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!
Bumped by St Catherine’s W4
W4 were pretty nervous but hyped! Trinity Hall bumped us pretty comfortably yesterday and Catz were very fast so we knew it would be a tough one!
Our paddle up was some of the best rowing we have ever done. Our practice starts were strong so we were excited and ready for the race ahead.
We had a great start flying to our first whistle within seconds! Sadly we were quickly caught up by Catz, who caught up just before the motorway bridge.
We had a great row back and can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow – with no threat from behind we hope to steadily push onto the crews ahead.
Race 1 – Rowed Over
After a tough day yesterday, QM2 was ready to do it all again. This time being chased by Maggie M3, we were all a bit concerned after watching them very quickly catch Catz yesterday. However we’d built a bit of confidence after day 1, and our row up was improved.
Into strong winds we decided to fit clams, and off the start we hit rate 42. Quickly we settled into a rhythm, but Maggie closed and closed fast. Around First Post Corner, they were within a length and closing. A disastrous line around Grassy (with blades inches from clipping the outside bank) allowed them within a third, and at this point something clicked. Our pre-planned walk away call came out of the bag, and boy did we walk away.
By the time we reached Ditton, we were back on station, and as we came onto the Reach we were all very happy that we’d fitted the clams! We opened up more and more space, until eventually Maggie were overbumped by Emma, about three and a half lengths off our stern. We took it down to 28, then 24, then 20, and crossed the line comfortably – celebrating as though we’d just bumped!
Race 2 – Rowed Over
Unfortunately Clare had failed to catch Darwin yesterday, meaning we were chasing the same crew, and so we knew the job at hand was a very tough one. We decided to race to First Post, and take stock there.
A very strong start meant that we stayed on station in the early phases of the race, and indeed the first minute or so felt fresh and strong.
However the fatigue of three row overs started to set in, and we dropped back. Around First Post we were still in contact, and so kept going. However by the time we were around Grassy we’d dropped back significantly, and decided to wind down and paddle home at rate 18 – for row over number 12 in a row.
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.
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.
W2 had a solid row up to our start at the penultimate station. Aware that both Corpus W1 ahead and Clare W2 behind had achieved similar times to us at Champs Eights Head a month ago, we were unsure about how our first race would go.
Our nerves were apparent as the boat veered slightly to strokeside off the start and we came out of our winds at rate 45. Despite our excessively high rate we clearly had some decent speed since we immediately started gaining on Corpus and it was clear that Clare (who had just rowed over as sandwich boat in the W3 division) were not much of a threat.
Our first whistle on Corpus came just before the Motorway Bridge followed by a second halfway down First Post Reach. Keen to finish the job off, India called for a Jumps 10 where we took the rate back up to 39 and came close to 3 whistles. With our legs burning after such a rapid start we tired around First Post Corner and Corpus began to pull away from us in the Gut. We pushed out of Grassy Corner but sadly Corpus caught Downing W2 just before Ditton Corner.
We finished the race with a strong row-over, leaving Clare W2 far behind us. The adrenaline is now hopefully out of our systems so we are aiming for a quick bump on Downing W2 tomorrow.
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.
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.