May Bumps 2019 Day 4


On the last day of Bumps, we had the best weather, highest spirit, and greatest expectations. We were supposed to bump Darwin M3. Behind us, there was Magdalene M6 thinking of chasing us, which we did not consider as a real threat.

Here goes the cannon! We started our usual sequence. We could see Magdalene M6 crashing to the bank, as usual, maybe within less than 6 strokes.

It was a tough experience. Power 10s one after the other. Thought it was exhausting, we felt that we got the art of rowing correctly. We were close to bumping Darwin M3, but they also did not give up. Supporting our spirits, we heard a lot of cheering from the bank. At the end of the race, the gap between them and us was three-quarters of the boat length approx. (we could not hear the whistle though) So the result was concluded as rowed over for us.

But we believe we did a good job as Churchill M4. Thank you, everyone, for the guidance and support. We are looking forward to the rowing in the next term, to fly higher. Cheers!

Amila Jayasinghe, 4 Seat.


Having held off FaT in an ‘epic battle’ (CamFM) down the length of the course yesturday, we knew we had a good opportunity today to bump Homerton. And so it was with cautious optimism that we rowed down to the start on the 4th and final day of mays.

As the minutes ticked down towards the start, Homerton still didn’t seem to have turned up.  In fact they had decided not to show at all due to ‘a serious case of post may ball sydrome’, though their cox, more admirably, was good enough to come down to tell us and concede for them.

Thus all we had to do to be awarded the bump was row past their station… a push off and start not to be messed up or “we’ll look really stupid” (Roly).

Fortunately we went off clean and achieved a bump faster even than the chorus of the titanic theme. Whilst it was disappointing to not be able to have the satisfaction of an actual bump, we still knew we had earned today with the eventful row over yesterday, and could go home with our heads held high.

Maddie Elliot, 5 seat


*written in the aftermath of an eventful BCD*

As on all the other days of this Bumps campaign, M3 rowed over at footship and got spoons. No, wait, that was last term. This time WE GOT BLADES!On the last day of Mays 2019, for the first time in two months, the entire crew arrived on time at the boathouse. It was evident that over the last few days I managed to destroy every bit of enthusiasm this crew had for racing. We were all dead silent. The B word had been banned from all conversations two days prior. We could all feel the pressure. Thankfully, Nii Djan told us “No pressure”, which was definitely the most relaxing phrase we could hear. Push-off, marshal, spectacular practice start, spin on station. Nothing new here.

4 minute gun, de-kit, fist bump is passed along the crew. We expected it to be a longer race. That is going after First Post Corner as well, a feat we had only achieved on Day 1. However, our game plan was not to be changed. Over rate the start, first gear change, second gear change, Oscar giving up on trying to gear change.

The race started. 10 strokes and Girton is into the bank. No trouble from behind. First gear change to rate 41. Second gear change rate 39. Not great, not terrible. Some calls (which no one actually remembers) down the line and we reach First Post Corner.

Short aside, a notable conversation, a couple of weeks before bumps: Stroke: You could try calling “stride” after the gear change. Cox: Mate, I’ve been calling stride on every start this term.

Back to our main story, was our fly and die (2 strokes after the crew in front) strategy meant for failure? Were we going to finish our campaign as the crew that bottled on their last day? Well, no. Apparently, Oscar has some extraterrestrial laser-GPS-sonar guiding system that automatically gets us on the perfect line through each corner. (Arguably, it was only the second time we actually had to go through a corner). We started making our move on The Gut. Nice powerplay. As light as our crew may be (Average weight 66.2kg to be precise), we were starting to feel heavy. Onto Grassy and there starts the kill call. Oscar is definitely the loudest person to shout “KILL” and not get imprisoned. A few half-crabs and we get them. Not as impressive as stroke seat holding it up on the kill, but still good.We got tucked into the bank and wow. Massive cheers. Tens of boat club members were there for us. Almost two tens, still counts. A celebratory bottle of prosecco was passed along the rowers, a very strict umpire (surely not from CCBC) denying our cox the right to a sip. One more start for the public and we were off. The cox didn’t get the memo that we don’t need to train anymore after bumps, but he made up for it with the pengcatches and yeet finishes. Finally, I got my fourth consecutive overhead crab while parking. You can notice how technical our stroke seat was.

Needless to say, we did well. The expectations were low. We were given less than 3 seconds in the hype video. We had more bumps than that. This sums up how this crew really went above and beyond this last week. Can’t stress how proud of them I am. It was the first May Bumps for eight of us. Even the first proper term of rowing for two of our rowers. It was an incredible rise to glory. As our bow seat proudly informed James Cracknell, we got blades and he did not. How they did it with me in that boat shall remain unknown.

Finally, thanks to the coaches for full square-blades outings (Ross, that’s you, still a few hard feelings), pretty solid outings (Tom, every time), inside arm only outings (James, although Chris didn’t really give you a stamp of approval) and long and hard outings (the innuendo should make the identity self-evident) and a special commendation to Sam, former Lord Protector of the Spoon, now Emperor of the Blade.

Radu Udrea, stroke seat (who got blades by the way).


M2 headed into the final day of bumps already +2 for the week, and looking to add to that total. We were unsure about how fast the crews ahead were going to be, but we knew we were unlikely to face a challenge from behind so we simply had to row our best and be confident in our power and speed.

As we set off, the sky was as dark as the black streak of Tit Hall’s paintwork we were soon to have on our bow. Having done the whole sequence three times already in the week everyone knew what to expect, and the row up was smooth and composed. The energy in the boat was tangible from the off; it took a couple of practice starts to iron out what could perhaps be described as some over-enthusiasm, though by the time we reached station there was nothing but zen-like focus.The start was unbelievably clean and composed, our cox Angela with the bung at full stretch and arrow-straight direction down First Post Reach gave us that extra advantage, and it only took us until shortly after the railway bridge before we had whistles. However, the crew did not lose any of its composure. The difference between good crews and great crews is keeping technique together in the crucial moments, and this is exactly what we did. We simply kept on going, piling the pressure on Hall as they struggled to keep the chase at bay. We didn’t need a kill call; eventually they were bound to crack, and they only lasted until shortly after First Post corner before their race was up. We pulled in, elated after making what we expected to be a difficult race feel so, so easy.

Luck kept going our way, as we found ourselves pulled in on a private terrace, where a gathering was in progress. Somebody had the audacity to ask if we could have a drink, and to our astonishment the whole crew soon found themselves with beers in hand. We crossed the river to meet our bank party, collect our greenery and cheer for the rival crews, before our triumphant row home.

We passed the crowds round grassy and down Plough reach, delighting the onlookers with our bright kit, foliage and excellent rowing. Somebody else had the audacity to take a bottle of wine with them, and, clearly dehydrated after a tough race, made light work of it, probably damaging the reputation of this great boat for years to come.

On a personal note, it was my final race for Churchill. I’ve spent many happy hours in the pink and brown, but the row home on Saturday was a truly amazing experience, not just for me but for everyone else I’m sure. The support we received, the camaraderie with the other crews, and of course the 8 other amazing people in the boat with me made it a truly fitting way to finish my time with CCBC, showing what rowing at Cambridge is all about and what a blessing it is to have been part of this boat club.

I wish the boys every success for next year, we’re in a fantastic position to push on from these results and I’ll sure be back to cheer everyone on in years to come.

Alastair Bayliss, Stroke seat


The final day. M1 spent the day cycling up and down the tow path bank partying and cheering the lower boats. Our excitment and pride for them was palpable (Did M3 mention they got blades?). M1 were hyped up.

We knew it was always going to be a quick race against Hughes Hall, their 4 blues were always going to be a challenge. But we weren’t going to give it to them easy. Trinity Hall had bumped Wolfson to be in front of us giving us a second chance to bump them. The decision was made, this was going to be as rapid a start we had ever done. The blades were regeared and everyone prepared. There would be no gear change we’d go straight into hammer, our new Ballistic call would come into it’s own again. M1 were looking forward to this race.

The cannon went and there wasn’t much to say. M1 knocked 14 seconds off their fastest ever split in this new attempt, gaining on Wolfson like a bat out of hell from station 2 into first post down to within a length in less than 150m. Half way around the corner Hughes Hall were hot on our tail as we kept ploughing through the distance between us and Wolfson. We went ballistic, every member of M1 gave everything they could into the water, holding together fighting for everyone else. A year of training and working together and the comradery you can only imagine comes with that.

We got within half a length of Wolfson within those ~250m but Hughes Hall were just even more rapid and we had to concede. M1 held their head up high. We’d done what we came for and proved our power and the lessons learnt will only help next year.

Thank you for an amazing set of bumps M1, and it’s been an absolute honour to Cox you this year.

And with that bumps is over and we look forward to next year.

Kieran Heal, Coxswain


After a fantastic first three days leaving us +2, going into Saturday’s race we knew that it would be our toughest challenge yet, as although we felt confident we were capable of catching Downing, we would have to fend off a very speedy Pembroke crew. Our plan was simple. Row fast off the start and quickly pile the pressure onto Downing. This was the moment we had been building to – ‘Downing day’ -and we were determined to give it absolutely everything.

Another strong row down, boosted by the increased crowds, left us confident and ready to go. Starting on station seven we were once again right next to the cannon, but it did not distract us and we got off to an excellent start. Pembroke’s bow slowly inched towards us, and they gained one whistle in the ditch, but we held them at bay and we too were able to close down Downing. Katie’s calls spurred us onwards and as always she led us around a great first post corner that gained us a whistle on Downing. We sped into the next corner, however unfortunately Pembroke turned on the engine, and out of nowhere as we came round grassy corner their bow appeared and they quickly gained overlap. By this point we had gained significantly on Downing and were almost at two whistles, but our final push could not hold them off and Pembroke got the bump.

Some crews might have taken this to be a disappointing end to the week, but our spirits remained high. Being bumped by a crew that contained a US u23 rower and several other university rowers is nothing to be ashamed of, and we finish the week on +1 taking us to 8th in the first division which is a brilliant achievement for a crew in which four of the nine learnt to row this year. As Katie reminded us, we had also won Bedford, and we enjoyed a fun row home as we remembered all that we had achieved this term. I am incredibly proud of the crew and I hope they have enjoyed this week as much as I have!

Nairi Weston, Stroke seat and Women’s Captain.

And in final pictorial form:

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