M1 – Rowed Over
In what must be one of the most uneventful days of bumps for the men’s first division, King’s M1 held position by rowing over, one of 14 rowovers in that division today. We knew that we were going to be up against it to get a bump on Clare, a crew who had produced some very encouraging results this term, however a strong last week of training gave us belief that we could hit them. We were starting on station 10, one of the worst starting positions on the river as we would be unable to pick a straight line to the corner off the start. This position did affect us, as in an effort to get as close to a straight line as possible led to Will being right on the end of the chain and unable to straighten the boat before the start. Nonetheless, we didn’t let the rudder affect us too badly off the start as we really ramped up the boat speed and started to gain on Clare. This was slightly unexpected as they had routinely left us for dead off the start in Lents. We continued to gain up the first half of first post reach as we moved towards our race rhythm. As we hit the rhythm, Clare started to extend the gap from just over a length out towards station again. Unfortunately, we had settled onto a slightly slower rhythm than was ideal, making things a little more difficult for ourselves. This, together with some fairly scrappy rowing and just clipping a barge on the inside of grassy meant that Clare were almost exactly on station ahead coming onto plough reach, with Christ’s sitting the same distance behind. This would have been the ideal opportunity to close the gap, but we couldn’t quite find the speed that we’ve had in training recently and so once out onto the reach, Clare opened up a little further as they chased the bump on Queens’ but thankfully behind us Christ’s never looked like seriously moving on us, putting in a huge push to get just within a length on the finish line. Overall it was not a disappointing day as we remained level but with so much improvement to be made, we are still looking good for the rest of the week.
M2 – Rowed Over
The mid-afternoon sun beats down through the clouds. A light breeze disrupts the surface of the water, sending the calm Cam into a tumultuous tapestry of colour – vaguely reminiscent of a Monet painting of Argenteuil.
Having pushed out and rowed along to the P&E, we are left stranded on the bank due to the carnage in the division before us. We are powerless to do anything other than discuss tactics in the scorching sun, vaguely attempting to psyche out Clare Hall with tactics and Padge’s ‘jokes’.
Eventually, we are allowed (well, commanded) to proceed to the start. Nerves and tensions rise with every metre as we near our station. Sandwiched in second between Clare Hall in front and Caius behind, we spin and get ready for the first race. The first cannon is fired as soon as the final boat is in position. With several Bumps newcomers, this blast comes as a surprise for many of us. The countdown starts. After a few final inspiring words, we are pushed out, kept in place by a mere chain. Hearts pound, adrenaline stars to surge: we are ready to go. (Well, as ready as we’ll ever be…)
The final cannon blasts, the bung drops, the race is begun. A solid start sends the boat surging along the surface of the river. Boats, bikes, birds: all soon becomes a blur as we enter the first corners. Decent lines and good power bring us to the Plough, by which point Clare Hall in front had begun to pull away. The two pairs of boats behind have bumped out, leaving us a good amount of freedom once we reach the Reach. By this point, Clare Hall seem too far ahead to ever be bump. After taking some pressure off, though, Darwin come tearing round Ditton, seemingly going for a miraculous double-overbump. They fail, of course, wasting precious energy as they push on down the Reach.
We persevere right through to the end, helped in part by some random women’s crews shouting from the bank. A relatively comfortable rowover takes us over the line. One race down, three to go.
W1 – Rowed Over Head of Div 2 and Sandwich in Div 1
There was the customary last minute injury and frantic search for subs for this years w1. However undeterred and with our long suffering ex stroke back in her place we felt strong as we rowed up. Our practice starts felt tidy and more importantly fast. At the top of division two, we were focused solely on rowing over, with Magdalene w1 (an unknown quantity) chasing us. As the canon went of we were into the first corner almost immediately off our start. Then disaster struck as a steering error caused bow side blades to strike the side. We came to a halt, and this pause, though brief, allowed magdalene to close up a length on us. However we kept our heads and wound up over five and with some brave, impassioned rowing from bow and three around grassy corner we were holding them off. As we made our way onto the reach it dawned on us that Magdalene were slipping behind, this gave us the confidence to lengthen out and push in our finishes. Murray Edwards w1 were finally coming up onto magdalene and as they went in for the kill Magdalene launched a last ditch attack on us. However they never came close enough to bother us and once they had bumped out it allowed us to lengthen out and wind the rating down slightly to conserve energy for our next race.
As for our second race it was a very different scenario. With nothing behind us, we were able to throw everything at Selwyn. But after a swift , clean start we realised the impact of having already raced once. After gaining a little on Selwyn, they started to disappear. Our rowing was beginning to get scrappy and short and this was our downfall as we eventually wound it down outside the plough. Overall though a good day of rowing.
M3 – Bumped by Jesus V
M3 went into the bumps race with a small amount of apprehension, considering that most of us had never rowed bumps before, and the only two that had, obtained spoons… However we didn’t let this phase us as we marshalled and rowed down to our starting position. The cannons went off and we got more and more nervous, but finally the start cannon boomed and we quickly set off as the well oiled machine that M3 is. Jesus were behind us but seemed to be drifting away, and we were keeping up with Sidney up to first post corner. And then, Sirens. Every boat had to hold it up. There had been a pile up at the back of the division which hadn’t affected us, but we had to turn around and go back to starting positions for a re-row after already rowing 600m. We were tired, used up all our energy stores the crew meal had given us the night before, it wasn’t a pleasant experience. 10 minutes later, the start cannon boomed again, and we set off. The start felt a bit more scrappy, Sidney pulled away from us as we went through all the corners, but Jesus were still behind us, and not falling behind as they had done in the previous race. As we went onto the reach, they were still at stations, and we looked comfortable for the painful row-over. But as we went down the long reach, disaster hit, a monumental crab from stroke left us all leaderless and completely out of time. We managed to recover after a few strokes but Jesus had gained a length on us, they were getting whistles. We pushed away and kept strong, but then another crab! Jesus were within 3/4 of a length and gaining. We pushed with all our might, but the rhythm never really got back together. We made it to the Railway Bridge before the whistles were continuous and the bump was confirmed. Dead, shattered and morally scarred, we rowed back to the boat house, vowing to take our vengeance in this life or the next.