Rowed over within metres of overbump
Armed with a steely determination and spare whistles, W1 rowed up for the second and last day of racing with a two-pronged plan; go straight for the bump on Tit Hall, and if they bumped out, aim for the overbump on Churchill. As the cannon fired, we went into a much more controlled start sequence, capping our wind at 40 and settling into a chunky rhythm. Initially we gained on Tit Hall, however they were gunning for a bump themselves and bumped out just after First Post. Immediately ‘Operation Overbump’ came into play, and we ramped up the power to start eating away at the water between us and Churchill, 6 and a half boat lengths away.
By the time we hit the reach we’d closed the gap to three lengths, and under the railway bridge we were on station – a jump call from India gave us our first whistle and the second came shortly after. Churchill seemed to be slowing down and an overbump looked like it was on the cards – however this was because we had in fact crossed the finish line, ending our race about half a length away from our targets. Although disappointed not to have sealed the deal, we were proud of our efforts and the distance we made up; it was a gutsy row and we really gave it everything! We celebrated in style with champagne and brownies at the boathouse and look forward to one last week of training as a crew ready for WeHorr next weekend.
Bumped by Downing W2 before first post corner
After a disappointing race on Tuesday, and race cancellations on Friday, W2 were determined to end Lent Bumps on a high. Chasing Jesus W3 and being chased by Downing W2, and in improved weather conditions, the team felt fairly confident to begin with. Being stationed under the bridge for the first time, the volume of the cannon took the crew by surprise. Though our previous race starts had been strong, there was a serious crab on the 3rd stroke of the start sequence meaning that a powerhouse pair had to drop out. The crab wasn’t resolved until 15 strokes in. Despite this, W2 gained half a length on Jesus W3, and the power calls from cox were met well by the crew. Nevertheless, timing was a bit off and starting effectively with 6 rowers meant that Downing W2 were able to rapidly gain on W2, concluding in a bump before first post corner.
Our goal for the last day of Bumps was a row over. After our third day of racing was cancelled, we were behind our latest bumpers, Emmanuel College W2, and we were chased by Homerton W2. Since Murray Edwards W3 failed to turn up, Emma only rowed just to get to their starting position for a bump, so unfortunately we didn’t even get the chance to bump them back. After they left the race course, we were giving all we had to pull away from Homerton, and hoped that they would get bumped. After a short scare of them gaining on us, we managed to leave them behind, and they crabbed as well, so Pembroke was able to catch them. After a short few meters of scrappy and happy rowing we got our heads back into the boat and finished the race with a steady 32ish rate, putting in all the effort that we could.
Bumped Lucy Cavendish at Grassy
With racing cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday, by the time Friday came around W1 were itching to get out and show Lucy Cav who was boss. We’d kept up an impressive campaign of hatred against them all term and the thought of them escaping our grasp because of a ‘beast from the east’ was not a pleasant one. Hence, on Thursday evening over half the crew came down to the river armed with shovels and buckets to clear the towpath of snow and raise our chances of racing. Thankfully it paid off and a fast-paced race saw us secure QCBC’s first bump of the 2018 campaign, and W1’s first Lent bump since 2015!
We did have a slight hiccup before we’d even started, realising on the bank that we had no working whistles – however, Paul’s assurance that he has ‘a very loud voice’ put our minds (somewhat) at ease. After a very excitable start, winding up to 43, we were holding Lucy Cav at a length whilst Tit Hall hovered a length away from us; the next thirty seconds felt like a real slog as we struggled to gain ground or put any water between us and our chasers. On India’s call we got it together under the motorway bridge and had pushed to half a length by First Post; ahead, Lucy Cav were close to overlap on Caius in front and looked set to bump out. However, out of First Post the crew shifted up a gear, putting down what can only be described as the mother of all power 10’s – before we had time to think, half a length became a quarter and we caught Lucy Cav coming around Grassy. For Ulrika and Maya, this was their first bump ever with Queens’, and my first since 2015 – after an elated row home we’re now setting our sights on fluke overbumpers Tit Hall ahead of us when we race tomorrow.
Today’s row up to the start was solid considering the challenging weather conditions. Much like yesterday, Queens’ W2 had a confident start and initially gained on St Edmund’s I. However, when we settled into a rhythm our power dropped and this coupled with a crab meant we lost the chance of a bump. Although we were supposedly being chased by Jesus W3 they crashed during their start piece and were quickly bumped meaning that we were pursued by St Catherine’s who were looking for the overbump. They demonstrated some strong rowing and managed to overtake our boat.
Although we are disappointed to slip from 4th to 7th position our ability to execute a strong start means hopes are high for a bump on Friday where we will chasing Jesus W3.
Bumped by Emma W3
A very determined W3 crew set off with the aim of ‘bumping back’ Sidney Sussex who we’d been bumped by yesterday. We put down a very strong start and got up to our third whistle, but unfortunately Sidney were also close to bumping and when they did so we had to steer around the two boats ahead. This slowed us down and we were caught up and bumped by Emma. Considering the heavy snowfall we still did really well though…bring on tomorrow!!
Result: bumped by St Edmunds M1 on the Long Reach
Queens’ rowed well before the race demonstrating a strong practice start. Such a good start was then replicated in the race itself and at rate 40 we were moving a lot quicker than St Edmunds I and Corpus Christi I. Despite initially gaining on Corpus we could not sustain the pace round the corners and found ourselves falling behind. Our attention then turned to avoiding the approaching St Edmunds boat which we did so successfully for much of the course, even pulling away when we could hear three whistles from the bank. However, after a few shaky strokes we lost our lead and conceded the bump.
Queens’ will be hoping for another dominant start tomorrow to turn the tables and bump St Edmunds.
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!!
The QCBC women’s crew arrived in plenty of time to unload the trailer and grab some last minute hot drinks before racing. The day was very cold and it was quickly pointed out that we would be racing in a head wind. A plan was formulated and we were soon rowing up to the start with purpose (see picture below).
We started off speedily and used the many bridges over the course to push off. There were some rough patches but by the finish we were going strong and with 500m to go performed a miraculous jumps re start to up the rate and send the boat flying over the finish line. Finishing off as the 3rd women’s 8s college boat, just 1s behind Downing W1, everyone was pleased with the outcome. Finishing off the day, we watching the Queens’ men’s 1st boat finish as we munched on our captain’s (Georgie) homemade brownies.
As Michaelmas draws to a close, the Queens’ women’s side are in the final stages of training before Fairbairns on the 1st December. The term got off to a promising start, with a large crop of returning seniors and some new schoolgirl rowers joining the ranks. The women’s side this year also has several girls trialling with CUW and CULRC, and looking ahead this will add some serious strength to the squad come Mays. Our new coach, Lisa Silk, has also been invaluable so far; her unparalleled knowledge of Cambridge rowing and firm but fair attitude have gone a long way in getting the best out of the girls this term.
We began the term in mixed crews to see who worked well in which combination; one such combination was put to the test in Autumn Head in early October, where we won the W2 category. Meanwhile, the W1 IV entered the University IVs as the definitive underdogs and ended up reaching the semi-finals, beating both Newnham W2 and Clare W1 and losing out to Downing in the semis by a measly 5 seconds. This was a considerable achievement given that QCBC women have never made it past the first round before, and it certainly spurred us on to train harder and keep up the good work.
After Uni IVs we settled into a 1st VIII and 2nd IV for the rest of term. W1’s first race as a full crew was at Winter Head on 18th November, in which we were the 6th fastest college. Our performances so far and the girls’ continued commitment and dedication to training means that I am confident we will do ourselves proud in Fairbairns next week!
Off the water, the QCBC social campaign is still going strong and is working wonders to bring the club together outside of training. We’ve had plenty of women’s side and whole club socials and are very much looking forward to the next one, an ice-skating, carol-singing, mulled wine-fuelled Christmas extravaganza (although we are proceeding with caution to prevent any skating injuries before Fairbairns!). We’ve also been getting to know some of our boathouse neighbours (discovering on a social that certain senior rowers didn’t realise that John’s and LMBC were in fact the same…) and are planning plenty of events next term to maintain QCBC as the most sociable society in Queens’.
Overall, the QCBC women have had a great term both on and off the water. We’ve worked hard and put the hours into our training, and I am truly impressed with the seemingly boundless enthusiasm and commitment shown by the squad so far. I’m sure that this will continue and deliver success for the girls both this term and for the rest of the year.
Georgie Holmes, Women’s Captain 2017-18