Up 4 - BLADES!!!

Starting the Lent Bumps in what we thought was 15th place, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Anglia Ruskin were not entering a crew, leaving us to chase down Wolfson M1. That was the beginning of an all-conquering week.

We approached the first race with apprehension, knowing that Wolfson had performed as well as us in the earlier races of term and that catching a first boat would be quite a challenge. However we pushed out firmly into the stream and cut the corner at the start of the race, taking half a length off the start. We then powered through the motorway bridge and put in an early push that wasn’t totally effective, but seemed to do the trick as it was followed immediately by whistles and a dramatic ‘kill’ call. Increasing the power again we took down Wolfson M1 before First Post corner, with very little threat from behind by Corpus Christi.

On the second day we were behind Pembroke M2 and were quietly confident of a bump (even without a key crew member – BOWWW), having seen them fall to Christ’s M2 the day before. We approached the race in a very similar style, with a good start and a much better timed push coming down First Post reach that took us within a yard of the boat in front. The kill call came again and we used it to our advantage as Pembroke were unable to hold us off around the corner. Unfortunately we had a lot of trouble clearing as Pembroke refused to row on after the bump, causing us to hold up Wolfson and for them to be later awarded a technical row over. Thanks go to the Mildon for subbing in.

Christ’s M2 failed to capitalise on their second row of the week so we were attacking them on the third day. Christ’s M2 and Queens’ M2 have often been rivals in this region of the Bumps league and we were once again aiming to exchange places. Before the race began our usual team talk and visualisations took place, with the main emphasis being on: expect a more difficult race. The last two had ended at first post, but Christ’s were bound to be made of sterner stuff. As it turned out the race was a bit stressful - but mainly because of our own preparations! With our bank party appearing at the four minute cannon there was quite a rush to get settled and push out; the boat just about ready as the start cannon sounded. We responded well with possibly our fastest start of the week, simply eating up the water behind Christ’s. The wash under the motorway bridge seemed like no problem at all and before we knew it their cox was speared by our bow ball; apparently two of their rowers fell off their seats! Emily tactfully decided to pull over on the far side of First Post corner to avoid the problems of the day before. It was as we were pulling back in to the bank to decorate ourselves with foliage that a presenter from CamFM came down to speak to us, asking if anyone would do an interview. Practically forced by the rest of the crew, one co-captain unwillingly took on the role and gave his first star appearance as Big Dog.

The final day was a nervous one. Everyone in that boat wanted blades. The question was: could we do it? After it had been almost a week-long joke about each race surely being longer than the last, it fell to Sidney Sussex M1 to really make us work for the bump. We tried to prepare in exactly the same way, hoping that we would be fast enough. But with neither cox nor rower yet having to navigate a corner, we weren’t quite sure if we’d be able to deliver against another first boat. The race began well – another good start. We were gaining on them the bank said, but there were no whistles. We whipped around First Post for the first time, Emily making Fernando and Thierry (the foreigners/oldies) really push. Down the gut we got our first whistle and more soon followed. We had three going into Grassy corner… but Sidney Sussex were not to be easily beaten. They pushed out of Grassy much more effectively than we did and widened the gap. By this point Emily had already started shouting the kill calls and there was nothing else to do but keep them coming. Agonisingly down Plough Reach we reeled them in. The bump came just before Ditton corner, along with many shouts of relief and victory!

We rowed home that day with lots of foliage, the Queens’ flag held (dripping) aloft, a bottle of champagne being passed down the boat and plenty of singing! It made for a very entertaining row home and rounded off an excellent term for M2, proud owners of some new blades. The week ended with Queens’ M2 in 10th place in the second division and 6th highest M2 in the bumps charts. Cox: Emily Baxter (co-captain) Stroke: Jack Amey (co-captain) 7: James Helliwell 6: Yang Xu 5: Duncan Wallace 4: Calum Jeffray 3: Thierry Augsburger 2: Michael Hope Bow: Fernando Bravo

Coaches: Charlie Drury, Charlie Adams, Paul Knights, Seb Robins, Mark Varley Biggest fan: Emily’s Mum