This one was tough. We knew Churchill would push us hard with Clare behind them, especially after we gave them more than we should have done yesterday. However, we weren't quite prepared for just how close it was going to be.
Hitting the outflow off our start, we couldn't get the engine to turn over, stuttering down first post reach with only brief flashes of the rhythm we know we could achieve. With the infamous Clare bell ringing loud, Churchill pounced, making a big move through the swell in the gut. Drawing clear of Clare, Churchill's attention turned to their own whistles, rising to a deafening and continuous tone. Sending each stroke through the white noise we attacked Plough reach, sixteen legs smashing down and eight backs swinging through. We were rewarded, the Catz engine had begun to fire once again as Churchill's bow slipped back. From two feet of overlap, we had found clear water and we began to feed off Churchill's doubt, their whistles becoming few and far between.
As we pressed past the railings at 38, Clare bumped a defeated Churchill and we secured the row over. Possibly one of the tightest row overs in bumps history, and it felt good. We've got a job to do tomorrow. Clare will come for us, but let them come, we're not going down without a fight.
With Thursday came day two,
we were chasing a very strong crew.
With power and force,
we rowed the whole course,
Queens we are coming for you.
Today looked to be of of our toughest races, chasing Caius who had been placing within seconds of us all term. They were chasing a weaker Queens, with a bump likely, but still our race plan was to grind them down over the entire course. We held them at station off the start and with little pressure from Peterhouse behind we settled into a semi-silky rhythm. We continued to hold them on station right up to grassy corner, where unfortunately they bumped Queens, and the crews ahead of them had also bumped out. With people bumping out all around us we were left to finish the course solo, but we used this to produce a very strong and promising row over. We held our pace in the final stretch, cheered on by M1 and our tbc-lunch-dates Christ’s M1. Today we showed that we can row the course well at our target rate and that we do have much more to give this week. Tomorrow we will use the pressure from HHLC behind to power us towards Queens. We have had a taste of bumping this week, and tomorrow W1 come back for more sides.
It is a shame that race reports must be reasonably restrained - what I would like to write would probably result in a stern reprimand, at the very least, from someone somewhere.
Two row overs had left the third day of Bumps as "D-Day", "our cup final", "our Istanbul". No footballing metaphor (any metaphor in fact), however, suitably captured the enormity of the day of racing that lay ahead of M3. Sidney II lay in wait and with a fast Caius chasing us there was no chance of a row over. Day 3 was to be all or nothing. Despite the danger of being overawed, of choking when it mattered most, the row up suggested that no one was being fazed by the situation - there would be no getting cold feet like some members of the crew (no names here) in Cindies.
The minutes flew by as we waited on the bank for the chance to write our own piece of history. Four minutes - into the boat. One minute. Go.
Draw 1. Draw 2. Draw 3. Wind. Lengthen. Stride now. The boat glided through the water, Sidney were reeled in stroke-by-stroke. The first whistle came around First Post corner, soon there were two. Caius were being held, but they did not matter. The call came to kill off Sidney. Up went the rate by 2, and we were greeted by three whistles. Roared on by Hannah and Jack, Sidney's resolve was broken just before Grassy. The bump was secured. The carnage that befell the rest of the division did not matter: M3 had beaten the elements (once again), held off a strong Caius crew, and sent Sidney packing.
Very well done to the whole crew, most of whom secured their first ever bump. Having rowed home once now adorned with ivy, the boys are itching to give it another crack on Saturday and get a second bump to round off an excellent week's effort.
On Tuesday W2 arrived at the boat house full of anticipation of what would be, for 8 of the crew, our first ever bumps campaign. The row to the start was punctuated by constant calls to slow the rate and not rush the slide as the nervous anticipation showed through. We had no idea what to expect as neither Anglia Ruskin in front nor Trinity Hall behind seemed to have entered any races this term, but we knew we were going into the race on good form and were determined to put out a strong performance.
As the cannon went, so did the cox box and bow four could only hear intermittent noises from the front of the boat, but thanks to a very well-rehearsed start sequence and Frances' reliable intonation we produced possibly one of our best starts to date, reducing Anglia Ruskin to one length by the end of the start sequence. Hearing the first whistle, the adrenaline took over and we were rating about 40spm as we devoured the water separating us. Our speed proved too much for Rosie bank partying as she spectacularly fell off her bike in front of the St John's Ambulance medics (luckily their attention wasn't required), and one whistle was quickly followed by two under the motorway bridge and three as we pushed off the bridge. As we found out afterwards, Anglia Ruskin had reduced Clare Hall ahead of them to about half a length so we certainly needed to produce a quick bump, and that we did, bumping within about 1m20s of the cannon.
Going into Wednesday, the crew was generally much calmer as we now had actual experience of all the events Matt had told us about in the days leading up to bumps (and the many videos he and Rory made us watch at crew pasta). We knew that Clare Hall were well within our reach as long as we stayed relaxed and focussed, and produced a good row. Thanks to the kind donation of a cox box from M1, we had another good start and were putting pressure on Clare Hall from early on. Having escaped a bump the day before, they were clearly a bit more awake at the start today and it took us a little longer to get a first whistle, which we managed as we hit the motorway bridge. We were once again rowing at 40spm and began to bear down on Clare Hall, though they held us at half a length for a few strokes. We continued to advance on them and began to see their cox in our peripheral vision at bow and 2. However their cox was very reluctant to concede and only when we had contact between our bow ball and their 7 did we claim another well-deserved bump after 1m43s.
It was another great performance from this crew and bumping a university crew followed by a college W1 is testament to all of the hard work and commitment shown this term. After a rest day on Thursday we look ahead to the second half of the competition, eager to continue our form as we get ready to chase Darwin W2.
All heads in the boat rowing home after Wednesday's bump
Having rowed over on Day 1, M3 approached Day 2 with the same tenacity as the previous day, ready to battle other crews, and signficantly kinder elements, for the wheel. King's II were to be the target, Churchill III the other foe to be seen off into the distance.
We knew, in reality however, that we were once again going to be in for the long haul - King's II were likely to be too strong for Sidney II, and so it proved. That is not to say the M3 enjoyed a relaxed row over, no. King's II were closed before their bump on Sidney II, and Churchill III pushed away to be bumped by Caius III. As a result, a long pitched battle between M3 and Jesus IV commenced on the Reach, no quarter was given and M3 rowed over, reducing Jesus IV to a distant speck as the Railway Bridge loomed overhead.
Tommorow we go for Sidney II - a first bump of Lents is well within the capabilities of a crew that has done itself proud thus far. All that remains is to ensure that Caius III do not get to us first; as strong a start as always and even more intensity through the first half of the course and M3 could well be on the rise.
Sidney II, M3 is well and truly coming for you.