On Saturday, W2 arrived at the boathouse with nerves running high - today we were chasing blades. After three very quick bumps earlier in the week, today would certainly pose a greater challenge as we were chaing Jesus W3, who we knew would catch Medwards W2 ahead of them within about 3 minutes, and were the strongest crew we had been behind all week. After a rousing team talk from Matt, we went into the race ready to go for everything off the blocks, aiming to catch Jesus before they could bump. It began well, with our usual strong start and a delayed stride putting us in a good position closing them down. Medwards evidently had a weak start, as Jesus gained the first whistle, but ours didn't take much longer and there followed a cacophony of whistles that told us it was extremely close within the three-boat sandwich. With both gaps at 1/4 of a length, Catz were closing faster and we were going in for the kill. But as we rounded our first corner of the entire bumps campaign, disaster struck. We took it wider than planned to avoid Queens' on the inside, and managed to crash spectacularly into Eddy's, who had pulled up on the outside bank having been bumped (apologies to them for nearly decapitating half their crew). We quickly reset, now back to a length on Jesus. We continued to close them down but the damage was done as we couldn't quite catch them before Medwards took a bad line into grassy and the bump was gone.
Jesus were slow clearing the river and we had to hold it up to let them move out of the way, but this wouldn't stop us from going for plan B: the overbump on FaT W2. New race, go. Thanks to the repeated stopping and starting, we had about 8 lengths to make up if we wanted to catch them. Everyone knew what was needed and we dug deep with one aim for the remainder of the race: no regrets. Maintaining a high rate for the rest of the piece (about 36spm on the reach) every member of the crew pushed for the girl behind and the girl in front and we gradually wore away at the gap between us - 8 lengths, 7, 6, 5... by halfway down the reach, we had narrowed it to 4 lengths. We continued to press and by the end of the race had reduced the defecit to 2 or 3 lengths. But, despite an almighty effort, we could not catch them in time and and a heroic row over was to be our final result of bumps.
It was a fantastic effort by the whole crew and I couldn't have asked for more. We have produced some brilliant results from this bumps campaign and everyone should be incredibly proud of what we've achieved: as every man and his dog has said to us since, "good crews go up three, lucky crews go up four". Saturday's result has given us the motivation to aim higher and train harder, and there's no doubt W2 will come back fighting next term.