Went up +1, finishing 9th in the M2 division and 5th fastest second men’s boat

Day 1 – row over

M2 approached the first day of Lent Bumps with quiet confidence and steely determination. Ahead of us was a strong Maggie M2, who we had been battling all throughout the term. On paper, they were a few seconds faster than us, but as we were waiting for the cannon we each knew that we had the potential to get the bump.

We started strong, rating up into the high 30s, and settled on a solid R34. We started pulling away from Sidney Sussex M1 behind us by First Post Corner, but we hadn’t achieved any whistles. On the Plough Reach we stepped up the pressure for 30 strokes to try and eat into John’s. We took nearly half a length off them, but they reacted well and we ended up just shy of a length off. The battle continued down the reach, and each of our valiant pushes was met with a dogged resistance from John’s. We brought the rate up under the railway bridge but John’s escaped our bows for the time being. It was a well-matched race, and a solid effort considering 3 of our crew hadn’t rowed a bumps race before.

Day 2 – row over

Rowing up to the line on the second day, the spark that had led us to push so hard the day before didn’t quite alight. We were aware that in front of Maggie were First and Third M2, a crew reputed to be serious contenders for spoons. They had been bumped by First Post the day before, so we envisioned John’s would bump them quickly.

Unfortunately, we allowed this negativity to detract from our focus, and our start wasn’t as powerful as it had been in training. Sure enough, John’s bumped up on FaT before First Post, and we were left with the knowledge that we would have to row the whole course. Visibly deflated, our rhythm faltered and the power dropped off. This allowed a determined Sidney Sussex M1 to move on us, and they were half a length from us by the Gut. We managed to walk away from their kill call convincingly, and they themselves fell to a bump from a strong Wolfson M1 behind. With no boats in front or behind, we allowed the pressure to drop to save our energy for the next day.

Day 3 – bump up on FaT M2

We arrived at the boat house more determined than ever, knowing that this day could make or break our bumps campaign. The focus was evident right from the start and the lacklustre performance of the day before was immediately left behind.

The row up felt incredibly powerful and synchronised; there was a tangible determination flowing through the boat. We knew that we had to be quick off the mark, as the Wolfson crew behind us were on for blades and knew that we had nearly been bumped the day before. With this in mind, we set our sights firmly on FaT M2. As the cannon fired we initiated a blistering start sequence. We put so much power down that we had our first whistle during our wind calls, and by our 16th stroke we had secured the bump. We were told that their 6 man had crabbed (evidently out of pure fear of the mighty boar charging towards them) but we didn’t let this detract from what was our best start all term.

Day 4 – row over

Our confidence was high as we rowed up for the last day of Bumps. John’s had bumped a faltering Homerton M1 the day before and it fell to us to knock them down another peg. We reasoned that if John’s could catch them, then we clearly had the potential too, and sat at the start line confident of a great race.

As the cannon fired, all minds were focussed on taking down the M1 crew ahead. Our power off the start was evident, rating in the low 40s and striding on to a very powerful 34. Towards the end of First Post Reach we heard our first whistle, and used it to channel all of our energy and power into each stroke. We called a move coming into the Gut, and by this stage we were gaining fast. About 100 metres before Grassy Corner we were at canvas and were maniacally spurred on by Dr Walker’s continuous whistles. Alas, that stalwart obstacle that constantly stands in the way of Queens’ satisfaction – Grassy Corner – was taking no prisoners today. Our frantic kill call had blinded us to the position of the boat, and before we knew it we had grazed the outside of Grassy as we came round. Visibly stunned for a few seconds, we quickly pushed off the bank after the screams of our coach pierced our shock, and set off again. A battle then ensued between ourselves and the Sidney Sussex M1 crew behind, who were searching for the overbump. Physically exhausted after our front heavy start, we dug deep and pushed hard down the reach, keeping them at bay long enough to row over. We were by no means disappointed with the result, and having been the only men’s crew to move up overall, we went on to Bumps Dinner with our heads held high, proud to have represented Queens’. Bring on the Mays!

Power of the Boar. Karl Anderson (M2 Captain Lent 2014)

Cox – Emily Don

Stroke – Karl Anderson

7 – Rob Piper

6 – Yang Xu

5 – Simon Brunner

4 – Tom Stafford

3 – George Cameron

2 – Tayo Moore

Bow – Malcolm Miller

Coach – Matt Edmonson-Jones