May Bumps 2014 – Thursday

W1 – Bumped by Murray Edwards
This was always going to be a difficult day for w1. Rowing sandwich boat again with a large, fast Murray Edwards crew chasing us, we knew we would have to row our best race or get bumped. Our start was one of our strongest yet, it even seemed that Murray Edwards was falling away as we rounded first post corner. We kept strong up to the plough, responding well to resplendent cox Phil Smith’s calls for lifts. However from here Murray Edwards began to seriously close on us. With no time to settle we were still rowing at our initial high rating and we were starting to suffer. The power and commitment was still there but we were beginning to rush the slide and this was our downfall. After an impassioned defense we were finally bumped a little way down the reach. However well we rowed that day we realised that the better crew had won, though we went home with our heads held high and our thoughts on a potential bump for tomorrow .

M2 – Bumped Fitzwilliam II
Someone once said, ‘if you push down on the legs, then bumps glory can be yours too’… they also mentioned something about sandwiches, but more on that later.

King’s M2 had emerged from the first day of bumps relatively unmoved. The straight-faced chalk drawing on the Plodge scoreboard attesting to the rowover of the preceding day. However today we faced new foe and a keen eye may have spotted the slight upturn on that chalky mouth. Sitting at position two of the fourth division, we had Fitz II in front (sent down from Division 3 by Clare Hall) and Jesus III behind. Canons bellowed, chains dropped and we kicked the boat into gear with a strong start. We had barely managed to go for a ‘rhythm 10’ before a sound broke the air, which for many of us, as bumps novices, was new and unfamiliar. One whistle. Then two. Push on. Three whistles. Jesus drifting away behind us. Push on. Continual whistling. Hold it up. Out of the way. We bumped Fitz II!

Now I don’t know about you, but I always try and eat after exercise, and although that first paddle had barely brought on an appetite, it was Sandwich time for Kings M2. We now had to row again at the bottom of Division 3. After a gratuitous lap up to the P&E and back to the lock that was more reminiscent of a morning outing than preparation for a race, we pulled up and talked ‘strategy’ with John and Will: apparently the guy with his ears pierced in Clare Hall, ahead of us, might actually be a pirate. Who knew?! Pirate, or no pirate, we had faced them before and we knew we would need to go out hard. Try as we did, their ship managed to bump ahead and we ploughed on to The Plough. With the possibility of an overbump of Magdelene II out of our grasp, it was smooth sailing from there. Rowing on to a rowover, the crew showed good technical improvement and coordination over the last two days and look forward to the two ahead.

M1 – Rowed Over
Our name is King’s M1, leaders of the men’s boats of King’s College, achievers of ultimate speed on plough reach and the loyal servants of our true coach, Chris Smith. Three feet from bumping in the gut, pushed off valiantly by Clare on plough reach. And we will have our vengeance, in tomorrow’s race or the next.

M3 – Bumped BACK Jesus V
After the misfortune of the day before, M3 were seeking revenge on Jesus. There was an element of worry, but we knew, provided we started well, that we could get the revenge bump on them. After a shaky practice start, nerves were high but we were determined and focused on our target. Sadly it wasn’t so straight forward. Hoping for no weird events so that we could just get on with it, we met delays once again, this time due to a spooked horse which had escaped and ran along the towpath. After a long period of time and numerous countdowns waiting for the 1 minute cannon (longer than 10 minutes), the horse was returned safely and the cannon eventually sounded. We knew what we needed to do and we got off to a controlled start. Before reaching the end of our starting sequence, in the rhythms, whistles started. We were gaining on Jesus quickly. Just before 1st post corner, Jesus were running scared and crabbed meaning we went from two whistles to bump so quickly that we didn’t get the whistles in between. We’d bumped back. We’d got revenge and done it impressively: Jesus had been caught in less time than spent waiting for the “1 minute cannon.” As first bump for Kings in Mays 2014, we were ecstatic. Spirits high, we are ready for what the third day has to bring.