The Club's Results
May Bumps 2014
2nd men's VIII
|2nd men's VIII|
|in Black Prince|
|bow||John Grenfell-Shaw||2||William Gao|
|3||Declan Gorey||4||Rob Stroud|
|5||S-F. Dumitru||6||Matt Crouch|
|7||Alex Strange||str||Steven Evans|
Coxed by: Seema Syeda
I went into this race with mixed feelings: on the one hand I felt that we had a long way and a lot of work to go before we were actually decently prepared for bumps, and on the other Rob exuded blithe confidence that the bump on day 1 was definitely on (although perhaps this was a front to give us confidence in ourselves). My uncertainty was compounded by being told that if we could pull off a fantastic start wed break Christs, and if we couldnt the race outcome wasnt so rosy.
Signs were encouraging on the way up; we had tremendous fun being better at paddling than Queens and listening to Seema have the internal debate were at a canvas off them and gaining fast should I easy?, with a practice start which wasnt perfect but gave me hope for the real thing.
The race itself was composed half of relief and half of frustration. To me our start felt terrible with blades all over the place, although I gather from the bank that we gained on Christs and Queens. Our rowing continued choppy and as we entered the gut things became very hairy as we saw Queens bearing swiftly down upon us and their whistles became more frequent. Thankfully, Queens chose a style of cornering Grassy very familiar to Steven, Matt Crouch and I which bore a striking resemblance to not cornering Grassy and Jesus promptly overtook them, setting the stage for a very satisfying Queens II spoon. The whistles didnt stop, however, giving rise to the sudden realisation that our bump was on! Rowing continued to happen, poorly, down plough reach and up to Ditton where in the bows we were spurred on by the wash we could feel from behind us; 5 feet was the closest we got, according to David Jones. About around Ditton they started to pull ever so gently away and despite our best efforts we didnt have the energy to keep the speed and the rate up. Our plan was to race to the Plough and thats pretty much what happened. Down the reach to me our rowing felt weaker but so much tidier than the rest of the race and something like 32 and Christs gradually opened out their lead. Thank you to W1 for their energetic and invigorating support as we rowed past them!
Bumped by Jesus II
This race was much easier to face than the last one; we knew how much faster Jesus were so our only strategy was to go as hard as we could and hope we hit something else first. Everything else was pretty similar; had a decent paddle up and a moderately better start but we were too panicked to row nicely together which led to the boat being thrown all around. It wasnt a tremendous surprise that Jesus hit us as we got to First Post corner.
Bumped by Hughes Hall
Chased by Hughes Hall, coxed by Rosemary, our primary coach this term, we were pretty certain this race would follow the pattern of the day before. It seemed very unreasonable that in the queues for the toilets we overheard them saying things like with a little bit of training I reckon you could get down to, ooh, about 6:10 pretty easily (although at least today nobody had burnt the toilets down...). Anyway, we set off and the extra resignation played its part and the rowing was much calmer, neater and a lot more fun. We didnt eliminate the wobbles in the first few strokes but it was a lot easier to put down power when we settled into our rhythm and we had a decent stab at a very fast First Post Reach. Im told we moved away from them off the start and gained on Jesus. Sadly the fact that they were better than us showed through pretty quickly and we again got hit just after the corner.
The frustration at bumps shone through on the paddle back, with a desperately slow Pembroke crew paddling back ahead of us, allowing us to gun every single stroke, safe in the knowledge that wed have to easy very soon to avoid stabbing their cox in the back. Some of our best paddling and pause paddling all term; shows that sometimes anger is productive, although sadly not enough to change the race results.
Bumped by Darwin
Even less to say here; we watched Queens get thumped by Darwin before so we knew, again, that the crew chasing us was much bigger, better and faster, and the crew ahead was also much bigger, better and faster. What can you do but sprint for the overbump on Jesus? Back to a race very similar to day 2 without decent cohesion. We all tanked it but I guess our lack of raw power combined with inexperience in how to apply it together properly meant the race was never going to last long. Pulling in on First Post corner gets old very quickly.
Back atbh the now-traditional throwing everyone in the river took place, along with quite a lot of washing the boat half with soap and half with beer. Steven and I thought the best place to participate was probably safely on the balcony in an attempt not to swallow too much Cam water 2 days before May Ball. Sadly I also entered the cardboard boat race. Ah, well. Another set of bumps over and another sorely negative result. And the one thing everybody is glad about - at least we didnt spoon!
Still waiting on those spoons from last year though Rob...