Race Reports 2015-16

Lent Bumps 2016 - W1

Day 1

W1 pushed off for the row down to the start in good spirits. With two members of the crew new to Bumps, and the prospect of an extremely close cannon ahead of us, we were slightly nervous about what state our ears may be in, but confident in our ability as a crew to row through the pain!

Pushed off by Mat and Claudia we were set up in a great position on the start, with Asia at full stretch to keep hold of the chain. On the cannon we went into our start sequence and despite a few wobbles we hit a really strong 37 and immediately began gaining on Queens' W1 ahead. The whistles came steady at first before flowing into quick succession as the crew realised a speedy bump was in their sights. Heading towards first post corner, with three whistles coming loud and clear from Mat on the bank, Asia called for a final push and rather satisfyingly for us, but not necessarily the Queens' boat, we secured our first bump of Lents 2016 with solid contact. The crew responded really well to calls and we were able to come into the bank and collect greenery before the chasing crews emerged round the corner.

1 minute and 41 seconds. Not a bad start. Now let's see what tomorrow brings: chasing FaT and just those extra few meters away from everyone's favourite cannon.

By Asia Lambert

Day 2

Our speedy bump on Day One had left W1 hungry for further glory. And it may have taken slightly longer than on the first day, but further glory did we get!

With the first day’s nerves out the way, W1 got off to a flying start (our 5 seat even gracing us with her presence on the second two draw strokes, and Asia remembering how to count to 10 this time). Queens’ were soon disappearing out of sight, and all thoughts were looking ahead to First and Third. Approaching First Post Corner, the first whistles started to sound. We kept our calm, charging on towards an increasingly panic ked FaT crew. Further whistles followed until they blurred together as we hit Grassy. Asia steered perfectly to take a tight inside line before starting a very passionate final bumps 10. Continuous whistles continued to sound, and it looked like FaT weren’t going to be giving up without a fight. But after repeated contact, no one could argue the bump was ours, we’d done it again!

Another great day was only made even sweeter by the delights of Izzy Bentley’s homemade custard crèmes awaiting us in the changing rooms... Let’s see what tomorrow brings – Emma, we’re coming for you!

By Fliss Hall

Day 3

Today marked another exciting and victorious day on the river for W1, bumping Emmanuel to go up to 4th on the river!!

As we set off, the whole boat was eager for more greenery and determined to row even better than the previous two days. Though there were definitely some nerves just before the cannon sounded, we started calm and long. Determinedly we pressed up, inch by inch, through First Post Corner and whistles began to sound along Grassy! We kept our composure and Asia led us through an aggressive set of ‘power ten on the legs’. The whistles just kept coming faster and faster and we kept pushing harder and harder, feeling like we were flying through the water! At Asia’s triumphant call of ‘hold it up’ we realised that we had done it again – jubilation, exhaustion and satisfaction!

Our smiles didn’t leave us all the way back to the boathouse, we were all feeling super happy at another day of awesome rowing and ready for more challenges tomorrow. Bring it on Christ’s!

By Izzy Bentley

Day 4

25 years. That’s how long it had been since Newnham W1 had last won blades in the Lents. It had been 13 years since the first boat last won blades at all (Mays Headship crew of 2003). Plenty of crews since then had gone up three, but had been unfortunate to lack that extra bit of luck that would deliver that crucial fourth bump.

So, it’s needless to say we were ever so slightly a little bit nervous when we met for one last day of racing. Everything up to that point had fallen into place perfectly, and we knew that in Christ’s ahead was a crew who we were faster than, chasing a crew that was faster than them. Having not yet rowed past the halfway point of the course, we also knew we had plenty of river in which to catch them, and if we rowed as well as we had in bumping Emma the previous day, it would be a relatively straightforward case of rowing our own race and gradually grinding them down. Or so we thought…

The start wasn’t our best, but it was decent enough. Emma behind were nowhere, and we were gradually reeling in Christ’s, getting the first whistle as we came into the Gut, and the second as we went into Grassy. We did a push out of Grassy, and got the third whistle shortly after. All was going to plan, at least as far as the rowers were aware. At this point things got a little odd, as Mat started blowing continuous whistles whilst Claudia was still on three. Unsure of quite why this was happening, and with Asia still sounding in control of the situation, I resolved to do what I usually do when I hear anything directed towards me when in a race or piece, which is try to push even harder than I already am. This worked, and we made the bump on the entrance to Ditton. After some clearing confusion, we pulled in and began celebrating the first W1 blades for a very, very long time.

It was only afterwards that we learnt that things had really not been going to plan at all! Downing had managed to catch a boatstopping crab on the Plough Reach, and were sat stationary whilst Christ’s scented blood and made a charge towards them. Christ’s were less than six feet away from Downing when they managed a racing restart, escaping the bump and allowing us to finish the job and win our blades. Mat had begun to blow continuous whistles in an attempt to get us to throw our final bumps push in before Christ’s caught Downing, but thankfully all the rowers were completely oblivious to the drama ahead and didn’t panic, as had we shortened up and lost our strong and solid rhythm, we may well have lost the bump. Somehow Asia managed to keep her cool through all this, despite being able to see that Downing had stopped, and we cannot thank her enough for just keeping coxing as if all were still proceeding as planned! It really did prove the adage that “great crews go up three, lucky crews get blades”, we didn’t just need the luck to have the start order fall nicely for us, but for Downing to manage to get their boat moving again in time. Perhaps saving it up for twenty five years helped a bit there!

We celebrated for a while on the bank with the wonderful people that had come to support us, the first bottle of fizz being opened there and then, and the boat club flag being unveiled and presented to Asia. Mat then declared that training for WEHoRR began right then, and we should ensure that our row back was technically perfect, not least because it would look better to everyone watching us row with a great big flag and lots of greenery. So with that in mind, we pushed off to lots of cheering and applause, then completely screwed up our first stroke because only half the boat heard Asia! Hey ho, the rest of the row back went better, even when Mat made us do strike-downs when waiting in a queue. On getting back to the boathouse we celebrated with even more fizz and the obligatory photos, before throwing Asia in the river as per tradition (thankfully doing a better job than the last crew that tried to throw her in, as this time she landed in the river rather than on the hard…). Since it’s February and the water is rather cold, we all then jumped in too in solidarity, before heading off to BCD to do even more celebrating of a job well done!

Winning blades with W1 is incredible, and even as I write this a day later it still hasn’t really sunk in. For me personally it is particularly special, as not only is this my 4th and last year of rowing for Newnham, but my godmother rowed in the last crew to do it in the Lents in 1991 (incidentally, they also went from 7th to 3rd). Her reaction when I phoned her from the boat and told her what had happened is something I shall never forget. Of the many emotions I felt rowing back with the flag flying, the foremost one was pride at what we had achieved, and I doubt if anything else I do in sport will quite match up to that feeling.

When I got out of the boat this time last year, having gone up three to 7th, I genuinely thought we had gone too high for blades to be a possibility. Now, W1 is able to mount a headship campaign in 2017, for the first time in many years. I am gutted I won’t be able to be part of it, but I’m so so proud that I was able to be a tiny part of getting the boat into a position where it is possible!

None of this would have been possible without the dedication of our small band of coaches. Alan, Mat, and Claudia, we are absolutely indebted to you for all you have done for us, thank you so much for giving up so much of your time to make us a properly beasty boat!

By Hayley McDermott

Lent Bumps 2016 - W2

Day 1

The excitement, tension and nerves were high in Newnham W2, who, apart from our trusty cox Sophia, were all Bumps Virgins. But with ‘ice in our minds and fire in our bellies’ (and lots and lots of stash on our bodies) we rowed up to our start point.

The cannons sounded and we had a strong start, pushing away from Robinson W1, and quickly gaining on Pembroke W2 ahead of us. Ahead of them, Lady Margaret were coming closer and closer to a bump from Pembroke, and we were soon in a gruelling four-boat-sandwich; with only inches between each of LMBC, Pembroke, Newnham and Robinson. Countless whistles were blown, cries from the bank and Sophia’s ‘KILL NOW’ commands were spurring us on, but in the end Robinson bumped us before we could catch Pembroke, who went on to bump Lady Margaret. The drama was far from over though; grassy corner had seen many a bump and Newnham collided with Lucy Cavendish/Hughes Hall combined club, who had already bumped out. Neither rowers nor coxes of either crew were hurt, but our dear boat, Lady Godiva, only recently returned from a footplate injury, has an impressive battle-scar as Lucy Cavendish’s rigger tore a large gash in her bow. Not even Claudia’s tape will be able to patch her up, and Lady G will unfortunately be out of action for the rest of the week.

Today’s introduction to bumps was dramatic and exciting; it was an incredibly tightly fought contest, and really did come down to fighting for every inch. W2 will be back on Thursday, ready to chase those inches and fight for that greenery!

By Alice Cozens and Ellie Holloway

Day 2

Another sunny day at the river cam, and W2 set out for another day of racing. After being bumped by Robinson W1 on Tuesday, we were focused on revenge. The cannon went, and we made a good start, focusing on keeping our technique controlled. We were, slowly, making advances towards Robinson. Before we got the chance to hear the first whistle, they bumped LMBC W2 ahead. Slightly further up, Jesus and Pembroke had also managed to bump early on, and we were met by an eight-boat pile up at first post corner. With boats failing to clear, the gap left for us was too narrow to pass through, forcing our cox Sophia to shout “HOLD IT UP”, sparing us both damage and injury. Finding ourselves completely stationary only two minutes into the race was a bit of an anti-climax, to say the least. As if that wasn’t enough, Corpus Christi W1, when arriving behind us, reacted too slowly to the carnage and proceeded to ‘mount’ the stern of our poor battle-scarred Lady Godiva. It took a couple of minutes of wriggling and a good few strokes in the bow to get Corpus off our boat, while a group of bystanders observed in a mix of horror, confusion and amusement. Out of this situation, we were thankfully awarded a technical row-over. We are now preparing to meet LMBC on Friday for the penultimate day of bumps, and are feeling hungry for greenery.

By Sophia Peacock and Becky Illingworth

W2 on Day 3

Day 3

After the technical row-over of yesterday, we were truly pumped to be given another chance to come back. Having not yet got round Grassy Corner, we hoped to be able to row for a long stretch given all the training we’d done in the expectation that we’d be doing so. There was a revived sense of drive when completing the pre-race routine which by now was a comfortingly familiar series of actions: face paints, blades out, row up in sixes, jellybabies at Chesterton (courtesy of Claudia). The nippier air at the lock meant we were not quite able to brave just the onesies, though this did not detract from the determined and focused atmosphere as we were pushed out…45…30…10…5…CANON!

We set off with the strongest start sequence and settled into a sustainable rate better than we had ever done before. Being chased by Corpus, who we had been assured were not visibly stronger than us, powered us on. Meanwhile, LMBC up ahead were our targets. Though completely absorbed at the time of course, we were thrilled at our unity of rhythm and control of the strokes, something our boat often struggles with under pressure. We felt that we could have thundered on for miles, and as two whistles were heard, we eagerly anticipated Sophia’s promised call of ‘BUMPS 10’.

However, once again for W2, it was not to be. Due to some appalling parking by the Darwin and Emma crews at Grassy, we were unable to negotiate the line, and had to come to a sharp stop, whacking the former’s cox in the process. This gave Corpus the chance to row on past us a couple of seconds later, which counts as a technical bump. We were absolutely crushed. This had been our day to reverse our bumping fortunes, and it had not been allowed to happen due to circumstances outside our control. Again, we have to be thankful that everyone in the crew (including Lady Godiva herself) remained unhurt; and that the stretch we did do counts as productive training. Nonetheless, we need to channel our frustration and bad luck into a powerful campaign tomorrow in the hope of bumping Corpus back again, something which we still believe to be possible.

By Kate Randall and Máire Ní Leathlobhair

Day 4

W2 went into Day 5 of bumps ready to get revenge on Corpus after a technical bump the day before. After a delay in the previous division and fuelled up on jelly babies we rowed up to the start point between Corpus and St Edmunds. When the canon finally went we were all ready, in the words of our coach, to “empty the kitchen sink, rip it off the wall and throw it and everything we had into the race”. Despite the windy conditions, our strong start coxed by Sophia had us gaining on Corpus. Unfortunately a strong start saw Eddies gaining on us by First Post corner. With Newnham rowing strongly and set for a tough fight, the bad luck struck again. With LMBC bumping Christ’s earlier within the division and again failing to clear quick enough, the lower half of the division had to ‘hold it up’. After a few tense moments Newnham were awarded a technical row over, which we celebrated drinking cava provided by the coaches on our row home.

Overall our first bumps has been an incredible experience, growing as a crew over the campaign. Despite some difficult circumstances, we felt we gave it our all and are even more determined to show the river what we’ve got in Mays!

By Hannah Marks and Alicia Winthrop

W2 on Day 5

Lent Bumps 2016 - W3

Day 1

Having given our all in the Getting-On race and reclaiming our position in Lent Bumps for 2016 – becoming the first Newnham W3 to compete in them since 2011 - we felt proud of our performance as a team before this season’s races had even begun. It’s the taking part that counts – and all those early morning outings suddenly felt worth it as we proudly took our spot on the start at Baitsbite, and nervously awaited the cannon.

We knew the race would be tough, being a Third crew entirely new to Bumps, surrounded by Second boats. But we also knew we had the strength and ability required to put up a bump-worthy fight and show Newnham W3’s power – after all, we had beaten four Second boats in the GoR, and were only one of two Women’s Third crews competing in Lents this year!

All too soon, the cannon fired. Off to a powerful start, we cut the corner and inched closer to Downing II ahead. We held their tail for a good several hundred metres, and I as cox had never known adrenaline like it! The madness of the chase, the pressure from both sides of the boat – ahead and behind – it was an exhilarating and dramatic experience and I’m sure the girls could hear the excitement (and possibly slight panic) in my voice. Under the motorway bridge, an unfortunate crab – although well-recovered – meant we had lost some of the initial momentum we had locked in at the start. A power reset and we were back up to speed, but this time with Wolfson II growing ever-nearer from behind, and Downing II using our slip-up to pull away ahead. Feeling the sustained pressure from Wolfon II, we pushed through, making every stroke count – but Wolfson’s solid strength outweighed ours, and they eventually caught us, but not without a fight. Tomorrow’s goal: the revenge-bump, which we can focus on fully given there won’t be anyone chasing us!

By Hannah Jones

W3 on Day 1

Day 2

After the first shock of yesterday’s race (yes, the cannons are real!), we were more relaxed and confident for our second day of Lent Bumps 2016! Having no one chasing us, we managed to focus on taking the best strokes we could, and keeping the boat calm and controlled.

We were chasing Wolfson, who bumped Downing quite early, in front of them, Kings managed to bump Caius. Still optimistic, we went for a double overbump, and carried on rowing our best. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. After an unfortunate corner, we collided with a parked boat, that had already pulled over to the side of the river. We restarted and then continued in a steady state to the finish line. It was way more enjoyable than yesterday; as we knew more or less what to expect. We were more confident and we are all impressed with our overall performance and the effort each and every one of us put in.

Next goal: We will bump Downing!

To finish off, a quote from our coach Claudia is worth being mentioned: “It is not a mistake, it is a learning opportunity.”

By Katerina Menelaou and Nicole Church

Day 3

I was really very confused when we passed the finish line.

Before everything started, there was the countdown. Those ten seconds before the chase are always very strange. You really have to break out of all the gentleness and good manners of a typical Newnhamnite and slowly transform yourself into a ravenous wolf, ready to tear the magenta Downing meat into pieces… at least that is what our coach told us… For me those ten seconds were about humming the words ‘hunger’, ‘chase’, ‘meat’ to myself…and then the bang went.

I don’t really know what happened afterwards. I don’t think anyone really knows. On day 1 and day 2 of bumps, Newnham W3 was exactly that, a fairly strong W3 team, but just 3rd team amongst many 2nds. For some reason today it clicked. I think all of a sudden we realised that we could push way beyond what we had initially thought was our limit.

There were just a few moments of lucidity… in particular when at one point we scraped against the bank, and lost the rhythm of the boat. I thought the others would panic and that we would slow down. But the pack was more famished than expected (despite the jelly babies before the race).

So the chase continued. Second moment of lucidity…the cox saying “we are getting closer”…Still chasing…Third moment of lucidity… whistles….whistling? Are we actually that close? Despite being really concentrated on the race, it was hard to restrain the urge to look behind and see how close we were getting.Whistling, more power, whistling. Then the race was over.

I was really very confused when we passed the finish line. I sort of knew we hadn’t bumped, but I wasn’t really sure. My body was glad to stop rowing, but at the same time the voracity wasn’t placated.Yet despite the bittersweet end, I still can’t stop smiling. That race was amazing… I don’t think anyone really expected such nerves from a W3 boat. It is definitely the best we’ve rowed and I think it also shows how much we have bonded as a team… and I really confident that we have the potential to bump tomorrow... and swallow Downing. Tasty tasty.

By Maria Chiara Storer

Day 4

Final day of bumps. Only this time last week we were celebrating to have qualified at the Getting on Race. What an amazing experience this week has been for all of us!

Chasing Downing once more, we gave it our all - 'throwing the kitchen sink at them' as our coach said. Despite the wind (proper waves on the Cam today!), we maintained some strong powerful strokes under Hannah's calls.

Unfortunately Downing caught up with Caius and so we were left with no-one to chase! But we finished our final piece with pride, and made sure we made the most of our last outing as a crew. It didn't matter that we didn't manage to bump, we were proud to be able to be able to represent Newnham W3, and we hope that this experience is a step towards May Bumps!

By Haruka Kobayashi

W3 on Day 5

May Bumps 2016 - W1

Day 1

How well you do in bumps also depends on the crews around you. We knew that Girton W1 was a strong crew and we were ready for a tough battle. Trying to keep our eyes off Lady Margaret W1, who were chasing us, the cannon went off. Although we didn’t perform our best start, we efficiently pulled away from Maggie. We settled down into a strong rhythm but Girton proved to be much stronger than their target, Christ’s W1, and they bumped in the Gut. At this point the only thing we could do was row well and aim for the overbump with Clare W1. Coming out of the corners better than how we did during training, we kept on pushing knowing that it was going to be a long race. By the reach, Maggie was not a threat anymore and we were closing up on Clare. We finished the race with a row over, but today we are ready for more action!

By Chiara Avancini

Day 2

We started the second day with the typical bumps nerves, but were confident in our ability to walk away from Maggie after a solid row over the day before. Having already celebrated bumps from W3 and W2, we were determined to make it a hat-trick. After a strong start, we gradually reeled in Christ’s W1 ahead, gaining whistles before First Post Corner. Despite a crab and some overexcitement at the large crowds gathered by the Plough, W1 continued to close the gap and conclusively bumped Christ’s at Ditton. This was the first ever bump for three of the crew (including me), and we look forward to hunting down Girton again tomorrow.

By Molly Hindhaugh

Day 3

While excited about bumping Christ’s yesterday, we found ourselves in a similar position as day 1: facing the tough challenge of bumping Girton, who in turn were chasing a slower crew, FaT. The cannon went, and we began gaining on Girton ahead, coming inside station within a couple of minutes and even hearing the first whistle. However, Girton quickly bumped out, as well as other crews behind and ahead, leaving us to row over on a relatively empty river. We are hopeful for our final day of bumps tomorrow - fending off Churchill, and munching down FaT.

By Sophia Peacock

Day 4

No report

May Bumps 2016 - W2

Day 1

Day 1 of Mays dawned bright and sunny, with W2 extremely excited to get their hands on the facepaint and show their shiny new stash off to everyone. Oh, and do some rowing, apparently that bit is quite important…

Whilst we were quite confident in our own strength and speed (shoutout to all those who decided the weekend preceding was a nice time to get a 2k PB), and suspected Sidney would be too concerned with what was behind them to be any real threat, we didn’t know very much about how we compared to the crews ahead. Nonetheless, we resolved to go out and see just how much we could scare Emma.

Our first stroke was, well, a bit rubbish, and I must confess that I was “slightly” concerned at this point that we had collectively panicked. However, thankfully that was the only rubbish stroke of the race, and we very quickly got things back on track, and settled into a very fearsome, strong rhythm. Emma had got a bit of a jump on us with the start, but we soon started reeling them in, as Sidney dropped back and were soon bumped by Robinson. There had been a few concerns that the stacked Lucy Cavendish boat (full internationals don’t often feature in the bottom half of the 2nd division…) behind would then try for an overbump, but they were caught up behind the bump, leaving us free to concentrate on moving into Emma. Emma had expended a lot of their energy trying to catch Pembroke before we got too close, and soon started dying, whilst we kept strong and drove into them, the bump occurring on the entrance to Ditton.

Whilst for the granny in the stroke seat this was the 16th bump of a career, for bow 6 this was their first ever bump, and a very satisfying one it was too! Now that the taste for bumping has been acquired, Pembroke had better watch out!

By Hayley McDermott

W2 on Day 1

Day 2

Still revelling from bumping Emma II the previous day, which for 6 of us was our first ever bump, W2 pushed off in the sun hungry for another. According to results from previous races, Pembroke II seemed quite similar to Emma II, so we were cautiously optimistic.

As the cannon sounded, we took a much better first stroke than the day before and we were off. Pushing off from Newnham Bridge we had already found a good rhythm. Even as I tried to keep my eyes in the boat I could not help but notice that Emma did not seemed to be gaining on us at all.

The first whistle came as we came out of First Post Corner and by Grassy we were already on two whistles, we were within half a boat length. Hearing cheers for Newnham from supporters at the Plough helped to fight against the muscle pain that was beginning to settle in.

I found it hard to decipher how many whistles were being called at this point so had no idea how close we were getting. Until I heard the shouts from our coaches of 10 feet…8 feet…6 feet… And just as we rounded Ditton corner in almost exactly the same position as the day before we bumped Pembroke!

The exhilarating experience was topped off when we watched W1 bump Christs, making it 3 for 3 for NCBC!

By Becky Illingworth

Day 3

No Report

Day 4

Having had an extremely successful and enjoyable experience of the first three days of bumps, W2 entered the final day of the May Bumps campaign ready for a final hard row. Donned in matching stash and face paint for the last time of the week, the crew made the final row down to the start with roaring support from NCBC supporters along the course.

Starting under the Newnham Bridge W2 made a powerful start despite the distractions from being so close to the cannons going off. Newnham moved to inside station on Murray Edwards W1 but it became apparent we were chasing a strong crew and this would not be a quick bump. W2 remained determined pushing hard for the bump moving to two whistles, which would lead to Murray Edwards pushing away harder, determined not to gain spoons. Newnham rowed extremely hard the full length of the course chasing down Murray Edwards, despite Newnham being the faster crew there simply was not enough river and a determined crew ahead who would not allow us the final bump.

Overall W2 rowed an extremely gutsy, determined and admirable row for the full course, yet it was not quite enough to chase down the strong Murray Edwards crew ahead. Unfortunately, we were denied blades with the row over but we can all be extremely proud of such an impressive row and bumps campaign as a whole moving up 3.

By Hannah Marks

May Bumps 2016 - W3

Day 1

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day to mark the start of the Mays 2016 – the sun shining, spectators cheering, and cygnets waddling (though hopefully not in front of our blades…) – altogether, spirits were high in W3. With a few newbies to Bumps in our boat this term, the mania that goes along with the event was sure to be an exciting experience for the whole crew.

After a strong paddle up enjoying the scenery, we took our place just downstream of the motorway bridge and awaited the cannon, with Selwyn II behind and Emma III in front. For now, all was normal and going as anticipated - 30 seconds to go, we were pushed off the bank… ten seconds to go, all eight to front stops… then BOOM, the piercing cannon shatters the eardrums of anyone within sight of the bridge, and the race begins! As planned, our trusty start sequence got us off to a fast start, and before we knew it we were pushing off the bridge and away from Selwyn. It was then that something rather unplanned occurred - the wire that controls the rudder, to the cox’s surprise and horrifying panic, snapped mid-lengthen stroke, leaving her with the two wooden control handles loose in her hands. Still luckily able to steer the boat, we pushed through, and the panic short-lived as the cox somehow maintained control whilst the crew focused back in on what they had come to do.

With renewed power and determination, we began to make waves, ignoring the crowds along the bank and the sun beating down on our backs. A beautiful day for spectators makes for a difficult and particularly sweaty row, but we were keen to prove ourselves in the face of adversity.

Pushing ever further away from Selwyn, and gaining fast on Emma down the gut, our crew’s endurance shone through as we clawed back those inches and meandered through Grassy with surprising agility, testing the limits of our poor rudder. Emma soon bumped out in front of us, leaving Selwyn II in (not-so-hot) pursuit - they were soon caught by Jesus III behind them as they took an extremely wide angle round Ditton corner, leaving us with clear water all around. We were in for the long row to the end, and with a final push down the Long Reach into top finish, we ended our race proud - the rowers for having given their all, and the cox for having steering W3 round the course holding “what looked like two handles of a skipping rope”, according to one of the spectators. Despite not having bumped, we were proud to escape unscathed and for having coped with what can only be described as the cox’s worst nightmare - minus an ejector crab, that is. They do say that in Bumps anything can happen, and now we’re ready to take our rightful place as the text book example for posterity. Our grit shone through and our cox delivered a stellar performance - a great start to Mays 2016.

Today, First and Third, we’re coming for you.

By Costanza Pearce and Hannah Jones

W3 on Day 1

Day 2

The weather couldn’t have been any better for the second day of May Bumps 2016! We were so hyped from yesterday and more than determined to bump FaT W2.

Once the cannon went off we knew we should once again give our best, we believed that we could bump! At one point we could see the distance between us and Jesus W3, who were chasing us, increasing, and almost before we realised it we started hearing whistles.

Two whistles came few strokes after the single one. We continued rowing trying to ignore the whistles and within a minute probably (at least that’s how soon it felt), we ended up not only getting three whistles, but also the continuous one! And soon, “HOLD IT UP”. We hadn’t even reached Grassy corner yet.

Claudia immediately picked up greenery for us, as soon as we cleared from the middle of the river. The best thing was the row back to the boathouse. People at the banks were congratulating us, shouting “Well done Newnham” and that was the best feeling ever!

Emma III, watch out for us tomorrow again!

Katerina Menelaou and Lucy Emanuel

W3 on Day 2

Day 3

We had successfully bumped FaT on the Day 2 for the first time this year, and was fully confident and excited to experience that victory again. On the Day 3, we were chasing Emma, again. We had chased Emma on the Day 1, but only to row over. This time, we were more confident than ever, and was determined to catch Emma and bump them! As the gun fired, we rowed strong and firm. But Emma was not an easy competition with strong crew members. Unlike the Day 2 we bumped FaT not long after the race started, this race was long and exhausting. I could hear our crew members breathing heavily with pain. We didn't give up, however, and when we almost reached the end of the race, there was finally the first whistle! That excitement we had on the Day 2 was near. We heard the crews standing-by for the next race, and our NBCB members were yelling "Go Newnham!!". We knew that only if we rowed just a little bit stronger, we soon will have the victory. We pushed stronger than ever, and finally there it was! We bumped Emma! Our crew members pushed the limit and gave more than what we had, and it was a one epic race.

By Jiyeob Kim

Day 4

The whole boat was extremely nervous today. Having gained W3 headship from Emma W3 the day before, we were keen to retain this position. Yet we knew that today was going to be a long and challenging race. Starting in seventh position, we were directly next to the cannon, which to our surprise was very small for the massive sound it makes!

We had a strong start, and maintained a good distance from Emma. However, Tit Hall bumped Christs ahead of them, resulting in a blockage at Ditton corner before the Long Reach. Our cox handled the situation very calmly and decided to hold it up. The marshal was sympathetic and awarded us a technical row-over, and Christs were given a hefty fine. Although it was unfortunate that we ended on a technical, we were very proud to be able to keep our position as the highest W3 on the Cam!

By Haruka Kobayashi

Queens' Ergs 2015 - NW1

10 November 2015

The girls of the Newnham novice first boat were pumped for the race. We had prepared with several hard core ergs--putting everything we had into the 500 meters. We were fortunate to have some incredible members of our team.

The race was nerve wracking and I deeply wanted to win. Our dear Becky went first, pulling an impressive rate, and the rest of us followed suit. In the first race we took an early lead, and remained far ahead through all eight rounds. Though we won, we knew we couldn't celebrate too much. The next race was mere hours away. We rested some, stretched, and a few hours later were standing in the hall with the top female novice teams of the day.

Again Becky led us out. A girl from St. Catz, however, immediately took the lead. This race would be nothing like the last. To the credit of my team mates, our next team members did not panic, but pulled as hard and strong as they could. We took the lead by a hairs breadth. When I took my turn, my single goal was to ensure we hadn't lost it by the time I finished. I pulled until I had nothing left, and fell off the erg, nauseous and knock-kneed. We hadn't lost our lead. Though St. Catz fell behind, we were soon neck and neck with Lucy Cavendish. It was too close to call. But when our intrepid Alice, the last Newnhamite, took to the erg, she pulled with such power and regularity that Lucy Cavendish was edged out at the last second--we crossed the finish line only moments ahead, and immediately erupted into wild cheers. We were the fastest women's novice team in Cambridge! We collected our trophies and congratulated the other winners. It was an exceptional experience.

By Madeleine Ary

Emma Sprints 2015 - NW1

22 November 2015

Still grinning and enthusiastic from our victory at Queens' Ergs, and dressed up as 'Newnham's Ark', NW1 were excited to show what we could do on the water at Emma Sprints, and it did not disappoint.

In our first race, Newnham beat Clare by over a length, but there was little time for celebration as the next heat saw Newnham racing Hughes Hall/Lucy Cavendish. This proved a more tightly fought race, but Newnham took the win, and were now through to the semi-finals, where we faced Fitzwilliam. Tired after two tough races, and feeling the pressure, this race was hard; two crabs early on meant Fitz took the lead. While Newnham chased hard, and the gap was closing, the railway bridge was approaching fast and the course was just those few metres too short. Sustained by jelly babies, we still had our forth race of the day, the play-offs for 3rd place, racing against Magdalene. Having only ever done three race starts (all of them in the previous three races) Newnham struggled to get a strong lead and Magdalene gained half a length. Although we held them for the whole race, the slow start proved fatal, and Magdalene just snatched third place. Fitzwilliam took first overall, having beaten Selwyn in the finals.

Nonetheless, Newnham's NW1 rowed home, knackered but happy with our fourth place, and proud of how far we'd come, from clueless novices to (if we do say so ourselves) a pretty respectable team!

By Ellie Holloway

NCBC NW1 in Emma Sprints 2015

Emma Sprints 2015 - NW2

22 November 2015

Coming off an enjoyable first taste of competitive rowing at Queens’ Ergs, NW2 were eager to begin the first race on the water as a team, a 500m sprint. The excitement to get in the boat was heightened by the fancy dress element of the race with our boat deciding to be Santa’s sleigh with eight elves in the boat and our cox Izzy as Santa!

The first race of the day was against Churchill NW1 which proved a very tough battle against the eventual winners of the division. Despite one seat coming off mid-race NW2 rowed well at race pace without any crabs. As a team however we realised the importance of staying in time with each other, something we struggled with throughout the race. Having lost the first race there was still a second chance in the row back against Queens’ NW2 which proved a much closer encounter. Taking a slightly slower pace our timing was significantly better than the first race allowing us to hold our ground against Queens’ only loosing by a small margin. The improvements made during the day and over the season were encouraging and all came away from the day excited for the races to come.

Senior Fairbairns 2015 - IV

4 December 2015

Racing Fairbairns in a IV was quite an exciting prospect, as most of us had never raced in anything else than an VIII. It was also quite stressful as we had not been training as a IV for the whole term, but just a couple of weeks. In that short time, we improved quite quickly, and by race day, our boat felt good to row in and powerful. The start sequence went exactly as planned. We remained calm and controlled, while getting the rate up steadily to achieve racing speed. The first part of the race went very well, as the half-point results showed. Our cox Asia took beautiful lines, as usual, and helped us through the crucial 4th minute, which was always difficult moment for us. The tiredness kicked in and the second part of the race was less graceful, making us slip down a couple of places in the final ranking. Overall we were all quite happy with our performance as a crew: we had trained well, worked hard in every outing and erg, and knew that we had done our very best. Our coach Mat seemed reasonably satisfied, which is close to the highest possible compliment coming from him.

By Emma Karslake

Novice Fairbairns 2015 - NW1

3 December 2015

Having shown our power at Queens’ Ergs and our fighting spirit at Emma Sprints, we proudly self-declared NW1 a rather ‘beasty boat’ and entered Fairbairns with determination and optimism. After all – we had to end our last race of novice term proud!
We knew the Fairbairns course would take its toll. The intimidating 2700m stretch was a distance we’d only first covered fully at race-pace a few days beforehand on ergs, not on water. But, with a lengthy race-plan which was sure to guide us through any inevitability (crabs, swans, crashes…), we felt prepared and were ready to give it our all, and to “fight for every inch”, as our coach Katie had told us!

So, fearsomely adorned with Newnham coloured facepaint, we rowed up to the start and, with a suitably long gap between us and the boat in front, Lucy Cav/Hughes Hall whom we’d comfortably won against in Emma Sprints, we anxiously awaited the marshal’s order… “Attention, Go” - and we were off!

A powerful race start sent us flying past JCBC’s flagpole where the timer starts, with Becky, our stroke, setting a strong but efficient rhythm for the crew to follow throughout the race. As cox, my priority was getting us round corners and not hitting houseboats, whilst the rowers had the far less demanding task of giving it their all on every stroke, catching together with no crabbing, keeping a steady rate with no slide rush and ensuring the boat remained well sat. All of which our beasty crew did brilliantly - through Clare Footbridge, Elizabeth Way Bridge and up to Chesterton Corner we were in control, spirits high, and in our stride!

Just over half-way and coming up to the tightest corner of the race at Chesterton footbridge, I was nervously ready to drop out bow and 3, worrying that steering and pressure on stroke side alone might not be enough to get us round at race pace. But Alice, our 5, came to the rescue by crabbing just as we entered the corner (a deliberate tactic in accordance with the race plan, of course!), helping steer us to the right on a perfect racing line. Displaying, in hindsight, less concern for her wellbeing and instead praising her for helping us round the corner, I called a Power 10 once we had recovered on the P&E stretch, to get our rate and power back up. Legs were tiring, but spirits were not. Coming up to the railway bridge, I could see Lucy Cav/Hughes Hall in the distance, and, some might say optimistically, told the crew “we’re catching up to the boat ahead, girls!” – though fully realising our plans to overtake may have been slightly ambitious given that their boat was already at the far end of the reach. The final stretch was gruelling – not least for my vocal chords – the girls were tiring, and so encouraging calls of anything I could think of flowed through the cox box, being careful to avoid a list of ‘no-go’s’ such as “empty the tank” and “how much do you want this”. With the wind behind us, keeping those strokes long and strong, and a final Power 10 to “finish this!”, we flew past the marshals at the finish and celebrated our powerful, composed race, though with mixed emotions as this would be our last together as NW1.

Our final relaxed row back to the boathouse became slightly less relaxed when Ellie’s seat decided to shatter underneath her, but thankfully this hadn’t happened during the race. And, on returning home we were excited to hear Newnham NW1 had come fifth of the 35 boats in the first novice women’s division – and only five seconds behind third place!
Fairbairns was a gruellingly great, if not bittersweet, experience to end our novice term on - it’s certainly been a journey coxing NW1’s bunch of rowing beasties!

By Hannah Jones

Novice Fairbairns 2015 - NW2

3 December 2015

Thursday 3rd December saw the grand finale of all our novice efforts of Michaelmas term: the Fairbairns Cup. Prior to the race our senior coaches were insisting how much of a blast it was; yet we were well aware that racing 2.7km would require a lot more stamina and co-ordination than the 500m sprints we’d done up to this point. This lead to mixed feelings of excitement and anticipation among the NW2 crew as we warmed up along the bank, watching the other boats whizz off one by one. The charged atmosphere was heightened by the appearance of NW1 who had just come off the river, their faces still wet with facepaint and sweat, bounding over with various shouts of exhilaration and encouragement. Though by the time we were sat in our trusty boat Andy Silk,we were fully in the zone. Not even the sight of a Sidney boat immediately careering off into the bank just before us could prove a distraction…

Suddenly, all the extra outings and erg sessions of the past couple of weeks culminated in a single moment: the shouts of Izzy our cox: DRAWW 1, DRAWW 2!! Everyone powered down, and we were off. Hannah at stroke set a rapid yet consistent pace, meaning settling into a manageable rate was not a problem. One of our concerns beforehand had been how we were going to maintain concentration over such a distance. However, when the time came we found that the intensity of energy we were putting into our strokes sustained our momentum. We gave no thought to the familiar surroundings of the route we’d practised along all term. Instead, our eyes were only on the rower in front: we were moving as one, not eight, like never before. Izzy’s frequent instructions of ‘power down’s and ‘legs’ carried us through, and although at one point just before The Reach our timing slipped, it was recoverable. The finish line came sooner than expected- we had all begun to enjoy the smooth experience so much that there was no room for tiredness. The elation of finishing the race with NO CRABS (every novice’s nightmare) was unparalleled. Although when the results came in we were not in a winning position (14th), NW2 can wholeheartedly say that Fairbairns really brought out the best in our crew in terms of coordination, power and commitment. We all left the boathouse feeling genuinely euphoric, both at our performance and at how thrilling a longer-distance race is. It was the perfect finale to Michaelmas term, representing how much fun we’ve had as a novice crew and how much we’ve learnt from our coaches. A massive thank you to Alice for preparing us and cheering from the bank on the day- we took the fact that she veered off on the wrong path halfway through as an indication of how transfixing our mad skills are…

By Kate Randall

Winter Head to Head 2016 - W1

23 January 2016

The Winter Head to Head race marked the first race for W1 of the Lent term (and my first race ever as a senior!!!) and we were all super excited. The prospect of two uninterrupted 2k stretches of river seemed amazing after the early morning congestion of the Cam and I was looking forward to my first taste of crushing some other crews!

The day dawned fine and even Fliss was only wearing 4 layers – positively summer garb for rowing! We were also very happy to have Molly as a sub (thank you Molly!). After a gentle row down and some rather confusing marshalling, the first leg began. We set off at a steady rate, focusing on keeping it stable for our first race as a crew. It was awesome to be out on the river and the 2k seemed to fly by! However we all knew that we could beast more on the way back, so we set off at a higher rate and with significantly more aggression! Midway through the stretch Asia, our fabulous cox, called ‘ we’re catching up to Maggie!’. At first I thought she was just trying to inspire us but soon I realised that we had caught up with the LMBC men’s boat two places ahead. This just pushed us harder along the last stretch of the reach as we finally drew in overlapped with their boat. Hopefully the first of many overtaking and bumping experiences this term!!!

Overall we came 2nd overall (3rd in our ‘slower’ leg and 1st in the second leg)! The Head to Head race was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to row more fun races with this super crew!!!

By Izzy Bentley

W1 in Head to Head 2016

Pembroke Regatta 2016 - W1

6 February 2016

Pembroke regatta took place in a cold, windy and gloomy day. Not the best weather for a weekend race, especially for seat 6 and 5 who have not yet evolved any resistance to cold temperatures. Despite the conditions, Newnham W1 was ready to put on a good show and was aiming to a place in the finals.

The first round saw Magdalene W1 as opponent. Although Magdalene started with a good fighting spirit, a crab forced them to easy few strokes after the start sequence. Despite the clear outcome, Newnham W1 did not stop racing and took the chance of an empty river to row a solid piece all the way down to the finish line at the P&E.

The second race was expected to be a tough battle against Jesus W1, who had beaten Caius W1 in the first round. Newnham does not get intimidated easily and was ready to claim its place in the semi finals. Our W1 and Jesus raced neck to neck till half way down the reach. Then Jesus started gaining a few feet, but Newnham bravely fought back and regained water. Then, something happened. As mentioned, the weather conditions were not ideal and the crosswind on the reach pushed Newnham close to Jesus who was racing on the inside station. After one whistle warning, our talented cox Asia steered the boat back on the racing line. Unfortunately, this did not prevent a blade clash, which is a likely event during side by side racing. Newnham bow side showed extreme determination and epically won the blade clash. On the other hand, Jesus caught a crab and their coach decided that Newnham would eventually be disqualified and therefore… why bothering to finish the race? Indeed, Jesus’ coach told his crew to easy and casually paddle down to the finish. Newnham instead kept the fighting mood up and raced solidly to the P&E.

Although Pembroke Regatta is supposedly run by Pembroke and not by other crews’ coaches, the Marshal disqualified Newnham on the basis of Jesus coach’s decision. Surely, Alan and Matt were not happy about it but the Marshals were inflexible.

Newnham might have not won the race but bow side won the battle.

By Chiara Avancini

Pembroke Regatta 2016 - W2

6 February 2016

Waking up at the break of dawn on a cold and rainy Saturday, the crew of W2 with the lovely Lizzie George subbing at bow dutifully cycled to the boathouse, assembled quickly and efficiently, and pushed off at 7.40am, to the dismay of the marshal who found our keenness rather unexpected – even confusing, and also slightly inconvenient given our early arrival (the marshals remained in this confused state of mind it appeared for the entirety of the race). Indeed, we were the first in our division to arrive, thanks to our lovingly time-pessimistic cox and captain, Sophia Russell. A short hour-and-a-bit later, we nervously took our first strokes towards the start line. Our first contender was King’s W2. Racing started, and we took off, stroking like man-men at rate 34 at first, adrenalin and fear (and, lets face it, energy from breakfast) pushing us forward. We made it to the finishing line, beating King’s by 1 ½ lengths in the process. Wow, winning feels great! The competitive beast inside me was beginning to stir. But, while we had to return to the start line, King’s crew were now able to return home. This would not have been a cause for jealousy if it hadn’t been for the beginnings of Storm Imogen being felt in the form of rain and bone chilling wind. On top of this, our crew seemed very adept at splashing one another very effectively – with the cold wind blowing on my drenched tech-top, I pondered on whether I had ever felt so cold in my life. Well, life goes on, and winning beats going home in any case. Racing continued, and we remained strong and determined against the ever-increasing wind. Our next unsuspecting rival was Caius W2 – quickly, we rowed away and beat them ‘easily’. ‘Brilliant, we’re getting rather good at this!’ we might have thought while catching our breaths. On we went for round three – I was now beginning to feel the effects of the strenuous exercise and the unforgiving wind. We bravely rowed and lined up against the French team HEC Paris W1. The wind was getting stronger, as was our determination. The race began and we were head to head – gritting our teeth, we began pushing away, winning by 1 ¼ lengths.

All of a sudden, as we had parked up by grassy in wait of the next race, it dawned on me that we were in the final, evidenced by the very sparse number of boats remaining. It was between Jesus and us. ‘You could win this, but ultimately the faster boat will win, AND it is a good opportunity for training and working on FASTER CATCHES’ – I think Mat said something along those lines as we were waiting and feeling rather anxious (as well as promising us a pint if we pushed ourselves to vomiting point, confirming the sadistic nature of the sport we all voluntarily embarked upon). Anyway, off we went, and we learnt the hard way that sacrificing technique for speed would never work. Jesus made headway early on as we grappled with regaining our composure and overcoming our nerves – as we did so, we gained on Jesus and but they ultimately won by 1 length, and it seemed, for now at least, they were the faster boat.

We returned home, wet, exhausted, and chilled, but so incredibly proud for having come second. W2 had a good second race of the year and are now looking forward to taking on Bumps.

By Sophia Peacock

W2 in Pembroke Regatta 2016

Robinson Head 2016 - W1

12 February 2016

We were all quite looking forward to today, with the usual Lent early morning mess preventing us from doing more than 2 minutes of continuous rowing over the past few weeks, the idea of an empty river was very appealing. We were quite confident about the race, the conditions were perfect – admittedly quite chilly, but most importantly wind free – and we were ready to beast it.

And off we went, doing a nice rolling start just past Newnham bridge and reaching a strong chunky rhythm by the time we crossed the start line. There is little to say about the race itself, Asia steered us beautifully around the corners and kept us going with power calls at strategic points. As expected it quickly started to hurt but the boat was moving well and it was feeling good, making the pain a lot more bearable. We were also steadily pushing away Peterhouse W1, who started right behind us, whilst also gaining on the M1 we were chasing. Although obviously tired we were all really happy as we passed the finish line, this had been a really good race and despite our lack of practise for long pieces we held it together well and it felt good and powerful all the way to the finish. We were even the cause of much admiration from the men’s boats who were marshalling for the next division, with our perfect roll-up as we set off to go home.

A few hours later the results confirmed the feeling we’d had, we rowed fairly well today… and finished fastest women’s crew of the day!! We beat some crews that are around us in bumps by significant margins, as well as a good number of men’s boats, including an M1, in the process. With less than 2 weeks to go until the start of Lents we are all quite excited to see what more we can get out of this crew and looking forward to a good bumps week!

By Agnès de Varine

W1 with prizes for Robinson Head 2016