The Club's Results
May Bumps 2006
The famous Cambridge University May Bumps on the River Cam
Wed 14th - Sat 17th June
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Two and a half years I've been waiting for this, now they've finally got what they deserve.
We were a bit unsettled at the start, when I heard a count of 5 I wasn't sure if it was for the start or the one minute gun. Fool. After about 5 strokes it was fine, but perhaps we didn't attack the first minute hard enough. Settled onto a good rhythm at 34, but not as tidy as we're used to in the rough water. The gossip was that Downing were faster than Queens ahead of them, but that didn't seem to be the case, and all three were about on station coming into first post.
Downing weren't cornering well, so we gained a bit, pushed hard down the gut, and closed to within half a length on Plough Reach. With burning legs, we nailed Ditton, and had overlap at the start of the reach. They weren't gonna give us an inch, so we lifted it to 36 and put in back to back pushes until they finally broke at the railings. Churchill never threatened, and were 3 or 4 lengths behind, much like when we were out paddling on Tuesday.
The first day's never a great race, but we got the result and know what to do better. We've got another serious score to settle with Queens, so keep all pets indoors.
We knew that Hall were slow, so we powered off the start much better than yesterday, holding 39 through to the stride. Within a length by first post, and 3/4 when Queens bumped out just before the Plough. Churchill bumped Downing remarkably quickly, so it looked like an easy rowover.
Jesus then ominously rose out of the debris, and looked like they were having a shot at an overbump. We found a nice rhythm at about 5k pace, had to put a bit of work in to leave them a length down at the finish. Impressive commitment from them.
Obviously disappointing that we won't get our blades, but I reckon we've got a chance of bumping Hall tomorrow if raise our level as much again.
Bumped Trinity Hall
We really wanted to get them back for messing us around yesterday. The start was aggressive, and the boat didn't feel especially keen to stride to the really solid rhythm of yesterday. Hall managed to put up a fight for the first minute and half, but by the time we rounded grassy we were taking a foot a stroke, and made the bump at the Plough. I was hoping to get them rather sooner than that, but we hit them so hard that I'm happy.
Tomorrow we've got a great chance to sort Queens out, as they narrowly failed to bump LMBC. Guns.
Of course it was emotional, and I was really dreading the start. But the cannon pulled me back together and only the heat made the rowing harder than previous days. We went off hard as ever, at 39 through 50 seconds, and settling onto a better rhythm than yesterday. Our pushes through the gut and grassy were rewarded with a length call at the Plough. Coming round Ditton I really thought we were gonna do it.
Why not? Queens were resilient, no doubt. For me it was rough water than beat us, the three crews ahead all got closer (apparently Catz had been on the piss), and it's very hard to keep control of the boat. By the railway bridge the doors were falling off, and a modest increase in rate didn't give us any extra speed. Jesus were presumably going for the overbump again, and this time were about 4 lengths back.
It would've been nice to go up more than two, and in particular I reckon we could've bumped LMBC given the chance. Still, we were faster than all the crews around us, and certainly in the top four with Caius, Catz and Jesus. Our training through the term was disjointed, but in some of the racing we did realise the potential we'd been having glimpses of all along.
On the first attempt: FaT were closing slowly on Selwyn who were closing slowly on Churchill - both gaps down to about 3/4 of a length at first post corner I think. Christs and Downing bumped out in the middle of the river at the entrance to Grassy, after Christs suffered a big overhead crab; the Downing boat climbed onto the Christs - looked pretty scary. These entangled crews drifted to the outside of the corner, but Downing were skewed across the river with little room to pass. Selwyn and Churchill kind of got through but were both impeded. Our guys didn't but thankfully no one was badly hurt. You don't stand taking pictures in that situation, but I do have one once Erica seemed ok... it's going up when I have a chance.
OK, so people are waiting to hear what happened on Wednesday...
We had a decent start and were closing on Selwyn coming into Grassy. On rounding Grassy we found Downing and Christ's bumped out, with Downing's stern gradually drifting out further blocking the river. Churchill and Selwyn just made it past on the inside, both crews clipping their blades on the stationary Downing. Unfortunately, three seconds later Downing were far enough out that there simply wasn't space to get past and despite Honey's half-second warning, our blades started hitting their stern and cox. Jo (at bow) was lucky not to be thrown out of the boat as her blade bounced off them. My own blade (5) got lodged on the cox somehow, pushing me backwards into the river over my rigger. We weren't moving by then, so I just surfaced beside my empty seat and held onto the boat as we cleared to the side. There were no racing crews behind us since King's had bumped New Hall very quickly.
We were expecting a technical rowover and thus doubly disappointed on the row home, but the news came in fairly quickly that we had been awarded a re-row on Thursday before the other divisions. As we had been closing quickly on Selwyn, who were just inside station on Churchill, this was great news.
The re-row went very well. We had a slightly shaky start but settled quickly into a strong rhythm and soon had whistles. With half a length to go, Honey called our killer push and were on them within ten or so strokes. One of the best bits of rowing I think we have done, and very satisfying!
We knew that Christ's two ahead would be difficult to save from the bump by Churchill. We did not row our best but I'm not sure we could have made up the further half length that we needed to catch Churchill before they hit Christ's on the entrance to Grassy. As so often, it's disappointing that bumps are determined by the bad crews rather than the good ones, and even more disappointing to hear that the same situation prevented M1 from bumping today. We shall have our revenge on Friday.
We knew what had to be done today and did it pretty effectively. We had them at first post. This was also where Churchill hit Magdelene, so clearing the river turned out to be the most compicated part of the procedure.
This was a much easier race than we expected. Caius II failed to close on us and we had the pleasant surprise of getting the first whistle somewhere around first post (my recollection is not terribly clear). We completed the bump after an extremely tight line around grassy.
Over the last few weeks, we had been steeling ourselves for a VERY tough series of rowovers, having been outpaced by Caius II by some 15 seconds at Champs Head. But in the last week or two something in the boat has clicked together.
This was probably one of the best pieces we've done. Watching Caius fade away was satisfaction enough, but hearing one, two and three whistles in the space of a minute was simply beyond the realms of what we had planned for. And to bump Selwyn just out of Grassy - sweet.
The start was good, moved up very marginally on Selwyn and a good advantage over Caius. First post reach was very even - inching up on Selwyn so slowly that you could barely see it - so that it wasn't until 1st post corner that David finally gave the length signal. Selwyn had a little bit of a wobble through the corner and the guys took 1/4 of a length. And then they were flying - nothing obviously wrong in the Selwyn boat, just going way too slowly. So good.
After that classy practice start outside the Plough, i think we all felt we were in that good zone- that zone of beast aggression and zen concentration. We'd reached that stage where it didn't matter who were behind or infront of us anymore. We were just going to race our own race and follow our own plan.
Our actual start wasn't quite as good as the practice start (my finishes were a bit shit, sorry!) but we settled into a sweet rhythm with excellent focus: when an imperfection in a stroke occurred it got fixed quickly and got forgotten quickly.
But just as i'd buried the urge to chunder under the motorway bridge, and steeled myself for the long ballbusting row-over, there went the whistle!
wtf?! JfC! Huh?
Within a minute it was all over red rover!
I tell you, I haven't felt that elated for a long while. I wanted to jump in the river
And Jenny, cheers for that impeccable line!
Take that, all you hataz!
(and thanks to the selwyn cox too!)
From the bank, it looked like a very solid row. Good stuff! Never in any danger from Selwyn behind, who escaped from being overlapped by Caius II coming into the railway bridge.
The best long piece I've ever done, the boat had rhythm all the way to the finish and we were controlled and together on the pushes, but still powerful, particularly the "60s commitment" really made a difference. It was a long row, but I really enjoyed it.
A fairly average row compared to the last couple of days, but nevertheless a powerful one. We closed on Clare a little, but were not able to put them under much pressure.
It was nice to see Selwyn and Caius disappear off our stern, and by the time we crossed the line they looked about half a Reach away from us.
Bumped by Caius II
Well rowed, Caius.
Well, to be fair,
i don't think we rowed much worse than previous days. We just couldn't match Caius' pushes, especially on the reach when they really barnied. We had a good plan, but we weren't reactive enough. Also, possibly, just a little bit of complacency had set in.
But hey! Considering everything, we did good. It's been an insane rollercoaster. And I wouldn't exchange it!
The crew were in good spirits on the way down, with two beefy starts and a paddling speed which left Pembroke II for dust (good as they were starting ahead of us). LMBC III, two ahead, were reportedly okay and Downing III behind us looked terrible.
A fairly mediocre start with quite a bit of ripping was disappointing, but we quickly settled into a very powerful, long rhythm that would have impressed Pembroke II if they'd be watching. Unfortunately they missed it as they were too busy getting whistles before we'd even strode down. Our usual plan almost held distance with their Bumps pushes, which bodes well: Hopefully LMBC III really are THAT bad.
Of course, our race was just beginning. Miss. Leadbetter neatly steered us round LMBC/Pem and then St.Eds/Christs who were on First Post. This meant Magdalene II were hopefully flailing around somewhere in Plough Reach, just waiting to be overbumped. With this thought we almost took our rate up, and joyfully headed around Grassy.
Disaster! Magdelene II overbumped Clare II! Taking time out from watching Brian's head, I asked Catherine who we should push for now. A sad shake of her head told me all I needed to know (NB: I don't NEED to know any maths).
In hindsight, the quadruple overbump on Girton II would have been eminently possible if we'd ever trained for more than a two minute race. And we'd rowed as a crew. And they'd crabbed. Lots of times. It will be interesting to see how Clare II do over the rest of the week, and of course Magd have put themselves in front of St. Eds, which may prove problematic.
Fitz II behind us made a laughable attempt to overbump us; their cox certainly got very excited. To give them their due, we only stopped twice on the reach - footplate failures, uncertainty of the finish point, and just plain tiredness after a longer piece than some of us had managed in a year - and they must have been within distance before we took it up for the finish.
Bring on LMBC III and the third boat headship, I say.
By freak coincidence the entire crew ran out of suntan lotion with only the back of their necks left to cover. Luckily we are all row-fashion gods (and goddess) and we had all brought baseball caps. A simple 180 spin of the brit-brim-forward style and we were safe from those harmful rays.
Interestingly it seems the 6 man has the b(r)e(a)st pectoral definition, perhaps even pushing for a B cup. Others in the crew are not far behind though and so some form of official measurement is called for before the week is out. If anyone would like to volounteer to be the independent arbiter email djtn2.
In other news we had a solid row over and are looking to bump a Maggie crew on Thursday.
Bumped LMBC III
Basically, it turns out that we're just much slower than we would have liked... I guess that's what happens if you only have 'exactly 10' outing. Fortunately, our row today was incomparably better than yesterday's (while still leaving plenty to be desired!), and our practice burst on the reach is hopefully an indication that by the end of the week we might be capable of a half-decent turn of speed.
In the meantime, we're chuffed about getting the 3rd VIII headship and looking forward to bumping Clare II tomorrow to maintain a pleasing symmetry with the Lents.
Most importantly, my fitness and tan are improving on a daily basis.
The sun was shining, our hats were backwards, the water was calm... but our minds were elsewhere: We were petrified of another rowover.
A major rethink of our race plan (pull really hard. No, no; REALLY hard) and a complete overhaul of our start (maintain for 20 rather than 15) gave us the false hope we needed and again we approached the start in high spirits.
The start was a lot better, and I was quite enjoying myself. We got within a length of LMBC III after 30 seconds and a minute more saw us within half a length. We had to swerve around some bumped out crews ahead and didn't deal well with the cornering. The boat just would not sit - I can't believe I'm saying that given our crew, and that we're in a novice shell. Still! When the canvas whistle came we practially doubled our boat speed (and sat it past the cameraman, which was a nice touch).
The scum hung on for an admirably long time, but we got there. Yay, a headship at last!
PS We did a burst at 36 on the way back that was definitely our best rowing yet. Come Saturday we'll be ready to race!
It seems a culture of humourous and silly reports with little factual basis has become the norm for M3. Excellent.
This was the most erotic bump I can remember. Two giant phallic structures - one red, one blue and gold. The blue and gold approached the back end of the red and ever so gently rubbed up and down the helpless side of the red until their cox gave in.
In other news this was Rupert's first ever headship.
Bumped Christ's II
Thunderbirds performances: 4
I think that tells you all you need to know about this crew.
wow! its a long way to the railway bridge. even though their bank party had decided to whistle continuously once they were 3/4 of a length off we didn't ever give them a chance to close on us. after all the bumps ahead of us this was realistically the best result we could have hoped for. tomorrow, lets do it in 5 strokes please.
Argh. Painful. However, a good gutsy row - showed Mag2 they weren't going to have us! Shame CCAT weren't a little better... would have been so much easier...
On for the bump tomorrow - as Harrie says, let's do it in 5 strokes... maybe less if Clare Hall try another antiphase start... xxx
Bumped Clare Hall
BUMP! Woop! Need to be a little tidier tomorrow tho I think, wasn't as good a start as it could have been. Still, did the job!! xxx
Bumped Churchill II
FINALLY A DECENT ROW! It's been a long time coming.....
We knew Churchill were going to be no Caius but then no Clare Hall either, so the girls just had a decent start and reeled them in. Some 'conservative' whistles by Iain kept everyone on their toes, but they still managed to do it before first post corner.
Roll on New Hall.
Bumped New Hall II
A good way to end the week. This was Zoe's last bumps race, and Jenny's second to last. Satisfyingly it was all over very quickly - they were almost easier than Churchill II. Sadly no blades but a week to be proud of.
Bumped by Vets School
I was on the bank for this one. Really, I didn't think it was a very fair race. The Vets and Addies crews were both considerably more experienced and should be a couple of divisions higher. Unfortunately, their inconsistency from year-to-year means that they stay low, occasionally going up lots. So, W3 got the worst of it here. The girls had a decent start but shortened up under pressure from behind; the lesson for the next race is to keep everything a bit more controlled and not to panic! Good luck!
Bumped by Selwyn II
Basically I think everyone learned a lot from today's race. There were a combination of factors - feeling rushed to spin and get ready, not being prepared for the start gun and therefore not starting properly. Selwyn closed on us very quickly and there was effectively nothing we could do to hold them off. We had to face the fact that we are in the middle of a lot of really good crews and everyone had some take home points after the race
Bumped by Newnham III
Today's race was a massive improvement. We started off really well, starting to make some advance on Selwyn. We held off Newnham quite well, until they started gaining on us very quickly, and again there was nothing we could do to hold them off. We put up a good fight though, and are definitely more prepared for Eddies in the morning
Bumped King's II
Kings faltered as they saw the bright golden glow of the gradVIII storming towards them. We bumped by the motorway bridge, I think we just about fitted in the stride. Tomorrow things seem to have been messed up by this double overbump! I guess it's up to us to get revenge on Corpus for the Vth's.
And why did Jesus have ETANIMOD written on their backs?
Neil means the "motorway bridge".
ETANIMOD is an anagram of NEMATOID, which means 'parasitic worm-like'. Hope this helps.
Good luck boys! Hit 'em with blinding brilliance :)
Double overbumped Sidney Sussex II
Absolutely amazing row. From the 6 seat I couldn't tell how far we were off Sidney, and initially thought we were simply being encouraged. Rounding Ditton into the reach we were more than 8 lengths distant, but closing with each stroke.
As the calls got more emphatic and louder ("No, REALLY, you're going to get them!!!"), and random people on the bank starting joining in, I started to believe we might actually do it.
According to the bank party, Sidney's bow had already crossed the finish line when we smacked into them, cutting it a little fine with barely a stroke left in the race.
Just wrote a huge report then lost it, oh well, here I go again.
Great result! Worse start than yesterday and Corpus bumped out very quickly, they were soon followed by Selwyn, meaning we were chasing at least a double overbump, but we kept plugging away. Grassy didn't go to well, and I had to draw my blade in to avoid the bank but we had a good drive down plough reach and a good Ditton which meant we were at least within sight of them.
When you're told that you're gaining you wonder if that still means the other crew is just a speck. We had a massive lift in the reach and when we heard a four length call we knew it was a possibility. This was accompanied by someone jumping around maniacally on the bank, a sure sign it was on.
Amelia was telling us that she had faith in us, and after we got a 2 length call before the bridge I had faith too. After passing the railway bridge there was a half lenth call and some improvised signals on a bike bell. When you're that far away and running out of river you just have to go for it don't you? We wound it up on the slide spacktastically but obviously better than Sidney managed. Overlap... Amelia steered for the bump... and Mark got them with his blade just before the line... ecstacy!
That make up for missing out in similar circumstance 3 years ago!
We had to pull in at the P&E to change boats, so it made sense to get a libation to celebrate, thanks Erica! Also big thanks to our bank party, Julia, Mike, Christoph and anyone else who joined in.
We know we can improve some things for tomorrow, but a good row up today set us up well. Hopefully we can get a crack at Maggie IV and the IVth VIII headship before the week is out.
I definitely had the best seat for this one - amazing stuff!
The paddle up was really good today, nice and focussed with a pretty good, if a little overenthusiastic, practice start at the Plough. We knew Corpus were likely to go hard off the start so the plan was to try and catch anything that was still rowing ahead of us...
At the start, we weren't ideally positioned with the bungline going taut and the bows swinging around slightly. The first stroke wasn't great and it took a little while to properly get going.
Corpus bumped out early as expected, and fortunately we had enough time to get around them on the outside (not sure Pete Convey would have been best pleased if we'd tried to wangle a technical double-overbump...). Around first post I checked and saw that King's behind us definitely wouldn't be a threat, and so we gritted our teeth and settled in for a long hard slog. Passing yet more bumped out crews down the gut I thought there might not be anything left to chase, but as we came around/into Grassy (oops, the less said about it, the better!) I saw the speck of a crew ahead just going around Ditton. That's a whole lotta lengths but there's always a chance, so we stepped it up a gear and went into our grind push down Plough Reach, bringing the boat speed up nicely.
A tight line around Ditton (thanks Pete and Charles) and a great lift out of the corner saw a further increase in boat speed and at this point I began to wonder whether we might actually be able to get them. They were maybe 8 lengths off at the bottom of the reach, meaning we'd closed 3.5 so far, not bad considering our trip into the bank.
We had a series of power calls and lifts which saw us simply reel them in, we were gaining visibly on every stroke, such that by the time we were half way down the reach we'd closed to around four lengths and I finally could see who we were chasing (Sidney 2). By now we were really motoring and I told the guys the bump was on if they kept their heads and kept at it. The increase in power and sheer determination was superb, we went up another gear and soon closed to about 2 lengths. As the railway bride cast its shadow ahead I knew we had less than three minutes to finish them, but also knew for definite that we could actually get them. We pushed hard off the bridge to within station and kept inching further towards them. By now the golden grads had given it absolutely everything and more, but under the lycra they found just a little extra and the whistles came in quick succession. I saw Mark's blade tantalisingly close to their stern as Morley's Holt, apparently at warp-speed, loomed ever nearer. Finally we made physical contact and held it up, with less than five strokes of the course left. What an amazing feeling, I still can't really believe it happened! Cue wild celebrations in the boat, and some very gentlemanly applause from Sidney (thanks guys!); the only sensible thing to do seemed to be to pull in and grab a quick pint at the P&E before swapping boats with M3 and paddling home in sixes.
Also I forgot to say particular congratulations to Andy Wong on his 50th bumps race today - a double-overbump seems a very fitting way to bring up his half-century!
Bumped by Selwyn III
Good start, not our best stride, but it wasn't too long before we had the first whistle on queens. Got to First post corner and Selwyn still seemed on station. They gained a bit on the corner and our usual big lift in the gut failed to materialise. By this time we'd forgotten about Queens and never heard a second whistle but apparently we got within half a length.
They had much better line round grassy and a HUGE push which we weren't able to co-ordinate one to counter.
Very disappointing as we could definitely got queens before they got Maggie, especially if we weren't worrying about Selwyn. Better corners, communication and more co-ordinated pushes and we'd have been fine, and we know we're capable of all these. I'm sure we're all having our post-mortems, but I'm keen to get out there and demonstrate that we should be the head IVth VIII and that we didn't bump up out of our depth. Would be good to have the whole course to have a go back at Selwyn, but I'm sure they'll have their eyes on a quick bump on Maggie.
Bumped by Corpus II
A much better race today than yesterday. However, Corpus II (already up 8 and rowing for their blades) were simply faster, and caught us on Grassy. Ahead, Selwyn III (also rowing for their blades) had pulled away off the start and eventually bumped LMBC IV (don't know where though).
Thanks to Thursday's stunning rowing, we're still up 4!
Oh well. If we'd been offered up 4 on Wednesday we'd have grabbed it, but that doesn't stop the result seeming somehow disappointing. The key day was yesterday where a not too a bit more and we could have got queens before Selwyn got us leaving us an easy bump today. Instead we were between two fast blading crews. Practise of pushing away from/in to crews would be good for next years crew.
Today we got hit in the gut, so we didn't get the chance to blame Richard Church and Grassy. We still didn't make it round grassy on the row back though!
Good coxing from mark on the way home, but it's never a good idea to let a cox row, it messed up our style completely.
Should day that we're obviously camera shy and coun't perform in front of the french doculmentary crew that have been on our tail the last two days!
We knew we were faster than Corpus II, but had underestimated their superiority to Binson III. Our sprint start failed to catch them, as they bumped out halfway through the Gut. Realising that we had clear water ahead of us, we relaxed and lengthened, as we could clearly see Corpus III behind us stood no chance against the superior Christ's IV. After the inevitable bump occurred, the rest of the race was a head piece as far as we were concerned. We caught a glimpse of the crew behind just before we swung round Ditton, and again at the end of the Reach.
Some faulty directions from a confused marshal just before we set off meant that we pulled in at the P&E and were just about to send Richard off for Pimm's when we were informed that we would actually have to row all the way up to top finish. Determined to make a show of it, we wound up to race pressure for the last fifty metres.
Having kept pace with Corpus III whilst paddling down (with pauses at arms away) we weren't too concerned about being bumped.
Unfortunately, although we gained on the Corpus II crew ahead to show we were the fastest crew in the division, the robinson snails let Corpus off the hook.
A short paddle later we were sitting by the P & E, and had just given our drinks order to Richard when we were warned that a crew could still potentially bump us.. Given we had no binoculars with us to check that far back up the river we took the marshalls advice literally and gave the surrounding female crews a comedy ending.
Well, this was approximately the result we'd been expecting, given the relative speed of Corpus and Binson. I'd told them to race to Grassy; in fact, the end came considerably before that as Binson floundered under pressure. After that there was little question of what would happen. The nearest crews were out of sight behind them so it was down to an easy paddle for the rowover.
The result is disappointing for M5, who are so clearly superior to all of the rest of the division (only Corpus II, now 7 places higher, being of a similar standard). However, tomorrow should give the crew a chance to prove what they are capable of.
Erica (not Pedro)
It was not the ideal position to start from in retrospect behind a pretty strong Corpus II crew which later went on to win blades and go up eight who were sitting behind a very wobbly Robinson III. We set out to go for Corpus quickly, but had no chance in catching them as 'binson quickly cracked and were bumped. At that point, everything behind us for about half a mile had disappeared to, so we were left to row over in what should have been a leisurely affair had we not stopped at the P&E thinking it was the finish after some wayward instructions from a marshal and being informed via loudhailer that we could still 'technically' be bumped there. Red faced, we wound up for the last 20 strokes as we provided a healthy dose of comedy for the Women's division who we're mashalling at the time and all burst out laughing! Still, at least we finished a row over with good natured humour, despite the frustrating position!
Bumped Robinson III
Excellent row; never in doubt :-)
OK I've finally posted the photos from day 2. Sorry for the delay.
Our first real chance to make a move up our division. Robinson III didn't put up much of a fight and we simply rowed up and into them without too much difficulty! Still, it felt good to bump, especially for those of us who hadn't ever bumped before (and subsequently now had a level bumps average!).
Bumped Christ's III
This felt soo good. Christ's were a bit of a wildcard, as they'd just been overbumped down and we had no idea of their standard. But with nothing in front of them and nothing credible behind us, they knew they had nowhere to hide.
We decided to follow our pre-Bumps practice of going all-out for Ditton. As it happened, this was not enough by a long shot - despite some encouraging early whistles, Christ's rallied into the Reach and managed to push us away a bit. A classic push battle ensued, as we gained and lost on them for the entire length of the Reach. By the Railway Bridge, we had inched close enough to affect their steering - their cox realised he would steer into a bump if he tried for the racing line. He went wide and Rich took a perfect corner, and with a huge push out of the bridge we gained overlap. That was the final straw for Christ's, and they crumbled and were bumped out.
This race was massively satisfying - it isn't often you see a proper long-distance duel in the 5th division. Today's race was our longest piece as a crew ever, and it was great to see that we managed to hold it together without spacking out or blowing up. The high point was hearing Rich call for Adam at bow to "take a reeally long stroke, NOW!" as he tried to bladeclip their stern.
We knew Christs III were going to be no pushovers. They'd been double overbumped by the Corpus II crew we were chasing on the first day after suffering technical difficulties, so we knew we could catch them, but they were a fairly large bunch of guys and we expected them to perhaps pull away a bit at the start. The practise start went well and we were feeling quietly confident.
The start didn't go quite according to plan after our reliable stroke again managed to pull an air stroke in the draw for the second time (although to his credit, this was the second draw stroke, not the first, and even though he lost his seat whilst doing this, he got himself back together for the third draw stroke!) but the wind somehow worked nicely and luckily Christs III had a pretty bad start as well.
The boats behind us quickly dropped off, leaving the pair to slug it out down the course. We heard first whistles coming round Grassy I think, then pushed hard up Plough Reach. Some excellent cornering by Rich meant each corner took a fair chunk off their lead. By the time we came out of Ditton, we'd reached three whistles and felt we could catch them, but it's fair to say we weren't perhaps the fittest crew on the river and our longest practise bumps pieces had been to Ditton corner.
What followed was a classic push counter-push the entire way up the Reach. We rowed them down to about a foot but a double semi crab took the speed out of the boat and they started to pull away, but we built it up again. We didn't quite have a killer push inside us, much to the agony of ourselves and the bank party, but neither did Christs. Thankfully, we kept it together to the railway bridge, forcing them wide to avoid being clipped round the corner. From that point on, there was only one way this was going to end, and we bumped about 15 strokes after the bridge.
Although I ached a fair bit, this bump felt fantastic. To make a bump so far down the course for the first time was something special and I felt we'd really earnt that one and a half lengths and position as head of division 5. Little did I know we'd make a habit of these long, hard rows...
Rowed over as sandwich boat
We had a nasty feeling the boats ahead of us were going to bump out, and we ended up going for the double-overbump. Various footplate issues gave us a slightly odd rhythm at times and involved rowing in sixes for about five strokes on the Reach. None the less, we settled into a solid rhythm, determined to repeat our previous performance. We gained considerably on Churchill III, but sadly not nearly enough to give us a chance of reaching them before the finish line.
It's fair to say we were all fairly shattered from our efforts against Christs. We went for a little stroll up the river to watch W3 come through and stretch our legs whilst removing half of the race sponsor's supply of bottled water in their stall. Then came a marshall on a bike shepherding us back to our boat and telling us we'd missed our division slot. Jumping back into the boat, we sneaked into the queue in a familiar spot - behind Corpus II who'd double overbumped on Wednesday.
We knew the row would be hard work. Kings II looked odds on for spoons and the Wolfson II boat we were chasing looked ominously strong. Given the reputation of the bottom of division 4 over the last two days, there was the odd muttering of a double overbump on Churchill but it would be a huge ask. Then again, we did have the fact that rowing over meant having to row over as head of division 5, a slightly daunting prospect and not something we wanted to do before trying to secure a place in division 4 again!
Wolfson II did shoot out the blocks very quickly, pushing away from our fairly tired crew and bumping Kings II in the gut. The crews in front bumped out as well, leaving us with the double overbump as the only option to stay in division 4. Over the course, we did make considerable water on them, but it was never really on. After the high of bumping Christs III, this was a frustrating end to our days racing.
Rowed over Head
Christ's III were itching for a fight today, and we knew it. But after yesterday's epic bump, we knew we could take them on. Christ's did clean up their act, and stayed on station for more or less the whole course, egged on by a surprisingly aggressive Christ's IV directly behind. Our row was tidier and more relaxed, though, and after a start that was miles better than yesterday's we held them comfortably for the length of the course. Our line round Grassy was quite a bit tighter than theirs, and the up-one-down-one call as we swung onto the Reach really saw us find our slogging rhythm, giving us plenty more time on the slide without losing us any ground. We were working hard right across the course, but kept it confident and were never desperately under pressure. Just what we needed to set us up for our next row in the 4th division.
At the start of the week, I'd said to Adam, "We've got to get out of this division. We're better than it." It was a sentiment the whole crew felt. Besides, it would be a bit harsh on next year's FaT V to leave them needing to row over head on their first day of bumps! We knew we were a length and a half faster over the course than Christs III plus we had clear water. We just couldn't afford any cock-ups.
We started off fairly well, although Christs III moved up on us slightly. A small crab on their part let them slip off us slightly towards Christs IV, keen to show up their team mates. From this point on, Christs III never got past station against us. Some strong rowing and tight lines with a few pushes chucked in stretch our lead to over 2 lengths. We took it all the way to top finish, happy with the result, but knowing we needed that one last bump to finish off our bumps journey perfectly.
Bumped King's II as sandwich boat
After some well-earned bananas and malt loaf, we found ourselves pulled in right by the Lock, ready for our next race. After our solid row-over, we were focussed and confident.
King's II, on the other hand, were a very nervous crew. They were on for spoons, and we were a wildcard crew to them, having just come up from the 5th division. As we loitered and chatted on the bank, they sat stiffly in their boat for the last fifteen minutes before the start. They were pushed off a good minute and a half before the gun, and spent some time sitting alone in the middle of the river looking rather bemused. Their nervousness turned out to have an edge of desperate determination.
Our start was by all accounts no worse than theirs, though we had feared they would push us away initially. Halfway down First Post Reach we were informed that they had crabbed out, but they obviously recovered fast and we didn't gain significantly.
Once we started cornering, though, we began to push up on them. The first whistle came in the Gut, and we got two whistles coming around Grassy. A huge push into the Plough Reach, energised by the cheering from the Plough, and we had overlap on Ditton Corner.
Surprisingly, they somehow managed to steer clear of the bump on the corner. It was rumoured after the race that we had actually bumped them here, but Adam at bow felt nothing. Down the Reach we had more or less continuous overlap. I don't know how many "Bumps 10" pushes we put in, but about halfway down the Reach we were shattered. Rich was taking the racing line, but their cox steered away from the bump and so we had significant overlap without hitting them. Urged on by Iain, Rich began to drift into them for the bump, but it felt like an eternity before we finally made contact.
By this point virtually nobody else was racing, so we had plenty of time to pull in to the bank and succumb to fatigue and elation before taking it on home. A fantastic conclusion to a challenging set of bumps.
Hurrah! Well done guys! Another fantastic race taking it teeth-grittingly down the Reach. King's II started badly, had a couple of small crabs coming around the corners, but put up a great fight to keep ahead until Ditton. A massive push past the Plough took M5 to overlap, but it was only half-way down the Reach after a good minute of continuous whistles that the umpire declared the bump.I'm fairly sure it happened at Ditton actually, but that's a bit academic. Really determined rowing, as we have seen all week from M5. These guys knew they could do it and just went out and held on for it. Congratulations on the 4th division place!
Erica (not Pedro)
I had hoped that the crew had mentally prepared themselves for a fairly long race. King's had stepped up their game from the start of the week, and were determined to avoid their spoons. Their pushing out at 90 seconds to go confused me initially, I really thought they were going to set off at the minute gun - but as it were they didn't go and stayed pushed out, meanwhile the breeze had left their bows pointing at a funny angle.
I was slightly worried that King's would push away from us initially, and that M5 would panic slightly if we were outside distance early on, but as it turned out, we held station all the way up until a King's crab just before 1st post. King's recovered only 1 stroke later, but from then on, we started moving up. Coming through Plough Reach, the boys had just gotten their 3rd whistle and a nice line into Ditton forced King's a little wide. I thought that there was a very slight glancing bow-on-stern contact as we exited the corner (and I wasn't the only one to see it) - but the King's cox didn't conceed, and the JU didn't indicate anything to that effect - so a chase down the reach was needed to make certain of the bump. Every bumps push we put in was countered by King's trying their hardest to push us back - but our pushes took *slightly* more than theirs every time. At one stage our bowball was right up just beyond their strokeman, and one last beefy surge and we made a much bigger contact than the one out of Ditton - the bump occuring just before the White House. The King's cox didn't conceed again, but the umpire informed us that we had been awarded the bump. All credit for King's for holding us off for so long and making the crew work hard for the bump. All in all, a great performance for the week - some really impressively long bumps and satisfying row-overs - and it's been great to have bank-partied you this week.
Kings II were a bit of an unknown. They were on for spoons and our grads had caught them in 30 strokes, but they'd held off a very quick Wolfson II crew the day before. To catch them, we really had to empty the tanks (excuse the cliche!).
We set off fairly strongly, holding them to station coming round first post corner. A well timed crab round Grassy let us move up half a length on them as we weaved through the glut of crews who'd bumped in front of us.
As we turned on to Plough Reach, we came into view of the small army of FaT supporters lining either side of this part of the river. It's amazing how much strong support can lift you when you're hurting and tired. This pushed us up to within a cover of Kings II by the time we reached Ditton, the three whistles hinting that this could almost be over.
Another good line round Ditton left us with overlap on Kings II. On the towpath, their was heated discussion of whether we had grazed their stern with our bow on the corner, but none of us in the crew were aware of this.
By this point, Kings II had firmly ensconced themselves on the meadow side of the reach whilst we had exited the corner tight to the towpath. Rich gently guided us towards them for the bump. Kings had nowhere to go, but the crew was nearly ready to crack. A couple of killer bumps pushes still didn't give us contact, but eventually, after what seemed like forever, we reached their side of the river. With Rich screaming that two's blade was inches away, it was now or never. The final killer bumps push took us that last inch, with Kings II still refusing to concede (although who could blame them when they'd held out so far trying to avoid spoons), but the marshall eventually gave us the bump half way up the reach.
Shattered but happy, we pulled into the bank for our greenery, having earnt our position in division 4 the hard way! A fantastic end to a tough week for our crew. It's been a pleasure rowing with them! Thanks to Erica for her coaching (and subbing!) for our crew throughout the term and to Adam for not lashing out at a stroke who was a 'bit' of a slide rusher and never moved forward when we were spinning.
Rah Rah First and Third!
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the following information, note that the results are unofficial.
Men's bumps charts
Women's bumps charts
|Overbumped - hit the crew 3 in front
|Bumped the crew in front
|Row over head of division
|Row over - did not bump
|Got Double overbumped
|Got Triple overbumped. D'oh.
Michell Cup points
|1st and 3rd||22.50|
Ineligible after entering fewer than 3 crews:
Full May Bumps results archive
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