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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
W1 started off the day determined to draw on the positives from our previous race rather than dwell on the unfortunate result.
We started off our race with a fast start with the aim of pushing up on Emma W2 who had bumped us on Tuesday. Sadly it was not to be, as we were bumped by Jesus W2 before we could get to Emma, but as the photo shows we kept our technique and power all the way to the bump, and we don’t feel too ashamed to go down to one of the fastest women’s crews on the river.
In today’s race we will be at the top of a three-boat sandwich with Darwin W1 chasing us and Pembroke W2 chasing them. We’re hoping to bring the focus again and push off Darwin, then hopefully have another try at bumping Emma on Saturday. Come down to the river to shout for us if you can!
Another day, another row over. This one was more frustrating than the first. We started today hoping to catch Queens’ M2 off guard. We had a whistle on them soon after the motorway bridge, at which point Alex alerted us to “a sandwich situation” up ahead as Queens M2′ were gaining on FaT M2.
We pushed hard, were rewarded with calls that we were gaining and then… “Hold it up!” Crews ahead had failed to clear and blocked up the river. A re-row for Queens’ M2 and FaT M2, with Sidney not invited to the party, possibly because Alex had once again managed to fit through an impossibly small gap and take us away from the carnage. We were awarded a technical row over/there were no crews racing behind us so we took it home at a calm rate 18.
Special commendation to Lucian for rowing past the whole W1 division without trying to organise a swap with any of them
M1 love bumps so much, they just had to row the whole course. With little pressure from Pembroke M2 behind, we had to settle in to our race plan and try to push up onto Queens’ M2. Sidney certainly didn’t let them have an easy race, and held them until the finish.
Special commendations to Alex Bathurst for masterfully navigating poorly clearing crews, and Jimmy Lei for the loudest kit on the Cam
W1 would prefer to describe the race they thought they had rowed…
W1 were chasing Fitz W1 and chased by Emma W2, who were themselves chased by a very fast Jesus W2. Off the start we found ourselves in a double-decker sandwich situation: Jesus closing on Emma, Emma closing on us and us closing on Fitz. Although Emma came close to bumping, W1 put in an almighty effort, pulling away from Emma twice thanks to some beautifully tight corners and an excellent reset call. Emma were bumped by Jesus and conceded on Grassy Corner after steering for a bump on us and missing. After the massive effort evading Emma we dropped back a little and were unable to keep up with Fitz, taking off a little pressure towards the end of the race to save our strength for the next race. We arrived back at the boathouse elated and proud of the determination we had shown as a crew in holding off Emma.
Stop reading here if you don’t like sad endings…
Unfortunately, just as we were about to take a traditional post-race photo, a member of the Jesus bank party cycled up and informed us that we had in fact been bumped by Emma on First Post corner. The crew had not felt or seen this, and it had not been communicated to us or Emma, and hence we kept rowing through the course.
Whilst we are, of course, saddened that we were not awarded the result we felt we had earned, W1 have a lot to be proud about from this race. We put in a huge amount of effort for each other and kept our heads in a stressful situation. We hope to continue this into our next race on Thursday, where we seek our revenge on Emma.
Special commendations go to cox, 2 and 4 (Corin, Martina and Fola), who gave us an excellent Grassy Corner, allowing us to evade a (second?) bump from Emma.