M1 Winter Head 2015

M1 holding their prize

Tom Hiom
George Cameron (s) (c)
Alex Duncomb
Peter Stevens
George Daubney
Helge Dietert
Alistair Pryke
Manu Signer
Ben Catterall

Saturday 14th November

This crew benefited from the experience in two fours from the start of term, and a new coach from Robs, Toby Rudkin. Helge was very fit, having raced in both Fours head and Vets Fours head the previous weekend, and Alistair, a fresher, brought solid school-boy technique and cool head to the boat. I had made the mistake of entering the earliest division, thinking everyone would be to bed early with Bops cancelled for the foreseeable future – unfortunately the date clashed with a big MCR night, so our 2 man had a very sore head.

This did not stop us from winning the 8+ division (with 8.43), with only a faster time on the day from the quad Toby was racing in. Downing, Clare, Fitz, FaT and UCL all had eights out. We wound up a little early before the motorway bridge but settled into a nice chunky rhythm along first post reach. There was a bit of a wobble out of grassy corner, but we started to close on a big crew from Essex R.C. ahead. A highlight was our wind up from the railway bridge to the finish, which felt very very chunky but relaxed. There was a mutual agreement at the end that we had plenty more speed to come – bring on Fairbairns.

Stern pair also enjoyed a blast from the past with Boars Head later on in the day, kindly organised by James McMillan.


M1 University IVs 2015


Tom Hiom

Alex Duncomb (s)

Peter Stevens

George Daubney

George Cameron (c)

Tuesday 27th October

This crew bonded well in the limited number of outings we had been together. We faced Homerton I in the opening round. We started off very well, taking at least 2 lengths off the four ahead before the start of first post corner. Our rhythm faded in the dirty water in the Gut and we took grassy corner particularly slowly so did not gain anymore water by the start of plough reach. Here the lack of fitness / extended pieces showed, as Homerton ground some space back. This theme continued down the reach and we were gutted to be knocked out by a margin of 20 seconds.


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!

W1 Winter Head to Head 2015

Bow: Georgia Vann

Jenny Morris

Georgie Holmes

Lauren Downing

Anna te Water Naude

Lindsey Askin

Rachel Salter

Laura Dearman

Cox: Michael Hope

Race report by Georgie Holmes

Having existed as Queens’ W1 for the grand total of one week, the time had come for us to be thrown into our first race as a crew – with three ex-novices making up three-quarters of bow four, the mere thought of corners was enough to bring us out in a cold sweat, so the row up to the start of the course was a nervous one.

The race was 2x2k, and the first leg was far better than the second – after completing the first 2k in 7 minutes 52, the initial adrenaline/panic had gone but tiredness had begun to kick in, meaning we achieved a much slower time of 8:37 on the second leg (which seems ridiculously slow compared to later 2k times – see report on Bedford for details!!). Nevertheless, our efforts put us in 7th place amongst the Cambridge college W1 crews – or ‘technically 6th’, as we insisted, since Christ’s rowed twice (?!). The fact that Christ’s won the H2H obviously meant that we hated them with every fibre of our being, marking the start of a rivalry that would last all term.

Overall, it was a pretty good start to W1’s Lent racing, giving us plenty to build on for Bedford, WeHorr and of course Bumps.

W1 Fairbairns 2014

Leaving a lengthy gap for Caius in front, trying not to be too overconfident after our term’s success, we set off to give it everything we had over the 3.4km course. Having found our rhythm and strode to a comfortable 32/33, we rowed past the boat houses. However, just as we came under the Elizabeth way road bridge, the clam on Sammy’s blade started to come loose. From the bow seat, I agonizingly watched as she wrestled to keep the blade under control. Eventually, the clam fell entirely off, and though not ideal, made the rowing easier with it gone. We could settle back into our rhythm again, and hope that we had not lost too many seconds. With Caius in our sights from the P and E, we went for the overtake. At the finish line outside the Plough we rowed past Caius, completing our term with style, coming away as the fastest women’s 4 on the river, winning by 11 seconds.

W1 Huntingdon Head 2014

Cox: Sophie Chung

Stroke: Laura Dearman

Anna te Water Naude

Sammy Wallace

Rachel Salter
Huntingdon Head was our first off-Cam race of the term, again in the four (so so much easier to put on a trailer than an eight!) – leaving early on Saturday morning, we arrived to a misty and dewy Huntingdon, with a very narrow river that seemed hidden in a dip between the sports ground and surrounding fields. It was a pretty paddle up and we made friends with a Norwich sculler while marshalling – then off we went, racing through a LOT of corners, hitting a tree at some stage and almost colliding with a double who didn’t give us the racing line as we overtook them … We ended up coming towards the finish behind another four (mixed J18s) and attempted to overtake them too – but we’d been pushing hard all race and could only sit on their tails. Racing for time only due to a lack of entries in our category, we finished 15th overall out of all the 56 small boats racing, with a time of 17.36 for the 4k upstream race. Not too bad! And we enjoyed our trip to the pub afterwards.

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)


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