Robinson were feeling robbed of a bump from Wednesday and so were keen to set the records straight. However we weren’t going to go down easily. They gained on us at the start and closed to half a length by grassy corner. The crew stayed perfectly relaxed as we knew from the day before that we could hold a position like this. The gap closed even further through Ditton and they had overlap on the reach. We still stayed in our rhythm and were confident that we had the speed. Eventually we pulled out to half a length and they soon fell away to a length for us to row over. I’m sure those on the bank were quite tense at points!
Bumped by Churchill M2
A faulty coxbox (bad workers blame their tools, we know) and a shaky start gave Churchill an early whistle. Despite having entirely failed to park on the first day, to the point where they simply decided not to and sat on the wrong side while the W3 division took place, it turns out that Churchill M2 have some legs on ’em, and despite our gaining a whistle on Trinity Hall M2 in front of us (rather depressingly for most of us our first whistle in bumps), a minor crab and general sloppiness in the face of an advancing foe led to a fairly conclusive bump.
W2 were ready and raring to go on day 2 of Bumps. Showing off our skilled paused rowing to intimidate new sandwich boat Maggie W2 on the row up, our heads were focused on our task to improve on yesterday’s row over. Our practice starts were calmer and we controlled the rating better, so we felt confident as we pulled in at our station.
As the cannon fired our focus shone through with an improved start and more cohesion in the crew. We quickly settled into a strong powerful rhythm but were surprised that we could not hear any whistles! It turned out that Downing W2 ahead of us had gunned it off the start and ended up re-bumping Corpus W1 on First Post Corner.
However we didn’t let that dishearten us and we continued in our solid rhythm, settling around rate 34, all the way to the finish. Maggie W2 never posed any threat to us and we crossed the finish line at least 6 lengths ahead of them. Corpus W1, we have you in our sights!
Excited by this terms prospect of more than 2 days of bumps, W1 had a strong paddle up to station 15, executing a rapid practice start at the Plough to rapturous cheers from onlookers. With Pembroke in front and Jesus W2 posing little threat from behind, we were looking to secure a solid bump on day one.
At the cannon we flew off at rate 45, striding out to 40 before the motorway bridge and eventually settling at a solid 36. As predicted, we moved away from Jesus and onto Pembroke, pushing to almost a length away around First Post – however, Pembroke smelt blood with Fitzwilliam ahead and gradually pushed onto them, pulling away from us. The inevitable bumping of Jesus 2 also removed any pressure from behind, and we struggled to match Pembroke’s gains ahead. By the time we hit the Long Reach we were some distance away from our targets, who bumped out under the railway bridge leaving us with a row over.
Whilst not the result we wanted, we are approaching tomorrow’s racing with a fresh and more proactive gameplan to push onto Fitz and escape the new pressure of Homerton behind.
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.
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.
Result: Bumped by Sidney M1 on Plough Reach
Queens’ had a good row up to the start and a very solid practice outside the Plough. Our plan was to race to First Post Corner – expecting to end up in a three boat sandwich with Darwin M1 ahead and Sidney M1 behind.
We started well, clocking rate 43. We quickly closed on Darwin and gained our first whistle before the motorway bridge. We kept closing and about halfway down first post reach we got a second whistle. Darwin then held us at about half a length for the next minute or so, before abruptly stopping and pulling in in the gut. With no one to chase, Queens’ started to falter and fade, and Sidney rapidly closed in. Coming around Grassy Sidney got to within a canvas, and although we briefly made a move and opened up clear water, they quickly won the bump outside the Plough.
It turned out that Downing M2 had crashed on First Post Reach on station 5, and hence Darwin had got the overbump on them. However Darwin hadn’t realised and so had kept racing until the gut. Queens’ made the case to the umpires that an extra minute of kill calls on two whistles had caused us to die, and ultimately allowed Sidney to close – however the bump stood.
Result: bumped by Sydney Sussex W2
For most of us in W3 this was our very first Bumps race. We had a really strong start and got our first whistle with in our first 15 strokes. But as we were gaining on Lucy Cavendish, Sidney Sussex were gaining even more quickly on us…and so sadly we got bumped. However we are now feeling even more motivated to bump them back tomorrow!!
It is with great pleasure that I announce the return of the QCBC May Bumps Garden Party this year on Saturday 16th of June. Preparations are well under way for the highlight of the Cambridge rowing calendar, and we would love to see as many of you as possible coming down to the river for a view of the action.
So save the date, invite family and friends, and look out for the full invite and details in the coming weeks.
If you have any queries at this point, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
QCBC Garden Party Officer