Bumped by Queens W2
If we're being entirely honest, there's very little point in discussing the actual rowing for this race, since due to circumstances entirely beyond our control, the bump came almost indecently quickly. With that in mind I've gained extra words to moan about the shambolic start procedure, which I shall now do:
With the cannon delayed ("The cannon's got a flat tyre?!") the start took on a mildly farcical nature, as 18 banksmen with synchronsed watches began to chant loudly, before shouting bang in (not in any way perfect) unison. Ignoring the obvious problems with crews jumping the gun (by which I mean of course jumping the word 'bang') this also led to the entirely unforseen problem that Steve's calls to bow pair went unheard in the clamour of chanting bank parties. With bow pair not squared in, the boat wonky, a gallant effort from Catz was always doomed to failure.
Despite a slick recovery of the racing line by Harriet, and a gorgeous final push by the crew, two quick crabs decided the matter, and a neat looking Queens tidied up. Being chased by a downwards moving Murray Edwards now offers Catz's best chance of the week of salvaging some pride, and we look forward to seeing them do it.
Bumped Trinity Hall M2
As we arrived at the boathouse today, we were expecting a tough one. Chasing a fast Trinity Hall M2 who were themselves chasing a slow Clare M2, it looked to be a long race - a row over, or just maybe the Selwyn M2 overbump? Things didn't get off to the best of starts either with the news that our 4-man, Anthony was too ill to race (unconfirmed reports suggest the cause was overconsumption of pasta). Nonetheless Dan Stein willingly leapt to our rescue - many thanks to him.
Certain that the only way we could get what we wanted today was to give our everything physically and mentally, focus was the watchword on the row down and it must be said that the boat moved really well, giving us all confidence.
The start was tricky today. Being stationed directly under the motorway bridge we had to deal with a very loud cannon and very strong winds. Although we had another dropped bung, Maria did an excellent job getting us off the start and with the cannon still ringing in our ears we made good progress away from Magdalene behind us. We began to close on Trinity Hall, but of course they were also closing on Clare. Despite not being particularly fast, Clare have the ability to drive the crew in front of them a bit wild, and Selwyn inexplicably parked on the outside of First Post corner.
So, just like on day 2, we found ourselves chasing a crew with lots of space in front of them. As is becoming our speciality, we ground them down. By the Plough Reach we had a length between us, and on Ditton Corner we bumped them for the first time. Unfortunately Trinity Hall didn't see it that way, and kept going. Despite Dr Scales' best efforts to lightly cajole Trinity Hall's stroke man into giving up, he was having none of it. There was only one thing to do here - have another go. The dragon got its second bite of Trinity Hall's stern at the Railings, and this time there was no disputing it.
Today was another hard-won and well-deserved bump, proving that those ergs really have paid off. Bring on the final day and don't mention the b word!
Bumped Robinson after Railway Bridge
Start order: 16 King's, 15 Magdelene , 14 Catz, 13 Robinson, 12 Trinity Hall
Today was a classic bump, with us making full use of the course to keep our spectators' hearts in their mouths (and ensure we actually made it into some photos today).
Today we weren't worried about being bumped - the major concern being whether Tit Hall could hold off Robinson long enough for us to rush to their aid. In reality they had no need of us, and ultimately pushed off Robinson (who'd earlier had three whistles). With the whole course available to us, and the hungry maw of Kings hoovering up Magdalene behind, the first 6 minutes of the race were terrifyingly relaxed. An optimistic (and entirely untrue) call from the bank party (cheerfully ignored by everyone from 6 backwards) placed us 2 lengths back (later photographically proved to be closer to three) but there was no deviation from the plan, even by the railings.
With the bank party screaming in abject terror as we passed into the shadow of the railway bridge, the crew finally took matters into their own hands, and began to hammer down the power. In the end, the bump came shockingly quickly, spinning through station, 1 length, canvas and overlap in perhaps 30, beautiful strokes. Let's hope this years bumps ends much as last years did - with us crashing into Trinity hall.
(Guest writer Chris Eddy)