We knew when we rowed down to station that Pembroke was much slower than us, and that Girton was about the same speed. The strategy was to "row like we do at practice", not do anything extravagant, and hope we get Pembroke. We had lost to Girton by 1/4th of a length at Pembroke regatta, despite them being a bigger crew and having an advantage in the headwind, so we knew we had it in us to hold them.
That was the plan.
What actually happened: in the stress of the first day, Keval forgot to grab the bung when pushing off, and ended up pretending to have it in his hand while Sam was conspiculously throwing him the handle. We were all a bit unsettled when the canon went, but the first few stroke decent. We struggled to hit a rhythm, and some dodgy strokes before FP corner made us become a bit frantic. But Pembroke was having an even harder time, and Girton didn't seem to be moving much, so we just ... continued. Until we heard a whistle. We stayed for a while at two whistles, and then started moving on Pembroke again, faster, until we got continuous whistle just at the entrance of Grassy. I started to be able to see their canvas from the corner of my eyes, until I had to miss a stroke lest the loom of my blade pass through their stern, or their cox.
Keval had been steering for the bump, and ended up quite close to the inside of the corner, so it would seem that some people in the stern didn't know we had bumped, and thought we had hit a tree on the inside of Grassy. (We waited for Pembroke to get away, and had to clear, until we could celebrate properly). Luckily, the bump happened just in front of a FaT contingent, with Imogen taking some video footage of our bump, and the confusion caused by Girton failing to clear the corner and parking on the outside of Grassy.
Overall, a very promising result, and a great start for Queen Elizabeth I: first race, first bump! What's even better is that there is more speed to come!
This crew wasn't meant to go up three. With four rowers fresh from their novice term, this term would surely be one of crafting victories from defeats, with a view to Mays and beyond. Thankfully, with four rowers fresh from their novice term, this crew didn't know that.
On Saturday, I joined the racing at Ditton: a headwind, and under a length (I guess) to Christ's. It was on. As on Friday, there was a good rhythm to the boat, bringing a deserved three whistles around the kink. Each move was emphatic; Christ's lost ground with every push, their responses only partially stymieing Lizzie's advance.
In the end, it looked easy: Christ's broke, and the women came into them strongly, forcing a clash of blades and an umpire's judgement of the bump under the Railway Bridge.
At this point, as an occasional coach of a successful crew, it is traditional to eulogise. That seems out of place here. This crew is just getting started, and I refuse to put a work in progress on a pedestal. Their virtue is to approach rowing with smiles on their faces and steel in their legs. As a result, with the guidance of Will McDermott and the leadership of the senior crew members, they are now one of the faster crews in the women's division. However, there's still plenty of physical and technical progress to be had, and I hope the crew is excited about that! Have a great time at WEHoRR - you'll be up against a lot more than 130 boats, but at least history's on your side.
We did not anticipate any threat from Queens M1 behind us, and so our focus was on trying to bump Jesus M1. Unfortunately, our rowing was untidy and overexcited, trying to use brute force that we didn't really have. We didn't really get anywhere near Jesus M1, and by the time we got to the Reach they had pulled away quite convincingly and so our bank party got us to take the rate down. (Chris E.)
This time we had a real threat behind from Peterhouse M1, and JPD had warned us that if we rowed like we did yesterday we were going to get bumped. We found more calmness and solidity right from the start, and it soon became apparent that Peterhouse were not getting particularly close. Thus we were able to keep calm through the corners. Out of Ditton we took a push and started moving away from Peterhouse M1. We kept moving throughout the Reach, and finished a long way ahead of them. (Chris E.)
My collar broke. Bummer. Despite at least 30 crabs it still took Peterhouse till the exit of Ditton to hit us. (Ben)
We went into this race with a lot of optimism, having seen off Peterhouse M1 yesterday and with the descending Pembroke M1 crew ahead of us. We had some very messy strokes in the start, but then things seemed to settle down and I was not particularly worried. But then the messy strokes happened again and the balance of the boat became very chaotic, before seeming to settle down again for a while. Again and again this kept happening, and it quickly became apparent that something was wrong. In fact the button (also known as the collar) of our stroke-man's oar had broken, meaning that he kept getting stuck with his blade at the wrong angle, unable to take the stroke and instead slowing the boat down. Peterhouse gradually gained on us, and were clearly dangerously close by the time we came out of Ditton. We tried to hold them off with some increase in pressure, but we got bumped a short distance along the Reach. (Chris E.)
We were angry after yesterday, but also somewhat hopeful that we might be able to bump Peterhouse M1 back given how far we moved away from them on Thursday. I don't think we rowed quite as well off the start and around the corners as we did on Tuesday, and Christ's M1 managed to get inside station. But then, coming onto the reach, we had a push that brought more power and a big rhythm, and at that point it felt like we were going to move away and probably get the bump on Peterhouse M1. Unfortunately, we were possibly going slightly too all-out with power and becoming incautious with platform. Or maybe we just got unlucky. Either way, a crab brought an end to our move, we did not manage to recover it in time, and Christ's M1 caught us. (Chris E.)
Having come back from almost a year of injury, and sporadic training I was excited for a strong bumps campaign in the highest men's crew I had ever been in.
We had a good term, coming together and really brought it together in the last day or so before bumps. On the day, it simply got even better and felt slicker.
We pushed out, with little time sitting out in the river due to the wind, and off the cannon went. First day nerves came into our start, but we held it together and came to a nice rhythm.
I had never bumped before, and over 16 days of bumping races, my average per day was a solid -1. This time was different though. I heard whistles being called from the bank party at an angle I had never heard them from before - our own bank party. We kept the pressure on Darwin, and really took it to them. A few more strokes later and we took them out on First Post corner.
As our coxswain called "Hold it up!", I was a bit too keen and managed to nearly eject myself with a crab. As I sat up, and right myself, and we were pulled in by those on the bank I must admit that for the first time I shed some tears of joy. It felt like the culmination of two years of my time in First and Third, and to bump was simply splendid.
We went in to this race knowing we had a reasonable chance of bumping, but there were no guarantees. Despite starting pointing 45 degrees away from the bank, a call for strokeside pressure got us back on track and we started gaining on Darwin W2 fast. By about 20 strokes in, we had got our first whistle and started to get excited. We held it together and soon got to three whistles. Unfortunately, this we when we caught a crab, but a speedy recovery meant we barely lost touch with Darwin and were soon at continuous whistles. Darwin's cox conceded just before First Post Corner, after we had rowed a mere 52 strokes. Jesus W3, who were chasing us, failed to make any move on us. Overall it was a great first day, especially considering it was the first bumps race 8/9 of our crew had ever races. After a fantastic row home, day 2 looks like it will be exciting! (S.L.C. Maclean)
From what we had seen the previous day, we knew we could be faster than Queens' W2. The only issue was that Queens' were also faster than Murray Edwards W2, who they were chasing. Our start wasn't quite as strong as the previous day, but we strode into our rhythm and at times got within a length of Queens'. Unfortunately Queens' bumped Medwards shortly after First Post Corner. We had a reset and settle in for a longer race. Coming in to Plough Reach, Lucy Cavendish/ Hughes Hall W2 were about 4 lengths ahead of us and we were aiming for the overbump. Coming round Ditton, the headwind hit. Lucy Cav/ Hughes Hall took a push shortly after and, though we moved on them, always managed to fight back and keep us away. We stayed strong until the end though, and produced a technically decent row. The final result was a row over, with no risk of any crew behind catching us.
Going in to today, we knewbumping Medwards was going to be fairly straightforward. Our start was okay, but still not back to the power we had on day 1. Part way through the start sequence, Jesus W3, who were chasing us, were awarded an albeit generous whistle. This caused a bit of panic and a crab, but we recovered and kept moving on Medwards, soon getting a whistle ourselves. This was when Hughes Hall, who were three crews ahead of us, bumped St Edmund's and the two crews failed to clear quickly, causing Queens' to not take First Post Corner as well as they could have done. Soon Medwards had a whistle on Queens'. At this point, we called a push and got to within half a length of Medwards, whilst Queens' simultaneously recovered and pulled away. By the Gut, we had three whistles and were still moving. We bumped on Grassy Corner, with our bow's blade hitting their stern. Another successful day for W2! (S.L.C. Maclean)
After a term of solid endeavour towards regaining the M3 headship, M3 initiated their 2017 Bumps campaign with quiet confidence, with M4 having beaten the reigning M3 headship holders LMBC in sparring the week before.
Nevertheless, the unique format of Bumps provided for an interesting set of challenges. M3 set off perhaps auspiciously, stroke missing the first draw, as if to wave to the other boats in competitive greeting.
Since NM1 had outpaddled Clare Hall M1 some time in week 6 last term, we had hopes of a success today. These hopes were fulfilled rather later than expected, with a smooth line from Neil wiping out the opposition at the apex of Grassy.
This is one step forwards, a kill which was prolonged in coming, and one which will be renewed in the next few days.
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