Bumps is usually fun, but rarely fair and sometimes brutal. Today we should have had a chance to bump back on Emma, with a slow Christ's crew behind us offering no threat and if no bump today a good chance on King's tomorrow. Unfortunately, however, on Day One Selwyn managed to get an overbump, almost unheard of in First Division, on Christ's, and catapulted themselves up the table to just behind us. We weren't too worried, because Selwyn talk a lot but rarely back it up with results, and we knew we could improve on yesterday's row. But on this occasion we should have been worried; Selwyn were obviously scared of Magdalene behind them, and set off like a rocket for a 'fly or die' attempt. We didn't even have a chance to respond and were bumped just after the motorway bridge. Worst of all, although our concession was instantaneous Selwyn completely failed to hold it up and caused significant damage to our boat, not in the initial bump, but 5-10 seconds later when they still hadn't tried to stop, as well as shunting our bow pair deep into the overhanging thorn bushes. We're just glad no one was hurt.
Day two of this year's Mays campaign dawned on the Cam, as bright and sunny as the first. W2 had a simple race plan: we would go out and row no harder than day one, but a lot smarter. With less pressure from behind, we settled into a more sustainable rhythm, and rowed with a much better technique. As expected, the crews ahead and behind bumped out, leaving us chasing Jesus W3 down the reach for the overbump. They held us well, but the crew never gave up, pushing all the way to the line, and were met by a raucous M2 as they pushed off from marshalling. Tomorrow we are chasing Selwyn W2, currently down 2, and are chased by Pembroke, up 2.
Start of May’s 2016 was a hopefully one for W1; after beating Kings at Champs Head, we were looking faster and feeling good. Sparring with Kittens, Catz M3 and Catz W2 – we had some preparation under our belts. However we sat at the bottom of division 1; therefore there was unknown about who would be the sandwich boat.
Selwyn W1 proceeded to get bumped by Magdalene W1, and now our match was set. Magdalene was in-between us and a bump on Kings. After the cannon we had a funky start but settled into a good rhythm. But before we knew it Magdalene had a whistle on us, no fear we had a gained a whistle on Kings, game on. Now it was a battle between 3 boats. Magdalene looking stronger with each stroke, Kings were starting to break down and we were gaining. But before we could finish it off, Magdalene had got us just before first post. With us ¾ of a boat length off Kings. This sadly means we drop into division 2. However this is just a toe dipping, Catz W1 will be back and we will get Kings, however long it takes.
We went into today certain of nothing, but able to guess quite a lot. It always looked likely that Peterhouse would bump King's quickly and leave us nothing to aim for, and we knew Emma would think they had a good chance of a quick bump on us. We started hard and kept on station with both crews at first, but though committed our rowing was far from our best, and sure enough, Peterhouse bumped King's and cleared out of our way just in time on First Post corner. Emma had taken in a lot of ground over the last part of First Post Reach and around the corner, and early in the Gut they came to quarter of a length, and then a canvas. And there they stayed; for two full minutes we held them off, around Grassy, past the Plough, and into Ditton Corner. At times they came to within centimetres, and at other moments we pushed away from them again. They wouldn't break, however, and eventually we were forced to take Ditton wide to avoid them, giving them the racing line and an opportunity to take in those final two feet and get the bump. We can, and will, row better the rest of this week, but today was by far the gutsiest performance I've ever seen from M1, and in some ways we are prouder of this row than if we had bumped.
And thanks to James Wagstaff you can relive the excitement from the comfort of your own home: https://youtu.be/m1xqRIHQSuE
W2 was up early this morning for some last-minute bung starts practice, before returning to college to sleep off the after-effects of yesterday's exam-finishing celebrations.
We regrouped after lunch, with a row down to the start that was together, if a little nervy. Starting on station 12, our start was good, settling into an aggressive rhythm. St Edmunds W1, staring behind us, gained slightly off the start but we held them at a length for most of First Post reach. However, their training during evening hours had paid off, and their superior technique began to tell. We were bumped on first post corner.
Tomorrow we are being chased by Girton W2, while St Edmunds are chasing Selwyn W2. If we can hold Girton away then we can look forward to day three with expectation.