The Club's Results

May Bumps 2001

4th men's VIII

Coxed by: H. Ballmann

Wednesday
Rowed over
The prestigious and enigmatic 1st and 3rd IV (featuring the bow-four all-stars) were today chasing Homerton I, who were in turn chasing LMBC IV. Chasing us were Pembroke III. There was a slightly uneasy atmosphere in the boat-house before the race, as we were warming up along side the Homerton guys, most of whom were considerably bigger than us. However, our knowledge they were basically a boat made up of clumsy PE teachers was reassuring.
A nice brisk row down to the start left us with only two minutes after we had spun before the gun went, but this was probably a good thing. Our start was very controlled considering it was the first day of the Mays, and we made some ground on the Homerton boat. However, our hopes of achieving a giant-killing over bump (and thereby in some sense gaining revenge on the PE teachers for all those laps of the playing field we were made to do at school) were ruined by the arch-enemy, Maggie 4. Yes folks, they were shit. They had all the grace and finesse of Bernard Manning and were equally inept at rowing. They were bumped just before Grassy, but luckily we had anticipated the occurance of just such an eventuality, and our practice row-overs ensured that we had the confidence to do what was now required. By the time Homerton bumped, we had moved considerably clear of Pembroke 3, and with the two boats ahead of us gone, it only remained for us to row over, which we did comfortably, with a ~15 length lead of Pembroke at the Railway Bridge. In order to save energy for the big effort on Thursday, we took the rate down, and floated gracefully and casually past all the admiring women's crews on the bank. At least I think they were admiring us... perhaps it was us that were admiring them. Anyway, Henry's call of "Looking good for the ladies" was greeted with mixed reaction from the bank.
Having demoralised Pembroke 3 by such a commanding victory - we were still increasing our lead even after we took the rate down - we should have no problems from them tomorrow, and will be able to concentrate on pasting the Maggie 4th boat. The only thing that could prevent us doing so is if Homerton send down someone feeble from M3, and LMBC hit them before we can bump. Should that happen, a repeat of today's race will follow. (I hate Chris Tarrant)
Friday
Bumped LMBC IV
A stirring crew pasta yesterday evening should have us all set for a good row and easy bump today. No such luck. From before we were on the water, when it was realised that our blades were gone and we'd have to switch coxbox, the day's rowing was an unsatisfactory experience. Sitting the boat turned out to be too big a challenge for us, and general frustration turned into bitchy complaints and retorts. At least the weather was nice.
These problems plagued us throughout our practice start and race. We bumped, of course, but we did it badly.
Our main objective for the day having been achieved, our motivation appeared to flag, causing the paddling home to be even worse than what we'd seen so far. Tomorrow we do not have such an easy match, and will be required to do better if we wish to move up head of the 4th division (and beyond...). Fortunately, the raceplan plays to our strength, and I believe that if we pull ourselves together we should be able to do it, and row a race to be proud of. (G. Harboe)
It is said that the sign of a good sports team is when it can win without playing well. 1st and 3rd IV certainly did that today, recapturing the coveted 4th boat Headship by bumping LMBC IV at Grassy, despite having a scrappy row down and a shocker of a practice start, as well as rushing and overrating during the race itself. They are capable of much, much better, and will need to produce it tomorrow to topple Corpus II at the head of M4. (Neil)
A rather harsh assessment. (2FaT)
Friday
Bumped Corpus II
We had some complications before marshalling, but the rowing itself seemed to be much more together than yesterday. Rowing down to the start we had a couple of fairly solid practice start and full pressures, and I think we all had a good feeling for the race.
Then a minor disaster struck. Four's (Neil's) shoe came off his footplate. If we couldn't fix this, we'd have to scratch! I for one felt quite sick at the thought. Fortunately, Iain managed to patch it up with some duct tape. We were, if possible, even more psyched than before.
Plenty of time to loosen up on the bank. Relaxed and focused in the boat. A good start: not perhaps the quickest we've done (and we heard later that Corpus moved away from us), but technical and sensible. The surge didn't really happen, but our cox Henry called another one straight after, and we settled into a good, sustainable rythm that would wear down the crew ahead slowly but surely.
An amazing first corner (as we were informed later) took off half a length of distance, and as we really got into the beat of it we just gained continuously on them. The hooters were late in coming, but we were encouraged by the bank party who told us to just keep going, just keep doing what we were doing. Two hooters in Ditton or so, three and four soon thereafter. At that time, Corpus folded and we had our bump! An amazing rush.
Now head of our division, we'd have to row again as sandwich boat in the third. I think we spent the break in between sensibly, and morale was good on the row down. We knew that the crews ahead were likely to bump out early (since Sidney had already bumped Magdalene on the first day, before being overbumped down by Homerton continuing their migration up the divisions), and we'd have to go for the overbump on Jesus III. It was going to be hard, but we hoped possible. (G. Harboe)
Friday
Rowed over as sandwich boat
This race wasn't so technical, but we were putting more grunt force into it. Probably because we were less confident than in our last race. Not bad overall, though, and satisfyingly exhausting: I doubt we could have done much better than we did. In the end it wasn't enough, however. We gained continuously on Jesus, but when we reached the railway bridge without the bank party going totally insane (as they're wont to do when a bump seems likely) we knew we weren't going to catch them. Jesus increased their lead slightly from there, but in the end we had still halved the seven boat lengths that separated us from the start.
There went our blades. It seemed appropriate that the rain started pouring down as we prepared to row home. It was in a subdued mood that contrasted strongly with the excitement after our first race that we brought the boat back to and into the boathouse.
Had we got them, we would have been starting behind our gents' 3rd VIII tomorrow, making for an interesting race as we would try to secure our blades and they avoid their spoons. Now, we will have to row over as head of the division in front of Corpus, which should be more challenging than on our first day, but hopefully not as painful as today's row-over. Then we should be able to bring Magdalene II down to the fourth division and make sure the 4th boat next year will start in the third.
All in all, this day really showed what the bumps are all about, with sunshine, rain, wind and thunderstorms making the weather as diverse as our luck. Although a slightly disappointing result, it's an experience I wouldn't be without. (G. Harboe)
Saturday
Rowed over
Twas brillig and... etc.
Well, we knew we were in for a long hard row-over ahead of Corpus II, but the we were likely to cope better with the rain. In fact, I'd say that row-over was the best race I've rowed in (at least it felt that way). They gained about half a length early on, but we held them off, and as soon as we got into the reach we knew we had broken them. As we strode away, the Corpus coach could clearly be heard telling them "new race" as they were trying to avoid blade-hunters Clare. We won comfortably in the end, and Clare didn't get that close to Corpus, so the top three were unchanged.
Unchanged, that is, unless we could bump Magdalene II. Having been the boat semi-responsible for making us miss blades (although arguably it was Homerton for being too good) we knew we could get them, and they couldn't catch anybody ahead, so we had the whole course to do it. (I hate Chris Tarrant)
Saturday
Bumped Magdalene II as sandwich boat
Henry's cox box ran out on the row down, but through helpful bank partying, and consolidating calls of "controlled..." in the boat, we were able to coordinate bow four with stern four anyway, and we ground Magdalene down with a big effort. Magdalene probably earned their spoons overall, but they gave a decent fight today. (I hate Chris Tarrant)

1. A bit splashy, but m...
2. Stroke 5 ... Full Sq...
3. Chasing Magdalene fo...
[more...]


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