Race 1 – Rowed over
Queens’ M2 once again found ourselves starting at the top of the third division, with the aim of rowing over ahead of Catz M2 to earn the right to remain as sandwich boat. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy task.
After a row up lacking confidence, but technically fairly strong, we span on station and prepared ourselves for what was to be – for three of the crew – our 9th Mays row over in a row.
The canon went, and so did we, with a fairly shaky but reasonably fast start. We settled into a rhythm around first post, and benefited from clean water through the gut. Coming around grassy we saw Catz get bumped by Maggie, and there was a noticeable drop in power as we seemed to relax – however the threat of an overbump from Christ’s was there and we couldn’t afford to rest on our Laurels with two thirds of the course to go. Indeed Christs gained and coming around Ditton they looked alarmingly close!
However, we then started to open up on the reach, and the overbump wasn’t realistic from about the railway bridge (although we weren’t quite able to wind down before the finish).
Race 2 – Rowed over
Feeling a bit more confident we rowed back up to the start, making the long and lonely journey to station 17 right at Baitsbite Lock. With a little more time (the division was back on schedule after earlier delays) we were able to get out of the boat and relax for a few more minutes.
We got back in on the four minute canon and started to think about Clare M2 ahead. We knew catching them was a tough ask, but possible – if we did it quickly! Our start was strong, but we very quickly faded. As we knew from last year, sandwich boat is a very tough position and so that was almost inevitable. We kept up the chase all the way to the Plough, at which point we wound down to 28 (to keep in contact in case of a mistake), winding down to 24 on the reach, and staying there until the finish – never really threatening Clare.
Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to row over again – this time ahead of Maggie – and have another attempt at Clare.
A strong start allowed us to hold our own against a rapid Magdalene M2 in front, but they quickly bumped off, leaving the river in front clear as we all settled in for a full bumps course. To our rear, Fitz M2 threatened to make gains but we stayed calm, and they were soon bumped off by Churchill M2, leaving only Jesus M3 to attempt an overbump. In a feat of hubris, we briefly went down to rate 28 to conserve energy, but as Jesus veered into sight around the corner we decided that may not be the best approach, and carried on to a successful row over.
Bumped by Catz M1
M1 had a much better race today, with a strong start seeing us hold station with Clare ahead. Catz drew up on us through the gut, and we held them at 1/4 of a length down plough reach. Some strong coxing avoided being bumped round Ditton corner, and we held Catz at overlap for the majority of the reach before finally conceding the bump.
Result: bumped by Pembroke M2 in The Gut
Queens’ gathered in the coaching room before pushing off to watch a video from one year ago today – QM2 being closed in on by Sidney M1 to within a canvas outside the Plough, and then walking away and leaving them trailing by 10 lengths by the finish. The aim was to show that it could be done. That – should Pembroke close in on us – we could walk away.
In the boat on the row up and then on to marshalling at the start, this video was in the forefront of our minds. The aim was simple – row over, and not let Pembroke catch us.
We started strong. Unfortunately, Pembroke started stronger. Pembroke gained on us right away, and while we held them off for a few minutes and made several valiant pushes where it looked like we might just about get away, they eventually closed and Queens’ conceded the bump in the Gut, finishing the week a disappointing minus 3.
Result: bumped (right before motorway bridge)
Amazing efforts by colleges and CUCBC meant that the towpath was clear and bumps could carry on. Queens’ M3 had a good row up, the boat was sat and the crew was calm. We were ready to finally have a proper race, after not being able to finish a single race the whole campaign.
Our plan was simple, hold Caius off for as long as possible, maybe long enough to bump King’s. Ready to give our best efforts for our last race, we rowed up to the starting position with several good bursts along the way.
Our start wasn’t the best, tearing the water and splashing into the boat. Just as we were going around the first corner, disaster struck and our stroke man caught a crab in the first minute. Caius quickly closed the gap and the rest is history. The crew was disappointed and M3 ended the week with a bump.
Result: Row over
Ready for the last day of bumps, Queens’ M4 set out in much nicer weather conditions than the start of the week.
After a calm row up to the lock, we began with a clean racing start at high rate, aiming to slowly gain on and ultimately bump Pembroke M3 over the course. We pushed to within a length of them on the first half of the course, but after that they gradually pulled away, leaving us just trying to stay ahead of Homerton M2, which we did with no trouble and rowed over.
This marks the end of a good term for the Queens’ M4 boat, and we look forward to the next.
M1 set off well, close on station with the adjacent crews. Girton were bumped in the gut without producing any real challenge, so we were left to chase Clare; however, on this occasion some scrappy rowing made it hard to maintain rate and Clare pulled away on the reach leaving us to row over.
Result: bumped by Hughes Hall M1 on First Post Corner
After a day of cancelled racing (where QM2 had had an outing instead) the crew were restless and eager to go. However, due to a combination of unmissable labs, classes, and illness, the crew had four subs!
Having pulled out a length clear of Sidney on day 1 (even though they eventually closed back and bumped us) we were confident that if we went hard off the start, then we could do the same again and go for the bump back.
In bitterly cold, windy conditions, the bursts and practice start were heavier than usual and rated slightly lower at 38. We knew we had to up our game, and that this was going to be a race down First Post Reach.
Off the start we indeed picked up, clocking 41 even in the tough weather conditions. As planned, we quickly closed on Sidney gaining to within a length, and then to within three quarters. However, Hughes Hall were simply too strong a crew to be reckoned with and ground us down, eventually bumping us just short of First Post Corner, with Sidney still about three quarters off our bow.
The crew are disappointed but not disheartened – tomorrow we will have to hold off Pembroke M2 and go for the row over. It will be tough, but we’re confident that we can do it (with the full crew back in the boat!).
Result: technical row over (did not race)
Queens’ M3 had a great row up, possibly one of the best rowing we’ve seen all term. With several bursts and practice starts, the crew was hyped and ready for the race. The crew’s enthusiasm far outweighed the worsening weather conditions.
The team was focused and ready to give King’s trouble. Caius was going to be chasing us after bumping Sidney Sussex earlier today. We acknowledged that they were a formidable crew, but used that as motivation to bump King’s.
As we were paddling down to the start, umpires deemed the towpath too dangerous for bank parties and called the race off, with everyone rowing over.
Although disappointed with not racing, the team will be ready to race on Friday. If weather holds up on Friday, we will be chasing King’s and will be chased by Caius.
Result: Row over
After a disappointing first day of bumps, Queens’ M4 set out ready to race as the second last boat in the division. The row up was cold and snowy, and we arrived with 20 minutes to spare, spent desperately trying to keep warm before the race.
Our start was much cleaner than yesterday’s, and we didn’t feel threatened by Homerton M2 behind us as they struggled to catch up. We kept up with Hughes Hall M2 who bumped us yesterday, and soon after the start they caught a huge crab and we gained massively – but as we closed in to half a length they managed to recover and pull away. They soon bumped Pembroke M3, leaving us with Trinity Hall M3 in the distance ahead of us.
The rest of the race was spent keeping distance between us and Homerton M2, and we rowed over with plenty of space between us. Tomorrow we will chase Pembroke M3, and hopes are high for a bump.