We arrived at Henley Thursday evening with eager anticipation for KCBC womens’ first attempt at Henley Women’s Regatta in recent memory. Our confidence was boosted by a successful May Bumps bumping up four but in our typical pattern for the term, we had been unable to get any outings with the full crew prior to Henley Women’s due to May Week. We had our first row as a Henley crew and a taste of Henley’s famous course early Friday morning before the race which went well. We knew we would be up against a challenging field, with only 16 of a field of approximately 30 university crews qualifying. After a bit of a boat traffic jam getting to our start position and a log in the middle of the course, we got up to our starting position and took off. We had a really great start that felt strong and fast, as was the remainder of the row as we settled into a good rhythm. Although we did not qualify, we were all pleased that we rowed our best, pushed as hard as we could, and had a good row. Our time was only 11 seconds off the qualifying time and we were faster than some other university crews, which is not too shabby for a Cambridge college crew and our first HWR experience!
|M1||0||0||+1||0||+1||9th in Division 1|
|W1||0||+1||+1/+1||+1||+4||16th in Division 1|
|M2||0||-1||-1||-1||-3||4th in Division 4|
|W2||0||+1||+1||+1||+3||6th in Division 4|
|M3||0||-1||-1||-1||-3||8th in Division 5|
M1: [Bow] Chris Jones,  Ollie Sluijters,  Adam Townson,  Tom Watson,  Fletcher Williams,  Conor Burgess,  Conor Bacon, [Stroke] Lachlan Jardine, [Cox] Will Miller, [Coach] Chris Smith, [Boat] Adrian Cadbury.
M2: [Bow] Ash Simkins,  Will Miller,  Theo Di Castri,  Joe Gaffney,  Ed Bentley,  Simon Butterworth,  Kittiphat ‘Am’ Chanthong, [Stroke] Kert Putsepp, [Cox] Anthony DeSouza-Edwards, [Coach] Chris Braithwaite, [Boat] Vicky Wade.
M3: [Bow] Louis McBride,  Filp Gokstorp,  Sam Trueman,  Elliot Bell,  Ali Hussain,  Jasper Montana,  Henry Morgan, [Stroke] Philipp Heckmann-Umhau, [Cox] Louis Shankar, [Coach] Kittiphat ‘Am’ Chanthong, Ollie Sluijters, Lachlan Jardine and Conor Burgess, [Boat] The Lady Jo’anna.
W1: [Bow] Sophie Harrington / Saki Shinoda,  Antoanela Siminiuc,  Ellie Archer,  Isabel Barnes,  Christina Woolner,  Liz Dzeng / Nicoletta Knoble,  Kate Erin, [Stroke] Fanny Belais, [Cox] Colette Bane, [Coach] Roger Thorogood and , [Boat] Leo Sharpeston.
W2: [Bow] Saki Shinoda,  Elizabeth Byrne,  Anna Bachmann,  Hana Lewington / Agnes Cameron,  Amy Roberts,  Vanessa Tyler,  Niamh Mulcahy, [Stroke] Phoebe Thomson, [Cox] Rebecca Vaa, [Coach] Callum Picken, [Boat] Jolly Roger.
W1 – Bumped Murray Edwards and Selwyn
In our full crew for the first time this Bumps, we rowed up to the start filled with confidence from our bump on Trinity Hall yesterday. We knew Murray Edwards might be tough to catch today but we were determined to bump them and carry on upwards into the first division. Coming past The Plough our practise starts were strong and secure. When the cannons finally went we had a solid start and quickly gained a whistle on Murray Edwards. As we came around First Post Corner we continued to creep up on them and before long had progressed to two whistles. Expert coxing from Colette meant we had continual overlap all the way around Grassy Corner and Murray Edwards finally conceded coming in to Plough Reach, giving us a position at the top of Division 2 and the chance to row again later to seal a place in Division 1!
So an hour later we found ourselves waiting for the start gun again, chasing a strong Selwyn crew who we knew would prove more elusive than Murray Edwards. However, with no one chasing us we were confident we would be able to row them down over 2k and go for our second bump of the day. Starting from bottom station this time, we had another strong start and were just settling down into a rhythm when we got a whistle on Selwyn, much earlier than anticipated. This was just what we needed and we upped the pressure and continued to gain on them, dealing well with the outflow under the motorway bridge which caused us so many problems last year. Before long we had continual whistles and had bumped them before First Post! This means that, for the first time since 2011, King’s W1 has a place in the first division. We are hoping to continue our winning streak with a bump on Catz tomorrow!
M1 – Bumped St. Catharine’s
The third day of bumps was warm and close, but we had something to prove. We knew ourselves to be far better than we had been in the previous two days, and today was the day we would show that. Our aim? Hit Catz. Quick and hard. Our paddle down was our best of the week, despite the slight fatigue starting to set in. A confident warm up, which was not affected by the apparent psychological games Catz were playing behind us had us feeling good. After a clean tap spin on station we pulled in to gather ourselves for the race.
Soon enough the 4 minute cannon sounded and we were back in to the boat, heads in and ready to achieve what we set out to do. A quick start sent us flying towards the motorway bridge and into the rough water churned up by the crews ahead and the outflow. Completely unphased by this, we glided over the choppy waters and settled in to an attacking rhythm. Just as our strength showed small signs of faltering, Will called a lift and the response from the crew was phenomenal. Flying in to First Post Corner we got our first whistle. Upon exitting a mere few strokes later we had overlap. It was all over very soon after that. Mission complete. Catz were taken down in the exact spot they met their end in Lents. This was our best race all week, later than we had hoped, but heading in to the final day we knew what our objective was now. Lay to rest any doubts in our mind that we can get Clare.
W2 – Bumped Clare W3
M2 – Bumped by Darwin M2
M3 – Bumped by Churchill M3 (Technical result)
M3 – Bumped by Pembroke III
Preparation for day two was not going well: we’d lost a member of the crew to injury and had had to find a last-minute sub. Nonetheless, we had nine people by the time we pushed off, so it could’ve been worse. Worse didn’t take too long. We made it to our station with a good practice start, where we were given some bad news: Tit Hall hadn’t turned up, so the boat in front of us (Jesus M4, who we were confident we could catch) got a free bump. This left us in a difficult position: we had no chance of bumping and were being chased by the formidable Pembroke M3. A wonky start got us going at a decent pace: Pembroke were soon gaining, though, and we just had to last as long as possible. Whistles were blaring by Grassy Corner, where they caught us on the apex. A difficult piece of parking awaited – we managed to not hit Queens’, though – but we pulled in and relaxed. An unfortunate stroke of luck had gotten us bumped but two more days were left and we still had a small chance.
W1 – Bumped Trinity Hall
It was a confident King’s W1 that rowed up to marshal, if not the same crew as the day before. While our trusted stroke Liz was back, a knee injury confined her to six as Fanny continued to bring her Blues skills to stroke seat. The ever-suffering Nicoletta found herself rowing yet again, while bow seat had a new occupant. As a rag tag crew we set out determined to bump Tit Hall. They had been caught early by Jesus W2 on the first day, making us reasonably confident that we could make short work of them, and our row over ahead of Darwin W1 the day before suggested we could hold them off. After a slightly rocky start, leading to incapacitated thumbs, we quickly gained on Tit Hall, getting whistles as we rounded First Post corner. Coming through the gut we continued to gain rapidly on the crew in front, with Tit Hall conceding just as we rounded the inside of Grassy Corner. As we tried to clear the river, we found ourselves being chased rapidly by Darwin and Magdalene W1s, which were approaching a bump, preventing us from clearing to the opposite side, and leading to a rather unfortunate position directly on the inside of Grassy Corner. Once the final crews in the division had passed, we crossed the river to bedeck ourselves in greenery. Tomorrow we face Murray Edwards W1 and a chance at the coveted position of first division sandwich boat.
W2 – Bumped Queens’ III
W2 set out eager to improve on Wednesday’s row over, and bump on Queens’ III who obstructed us the previous day on our chase for an over bump. A couple of clean and controlled practice starts on the row up left us feeling optimistic for the race. After a much more controlled start than the first day we took the rate up to 30 and settled into our rhythm. Just before the motorway bridge we got our first whistles on Queens’. Within a minute we closed the gap down and gained overlap, and despite their reluctance to concede, bumped them shortly afterwards, with bow’s blade close to hitting the cox. A great row, and the first bump for many of the crew.
M1 – Rowed over tenth in Division 1
M1 knew we had to row better than yesterday; first to ensure Christ’s didn’t get anywhere near (“shut the door on them boys”), and secondly to give us the best chance of catching Clare (on the seventh consecutive attempt in three years). A much stronger start, and a flying, light and loose rhythm through the motorway bridge and up First Post reach saw us close to within 3/4 of a length of Clare, and leaving Christ’s three or more lengths behind. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite hold this rhythm into and around First Post corner, so we lost a lot of speed and the boat became pretty heavy. Clare started to move away, and up onto St Catharine’s, whom they bumped on the Long reach, leaving us to row over well in front of Christ’s. A better row than Wednesday, but still a reasonable way off our best, which we fully intend to bring tomorrow.
M2 – Bumped by Fitzwilliam II
M2 – Rowed over head of Division 4, Rowed over as Division 3 sandwich boat
At the start of Mays, King’s M2 is back in its favourite position: sandwich boat. Having not gotten enough of the 7 races in Lents, we were determined to knock out at least another 5 in Mays. In our first race as head of the M4 division, the pressure was on as Clare III were hot on our heels. Consistent power in the first half of the race allowed us to stay comfortably ahead until Clare were bumped out by Fitz II. The rest of the course was plain sailing (or should that be rowing?), with just enough motivation from the distant Darwin boat to keep us focused until the very end. We span and headed back to marshal for the greater challenge of the day: chasing Jesus III at the bottom of the M3 division. A strong start looked promising, as we gained on Jesus up to a boat length away. However, exhaustion from the earlier race was beginning to show; we kept the pressure on Jesus and were never more than 2 lengths away until the bitter end, but ultimately could not bump them. We shall be returning for round 2 on Thursday.
W1 – Rowed over third in Division 2
After a month of injury-illness-exam mayhem, W1 rowed down to marshaling in a never-seen-before line-up (including a last minute change to our stroke) with very little idea of what to expect from our row. We knew Jesus II would likely gain quickly on Tit Hall at the head of the Division, and Darwin would be fast on our tails, eager to repeat their Blade performance of Lents. Some solid practice starts on the way down gave us a bit of confidence, and our faithful bank party – Roger, Stan, and our injured-stroke Liz – gave some final words of encouragement as the canons went, and then we were away! A solid start gained us a bit of distance on Jesus II, though around First Post Corner we saw them pulled over already, having caught Tit Hall in not much more than a minute. With no one left in the Division to chase, we knew we had a long slog ahead of us, with Darwin looking strong behind us. We rounded Grassy, and then Ditton corner rowing more or less on station, helped by the expert lines of our indubitable cox. A very unusual tailwind up the Long Reach, and the steady rhythm set by the first Blue King’s has seen in awhile (Fanny) now rowing at stroke, helped us keep Darwin at bay. And so we rowed, under the Railway Bridge, past the P&E, and on to the top finish. A gutsy row from a boat of waifs and strays ended with King’s fourth row-over of the day (with 2 more to come). Special thanks to super-sub Saki for enduring her second row-over of the day, and our insuperable-to-all-illnesses captain Nicoletta for jumping into the boat at short notice. Once back to our regular (if that exists?) line-up on Thursday, Tit Hall should be very afraid!
M1 – Rowed over tenth in Division 1
The crew arrived at the Porta-Cabin with a sense of determination. Having rowed-over behind Clare every day in last year’s Mays, we were intent on moving up. The crew was a mix of experience and young talent — some of the crew had not raced Bumps before, but we had all put the effort in during training to create a fast, capable crew. Warm-up and marshalling proceeded as usual, although the boat was tense, inevitable on the first day of Mays. The race started with a bang; our start was unsteady, less controlled than during training. The crew knew that we had to put our best rowing in to catch the fast Clare boat. Unfortunately, we never managed to find the rhythm and pace that was needed to move up on the crew ahead. Christ’s M1 behind us kept pace well, but were not fast enough to trouble us — we were focussed on the target in front. Clare were slowed by some of the unpredictable turmoil of Bumps racing, and we were able to pull close, but by the time we moved onto the Reach, our speed dropped and we didn’t have the edge that would have allowed us to close and make the connection. As a crew we couldn’t find the unison to allow us to improve our form, and Clare kept putting distance between us. We finished the course downhearted, without attacking Clare much throughout the race. Although we couldn’t secure a bump, the day’s race has given the crew renewed ambition, valuable experience, and more reason to finally move out of 10th place.
M3 – Rowed over fifth in Division 5
Bumps had arrived. Uncertain of our future and wondering quite how we’d managed to get there, we had a gentle but sensible row down to the P&E. We then proceeded onto the Reach and then had a decent practice start past the Plough. We span and got ready: with the first gun tensions were high but we were ready. Pushing off with only around 15 seconds to go, we had a hurried start but got on our way. We kept up with Queens’ for the first two corners but they gradually pulled away to get an over bump; behind us, boats quickly bumped out, leaving us with plenty of clear water. By the middle of the Reach, we had no other boats in sight: this was a surprise, we didn’t expect to make it so far. Energy was waning but we kept going. Winding down slightly as we went under the railway bridge, to the cheers of waiting M4 division, we persevered down to the finish line (the location of which was somewhat uncertain) before relaxing and realising that we had, against all odds and expectations, rowed over.
W2 – Rowed over ninth in Division 4
W2 entered into day 1 of bumps off of the back a solid GoR race. The draw saw us chasing Christs III and being chased by Jesus IV. We knew we were fast and that when we kept it controlled we rowed well, the challenge was keeping it that way under the pressure of bumps. Despite a rushy start we kept pace with Christs who bumped Queens quickly before the motorway bridge. We were left with the overbump on Darwin II. A challenge, but not impossible. We gained on Darwin, narrowing the gap and settling into our rhythm. Queens’ however, decided this was a good time to cross sides. Spanning the width of the river, we clashed blades and came to a stop. For what felt like minutes we sat watching Jesus approach. Sharp and quick, Rebecca got the crew’s heads back in the boat. We pulled off again and pushed Jesus away. Darwin by this time had bumped Clare and we were left to row home. A slightly disappointing first day, but bolstered with the encouragement of the ever increasing distance we made between ourselves and Jesus and the promise of catching our new nemeses Queens’.
This year’s May Bumps run from Wednesday 10th June to Saturday 13th June. Support from everyone and anyone would be very much appreciated on every day of Bumps, but in particular KCBC will be hosting our annual marquee on First Post Corner from 11:30am on Saturday 13th June.
Our team at the marquee will be supplying refreshments throughout the day (Strawberries and fizz will be available for a small fee), from 11:30am – 6:00pm. The marquee is free to attend, and you can reserve a car parking space by emailing Kate Erin (parking spaces are available based on needs first, and then first come, first served).
Division times for each crew can be found in the table below, but they may be subject to change and delay.
|M1 (Men’s First Division)||19:45||17:45|
|W1 (Women’s Second Division)||17:30||15:30|
|M2 (Men’s Fourth Division)||15:15||13:15|
|W2 (Women’s Fourth Division)||13:45||11:45|
|M3 (Men’s Fifth Division)||14:30||12:30|