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Lent Bumps 2013, M3 Day 3 (Thursday)

Rowed over.

Carnage is the best word to describe the M4 division on Thursday. Catz went into the race justifiably nervous, given that the Emmanual M4 crew 2 boats ahead were well known to be, shall we say, dodgy... In a stroke of good fortune for Catz, Emma incredibly managed to bump soon after the motorway bridge, with Clare breathing hard down their necks. Unfortunately, Emma's bump was far from conventional, aided as they were by an ejector crab from the Churchill crew ahead. Emma braked hard to avoid a bedraggled pink blob meandering to the bank, Clare held it to avoid Emma and the entire back end of the division came to a juddering halt.

Awarded the rerow, Catz thanked the bumps gods for the opportunity to have a full course shot at Clare, only to discover that with wake-free wash ahead, Clare were left to pull merrily away. Catz rowed a superb race, and held station all the way to Ditton, before fading slightly in the final straight. Saturday brings much the same situation - Clare ahead, with slower crews in front of them. Fingers crossed Catz can reel in Clare before any more chaos causes problems ahead.   

(Guest writer: Chris Eddy)

Lent Bumps 2013, M1 Day 2 (Thursday)

Bumped Magdalene in the gut (completing the day 2 Catz-Magdelene men's triple M1/M2/M3)

Start order: 17 King's, 16 Emmanuel, 15 Catz, 14 Magdelene, 13 Robinson

After a confidence-boosting bump on Wednesday we arrived at the boathouse today asking the question 'when?' as opposed to 'if?'.

We had a good relaxed start, with Emma nowhere to be seen. We had taken half a length by the motorway bridge and continued to eat up the gap to give us overlap by First Post and the inevitable bump came after the first 5 strokes of our first power 10. A much more self-assured race than yesterday, indeed described live on CamFM by Will H (our confident 6 man) as 'easy'.

Tomorrow brings the much greater challenge of hitting a twice-rowed over Robinson before they hit a spooning Tit Hall (although only bumped at the Railway Bridge today by a Clare crew who aren't that slow). Bring it on.

Lent Bumps 2013, W2 Day 1

After successfulling getting a place in Bumps after the Getting on Race W2 found themselves mid division 3 chasing Clare Hall W1 and being chased by Emma III. It was the first bumps for 7/9 of the crew, with two subs in the boat (Thank you Sara and Sarah!), so everyone was understandably a bit nervous and unsure of what to expect. Catz got strong start and pushed on to Clare Hall to close the gap to a length. After the motorway bridge Emma, Catz, and Clare all managed to stay pretty much on station, before Emma III was caught by Churchill. 

With carnage behind them Catz pushed on to Clare Hall, but they began to show their greater endurance as a first boat and increased the gap to a couple of lengths. W2 were looking at a solid row over, but after taking grassy a little wide an absolutely flying Homerton II suddenly appeared from the carnage of the lower half of the division. Despit an epic last push whicih did hold Homerton off for a while, there was nothing Caz could do and they eventually succumbed to the overbump on Ditton, about 25 strokes short of the finish line. Homerton must be congratulated for their row, it was a herculean effort and Catz W2 has nothing to be ashamed of for being bumped by them.

On Wednesday W2 will be chasing Emma III...bring it on!


Lent Bumps 2013, M1 Day 1

Bumped Emmanuel at Ditton

Start order: Sandwich boat Kings, 17 Selwyn, 16 Catz, 15 Emmanuel, 14 Magdalene

M1 made the best possible start to the Lents campaign today with a convincing bump on a tidy Emma crew who had overlap on Magdalene.

We held off the Selwyn sprint well from the start and they never looked like escaping from the inevitable Kings bump - although it took its time coming. We took big chunks out of Emma coming into First Post although they were doing the same to Magdalene. The challenge was simple - bump Emma before they got Magdalene. The Emma cox helped things along with a small crash at First Post but then called a powerful restart to push us away again and power them towards Magdalene. When their sprint for the bump failed our superior cruising speed meant we reeled them in and hit them at pace coming round Ditton.

We coped with the choppy water pretty well and despite the stress of a 3 boat sandwich for much of the race Alistair's cornering was nigh on perfect! Men's crews now 5/5.

Bring on Magdalene tomorrow.

Lent Bumps 2013, M2 Day 2

Bumped Magdalene M2

Having beaten Magdalene M2 in Pembroke Regatta, we were optimistic about our chances today. Nonetheless we knew it wouldn't easy - having been unfortunately overbumped yesterday Magdalene had a point to prove, and Churchill had a score to settle behind us, so were bound to go off hard. The row down was good, and notably less nervy than yesterday.

Although 'chaotic' might be an exaggeration when describing our start, it was by no means ideal. As we drifted, Maria wasn't able to keep hold of the bung, plus we lost our line. Some excellent steering from Maria combined with a healthy lump of pressure from strokeside soon got things back on track though.

Churchill started very strongly on us, closing the gap quickly. However as was proved yesterday we had the greater fitness and as time went on we slowly pulled away again. The real excitement was going on in front, anyway. We made some ground on Magdalene but more importantly and concerningly they were very rapidly closing in on Clare M2 in front of them. As we were coming through the gut the bump between Magdalene and Clare looked ever more imminent, but we were still creeping up behind Magdalene and just like yesterday with the first whistle we found a new lease of speed.

Just as things were starting to get interesting, Trinity Hall M2 (ahead of Clare) decided that enough was enough and promptly parked on grassy corner (unconfirmed reports suggest that they had no rudder). This handed the bump to Clare,  leaving a whole lot of open water in front of Magdalene. We seized this opportunity, and it was not long at all before Magdalene tasted the kiss of the dragon (Ben's sock, and our figurehead).

All this pandemonium meant a very exciting division, but also makes things rather interesting for Friday. With a fast, and annoyed, Trinity Hall in front of us, and a slower Clare in front of them, we will have to start very well in order to continue this fantastic start to the week.

Lent Bumps 2013 W1 Day 1

W1 came into Bumps knowing that we were probably round about where we should be in the division, and fairly evenenly matched with the crews around us. However, this is Bumps so we were determined to push for those whistles!

On the first day of racing we found ourselves chasing Newnham and being chased by Trinity Hall. We got a strong start and began gaining ground on Newnham from the motorway bridge. Trinity Hall were fighting thier own battle with LMBC so we were not troubled from behind. Around first post corner Newnham got their first whistle and made a move on Queens to bump them on grassy corner. They then very unhelpfully parked with their stern in the middleof the river meaning that we had to take a very wide corner to avoid hitting them. Never a crew to give up, we pushed on down the reach with the aim of a rather optimistic overbump on Caius!

With a strong row over on the first day of racing, and the prospect of a slower Queens crew ahead of us, tomorrow is looking exciting for W1!

Lent Bumps 2013, W2 Day 2

Bumped by Kings W2

Having been chased by Emma the day before, Catz had a good idea of their capabilities, and came to the race quite rightly expecting a strong performance. This was reinforced by a near perfect practise start, while watching a shambolic Emma effort disappear into the distance behind. The real start was almost as good, and a superb line from Harriet and a solid push from the crew saw the distance cut to just over a length within 30 strokes, the Robert Hardie radiating more intent than has been seen in memory, as the characteristic backswing made its presence known. 

Unfortunately this proved unsustainable, and as Emma hit their rhythm and managed to slow their backward plunge to a limp (although not entirely eliminating it...) the first crab came. With Kings steaming up behind, Catz produced an astonishing push to gain clear water from a good 2 feet of overlap, but Kings didn't want to play ball, and ended the game with their own push.

Overall, a really impressive performance from effectively a scratch crew - bring on the return bump on Kings on Friday.   

Lent Bumps 2013, M3 Day 2

Bumped Magdalene M3

Flying high on yesterday's success, Catz looked to have a good shout today. With most relevant parties expected to bump out early, we proposed the standard race plan - keep FaT pushed off at the start, wait for everyone to bump out, then grind down Magdalene and hit them somewhere around Plough Reach.

Naturally Magdalene were less keen on this, and successfully foiled our plans by the somewhat eclectic method of being bumped less than halfway there. Regardless of their casual contempt for my plan, Catz rowed an excellent race, looking neat and tidy off the start, then hammering the power home round the first corner, taken excellently by Jamie, and never letting up.  Same again tomorrow please. 

Lent Bumps 2013, M3 Day 1

Bumped FaT M4

After a strong performance in the getting on race the crew were unfortunate to find themselves starting 16th in the division, although they cheered up somewhat on discovering M4 crews on either side. Concentration wasn't helped by an anarchic push-off from Churchill behind (since fined the cost of a new stopwatch for late pushing off) but full credit to Catz who, treating Churchill with the contempt they fully deserved, got off to an excellent start. 

FaT ahead also had a decent start, but with the crews ahead bumping out, they were steadily ground down (really pretty quickly actually) by a relentless Catz crew who had found a solid rhythm and never looked like letting up. With the first whistle (we forgot to take the whistle, it was really just a slightly louder shout) coming at the motorway bridge, the bump followed as surely as  laughter follows Murray Edwards, just before first post corner. 

A great result, given that 7 members of the crew had never raced bumps before, and the other was David Edey. Bring on Magdalene tomorrow. 


Lent Bumps 2013, M2 Day 1

Bumped Churchill M2

After a good term of solid training and some decent performances in races under our belts, we felt well prepared for the first day of bumps. The row down was good, with a couple of strong practice starts to get the blood flowing.

Upon reaching our station the nerves started to kick in; unsurprising given that this was the first bumps for eight of us. The start wasn't our best, but despite this we by no means lost ground on our opponents. The rowing was tense to start with, but quickly we gained nearly half a length on Churchill M2, whilst leaving FAT M3 a long way behind. Great cornering from Maria led us around Grassy into Plough Reach.

Just as we began to tire and question ourselves, the first whistle came, and with it a huge morale boost. Rapidly the rowing became much more relaxed and we began to feel like the M2 that managed to reach the Semi-Finals of Pembroke Regatta. At this point the hard work we've put into our ergs all term began to pay off, as it became clear that we had the edge on Churchill in terms of fitness. Thanks to a strong power ten the two whistles came, soon to be followed by three more.

An (un)fortunately timed crab from Churchill meant that we landed on them whilst they were more or less stationary, roughly halfway up the reach. This led to a bit of an entanglement with their cox, but fortunately noone was seriously hurt.

The bump today was well fought and well deserved, showing that the hard training we've put in this term has paid off. Bring on tomorrow, and Magdalene M2!