1 the day before and it fell to us to knock them down another peg. We reasoned that if John’s could catch them, then we clearly had the potential too, and sat at the start line confident of a great race.

As the cannon fired, all minds were focussed on taking down the M1 crew ahead. Our power off the start was evident, rating in the low 40s and striding on to a very powerful 34. Towards the end of First Post Reach we heard our first whistle, and used it to channel all of our energy and power into each stroke. We called a move coming into the Gut, and by this stage we were gaining fast. About 100 metres before Grassy Corner we were at canvas and were maniacally spurred on by Dr Walker’s continuous whistles. Alas, that stalwart obstacle that constantly stands in the way of Queens’ satisfaction – Grassy Corner – was taking no prisoners today. Our frantic kill call had blinded us to the position of the boat, and before we knew it we had grazed the outside of Grassy as we came round. Visibly stunned for a few seconds, we quickly pushed off the bank after the screams of our coach pierced our shock, and set off again. A battle then ensued between ourselves and the Sidney Sussex M1 crew behind, who were searching for the overbump. Physically exhausted after our front heavy start, we dug deep and pushed hard down the reach, keeping them at bay long enough to row over. We were by no means disappointed with the result, and having been the only men’s crew to move up overall, we went on to Bumps Dinner with our heads held high, proud to have represented Queens’. Bring on the Mays!

Power of the Boar.
Karl Anderson (M2 Captain Lent 2014)

Cox – Emily Don

Stroke – Karl Anderson

7 – Rob Piper

6 – Yang Xu

5 – Simon Brunner

4 – Tom Stafford

3 – George Cameron

2 – Tayo Moore

Bow – Malcolm Miller

Coach – Matt Edmonson-Jones

Lent Bumps 2014, W2

Our Michaelmas flirtation with rowing had quickly and almost unwillingly turned into a fully committed relationship. And like all badly functioning Cambridge relationships, as the commitment intensified, the feigned attraction completely disappeared. The once enjoyable experience became monotonous and the strenuous repetitious motion just hurt. There was no attraction: just sleepless nights, bitterness and sprained groins.

Then the relationship turned violent.

After tricking us into thinking all was calm and well, the elements erupted. Armageddon had arrived. The safety of the boathouse seemed long forgotten, and we rowed for our lives, knowing that the only thing we could cling onto in the midst of a thunder storm was fibreglass blades submerged in water. The threat of immediate and seemingly unavoidable death meant that as every second passed it became more and more real that our lives would come to an end with the words “keep it long and keep it hard”.

But in the immortal words of Kelly Clarkson “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

As we made it back to the boat house, looking like something out of The Walking Dead, we began the three day long process of getting warm again. After several showers and numerous meetings with Amnesty International to check that our human rights hadn’t been violated, we were back on the river; safe in the knowledge that even Rachel could not unleash a hail storm on us if we weren’t squaring early.

If the storm had served as our Genesis, it seemed almost inevitable that floods would follow. And after forty days and forty nights of waiting for the side of the bank to re-emerge, we returned to the promised land of the boat house.

Over the next few weeks we not only found out the true meaning of being somewhere at seven (that is – bums on ergs at seven), but also that rowing actually involves doing some rowing. The yellow flag was no longer our friend; the colour green had never looked so abhorrent. We begrudgingly put on our wellies and took the boat out. Not that this made a difference when the welly inevitably had a hole in it.

As every outing passed we found our rowing seemed to be getting less and less pitiful. Our relationship with rowing had found its ratio as we learnt to finish together and used our experiences from Cindies to perfect our slutty rowing. We learnt how lucky we were to be coxed by the big deal that is Michael Hope, and are forever hoping that one day Michael will be proud to say that he taught us to row.

After many many, many, many, many ergs, the day of the getting on race had finally arrived. After one last intense erg session on sliders where Helena managed to defy logic by setting a sub 8 minute 2k on sliders, we were tired, sweaty and pumped to prove what a fabulous rowing crew we were. In what can only be described as the finest display of rowing, we won our place on the Lent Bumps line up and proudly rowed to take our place between Cats and Sidney.

As we came to front stops and began our race start we knew that we faced a long and hard race. After about 30 seconds, Sidney seemed to feel differently and very generously spared us the trouble of actually doing any rowing by not clearing the river. Little did Sidney realise that causing us to be awarded a technical row over, had firmly established them as our arch nemesis and we vowed that given another opportunity we would smash their bow in. We angrily rowed home, knowing that the next day we would be chasing Clare Hall.

As Wednesday arrived we took the boat out yet again and began the long row down the river to meet the mysterious Clare Hall. Despite the convenient death of our cox box, the fact that Clare Hall is actually a college proved more surprising than their rowing abilities and we secured Queens’ first Bump of Lent 2014! POWER OF THE BOAR! In the name of fairness we then decided that it wasn’t fair to bump into Clare Hall without crashing ourselves, and promptly lodged our bow end in the side of the bank. In what can only be described as a move reminiscent of everyone’s favourite Nazi dictator, Michael then asked bow and two to roll up their trousers and jump into the freezing cold, swamp like murky river and dislodge the bow. After realising that we did not subscribe entirely to his enforced dictatorship, in a slightly less fascist attempt to dislodge the bow we were told to bounce up and down on our seats to try and wiggle it out. Once we had set the bow free we were crowned with foliage, and began the proud row home knowing that we – the Queens’ Women’s Seconds – were without a shadow of a doubt the best crew ever to have rowed on a river.

Fresh from our day off, by Friday we were ready to get back in the river. Being chased by Clare Hall was not a big worry, but Sidney were now within our sights and we were ready to bump them by whatever means possible. Luckily for us, these means didn’t require much effort as Sidney managed to crash in open water, meaning we could slowly and smugly row past them after we had stopped due to a crab, reset and carried on. POWER OF THE BOAR!

Saturday came with a hint of sadness. Mostly because we could no longer justify the immense amount of carbs we had been eating. The prospect of Bumps dinner loomed like a glowing glimmer of hope in the distance. As three days had passed without rowing past the railway bridge, we knew that Saturday was not the day to start. After a tactical seat loss and double crab, we decided to prove that we could crash with more style than Sidney and promptly rowed into the bank. For the last time we started our row back to the boat house accompanied by Michael’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. *** Disclaimer: Michael and the Hopers, soon to be appearing in sell out concerts across the world. ***

Our first experience of Bumps had sadly come to an end and we knew that if rowing was our relationship, bumps was our one night stand: short, fun and slightly confusing.

In loving memory of Steph Frow: October 2013-February 2014

Jess Tray