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
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