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The Club's Results

May Bumps 2006

5th men's VIII

Coxed by: R.R. Fenn

Rowed over
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. (Magnus Jones)
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. (Ad)
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) (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! (Andy S.)
Bumped Robinson III
Excellent row; never in doubt :-)

OK I've finally posted the photos from day 2. Sorry for the delay. (Albert)
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!). (Andy S.)
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. (Magnus)
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... (Andy S.)
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. (Magnus)
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. (Andy S.)
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. (Magnus)
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. (Andy S.)
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. (Magnus)
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) (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. (Richard)
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! (Andy S.)

1. A few minutes later!
2. Pushing some more on...
3. The fight continues...

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