May Bumps 2019 Day 3

Another exciting day for Churchill today, here’s how the crews got on:


Rowing down to the start today, spirits were high as we were rowing the best we had all term, and the sun had finally decided to show its face. There was a hold up due to someone from the bank falling into the Cam and having to be fished out and carted off in an ambulance; pretty dramatic!

However as we then sat before the motorway bridge waiting for the (delayed) cannon, expecting to be chased by a Magdalene M6 who had successfully crashed on every start, and chasing Caius M4 (in our dreams), there was confusion. It reached 1pm, time to race, and Magdalene hadn’t turned up! We were no longer prey- only hunters.

The cannon went, and Caius immediately caught Darwin M3, leaving us optimistically gunning for the overbump and Corpus M4. Despite some strong power 10 calls and gaining 2.5 boatlengths on them, as we turned into the reach we were hit by the headwind and could chase no further. We struggled on, but it was not to be.

Still, it was our best row yet and we’re aiming to bump Darwin tomorrow, which will for many of us be our first ever bump!

Alice Dyson, stroke seat


Having had Eddies W2 at our fingertips yesterday, we were determined not to let them get a way today. We had inside word of FaT expecting a quick bump on us and having being faster than us at Champs head this was a very really prospect. However, what they did not know was that we are quick of the start – one of the fastest starts in our division. We just needed to remember to stride!

After an eventful row down, missing our rolling start under the railway bridge, focus turned back into the boat for the remainder of the warm up. Nerves were building as we had to restart our countdown for our practice standing start by The Plough but once we had lined up we were able to practice our stride and get in the mind-set of the race. We pulled up after FaT and eyed up our competition as Eddies spun in front of us. We were ready. Fuelled with a Jaffa-cake each in our tummies we got in the boat and prepared to be pushed off.

10… 9… 8… 7… 6… ‘Drop the loop!’ 5…. ‘Drop the loop!’…. GUN! We were off.

Immediately pushing away from FaT we could focus on catching Eddies. Danny called to stride and the whistles came, our plan was working. As we edge closer we prepare to go in for the bump. ‘Kill in two, kill in one, kill now!’ Together we pushed but getting caught up in the out flow we did not gain anymore distance and Eddies were closing in on Homerton. We continued to push but the whistles had gone – we didn’t want a repeat of yesterday we knew we could catch them! Danny called for a power ten and we were ready, we weren’t going to let them get away. As we were coming up to first post we could see eddies pulled in at the side, the chase was over. Our options now were either get bumped or row over.

Turning our focus to FaT we could see that we had put some distance between us but they were gaining and gaining fast! How could we hold them off till the finish? As we came past The Plough FaT were overrating us, and closing in. We maintained our focus, pushing one stroke at a time, we weren’t ready to push for a power ten just yet. They edged closer to hear the sound of their whistle. But we knew they had pushed hard to get to this position and would begin to tire fast. This was when the power ten was to be called.

As we turned onto the reach the wind hit us but we sat tall and took it in our stride. We were ready to push. Danny called and we delivered. Their three whistles slowly reduced along with their dreams of a bump. FaT made another attempt to get it back, bringing them to a canvas distance away but we had come this far and were not going to give them blades. They were tired. We just had to hold them off down the reach and under the bridge. With the words of Kathryn in our heads – ‘If you believe, you can hold them at canvas all the way down the reach’ we believed. Seeing that they were tired and knowing their souls were being crushed, we made it under the railway bridge to hear the sound of marsheld boats cheering ‘CHURCHILL! CHURCHILL!’ Soaking this all in with FaT still hot on our heels, Danny called our final power ten to push us over the line.

We dug deep and showed our coaches and each other the strength, the power and the stamina that we didn’t know we had. The relief and the pride felt at the end of this race was just as much, if not more then had we got a bump. Tomorrow we will be pulling out all the stops to catch Homerton W2 with the knowledge that we can keep FaT off us for as long as we need to.

Lizzy Robinson, stroke seat


The erg room simmered with a quiet excitement as I burst in late – from a Garden Party in fact, where gluttony once again got the better of me (massive regrets by the way). We did well on the first two days of Bumps but were mindful not to get overconfident. After all, a hungry Downing M3 was just 2 boats away and we could easily find ourselves in the unfavourable position of being chased by them if we got complacent today. Expecting a longer race than yesterday’s quick dismantling of St Eds, we were aiming for strong and clean strides, or “pristine rowing” (Berger, 2019).

The row up to the lock was comfortable with some good bursts at high rates. The weather cleared up in time for our race, which further boosted our mood as we sought to make it a 3-0 win over Girton (after M1 and W1’s triumphs). With one of our best starts ever, we powered through our start sequence. As usual, Oscar calls for a second gear change to lower our rate as we moved into the strides – somewhere in the middle of the term, M3 realised that changing gears twice proved more effective than one big messy gear change. The strides were clean and not too splashy, and we knew we were slowly reeling Girton in as Oscar calls for a power five, followed by power strokes from bow 4 and stern 4.

The whistles started coming in and cheers from the bank became louder. As we neared the 1st post, Oscar gave the kill call. It was just what we wanted to hear as we pushed the rate up and powered through our strokes. The race ended quickly soon after, unfortunately for Girton, who submitted a Rowbridge post announcing their imminent comeback from an unsatisfactory showing on the first day (Rowbridge, 2019). Tom uploaded the meme of Churchill’s 3-0 win over Girton immediately after our bump and it was all celebrations as we killed some plants for the third day straight.

It is sobering, however, to see the big prize get closer each day. M3 is riding on a good high but we sure aren’t letting loose one bit. The big finale tomorrow – it’s all or nothing, and the only B word allowed now is BUMP (Udrea, 2019).

Darren Wong , 5 seat


After a successful bump on Peterhouse, the Torpedo was ready for round 2.  On the way up to the start we were focused, thinking about rowing well, keeping it clean, being sure we would settle in after the start.  All 9 of us had our heads in the boat, listening to an uproar of cheers for the Torpedo at the Plough, where we had our first practice start (According to our sources, it was at the same pace as an M1 start).

Given that we were starting in position 10 we planned out our course of action in case we reached the bottom finish being chased by Peterhouse or hadn’t caught LMBC by then.  But most importantly, I focused on getting us straight off the start.  As a physicist, I learned early on that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line…a fact which would very shortly become quite relevant.

After being pushed off I made sure to straighten our bow so we were heading down the river (a tricky feat given our starting position on the corner), but 2 never failed me and with blades squared and ready we heard the cannon go off and started our race.

DRAW 1 – LMBC looked as though they were headed for the opposite bank

DRAW 2 – yes they were definitely going towards the bank

DRAW 3 – at this point, I began to prepare myself to have to row around them safely

But I watched as their coxswain managed to straighten them up, and I started calling for the Torpedo to wind it up, as I watched LMBC begin to turn themselves towards the other bank. Now I prepared for a bump on their middle 4.  This was going to be a quick one.  Just two strokes after the gear change, I watched their coxswain raise her hand and pulled us swiftly into the bank for a successful, 20 stroke race!! (A little too swiftly I might add, as we had to be removed from the bank at our bow).

After a solid row up of preparation, nothing could have prepared us for that quick a race.  And with one of our strongest starts yet.  Tomorrow, we look forward to our last and final bump of this May’s.

Angela Harper, Cox


M1 knew they were in for a fast race to hold off Trinity Hall to remain top of the M2 division, but we were prepared with an updated race plan and a new coxing call devised to keep the chasers at bay. As always, the row down to the start was laser focused, and the air was filled with energy, excitement and a healthy amount of tension.


M1 were fast off the gun, winding up to a higher rate before settling to a greater speed than that of the previous two days. This speed was sufficient to keep Trinity Hall at a distance for a while, but then they began to slowly close in on us as we charged past our supporters at the plough. At that point Kieran called for us to “hammer”, and we gave it our all to accelerate the boat even a bit further, allowing us to briefly put a bit more space between ourselves and Trinity Hall. However, they responded well to our move, and Kieran was forced to keep us hammering as we rounded the corner onto the reach. As it became evident that hammering alone would not allow us to escape, the call was made to go “ballistic”. So, we all dug deep and focused on putting absolutely everything we had left into the water, thus forcing Trinity Hall to have to work even harder to keep pace with us. However, after avoiding conceding until the last possible instant, M1 were finally forced to admit defeat as they approached the end of the reach. Thus, although bumped, M1 can hold their heads high after having given it their all through a superb performance and delivering the spectators a race to remember.


M1 head into the final day of bumps chasing Wolfson, with a second chance to bump them after narrowly missing out on Thursday.


Oliver Gustafsson, 2 seat


After bumping the last two days, our spirits were high, but we came into the race knowing that today would be a tougher battle.

We rowed to the start in the first rays of sunshine of the week and spun to marshal at station 7, under the motorway bridge. We tried to calm our nerves, and covered our ears as the four minute cannon fired. That thing is extremely loud. Luckily, we had a second chance to accustom ourselves to the noise at the one minute mark. We were pushed out from the bank. The whistle sounded, signaling the cannon fire. Adrenaline pumping, it seemed like an eternity before the cannon followed. Then we were off. With the bang of the cannon obliterating Katie’s first calls and the smoke swirling around us, we nonetheless kept our heads in the boat and got off a clean start. Clare behind, spurred on by a speedy Pembroke behind them, opted for the fly and die and quickly began to gain on us. We kept our cool as they followed us at a length around first post; our minds were focused on the prey ahead. We continued to charge after LMBC, roughly on station with them around grassy corner as Clare dropped away behind us. As LMBC rounded Ditton, they made a move on the Downing boat ahead of them, and pulled away from us as they got two then three whistles on Downing. Coming around Ditton ourselves, we made a push out of the corner, but LMBC’s attack on Downing was quickly completed. We wound it down a few pips and rowed the rest of the course with no one near enough behind to pose a threat. Tomorrow, we will give it our all to see if we can hold off Pembroke behind to bump Downing for the coveted top-pink-boat-on-the-river title.

Karen Duffy, 7 seat and Women’s Vice Captain

And once again a pictorial summary:

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