Lent Bumps 2017 – Friday – M1

After a chastening first day and redemption of sorts yesterday we lined up chasing Eddies M1 (who bumped us on day 1) and chased by Pembroke M2 (who bumped Christs M2 yesterday), expecting a tough race. In spite of a scrappy first stroke (mostly caused by the Men’s Captain not taking taps when he should have been) we started strongly and quickly settled into our race pace. Katie then expertly dissected Eddies and Queens who were clearing at First Post. We continued to hold an impressive Pembroke outside station and took a terrifyingly tight Ditton. On the Reach we made a series of moves and pushes to finish strongly ahead of Pembroke.

Tomorrow we will have Pembroke behind us and will be chasing Queens.

Lent Bumps 2017 – Wednesday – M2

Sidney M2 had a disappointing first day, getting bumped early by a very strong Clare III. The only consolation was Charlie Spicer spotting the professional photographer on the row to the start and pulling a face that deserves to pass into immortal legend simply as ‘the Charlie face’. By Wednesday, though, the depressing, rainy conditions had passed, and with them passed the despondency that had clouded the crew after Tuesday’s row. The sun was out. A fresh breeze tickled the surface of the Cam. A positive warm up was marred only by David Barley finding himself the unfortunate target of some avian excrement, but a clear river meant that the crew could get in some useful practice starts, and we arrived at our station at the top of division four in good time, full of anticipation.

As the clock ticked down eight pairs of eyes shut out the lurid purple of King’s II and focused instead on the shoulder of the man in front. The cannon boomed; the Dorothy Larkum leapt forward, but our start, while considerably better than Tuesday’s, was still scrappy, and almost immediately King’s had one whistle on us. Not a hint of alarm entered cox Paavan Sawjani’s voice however, and as he called the strides, and the crew settled at around rate 32, the rate at which King’s were gaining on us slowed. But King’s were clearly determined to get an early bump. One whistle became two, and then three, and soon the crew’s ears were filled with continuous whistles as the bow of the King’s boat nosed alongside our stern. The previous day, in a similar scenario, panic had taken hold, with strokes shortening, blades digging, slides being rushed, timing falling apart. Not today. Pav called for the ‘restart’: three huge, long strokes, as powerful as the draws from the start sequence. The excited continuous whistling of the King’s coach faded back down to three whistles, and clear water emerged again between the two boats. The respite was only temporary though. King’s rallied; in what seemed like no time at all Pav was forced to call the restart again, and again we dragged ourselves out of their clutches. As the tight corners of the gut came and went, the pattern repeated itself, King’s coming heart-stoppingly close, but every time Sidney responded with a restart, or a power ten, or an extra ten percent pressure. The feeling inside the boat shifted from desperation to belief. King’s’s frustration was evident. But, as Sidney rounded the corner at Ditton and emerged onto the reach, the wind, which had been diffused by the trees lining the bank all this time, struck hard. A wall of pressure smothered the speed the boat had been carrying, slowing it down just as King’s, still sheltered by the bank, gave a final squeeze. It was enough to get them the bump.

On the row home, however, the crew’s heads remained high – it had been a performance to be proud of. Camille Lardy, who gave up her time to bank party us both days, reported the words of the Chief Umpire: he had never seen a crew fight so bravely in all his time umpiring, she proudly informed us. On Thursday we will be chasing King’s, knowing that we have the grit to do what it takes to catch them.

Photo credit: CamFM

Lent Bumps 2017 – Tuesday – W1

W1 started their Lent bumps campaign strongly this year with a bump on Pembroke W2 in the middle of a four-boat sandwich with Darwin W1 chasing us and Pembroke chasing Robinson W1.

Our start was solid, but perhaps not as fast as we would have liked. Darwin were slowly gaining on us as we pushed off the railway bridge, but we could hear whistles in front and behind so we sat up and kept pushing ourselves along the course. Coming up to first post corner Darwin had two whistles on us and we were 3/4 of a length on Pembroke, when quite suddenly our cox was shouting for us to hold it up. We did so, and cleared in slight confusion. I could see that Darwin hadn’t hit us and so was hoping for a technical row-over, expecting that Pembroke had been forced to stop because of carnage ahead. After an agonising wait while our bank party conferred with the umpires, Camille confirmed to us that we had in fact been awarded the bump! It is rather unclear why Pembroke stopped rowing; possibly someone crabbed and they decided to easy to recover it. A poor choice, but one that worked to our advantage!

On Thursday we will be chasing Robinson W1, who Pembroke were closing on, so we’re hoping for another bump while Darwin clear Pembroke out behind us.

W1 would like to thank our bank party: captain Camille Lardy and boatman Tim Rhodes, as well as Sophie and Joscelyn from W2 for coming down to cheer as well. Special mention goes to our cox, Philip Wilkinson, who had to make the split-second decision to easy rather than crash into Pembroke, keeping us safe AND getting us the bump!

W1 after the race

May Bumps 2016 – Friday – M1

After two row overs, Sidney M1 felt it was finally time to make a mark on the competition. For the 8th time since Chris joined M1, we lined up to start behind Queens’ M2. Having forced Queens’ into a tough row over yesterday we aimed to capitalise by putting pressure on them from the start. On the cannon we instantly committed with powerful draws, winds and lengthens before striding down to a powerful rate 38 and, shortly after, heard our first whistle.
A length quickly became three quarters as we rowed with the same commitment we have had all week, but this time we weren’t going to let Queens’ hold us off. A tight line around First Post brought us the second whistle and a push through The Gut resulted in three whistles into Grassy. Contact was made coming out of the corner in front of the cheering crowds. After celebrating with our supporters, and adorned with greenery, we headed back to marshall again as sandwich boat.
Back on station we took on some sweets, water and advice from the newest addition to our bank party, Hannah Spry. We agreed that this was not a time for holding back and threw everything at Christ’s M2. Our first whistle came during our start sequence, our second shortly after the stride, the bump before the motorway bridge. We then had the pleasure of rowing the full length of the Cam in our greenery.
The “So I am needed after all” award goes to our boatman Tim Rhodes for stepping in at the last minute to push us off for our first race, in the absence of the usual Nicholas Porter.
The “Sprinkle Sprinkle” award goes to Silvia Breu for working some Silvia magic to find us an experienced bank party for our second race.
Finally the “Sidney Buses” award goes to KJ Pollard for waiting 5 years for a bump before two came along at once.

May Bumps – Friday – M2

We did it again! Bumped Eddies M2 in the Gut.

After our bump yesterday we had a Homerton crew keen for revenge but we left them clear in our wake as we pushed on up the river. A fast start from Eddies allowed them to hold station initially but we slowly but surely reeled them in, earning a whistle as we approached first post corner. From there their fate was sealed, a lift from within the boat and another textbook line round first post from Ruth meant that by the time we’d got to ‘The Gut’ we had already got to within three whistles. We pressed on and sealed the bump well before grassy.

A strong row from all. Zach kindly kept his expletives to himself today, maybe something to do with his future in-laws watching. Bring on tomorrow where we’ll be chasing Catz M3, hoping to complete a triplet of bumps.

May Bumps – Thursday – M1

Thursday was a disappointing day for a fiercely competitive Sidney M1. Chasing Queens M2 to become sandwich boat we always knew we were in with a chance. On hearing the cannon we made an explosive start quickly opening a gap between ourselves and Emma and, more importantly, gaining on Queens.

Shortly after our stride, as we came into first post corner, we heard our first whistle. In the Gut we were at three quarters. As a crew we started to believe. Unfortunately an outstanding Queens crew had other ideas and they resolutely held us at three quarters for the Plough Reach. Performing well under what must have been immense pressure from behind Queens responded to our pushes and kept us from getting that elusive second whistle.

We fought valiantly all the way up the Reach and whilst we could be accused of getting a little scrappy in our desperation we could not be accused of giving up. Both crews crossed the finish line approximately on station and completely exhausted.

Tomorrow we will chase Queens again, knowing we can put pressure on them from the start and hoping that this time we will be able to break them.

The United We Stand award goes to all of M1 for lifting each other after a disappointing result and the resolve to come back stronger on Friday

May Bumps 2016 – Thursday – M2

We did it, we got the bump!

After a strong start we gained on Homerton M2 early and had whistles before first post while Magdalene M3 were left dropping back behind. Yet again Ruth expertly navigated clearing crews as we were pushed wide round first post and a strong push down the gut got us within half a length.

Ruth’s tight line round grassy got us within touching distance and before long we were hearing the continuous whistles of overlap before finally sealing the bump outside the Plough, just in time for our Bowman Tom to give a full race breakdown live on Cam FM.

Tomorrow we look up the river chasing Eddies M2, our strong performance on Wednesday chasing an overbump on them making us confident for tomorrow.

Lastly we would like to apologise on behalf of the ‘Baby of the Boat’, who despite being a Languages student, was unable to find non-explicit vocabulary to celebrate our bump. He was appropriately berated by our Boatman


May Bumps 2016 – Wednesday – M2

M2 went into the first day of bumps confident and came out with our heads held high. We started fast, trying to chase down Caius M3 and pushed away from Downing M3 chasing us. Unfortunately Caius bumped Homerton M2 just before first post corner, which meant some rapid manoeuvring was required from Ruth to avoid Caius, who were sat in the middle of the river.

After a brief altercation with several trees on strokeside and a hasty reset we settled in for the long haul. Magdalene and Downing bumping out behind and a technical row-over for ARU gave us a clear river behind us so we pushed on for a possible overbump on a strong Eddies M2.

Despite slowly catching down the reach and Ruth’s ever-perfect lines we couldn’t quite draw them in fast enough and had to settle for a strong row-over.

We didn’t get the bump we wanted, but today we established ourselves as a force to be reckoned with on the river. Rowing over in style after some unlucky events early on can only give us confidence for the week ahead. Tomorrow our sights are set up the river on Homerton M2. We don’t plan on rowing over again.

May Bumps 2016 – Wednesday – M1

Today was always going to be a tough race for a determined Sidney M1. Chasing a confident Clare M2 we went in looking to create some pressure from stroke one – and that we did. Having been made to wait for Georgina we channelled that energy into an aggressive, yet controlled, start getting to rate 45 with the cover we usually get at 40 and as we came out of our stride we heard our coach, Silvia, shouting “inside station.”
Behind us Emma started well and held us into Grassy. However our powerful, committed, and technical rowing allowed us to open up a gap as we moved onto the Reach. Unfortunately Clare showed their class and were able to push us back with all three crews completing emphatic row overs
Tomorrow we find ourselves chasing Queens’ M2 and we will be looking for the same race again; cool, calm, collected.

The Team Spirit award goes to W1 for being the loudest crew on the Cam and lifting the crew as we passed the P&E

Lent Bumps 2016 – Friday – M1

Ok, the row overs aren’t funny any more, but since when has bumps been fair?

Once again, we had a quick start and moved up on Queens to get them to one length, but didn’t manage to reel them in any closer. FaT M2 bumped Downing M2 early on, so all Queens had to do was hold us off, and sadly they did. Another day following Queens M2, but we will take the fight to them once more.

There was little pressure from the ascending Clare M2, visible but never a threat. Glad to be able to halt their progress.

On a more positive note, the rowing has been really good so far this week and has not been reflected at all in the results. Special commendation to Philip Saville for doing a good job of keeping up with the rest of the crew, despite being his first term in the boat and having learned how to row in Oxford.

“We can’t wait for that push off the railway bridge!”