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May Bumps 2007

Wednesday 13th - Saturday 16th June

Previous event: Peterborough Regatta - Following event: Henley Women's Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: David Hardeman, 2: Tom Nixon, 3: Philip Garsed, 4: Ben Evans, 5: Will Kerr‑Muir, 6: David O'Brien, 7: Chris Baker, Stroke: Joel Jennings, Cox: David Jones

UP 2 - Day 1: Bumped Robinson, Day 2: Bumped Christ's, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Rowed over

Will Kerr-Muir reports:


Day 1: The start was pretty good despite the bung panic. The wash we hit at the Motorway Bridge sent us rocking all over the place, and with Christ's and Robinson battling it out within half a length of each other by First Post Corner the water was very rough. Scrappiness tends to be a common theme in our races, but this was something else. We held together though and the power was going down; despite getting no signals - we could only hear whistles for half a length from the Robinson bank party - the crew was committed and Magdalene, as expected, were never in contention.

Hearing little from the bank party, who could see Robinson and Christ's imminently bumping out, a row over seemed to be on the cards. We had a strong push round Grassy and started to get signals in Plough Reach (that we could hear above the crowds, at least). We saved Christ's' bacon with a massive push about 100m down the Reach - Robinson had apparently been within a canvas of them since the Gut - and Nick's bell spurred us to eat up about a quarter of a length in five strokes.

The day was ended with a nice trophy of some Robinson blue on the bow. With Robinson having almost caught Christ's today, tomorrow should be a matter of keeping the race in our control and just eating up the distance.

Day 2: It was over fairly quickly: a solid start resulted in whistles soon after the Motorway Bridge and with some efficient and powerful rowing we had the bell before First Post Corner. The resulting burst finished it off within a few strokes. Robinson were dropped rapidly and never posed a threat.

Day 3: Not exactly as planned. But there was no threat whatsoever from behind: it was just frustrating to stay on two whistles for the whole course. Clearly there is only one aim for tomorrow.

Day 4: So close... well done to Pembroke: it was a good row from them to hold us off. Mays 2008, bring it on...

Uploaded Monday 18th June, 16:33


Joel Jennings reports:


Day 1: Finally got rid of the first day of bumps blues.

Row up was pretty solid, not our best but could've been worse.

We span by our station with plenty of time, all got out and watered the bushes. We were then asked by Magdalene if we were on the right station, they seemed to think that we should be on 15. Oh well.

We were pushed off at 25 seconds, but Dave forgot to hold on to the bung. Bit of a panic for me as I worried about getting disqualified, Rich tried to throw it back to us but missed. My worrying meant I wasn't fully focused off start and we started with our stern slightly behind station to make sure.

Start was a bit scrappy, but it could've been worse, we were going alright until we hit the motorway bridge, when the waves of the other boats set ours bouncing up and down, leading to a few rather deep strokes.

Coming out of the motorway bridge, I heard signals but wasn't sure whose bank party they were from. We kept an ok rhythm with plenty of duff strokes, and it became apparent to me that the signals were for Robinson on Christs.

The lack of noise from our bank party led me to expect to come past Robinson and Christs at any minute, and it was in this state of limbo that I continued for much of plough reach, until coming into Ditton we got calls for a length.

Down the reach, we had shouts for half and I was slightly incredulous, as I thought the bank party were underestimating the lengths as the Robinson boat were about to bump out. But we kept pushing on, and as soon as we heard the bell, the crew just shifted. We went from canvas down to canvas overlap in 5 strokes.

Robinson were quicker than expected and we were lucky that they couldn't finish the job, but that's just as much a part of rowing bumps as catching up the first length and a quarter.

We can go into tomorrow feeling confident about our chances of bumping and getting some revenge for last year.

Day 2: We knew what we had to do, we never let up on the sprint and got them at first post corner, job done.

Day 3: We went into this race expecting to bump Pembroke, and I think it was this air of complacency that cost us the bump, the row up was tense and the strong tailwind and stream took the boat away from us a little.

The start was pretty tidy, like much of the rowing but there was never quite that spark that we normally have, the rate was pretty low and not quite as sharp as we would've liked.

We had the length calls coming round First post corner, we got the half length whistles coming out of grassy and sat there until we were round Ditton, round the corner we neared to between third and a quarter, but never quite got close enough to end it. They pushed away from us at the start of the reach and the race never really came back within our grasp. There's always tomorrow though.

Day 4: Ho hum, we made a good go of it. The row up was much more solid than yesterday with everyone just a bit more aggressive after our swing and miss yesterday.

The start was one of the tidiest we'd done and set us speeding off the line, Robinson behind were pretty much on station and we had the length calls on Pembroke coming round first post. Round grassy we had a push and got to within half a length just before the Plough. We knew that we really had to move at this point as we didnt hit it hard enough the previous day and missed out. We started sprinting for the bump, we had the quarter length calls coming round Ditton, the legendary bell came out, we put in a massive push, got a fair amount of overlap but our bow blade was apparently about a foot off their stern.

Exhausted from our effort we then proceeded to blow up quite spectacularly, Pembroke moved away quite easily to 2 or 3 lengths by the end, we knew we wouldn't catch them in the long game, our rowing down the reach was pretty scrappy and just really tired, we were basically waiting for the end. Luckily our earlier exertions had built up such a lead on Robinson behind that we were never troubled.

Hats off to Pembroke, they held off the best we could throw at them and maybe had conditions been slightly different we would've got them. But thats the luck of the draw and up 2 in Mays is a fair achievement anyway. There's always next year.

Uploaded Sunday 17th June, 13:55


Philip Garsed reports:


Day 1: Chasing Robinson. Robinson were a bit of an unknown quantity having not seen them race, so we were unsure of what to expect from them. The start was powerful but a little bit messy, but got us up to speed quick enough.

Heading through the motorway bridge we hit a patch of particularly rough water and lost some of the technique as we started bouncing around more than we would have liked. Around here we also heard Robinson's first whistles on Christs. However, we kept the power coming and put in some reasonable and committed pushes down first post reach and around the corner.

By now Robinson were less than a quarter off Christs, and were sending down a lot of rough water. A push around Grassy Corner allowed us to properly start moving up on Robinson for the first time, and we closed up a good distance on them. By Ditton we were on two whistles, and despite still hearing whistles from Robinson we knew this bump was on.

Shortly after Ditton we were down to a quarter and here Nick's bell came out (early). On this signal the whole crew put in an incredible push and in five strokes it was over.

The race was described as "exciting" by our bank party by which I think they meant "nerve racking" - at one point Robinson's bow apparently skipped over Christs stern without making contact. However, they failed to finish the job, and we stuck to the plan and got the bump without ever being troubled by Magdalene. A really fun race, but we have a few things to improve before tomorrow.

Day 2: Chasing Christ's. After yesterday's eventful race, we knew we could get Christs, with possibly more pressure from behind courtesy of Robinson only aiding our cause. However, we had also seen that Christs were a tenacious crew and would not hand us the bump on a plate, having put in some impressive pushes to keep Robinson at bay yesterday.

The start was powerful and committed and we hit our rhythm a bit better than yesterday. As we had hoped from Robinson's perfomance yesterday, we were on the length by the motorway bridge and simply kept grinding them away down First Post Reach. We were on two signals as we started our gear change into First Post Corner and a few strokes later we got the 'kill' call and the bell.

At this point the rate apparently hit 41 and there was an incredible pick up on the stroke as we rowed about five really sweet strokes into Christs. Still a bit messy, but better than yesterday.

Uploaded Friday 15th June, 1:15


Photos of the 1st Men's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 17 photos of this crew)

Video of the 1st Men's VIII: click to watch the video.


Clare Bumping Robinson on Wednesday

Wooo - what a result! In slightly less colourful language than Nick: "We should not have flippin' got away with that!" Robinson (who we were chasing) had a mighty start, pulled away from us and immediately put the pressure on Christs in front of them. Christs held them at a canvas (or less!) from about First Post Corner until the top of the Reach, where we managed to grind them both down and bump Robinson. The most exciting one I've watched so far!

1st Women's VIII

Bow: Elena Chestnova, 2: Katie King, 3: Fionnuala Ratcliffe, 4: Natalia del Campo, 5: Jo Robinson, 6: Helen Withers, 7: Em McFadden, Stroke: Steph Caird, Cox: Katie Siddle

DOWN 2 - Day 1: Rowed over, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Overbumped by First and Third, Day 4: Bumped Downing

Joanna Robinson reports:


Day 1: We didn't know much about the crews around us, but we knew that we could find a strong rhythm if we stayed relaxed and calm. A good start saw us find that easy race pace and we steadily pulled away from Downing behind us. We didn't get any signals on Newnham in front, but we did stay with them all the way as they closed in on Girton and bumped out in Plough Reach. Downing were also bumped by Maggie around the Plough, so we were on our own. Or so we thought for a while... until Nick and Tom decided that we were making steady progress on Tit Hall 3 in front! Without changing anything and keeping our rhythm, we managed to steadily creep up on them over the reach, finishing about a length and half away. A good solid row over that shows what this crew can do. Hopefully we can row our own race again today and someone will just get in the way...

Uploaded Thursday 14th June, 10:48


Photos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 28 photos of this crew)

Videos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to watch the video. (see all three videos of this crew)


Wednesday's start

Wednesday's start


Saturday Womens' 1st division

W1 division

2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Rob Buerki, 2: Thomas Boston, 3: Daniel Duder, 4: Phil Jones, 5: George Gentsch, 6: Carlos del Cueto, 7: Will Awde, Stroke: Matt Causier, Cox: James Michael

UP 1 - Day 1: Bumped by Fitz II, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Bumped LMBC III, Day 4: Bumped Trinity Hall II

James Michael reports:


Wednesday: To be completely honest, today we were not at our best. We were chased by Fitz II, all of whom were physically larger and stronger than we were; our hope lay in good technique, but today that didn't come.

We had a good start, gaining half a length immediately on LMBC III, and by First Post corner we were three quarters of a length back; we were slowly gaining, but Fitz II, after a monumental push, gained on us faster and we were just bumped around grassy. Lessons have been learnt.

Thursday: ...and we showed how well they'd been learnt today. Off a solid row up, we started calmly and in control- though Stroke did catch a minor crablet... The rating was sensible and we had the right feeling from the start. We knew Fitz would be fast, and so we played the long game. Unfortunately as they bumped out they cleared to the inside of Grassy, with LMBC III on the outside. We had to thread the needle, and didn't quite make it; our bowside blades clashed with those of LMBC and Will was knocked into a major crab. We were knocked off quite a lot by this; but we focussed in, ignoring Emma III who closed to within a length, and restarted. We settled back nicely into the pace, and closed to within 2 lengths of Christs II by the railway bridge, but at that point they just bumped out. A double overbump was beyond us by this point- we're not St. Edmunds M1- and so we wound down and cruised home nicely. Overall a successful day, and an improvement over previous May M2 boats...

Friday: Much more like it! After a good foundation rowing over yesterday, we knew we could have LMBC III if we kept our technique together, held off Jesus III and settled nicely. And settle we did; after a fast start, we moved well, gaining nicely on LMBC. Our rhythm and ration was there and we just bowled them away. We pushed down the gut and closed in on the red blades ahead; Jesus made a big push round Grassy, but we held them off and they dropped back. We flew down Plough Reach and set up nicely for Ditton. I couldn't believe how wide LMBC went here- they were at least one and a half boat widths off from the corner. We cornered tightly and in control, hearing three whistles. I made sure we had overlap up to half a length, and then to the sounds of the bell we swerved in for the kill, bumping soon after. There was much jubilation after this; M2's first bump in Mays for about 4 or 5 years. A big achievement all round for all, and some proud rowing on the way home with the majority of a willow tree wreathing boat and rowers. It was nice and controlled, and tomorrow we face Trinity Hall M2; we proved our staying power today, and tomorrow we're looking to do the same.

Saturday: Well, we didn't need so much staying power. We started with a little trepidation, but got into a NICE rhythm at 32/33- it was nice to know that we were moving well and that we had about 4 pips of headroom if we needed to take it up- running in 4th gear rather than top, with plenty to go.

We got the length whistle half-way down First Post reach, and heard that a few times. LMBC closed to within a length, but the feeling in the boat and on the bank was that they wouldn't come closer- we had plenty to go but they would die. And die they did coming round First Post; we managed to steer within 4 inches of the bank and get our bows pointed right at their cox. Two and then three whistles followed in quick succession, and then the bell. We took the power up, kept the rate controlled; I heard "Hold it up" having got the required overlap, the Tit Hall cox conceeded late after contact had been made, but the bump was ours. A quick clear into the bank and then it was willow all round- and, for the first time since 2002, a Clare Second Men's boat had gone UP overall. We were incredibly proud of this and of the way the boat worked as a team together; a fitting epitaph to a term's hard work and a term's improvement. Thanks to Tom Robinson for subbing for George today.

Uploaded Sunday 17th June, 12:32


Carlos Del Cueto reports:


Day 1: Far from our best, we were dead very soon due to inefficient high rating. Fitz II rowed better and caught us before we had more than a length on LMBC III. We knew we could do better, so disappointing.

Day 2: A marked improvement, we rowed at our efficient rate and stayed on station with Fitz II until they bumped the crew in front of them. A scary patch in the middle when we almost cam to a halt due to crashing blades, and we saw the crew ahead pull in, but we basically started again, really strong, really efficient, and pushed from them. Rowed over in the end, but we were never too tired, and felt good about Day 3.

Day 3: Yes, we rowed well, we started well, we were efficient. One of the best things about today is that whenever we needed to push for more we had energy in the tank. Also congrats to Mr. James Michael for taking excellent lines. When Jesus closed in on us we pushed off them, we pushed after corners, and we pushed at three whistles, and we pushed at the bell and.... wait, I forgot to mention.... WE GOT A BUMP!

Awesome stuff. More tomorrow. Tit Hall are getting spoons. Case closed.

Day 4: There was exultation as we pulled into the bank before grassy...another bump! This was a very exciting race, considerably shorter than the last two days too. We set off perhaps not as strongly as yesterday, but together, and we set into a nice rhythm of 32/33 - not very high, but effective. The first whistle came, but some of us were getting a little worried because it looked like LMBC III was closing in on us a bit - I think they got to about 3/4 length. However, we kept our cool, raced our race, and by the time we got the two whistles LMBC III had gone really wide on a corner, and looked far in the distance, and we had loads in the tank. It was amazing to feel how our boat actually started flying as soon as we heard three whistles, and Nick's bell was a sweet sound. Some fantastic coxing today, and excellent rowing. We did it, and it feels good.

Uploaded Saturday 16th June, 16:06


Photos of the 2nd Men's VIII: click to view full size. (see all six photos of this crew)

Videos of the 2nd Men's VIII: click to watch the video.


Clare M2 - Day 1

Clare Second Men rowing up to the start and rowing along First Post Reach on the first day of May Bumps 2007


Clare M2 Bumping LMBCIII

Right - sorry for the delay on this one - it's taken me ages to figure out how to convert the file into something I can edit. The irony now is, that since I've uploaded it onto google videos, all that quality that I was struggling to keep has disappeared anyway, so I'm currently looking for somewhere to upload the video, so that you can download it and watch it properly. Anyway, this should give you a general idea to the video. Look out for some wonderful filming by Phil and me almost falling off my bike... Well done guys - the first bump up by a Mays M2 boat since 2003!

2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Laura Derbyshire, 2: Collette Johnson, 3: Chloe Ragazzoli, 4: LJ Michie, 5: Holly Marsh, 6: Alice McNamara, 7: Caroline Bentley, Stroke: Laura Cato, Cox: Sarah Preece

DOWN 4 - Day 1: Bumped by Queens' II, Day 2: Bumped by Downing II, Day 3: Bumped by Corpus I, Day 4: Bumped by Jesus III

Collette Johnson reports:


Day 1: The second ladies got off to a good start at the beginning of the race, however Queens II started to close in on them. The girls however continued to keep up there hard work and whistles fron Queens II were continually going off signalling the a distance of 1 length and also closing in, but the clare ladies did not let this affect there standard in the boat. This continued until Fen Ditton corner when they got bumped. This crew showed they have the stamina and the team moral to do well in the next few days. Definately a crew to look out for.

Day 2: The ladies got off to a good start, even after the few duff practice starts they had on the row up. The ladies started well and moved away from Downing well, however downing began to gain speed and strength and began to catch up. They continued to row on and got 1 length on queens II infront of them, but to there dismay Downing bumped them on the edge of grassy and they were out of the race. An unlucky day again, but they rowed hard and well.

Day 4: Again the ladies got off to a good start and continued well, however Jesus III started to catch up with them coming within half a length but the ladies kept pulling away to a lengths distance and this continued for some time. the ladies eventually caught up to a length on Corpus but by this time Jesus III were were within inches of bumping us. the crew kept on fighting to pull away but with no luck and got bumped on the edge of grassy. however the ladies did get a length on corpus, but bad luck prevaled, which had done throughout the week for these ladies. they put up a good fight all week and could still hold there heads high as they knew that they had rowed there best.

Uploaded Tuesday 26th June, 11:21


LJ Michie reports:


Day 3:

By common consensus this was our best race of the week! We were more than a little wary going into it, as we knew Corpus behind us were fast and would be out to get us, but we were hopeful of being able to make an impression on Downing in front, despite the fact they'd bumped us the day before.

The row up to the start was pretty good, made a bit exciting by the Cam having turned into a raging (ok, maybe not quite raging) torrent over night. Our start was good - the ratio, which had been our weakness all term, was much improved, even though the first few strokes were slower due to the increased stream. The whole crew gave it everything from the first - we knew we had to catch Downing quickly if we were going to at all. Encouraging cries from Sarah in the cox seat spurred us to further efforts, but, alas, it was not to be. We had moved up slightly on Downing, but not enough to save us when Corpus made their move and bumped us before Grassy.

Even though we were bumped, everyone in the crew felt that it was a good race. We went out and rowed our best and, having done that, there was no shame in going down to a much faster crew, which also happened to be a first boat.

Uploaded Friday 22nd June, 16:59


Alice McNamara reports:


Day 1: Our row up to the start was not as smooth as it could have been, including a rather special crabbing moment from an embarrassed 6 during a build on the Reach. However, our practise start at the Plough was solid, if not exemplary, and our greatest obstacle was the unknown quality of Queens' II.

It became quickly apparent that Queens' were quick and solid, and they closed to one length as we were entering Grassy. Queens' took a good line around the corner and as we straightened out we were only half a length ahead. However, all down Plough Reach we held them off with little panicking, although perhaps a bigger push here could have saved us.

At Ditton Queens' again had the inside line and closed to within a canvas. There was slight ambiguity in the boat as to when and where the bump occurred. Queens' had their hands up long before the bump was conceded. Neither Sarah or the crew felt the bump, so when Queens' fell back in victory, we thought we were pulling away and started to push harder, before the bank party convinced us we had been bumped.

Our main problem in the race was the issue that has plagued us all term: ratio. A little longer on the slide would make us a lot more efficient, but this is not news to any of us. We set off a little harder than the race plan, hitting 38 off the start. We know that at high rates we get scrappy, but we settled at a more solid 34 which we could have maintained for the whole course, had circumstances been different.

However, the general feeling in the boat was positive. Queens' were quicker (hopefully just on the day, as we chase them on Thursday) and we held it together as they came in for the bump - unlike our rather dismal performance at City Sprints, when the entire crew died in the last 100m.

This was the first bumps race for most of the crew, so on Thursday, with more experience and less nerves, there is the potential for a much better result.

Uploaded Thursday 14th June, 13:51


Photos of the 2nd Women's VIII: click to view full size. (see all 11 photos of this crew)

3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Jonathan Birch, 2: Phil Bateman, 3: Ben Pearson/Tom Robinson, 4: Mike Coffin/Ed Day, 5: David Jones/Alex Whitney, 6: Ed Day/Tomasz Stefanski, 7: Andrew Ho, Stroke: James Fulcher, Cox: Will Kerr‑Muir

UP 1 - Day 1: Bumped by Queens' III (Technical Result), Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Bumped Caius III, Day 4: Bumped Trinity Hall III

Will Kerr-Muir reports:


Day 1: Ploughing into a bush during our practice start off the Railway Bridge wasn't ideal, but fortunately the real start was much more tidy and speedy, the adrenaline pushing the rate up a couple of pips. This time the bank party managed to count down the time to the gun coherently so we were ready for it.

The crews around us were pretty fast and the race around us was of a pretty high standard for the fourth division. We'd seen Queens' rowing up looking tidy and they gradually narrowed the gap all the way down the course. We closed on Tit Hall but they bumped Caius and cleared malcoordinatedly, resulting in our having to hold it up. Queens' hadn't been far behind and the bank umpires judged the bump to have been inevitable...

Tomorrow we'll need at least to row over in anticipation of shoddy crews coming down to us on Friday.

Day 2: Rowover achieved, but not quite as planned. Selwyn had two whistles on us in the Gut and three in Plough Reach, but the guys dug in and held them off. Tit Hall were a speck on the horizon when we rounded Ditton and holding off Selwyn was the main aim; by the Railway Bridge, when Selwyn had dropped back to half a length and with Tit Hall down to three or four lengths off, the overbump was on. It would have been a good scalp, but we couldn't make the last two or three feet to steal the bump on the line. Selwyn, though, had dropped back to station. The CUR1350 commentary <a href=>here</a> (mp3) is worth a listen.

Tomorrow a hard start should deny Selwyn again and push us into a spooning Caius crew.

Day 3: The torrential downpour on the way up to the start had no effect on our stunning rowing. We flew of the start, flew through the whistles and flew into Caius - the boat didn't touch the ground from the moment we pushed off to when we banked up after the bump.

Day 4: Job done. The bell just as we were coming into Grassy meant our overpowered strokeside hoofed it so the line was a little wide and we dropped back a bit. Tit Hall were never going to get away though and within 10 strokes of coming straight we had them. Up 1 over the week: a good job considering our minimum ten outings' preparation.

Uploaded Monday 18th June, 16:38


Jonathan Birch reports:


Day 2: To start with, we lured Selwyn III into a false sense of security by play fighting on the bank and nearly injuring several crew members. But by the end, Selwyn weren’t laughing – they were crying, crying like we’d just stolen their ice cream and rubbed it in their faces. Well, they weren’t actually crying.

They were virtually within a canvas by Grassy. Joel kept us motivated by shouting “Tit Hall [the overbump] are only 3 lengths away!” – exactly what we wanted to hear when Selwyn were about 3 inches away. But somehow we kept it moving and by Long Reach we were hearing shouts of “They’re moving backwards!” I, however, suspected that they were moving forwards, but at a slower rate.

A massive push off the Railway Bridge and Selwyn were finished – and by the end we could smell Tit Hall a few yards off. But then, by that point our crew was probably quite smelly too.

Day 3: After dealing with a freak storm on the row up, we arrived at station ready to give Caius III a taste of Hurricane Clare. Okay, I lie: in reality we were more interested in not getting hypothermia. The crew jumped out, deshirted, wrung out the water, lifted up the boat, shook it, and drenched ourselves with yet more water, entertaining certain residual spectators with what must have looked like some kind of impromptu 3rd Men calendar shoot. It paid off very rapidly as our lighter, drier boat chased down a cold and wet Caius crew, so that within two minutes we were home and dry. Sort of.

Uploaded Friday 15th June, 18:04


Paddy O'Furniture reports:


Day 2: The row-over to show how it's done.

A tidy start gained us half a length on Queens', who by that time had gained significantly on Caius in front. It wasn't long before they had both gone and Selwyn were on our tail. Whistles started down Plough Reach (every stroke - Selwyn bank party obviously wanted to exercise his lungs to the fullest). One, then two, then held at two for a while, then Ditton corner, then two, then three... two... three... two... one... and silence! We held it together, didn't panic, the power increased and we pushed away from an exhausted Selwyn crew.

Then the whistles started again. This time for us, for the overbump on a rather scrappy-looking Trinity Hall. This was the kitchen sink push - all or nothing. By top finish we were within a canvas. Huge shame not to get that overbump, but a good result nonetheless. Tomorrow: Caius.

Uploaded Thursday 14th June, 17:18


Photos of the 3rd Men's VIII: click to view full size. (see all ten photos of this crew)