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May Bumps 2015

Wednesday 10th - Saturday 13th June

Previous event: May Bumps Getting-on Race - Following event: Peterborough Summer Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Tim Tito Rademacher, 2: Ed Oughton, 3: Quentin Gouil, 4: Ross Buckingham, 5: Anders Kjemtrup, 6: Jon Swain, 7: Callum McKenzie, Stroke: Ben Evans, Cox: Esther Momcilovic

UP 1 - Day 1: Rowed over, Day 2: Bumped St. Catz, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Rowed over.

Esther Momcilovic reports:


Day One

Chasing Queens', being chased by King's

Oh my word, it's never simple with us, is it?

So: We had a great start and were rowing at a strong 36, making ground on Queens' and walking away with no problems from King's. We got one whistle on Queens' on First Post and then two whistles as we came round Grassy. Unfortunately, at this point Catz crumbled - the illustrious Will Hayes had told us he could probably give us to the Plough, but could guarantee no further, and he was spot on. Queens' tasted blood. We were still moving though. We were inside two whistles when Queens' bumped Catz. Unfortunately, it being the entry to Ditton, Queens' stern swung out. Being so close to them, there was nowhere to go: We had to hold it up. I didn't want to presume we would get a technical row over, so I knew we had to get out of there SHARPISH. We restarted, but were pointing at the outside of Ditton, so had to do some tactical bowside holding/strokeside pressure/flirtation with the bank. By this time, King's had managed to make up all the ground we'd put between us. Craaaaap. So we restarted, straight, knowing we had to go NOW. And go we went! We absolutely flew on that restart, and - I kid you not - put about 2 lengths on King's in about 20 strokes. It wasn't panicked, it wasn't rushed - this was a great rhythm at about 34, which we took up the rest of the Reach. King's were no threat, and we rowed out the rest of the course with them sitting comfortably outside station.

Not an ideal outcome, but a fantastic performance, and really demonstrative of how much this crew has matured and improved since Lents. We are coming for Catz tomorrow and, by god, please please please can we once and for all chuffin' bump Queens' on Friday!

Day Two

Chasing Catz, being chased by King's

Phew! We did it :D

It wasn't our best row - I think we were feeling the pressure a bit, knowing we should get them and worrying we wouldn't. Our rhythm wasn't quite as relaxed and confident as yesterday, and the rougher water threw us a bit more. Having said that though, our moves on the corners were waaay better today, and we made masses of ground on Grassy, earning our first whistle and moving a good way into our second. We got two whistles on Plough Reach, and - after a slightly wobbly Ditton - we came out on three. After that it was just a question of reeling Catz in as we went down the Reach. We got the bell and executed our kill call, bumping them shortly after, just after the spinning zone. Hats off to Catz for a very very gutsy row - good luck for tomorrow! As for us, we will be taking confidence from today and pushing for our first proper shot at Queens'....Cave Adsum.

Day Three

Chasing Queens', being chased by Catz

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. That is all for now. More tomorrow.

Day Four

Chasing Queens', chased by King's

The race report yesterday was deliberately uninformative, on the off-chance that Queens' were looking at our reports for tactical info! Our strategy today was "No bells, no whistles, just pure conviction" - we had rowed over behind Queens' so many times that they knew what our system was and - we suspected - timed their pushes off our bell. So we decided not to use them - Anton communicated our distances to me and I told the crew.

Andy J gave one of the best pre-race speeches I have ever heard. "People often accuse me of getting too emotional about bumps. But I'll tell you why I am - because it bloody matters, boys. If I asked "Who bumped from 8th to 7th on the river in Mays 100 years ago?", do you think I'd be able to find out? Yes. Yes I would. And I tell you why - because it matters. What happens today will similarly be in the records for at least another hundred years. You are a good crew. Today, you are going to go out there and you are going to f*cking push your heart out on stroke one. And stroke two. And stroke three. And every stroke there after. You are going to f*cking push and you will have a length at Grassy. You will have half at the Plough. And you will close at Ditton. Do you hear me, boys? Today you are going to become a Great Crew. Just do it."

And do it we did. We had one whistle on First Post Reach. We had two on the corner. Three in the gut. The bell on Grassy. We lifted on Plough Reach. They held. Ditton was spectacular - one of our best rowed corners of the entire campaign. We came out on overlap. This was it - we made our kill call. I was watching Ed's blade. Any stroke now. I could see it edging closer and closer to Queens' stern...

And the bastards got away. I am in awe of Queens' ability to hold firm under that kind of pressure - I've never EVER been so close to a bump and not got it and I swear to you now that it was nothing to do with the performance of the eight men in front of me and everything to do with the guys in the boat in front - they had a will of iron and the ability to hold on for just long enough to break our kill. We did not get them. But by god, we bloody tried - so much so that in the last section of the course from the Railway Bridge to Top Finish, King's presented the first real threat they had all week. We had given it everything, and it just wasn't quite enough.

But that's bumps! And I can honestly say there are no regrets about how we performed. Were we faster than Queens'? Yes. Did we have what we needed to bump them? Not quite. As Jon Swain would say: "Bumps is bullshit".

Uploaded Sunday 14th June, 12:19


Quentin Gouil reports:


Day Four

Chasing Queens', being chased by King's

I love sports. How often do you get to experience such a maelström of emotions? After this race I was both elated and and sad. No we didn't get them. But yes we rowed even better than we thought we could, and left no doubt about which of the two crews was faster.

But before we get to that, let's take a moment to tell you about the exceptional crew we had this year. Esther... well, you know already: she's amazing. Always positive, always keeping us focused, giving us challenges to step up our rowing, and finding beautiful lines at every race. We were looking forward to each corner because we knew this was a massive advantage to us. Ben doesn't need an introduction either, his powerful and relentless stroke is a delight to follow. He's my model, technically and mentally (thanks for not letting me slack off). Callum now. Haha. I noviced with this guy, and it's great to see how far he's improved in his time at Clare. Despite his late squares and groans when it's down on bowside, I can't imagine an M1 without him. Backed up by Jon and his technical stability, they send the rhythm up the boat. Anders at 5 is a physiological freak. His lightning fast improvements on and off the water would seem impossible if you didn't know his commitment and training intelligence. Another one who can teach you about commitment is Ross. Keen as a bean. DAMN KEEN. I also noviced with Ross and it's quite special to follow him up and down the slides. Behind me is Ed, the machine. Once kick-started, he's unstoppable. Give him a crazy training plan, he'll smash it and ask for more. And then he wonders why he's losing weight. Finally at bow we have legendary Tim, a remarkable athlete on many levels. Sub 1h30 half-marathon, international rugby league player, break-dancer, natural pole vaulter, fastest lightweight sculler and first-across-the-line of the Boat Race. Whatever he applies himself to, he excells in. As you can imagine given such performances, his competitive spirit is first class, and he's also a top bloke. Now you understand how proud I was to be among these athletes, and how much inspiration and motivation one could get from them.

Back to the final day of Bumps. Yet again, we were the Royal Sandwich: chased by Kings' and chasing Queens'. Our warm up testified of our solidity. The bursts at rate 28 and 32 felt like Anna Zeugner's brownie and peanut butter cake: smooth, tasty, but lethal. We had decided to do away with the Pavlovian conditioning for the race: no whistles or bells, meaning no cue for Queens' to push off us and no unnecessary tensing in our own boat. We could expect Queens' to put up a fight and maybe hold us for a little while, because they showed on Day 3 that they could respond to our assaults, but we knew we had a higher cruising speed. Andy gave us a great speech 10 minutes before the start, and everyone was wound up ready to spring. No wind, so Anton pushed us off early. Bow pair gave us all the chain length we could get. And the gun, resonating under the motorway bridge, set us off. We were able to produce our best start, patient and precise, past the outflow. The legs call came as we hit the minute, and we found our rhythm. The plan was to row every stroke a bit better than we had in the past. That's exactly what we did. Quickly Esther informed us that we were moving on Queens'. We took a very good Grassy, spurred on by the roars, and launched into Plough Reach. Even though we had passed the bulk of the Clare supporters, the noise intensity kept very high, telling us that we were still making ground on our green rivals. When we had overlap on Ditton, it seemed inevitable: the Bump was going to happen. If not this stroke, then the next... Come on, next one...! Tim was seeing their stern, wondering if he could reach it if he extended his arm. However no contact was made, and Queens' pulled away. We remained threatening, taking confidence in the fact that it was even more painful for them than for us, but we had left a lot of energy riding their dirty water and swirling puddles, so all we could do was to once more keep Kings' at bay and give Queens' a run for their money.

It was a great experience, capping off a very enjoyable term of rowing. Thanks to all those who flooded the banks to show your support. And thanks to my incomparable crewmates.

Uploaded Sunday 14th June, 12:09


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

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


May bumps 2015 - Saturday

Bumped up on day 2 (St Catharine's) and were chasing Queens'.

1st Women's VIII

Bow: Edith Ross, 2: Riana Betzler, 3: Anna Zeugner, 4: Olivia Jenkins, 5: Chrysoula Litina, 6: Helen Waters, 7: Imogen Sharkey Ochoa, Stroke: Claire Watkins, Cox: Tom Watson

Day 1: Bumped by Jesus, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped by FaT

Tom Watson reports:


Day 1: Chasing Emma, chased by Jesus

On paper, we've started Mays exactly the same way we started Lents (albeit from a slightly higher starting position), but in fact, when I think back to a few months ago we could hardly be less like the crew we were. Last time we struggled to get round first post, got eaten up in the gut and conceded the bump before the apex of Grassy, one of the first bumps of the division.

This time it was all different. We were long in the water and sustaining a strong 36, holding Jesus pretty much on station all the way around Grassy. It got a little choppy going into Plough reach (I think in the backs of our minds were were a little surprised to have actually gotten that far) and Jesus began moving in, but what really did for us was a loss of focus when we heard the three whistles. Possibly the cheekiest three whistles that have ever been blown - to me it sounded so far behind I assumed it was two other crews that were about to bump, nothing to do with us at all! Unfortunately that gave Jesus a huge psychological boost and broke our concentration, but we stayed strong around Ditton and made them fight for every inch they gained, even when they had overlap. We were a good 150m down the reach when we eventually conceded and there was more than one point where I thought we might just about break free. We weren't a million miles away from Emma either, although they did pull away a bit by Ditton (when I took us wide to hold off Jesus).

A better kill call from me, a reminder to the crew to focus back in on our row when the whistles came, and it could have been a different race. Then again perhaps not, because it's a long course. What's more important is that we rowed like the sort of crew that deserves to be in amongst the top boats. Jesus have rightly set their sights higher than us this year (although they'll have to be on their toes tomorrow), but there was miles of space between us and the next two crews at the bump so we're by no means the lame duck our times earlier in the term would imply. If we can take this result the right way and come back just as strong tomorrow, we'll do ourselves proud yet.

Day 2: Chasing Jesus, chased by FaT

The Duke of Wellington described Waterloo as "the closest run thing you've ever seen in your life." Very nearly 200 years later, we may have beaten that record. We came into this race with an astonishing amount to prove; we'd never expected to get away from Jesus, but we knew FaT were around our level. Plus, they'd beaten us before at Nines regatta, so of all the crews we could have had to prove ourselves against, mentally speaking this was probably the toughest. That was reflected in our start, which was alright but more rushed than yesterday's. The nerves stayed with us into First Post, where we very nearly broke around the corner as we did at Lents but the will to bring it back was there this time. FaT kept pushing into us around Grassy, but we suddenly found a relaxed rhythm into Plough Reach and began widening the gap.

Then the whistles came, and although they were optimistic they had the desired result - FaT smelled blood and came in hard. Crucially however, unlike yesterday we stayed focused and refused to die for them. Even so, there wasn't much more than a canvas between us at Ditton and I had to take a wide line to avoid contact. It was touch-and-go for the first half of the reach, but a great response to the kill calls kept FaT at bay. At that point I think a switch flipped in everyone's mind, and we realised we could do it. After pushing them back to half a length again (maybe a little more), FaT made their big push into the railway bridge, bringing it back to a canvas. However, helped by a much better line around the final corner (if I may say so myself), we refused to let them get an inch further. Onto the final straight, and with a fantastic cheer from M1 on the bank ringing in our ears (much love guys) it was our turn to be the faster crew. The end was in sight, and we'd invested so much by that point that there was no way we were going to say die. Every stroke after the P&E put more clear water between us and FaT and we crossed the line with lengths to spare.

I started my report for Day 1 by observing that there was an uncanny resemblance, on paper at least, to our Lents performance, but that the reality could hardly be more different. The same holds true for today. Last term we only got a row over because the two pairs in front and behind of us bumped out by the reach - we avoided spoons because there was no-one left to catch us. Today we were chased all the way to the finish, by a crew who themselves had a crew chasing them all the way down. More than once they had overlap; more than once we pulled away. Today we proved that we deserve to be one of the top five crews on the river. Let's hope the resemblance to Lents ends here.

Day 3: Chasing Jesus, chased by FaT

Having finally rowed at our level yesterday, there were a lot of nerves in the boat today. Given how close we'd come, there was a sense that the margin of error was next to nonexistent for today's race, and various awful what-if scenarios involving the crews behind were running around our heads. Fortunately, the spell broke halfway up the reach during our row up: a quick crab from one of us (who shall remain nameless) got us all laughing about how we'd been waiting for something to go wrong today, and at least we'd got it out of the way!

As for the race itself, we were never in any danger. The best start we've done yet was followed up by great responses to my calls around the corners, allowing us to take a tight line without losing speed. FaT had gained quite a bit on us around the corners yesterday, but today they never got more than one questionable whistle into First Post. We stayed strong past the supporters on Grassy and Plough Reach, and although FaT pressed us hard around Ditton they had to take it wide; Newnham, themselves under pressure from Christ's, were hot on their tail. Down the reach the three of them were in a sandwich behind us, and we were roughly on station ahead of FaT (although they'd also moved out to the meadow side); we stayed in our bubble and allowed the drama to play itself out rather than watching it and risking getting caught up in it. Eventually Newnham were caught by Christ's before they could bump out to save themselves, and without a crew at their six to push them on FaT didn't have the extra gear to make up the distance we'd opened out. Another close line under the railway bridge, a few technical calls to conserve what little power remained in our legs, and the job was done. Three down, one to go. Bring it on.

Day 4: Chasing Jesus, chased by FaT

Well, two out of three ain't bad. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth but what can you do? FaT came off the start like a rocket knowing that their race would last no more than 500m with Christ's on for blades behind them; we were expecting a much longer race, and for FaT's big push to come somewhere along Plough reach. Perhaps if I'd made the kill call earlier we could have held them off at half a length, but you can spend forever on counterfactuals. Let's focus on the positive: we were the better crew two times out of three. And if nothing else I've ended my CBC career by stopping Christ's from getting blades, which is almost as sweet as getting blades (again) myself. It's just a shame next year's W1 won't be able to blade to headship again.

Uploaded Saturday 20th June, 18:09


Claire Watkins reports:


Day one: So today we got bumped by Jesus, on the reach, somewhere after the spinning posts (I think). But the sad face above doesn't tell the whole tale; this was the best row we've had by a long way. The start felt loose and powerful, and aided by the tailwind we settled onto a long 36 out of First Post. We were holding Jesus steady behind us, and had gained a small amount on Emma. Jesus started to gain gradually round Grassy, and along Plough Reach. We made a big move into Ditton, holding them at half a length (with some very optimistic whistling), but they then ate back in and finally made the bump on the Reach. If we can produce a similar powerful, relaxed and internally focused row each day, this will be a good set of bumps.

Day two: A rowover to be proud of! Tom's described the race well, but I just wanted to add how impressed I was at how the whole crew stayed calm and trusted we could do it; FaT closed to easily inside 3 whistles on 3 separate occasions from Ditton onwards, and each time we pushed them back out, finally finishing outside station. Same again tomorrow ladies!

Day three: Our row up today was a little nervy, with everyone aware we were capable of rowing over but knowing it could be the battle we had yesterday repeated. However, our start today was a huge step on from the day before, hitting a punchy but more relaxed rhythm as we came into the gut. With tight lines from Tom and acceleration out of the bends, we were able to hold FaT roughly on station through the corners, and coming onto the reach, they were under increasing pressure from Newnham behind. Christs seemed to appear from nowhere and close in on Newnham, and the three crews behind all pushed up on us, FaT almost closing to a whistle. We stayed in our bubble, and as Christ's took out Newnham, we began to stretch away from FaT, racing comfortably past our marshaling M1 and crossing the line with a huge gap (maybe 10 lengths?) behind us.

Day four: With the boat officially launched in the morning, and name for our ever-supportive Anne Brewin, we went out determined to complete its first set of bumps in style. We knew that FaT behind us would be gunning for us; we'd rowed over ahead of them twice so we backed ourselves to hold them long enough that a blading Christs might catch them. Perhaps this was our downfall; although we knew they would fly off the start, our heads were partly set on a longer race, and we paid for it. Our start was fine, nothing special but nothing bad, but as we came out of it we were all aware of a rapidly closing FaT behind. I think at this point we tensed up, the rowing got a little scrappy and we stopped moving as together, allowing FaT to keep gaining on us into first post corner. We took our kill move out of the corner, but it was too late, and we conceded the bump in the Gut after a 2 minute race. A sad way to end what we'd felt to be a positive bumps campaign; despite the down 2, the progress made was great, and we had some really good rows this week. We rowed home a mixture of angry, upset, frustrated and still proud of ourselves, but by BCD we'd all mellowed enough to appreciate the week we had, and for some a final bumps campaign - we'll miss you!

All credit to FaT for committing to and pulling off such a rapid start and sprint, and Christs - I'm sorry if we took away your chance to try chasing them down!

Uploaded Monday 15th June, 17:56


2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Ollie Russell, 2: Robin Elliott, 3: Ben Leitch, 4: James Henderson, 5: Euan Beck, 6: Stephen Kindness, 7: Louis Tate, Stroke: Fred Benham‑Crosswell, Cox: Clement Chan

Day 1: Bumped Emma II, Day 2: Bumped St Catz II, Day 3: Bumped Sidney Sussex; Rowed Over, Day 4: Rowed Over; Rowed Over

Clement Chan reports:


Day One

Chasing Emma II, chased by Peterhouse II

Before the start of our Mays campaign, we were naturally a little tense and the apprehension showed slightly on the row to our start. Luckily, we got there ahead of time and had a few minutes to settle down before the start of the race. Regardless, we had a good start to the race, and at the end of the start sequence, we had gained half a length on Emma. We lengthened out quite well into our racing rhythm around First Post Corner and despite a change in the wind direction and rough water, we earned a few whistles along the Guts. The bell rang on Grassy Corner, but unfortunately, due to my questionable line, Emma edged away along Plough Reach. Full credits to the crew as they recovered from that and achieved another bell towards Ditton Corner. Hearing that, we made a move towards Emma at Ditton and their cox initially did a fantastic job steering their stern away from our 2 man's blade. After a few strokes, our bow man overlapped with their stern and Emma finally conceded just around the corner. Hopefully, we can carry this form and indomitable spirit into the next few days, and make the Lady of Clare proud.

Day Two

Chasing St Catz II, chased by Emma II

As with yesterday, we had a somewhat patchy paddle up to the lock, but we pulled it together well and made a decent start to the race. That said, Emma had a flying start and gained a whistle on us just after the start. The crew however made a great push as we approached First Post Corner, which took us away from the chasing crew and around half a boat length closer to St. Catz. We proceeded to earn our first whistle as we come around First Post Corner, after which we gained another quarter of a length on St. Catz. Along the Gut, we were around half a length from the boat ahead and the rough water caused our technique to suffer slightly. Regardless, we continued to edge closer to Catz until we finally achieved the continuous whistle (replacement for the bell) as I started to steer for Grassy. At that point, perhaps from over-excitement, we tensed up and had a rather dodgy stroke which reduced our momentum. While I was worried that we gave them a chance to pull away, it turned out to be one of the best resets we have done all year. We made up for lost time in the subsequent five strokes, putting a lot of pressure on Catz around Grassy. I was unable to manoeuvre our bow inside their stern, but it mattered little as our bow swung into their stern after the first apex. Ollie did a great job ensuring the bump in front of a large Clare crowd, by reaching out and giving their boat a nice smack. Given that we bumped out on Grassy Corner, it was always going to be tricky clearing the race path, but the combination of sharp reactions from our crew and a great line from Emma's cox, we avoided a potentially division-halting collision with the chasing crew. Overall, great work today and let's go up again tomorrow!

Day Three

Chasing Sidney Sussex, chased by St Catz II; Sandwich boat, chasing Pembroke II

The past few days have not been easy, but we know that today would be the most difficult race to date. Chasing a first crew will be draining, and will require every bit of effort from all of us. Luckily, we were all sharp and focused as we were pushed out into the racing line. On the start, we had great start sequence, but Sidney Sussex's start was even better, pulling away by around half a boat length. The crew, being blissfully unaware of the distance, stayed strong and slowly but surely we drew closer to the crew ahead. On First Post Corner, we were approximately on station, but we had a great lift out of the corner, which gradually cut into Sidney's lead. As we approached Grassy, we earned our first whistle, which galvanised the crew and encouraged them to push even harder. Full credits to Sidney's cox, she steered a great line around Grassy while I ended up slightly wide on the exit, and that perhaps postponed the bumps slightly. That said, our bladework stayed clean and strokes long up until halfway up Plough Reach, at which point we earned two whistles. While it did have the intended effect of spurring the crew on, the change in pressure came on at different points. Thus, the next few strokes were not as efficient. When other crews might have become disheartened, our rowers responded fantastically well to my reset call, driving our boat towards Ditton. As we come around Ditton, I was able to stay on the inside of Sidney's stern and to avoid our bow, their cox was forced to steer wide. This gave us the opportunity to overlap and demonstrate our speed along a straight line. When their boat was finally forced near the meadow side, we were able to ease into their boat and achieve the bump. Here, I would like to apologize to their cox and stroke seat if our blades hit you.

Since we were the top of our division, we had a chance to bump up into the second division. Given the crews ahead of us, bumping ahead was going to be a bit daunting or as Anton puts it, ropey. Regardless, we were determined to give it a shot and I am proud to say that my crew gave everything they have got. We got the quick start that we were looking for, but Pembroke II smelled blood early and made a massive move onto Queens II. The crew ahead of us was in high spirits as they quickly earned a few whistles, forcing us to move even faster to maintain on station. Although Pembroke was able to pull away very early, we held it together very well and maintained more or less the same distance for most of race. The first half of the race was uneventful, although the rough water generated by the crews ahead posed a slight problem initially. On First Post Corner, we were forced to go slightly wide as crews have banked on the side of the corner, but that did not deter our crew as we maintained a steady rhythm into the second half of the race. Unluckily for us, we were not quite quick enough today, as Queen's, who have valiantly fended off Pembroke for most of the race course, bumped out near the spinning posts on Long Reach. At that point, it might be reasonable for our efforts to tail off, but being proud Clareites, we pushed on and tried to get the overbump onto Corpus. There were approximately ten boat lengths between the two boats and we moved up onto them quite efficiently. Yet, we were trying to make up too much ground in a short distance and they were able to row over without too much pressure. While I lost my composure when I mistook the line for the finish, the crew maintained great focus and technique as we surged to a great row over.

I might have fallen in the trap of over-analysing the race, and if you have made it this far in the race report, thank you for your

support! It was a great race today and we should all be proud of our efforts. Here's to a good night rest and a big day tomorrow.

Day Four

Head of division, chased by Sidney Sussex I; Sandwich boat, chasing Queen's II

I am going to be very brief about the first race, during which we held off the pursuit of Sidney Sussex I to earn a row over at the top of the division, as I am uncertain about what happened behind me. Hopefully, a member of the crew will be kind enough to elaborate on the course of the race. I will however take this opportunity to say what a wonderful effort it was. Given there was no boat ahead of us, the motivation might be a little less, but that did not appear to deter the crew at all. They were spirited and they responded well to every call I made. Bow four, in particular, were very good around corners, making my job so much easier.

On the second race, we were sandwich boat once again chasing Queen's M2. We were not able to achieve the bump we were looking for, but it was a great race and we should not be disappointed by our efforts today. Given we had a row over before this race, we know that we are probably not going to catch Queen's over a long distance and aimed to have a powerful start. I was therefore happy to report that our start was strong and we lengthened out into a good rhythm as we approached the Motorway Bridge. Unfortunately for us, Queen's, perhaps desiring to avenge their bump by Pembroke II the day before, was spirited and held us on station. We mustered a push as we come out into the outflow and gained a whistle on them, which was probably the closest we got to them today. Queen's was spurred on by the whistle and regained their lead as we head towards First Post Corner. The next two corners were slightly chaotic as quite a few crews bumped out along that stretch and I was forced to steer wide on both corners, which possibly costed us the chance to cut the lead into Queen's. The rowers were evidently tiring as we come around into Long Reach, but they did not falter one bit and gave a great chase. However, Queen's are never going to give up a bump easily, nor are they going to relent in their pursuit of Pembroke. As such, we were unable to close in on Queen's towards the end, and we end up rowing over at the bottom of the division.

It was great Mays campaign, and best of luck to M2 next year!

Uploaded Sunday 14th June, 11:35


Ollie Russell reports:


Day Two

Chasing St Catz II, chased by Emma II

To add to Clement's race report. It wasn't the tidiest row, but after a very messy stroke on the gut we reset and came back with some very strong rowing to get the job done early. Also, I'd like to mention that Clement's line round Grassy today was spot on and was a big factor in making sure we got the bump in front of the crowds on Grassy.

Uploaded Friday 12th June, 11:30


2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Charlotte McGarry, 2: Robyn Hamer, 3: Anna O'Brien, 4: Julia Kelsoe, 5: Lydia Price, 6: Anna Peel, 7: Rozalie Ryclova, Stroke: Ada Krzak, Cox: Basma Khogeer

Day 1: Bumped by Lucy/Hughes, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Bumped Wolfson

Rozalie Ryclova reports:


Day 3

It was a heroic day. The crew order was new, the start sequence was new, the rhythm was new yet the spirit of the crew was the same... STRONG.

Calm and composed, we awaited the cannon. With Nigel's counting in the background and Anton's tender push-off, we came to frontstops. We squared. Calm and composed.

Five. Four. Three. Silence. GUN.

The start was clean, strong and together. After the updated sequence, we settled into a relaxed and sustainable rhythm.

As expected, Hughes & Lucy Cav bumped out ahead of us very soon, requiring some creative steering from Basma, which she executed flawlessly and confidently. We kept on strong in spite of the sounds of carnage, holding Downing W2 just behind station.

As we reached the shouts of the Clare contingent on Grassy, we decided to row some more. Apparently we also broke Downing who got bumped out while we were at it, which was pretty neat.

We kept on strong and steady for a row-over and then.... There was pain, as promised by our coach. But also, there were whistles. And renewed vigour. Halfway through the reach, we were 2 lengths off Queens and in position for an overbump. Horror settled in the hearts of Queens' W2 (or so we imagine it). Panicked they put in a massive push and managed to hold us off to the finish line.

But there were absolutely no sad faces in the boat. Gasping for air we smiled, all (rightfully) incredibly proud of that row.

The neutral 'rowover' face on the CBC results board does not do it just. We're going into tomorrow with even more enthusiasm and power.

Yellow Fire.

Uploaded Saturday 13th June, 7:50


Basmah Khogeer reports:


Day 1:

Chasing Queens II, chased by Hughs/Lucy W1

Being chased by a W1 crew (with many experienced rowers), we knew this would be a short one. Our start was not our best, slightly rushed and panicked, however we soon got our rhythm as we came past the first corner. We started getting closer to Queens, we reached the 3/4 length whistle just after the motorway bridge. By that time Lucy started creeping up on us. As Robinson bumped Wolfson ahead of Queens, it forced as to have to take a line to avoid them, which gave Lucy a well deserved -yet unfortunate for us- bump.

Uploaded Thursday 11th June, 22:36


3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Karel Nanninga, 2: Tom Broughton, 3: Ben Jennings, 4: Matt Simpson, 5: Olivier Grouille, 6: Toby Roeder, 7: Adam Sanders, Stroke: Ollie Rusk, Cox: Lydia Price

Day 1: Bumped by Fitz II, Day 2: Bumped by Darwin II, Day 3: Bumped by Corpus II, Day 4: Rowed over

Tobias Roeder reports:


Day 1

Chasing King's M2, chased by Fitzwilliam M2

Surrounded by 2nd Boats, we knew it would not be an easy row in the sun. But we were confident that we had the power to smash King’s M2. After the usual solid start, we had an excellent changeover into race pace, so that we only had a length on King’s left at First Post Corner. In the Gut, we moved to just ¾. But somehow we did not gain quite as consistently from this point onwards and just kept that distance, while behind us the menace of Fitzwilliam M2 was moving up on us. Through some questionable coxing on their part and the excellent coxing of Lydia (to which we are used, of course), we avoided them until after Grassy. Yet, while still in hot pursuit of purple guys, Fitz caught us on the Plough Reach with an overlap we could not deny. Lydia parked with her usual proficiency, while Fitz apparently wanted a physical Bump and rammed our parked boat, luckily with no damage thanks to this great invention called bow ball. Conclusion: Good performance, bad result. We were faster than King's but not 'faster enough' (as Anton would say).

Day 2

Chasing Fitzwilliam M2, chased by Darwin M2

The crew was in good spirits to get back on Fitz for the day before, but a strong Darwin M2 would rain on our parade on that sunny day. After the start they were quickly encroaching on us. Their push around First Post Corner brought them within bumping distance. Yet, we pulled away again. But then our spirits and power withered away a bit as we lost the psychological edge. Darwin proved the survival of the fittest on Grassy and we banked up next to our yellow supporters on the bank (who by the way did a great job cheering on the row up and the race).

Day 3

Chasing Darwin M2, chased by Corpus Christi M2

On this disgustingly warm and humid day a slightly dispirited but still committed crew went down the river in their pursuit of revenge and glory. Our excellent start even gained us a whistle right away but Darwin was still not to be challenged in the long run. Another strong M2, this time Corpus, was able to hunt us down as we panicked a bit instead on managing a steady rhythm at after First Post.

Day 4

Chasing Corpus Christi M2, chased by St Catherine's M3

As our cox Lydia pointed out, there was a lot of frustration in the boat about how the Bumps campaign had gone so far. Yet, with a stirring motivational speech she raised our spirits, reminding us of the work we had done and what a great time we had as a crew. Being convinced of our strength once more, we were prepared to make this last day count. In bad weather (and one crew member armed with a tea towel to avoid wet handles) we set up for the start. Gun! We went off with our usual solid start (thanks to Anton, by the way, the creator of our 3-4-5 sequence). St. Catherine’s M3 being chased by a Wolfson M2 going for Blades went mental from the start. They knew that if they wanted to survive, they would have to catch us quickly. Giving everything from the beginning, they pressed us hard and nearly came within after First Post. But what did we do? As Nigel had told us, we this time did not lose the mental game. We pulled away from them again and again. This threw them off. Not able to catch us, they lost their nerve and rather decided to run the boat into the bank outside the end of Grassy Corner. Unfortunately, the Darwin M2, which had just bumped Jesus M3 was already occupying this spot. Ramming into them and interlocking their blades, Cats ejected their bow man; a rather amusing sight from our boat. While we knew, they would not pose a danger (and earn Wolfson a rather easy Bump and Blades), we could not be sure whether there were still crews chasing us. So, we went down the Reach with everything we got from our quick but intense battle with Cats. At the Railway Bridge, we could finally be sure, but only released the pressure a little just before the Top Finish after Lydia, concerned with the colour of some people’s heads, told us to. Utter exhaustion could not hinder cheering (and jolly swearing) from a crew, who finally proved their worth in results and not only in beautiful rowing and commitment. Spoons avoided and honour preserved, we rowed back in a way that befitted the great atmosphere we usually had in our boat (incl. Canadian Rowing).

In conclusion, our Bumps campaign cannot be qualified as a full success, of course. But while having been bumped by strong 2nd Boats who all went up at least +4, we performed in a way that could be expected from one of the top 3rd Boats on the river. And we had a great time as a crew.

Uploaded Wednesday 17th June, 12:44


3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Molly Spink, 2: Jenny Boddy, 3: Miriam Rumpel, 4: Sareeka Linton, 5: Simi Agunbiade, 6: Rebecca Harris, 7: Betsy‑Ann Ward, Stroke: Anna Ritchie, Cox: Lydia Bloomfield

Day 1: Bumped by Darwin II, Day 2: Bumped by Christ's III, Day 3: Bumped by King's II, Day 4: Bumped by Churchill II

4th Men's VIII

Bow: Tai Anwar, 2: Hector Newman, 3: Alex Gunawan, 4: Matthew Coates, 5: Christian Hampel, 6: Ben Ting, 7: Ivan Mechkov, Stroke: Yihan Pei, Cox: Jack Malde

Day 1: Bumped by Emma IV, Day 2: Bumped by Homerton III, Day 3: Bumped by Pembroke IV, Day 4: Rowed over

Esther Momcilovic reports:


Despite having been told how to create his own account, Jack seems incapable of managing it, so here are his reports from days 3 and 4:

Day Three

After the frustration of day 2 we were all hoping for an exciting row on day 3 and, boy o’ boy, we weren’t disappointed.

With Big Strong Joe subbing in the boat and a strong sunshine on our backs, spirits were high. A great practice start and row down calmed our nerves and pumped us up for what we were hoping would be a valiant row-over. The ‘Pemgibeers’ sponsored by Nanna Mexico were chasing us and, after they submitted us to their rather tame version of the ‘Haka’, coach Ben Leitch gave a stirring reading of Aragorn’s Black Gate speech from the Return of the King (amended for CBC). We were pushed off and got away well.

To my surprise, we were gaining on Homerton 3 almost immediately. Unfortunately, Homerton bumped up near the end of first post reach forcing us to sharply steer around them. At this point a crab which was quickly corrected slowed us down more and we suddenly realized that the Pemgibeers were on us. A quick lift call was administered but we still found their bow ball at our stern. Thinking it was all over, the Pemgibeers held it up. Foolish.

Despite some confusion in our boat, we quickly realized that we were still racing and got back into a racing rhythm, pulling away from the Pemgibeers. However, we quickly found them on our tail once again. At grassy they went for the bump but missed, and once again we pulled away. More lift calls were necessary on Plough Reach and everyone in the boat was doing everything they could to hold them off. A tight turn on Ditton pulled us away a bit and we could almost smell the row-over on the reach.

Alas, it was not to be. We were fading and just over halfway down the reach we were forced to concede. I was feeling light-headed at this point from all the shouting and the crew was in agony.

Although we were initially disappointed. We quickly realized that we had rowed our hearts out and that we should be proud of the major improvement we had made on day 2. Great row from the Pemgibeers and bring on day 4

Day Four

Day 4 was a big one – we were on for spoons. However, with the mighty James Nisbet subbing in for the still-ill Dan Massey, we were optimistic that we would avoid spoonage and single-handedly secure glory for CBC.

Some bleak weather didn’t dampen our spirits and we had a good row to the start. Anton pushed us off well and we didn’t even need any correction from bow pair – a good omen.

And off we were. A good start saw us gaining on the Pemgibeers who had bumped us yesterday. At the end of first post reach Anton was about to whistle when the Pemgibeers unfortunately bumped up. Similarly to yesterday, we were forced to steer wide to get around the boats and we kept our cool despite about 8 boats in front of us having pulled out of the race. A quick glance confirmed that Catz 4, who was chasing us, had also been bumped by our loyal brothers Clare Hall 2. Although we doubted that Catz 4 would catch us anyway, this calmed us down, and it was looking like a valiant row over was on the cards.

Indeed we received confirmation from Anton that we were the only boat still rowing and so we rowed strong, but not too strong. To our surprise though we suddenly saw Maggie 4 in the distance. No way were we getting overbumped! A build and some strong rowing pushed Maggie away and secured us the row over. I decided to row a few hundred metres past the finish line just to make sure.

We had evaded the dreaded spoonage. For fun we had the mighty Nisbet cox us home and revelled in our glory back at the boat house. You’re welcome loyal fans.

Uploaded Saturday 13th June, 14:59


Ben Leitch reports:


Day One

Chasing Churchill III, being chased by Emma IV

Strong row! The guys had a good start, pulling away fast and already gaining on Churchill in the first couple of strokes. They kept Emma off for a few hundred metres but as they went under the railway bridge the pressure started to give way as the crew began to get tired. By the first post corner, Emma already had a whistle which seemed to make our crew tense up. Despite lots of cheering from the bank party and the crowd on Grassy, Emma managed to bump, despite our cox Jack's good line around the corner. It was tricky to go row without a working cox box (instead Jack used a cone) so hats off to the crew for sticking with it for so long!

Day Two

Chasing Emma IV, being chased by Homerton III

The crew seemed nervous before the start, but they were pushed out well on time and set the boat nicely at the start. On the start canon, however, it all seemed to go a bit pear shaped. After three strokes the boat geared towards bowside, crashing into the bank. Cox Jack seemed shocked, the crew were all a bit confused and the bank party were left a bit stunned. Needless to say, Homerton gained a technical bump. Oh well. After a discussion about crew distribution, we've decided to change our rowers around to give extra strength in the bows. Let's see if it works tomorrow.

Uploaded Thursday 11th June, 21:08


4th Women's VIII

Bow: Maria Gorinova, 2: Emma O'Hare, 3: Aoibheann McNally, 4: Odelia Younge, 5: Els Alsema, 6: Meggie Lönngren Sampaio, 7: Josie Newman, Stroke: Anne Henow, Cox: Jess Lindley

Day 1: Bumped by Churchill II, Day 2: Rowed over, Day 3: Rowed over, Day 4: Rowed over

Esther Momcilovic reports:


Day One

Chasing Jesus IV, being chased by Churchill II

Unlucky girls! The way the random allocation works in the bottom division means that you sometimes end up with someone very rapid behind you - Churchill II belong in at least the division above you.

The start was less than ideal due to the tailwind blowing you round (you'll be ready for this tomorrow!), but you didn't panic at all, and Jess kept her cool and steered really well. Unfortunately you didn't get much chance to show your rhythm, as Churhill had motored into you just before the Motorway Bridge. Never mind - hopefully they will send some dross down to you for you to bump on Friday and Saturday!

Uploaded Wednesday 10th June, 23:29