M1 – Bumped Christ’s M1
Friday looked to be M1’s biggest challenge yet for several reasons. Firstly, the Christ’s M1 crew we were chasing had consistently beaten the crews we had so far bumped. Secondly the Pembroke M1 crew that Christ’s were chasing looked slow enough to give Christ’s an easy bump. Thirdly we had an enforced substitution just 4 hours before the race; the heroic Fletcher agreed to join his third bumps race of the day, after 2 rowovers with M2, in place of the incapacitated Alge, who was violently re-acquainting himself with his most recent meals. After an extended warmup to bed in the crew changes, we proceeded to have a very focused and aggressive row down. The crew were psyched up and raring to go; Joel in particular was taking this race personally and waxed lyrical about several historical incidents by which he felt Christ’s had wronged him. The gun saw us throw down our best start yet in an unpredictable wind. The whistles came more slowly than on previous days, as Christ’s showed the speed that had made them a top 10 crew. Slowly we reeled them in, taking the distance to half a length on the exit of a very neat Grassy corner courtesy of Will. From there on we powered on and ate up the remaining distance. We overlapped a few strokes on from Ditton Corner and finished off the bump 100 meters down the long reach. The sense of achievement was palpable as the crew congratulated each other; a bump on Clare M1 tomorrow would round off a fantastic year with the rarity that is first-division blades. Bring it on.
M2 – Rowed Over at head of Div 4 – rowed over as Sandwich Boat
M3 – Bumped by Caius M4
The crew was now back to how it had started on Wednesday, so there were no excuses from any subs. The usual warm ups were performed and the crew seemed eager to get going. Despite being bumped by Girton M3 the previous day, the crew was fairly confident that if it really pushed hard and kept tidy, it could bump Girton back and end the less-than-desirable run so far.
Things were looking promising as cox Ivan called a practice standing start – resulting in the best start performed so far. The second practice start wasn’t quite as good but that was quickly brushed over.
For King’s M3, the race was now to start underneath the motorway bridge. Unfortunately there was a risk it was going to rain so the cannon was also under the bridge – meaning a defeaning blast that required you to “defend your ears!”. John Aspden was there to give M3 the most inspiring speech of the week, which really boosted confidence, and it left the crew feeling more determined than it had been all week.
With a few seconds to go, the cannon finally sounded, causing most of the crew to jump in their seats and miss their first stroke. Nevertheless the pace quickly built up and King’s were keeping up with Girton. Unfortunately Caius M4 behind us, a fourth men’s boat, were (suspected to be) packed full of ex-M1 rowers, and so M3 were soon enough caught up and bumped. Sadly this meant that King’s M3 were on for spoons leading into the final day…
W1 – Bumped by Churchill W1
W2 – Bumped St Edmund’s
Friday saw us row basically the same course as Thursday, but with less carnage! After nearly overbumping St. Ed’s on Wednesday we were confident we could catch them, it was just a matter of where. St. Ed’s were very weak and weren’t even straight to start with, meaning we took a lot out of them very quickly and just kept taking. We bumped them at Grassy, a more satisfying bump than Thursday’s technical one!
W3 – Rowed Over
After rowing over yesterday, we were keen to avoid a repeat experience. With Robinson W2 behind us having pulled out, we had a larger gap behind us so little danger of being bumped. Keen to capitalise on this and catch Selwyn W3, we had a good start, gaining on Selwyn from the outset. On hearing a whistle it seemed our plan was going well but Selwyn, alas, had other ideas. They responded to our pressure well, pulling away from us and increasing the gap. We tried to close the gap, and again got within a length of the Selwyn boat, but couldn’t quite catch them. After this our heads went down and we ended up chasing them to the finish line, with both crews rowing over.