Race Reports 2017-18


May Bumps 2018 - W1

W1 in May Bumps 2018

Day 1

Bumped Caius W1.

Day 2

After bumping Caius on Wednesday, W1 were only slightly less nervous for what we knew would be a gruelling race to catch Emma. We rowed up and did the usual marshalling, jelly-baby-eating, practice starts, final final triple checks of nuts and screws, and the wait for the gun. Pushed out and with a chain with absolutely no slack (Gemma must have nearly dislocated her shoulder) we were ready...GUN!! Our start sequence was strong and together and fast - reaching rate 43 in the winds. Coming round first post corner we heard shouts of inside station! We continued to execute the calls we had practised hundreds of times and stroke side did a big push to get us round of the corner. By Grassy we were on 2 whistles and the crowd were really behind us. On 3 whistles and only a canvas off them we did our restart past the plough and pushed into them. Gemma's characteristically tasty coxing took us round on an excellent line and we got them! We had to clear quickly to stay clear of Caius who were being hunted down by Downing, but soon pulled into the bank and loaded our hair with greenery. None of us could quite believe this was actually happening and we were incredibly proud of ourselves and each other, and very much ready for tomorrow's race!

By Ellie Holloway

Days 3 & 4

Rowed Over


May Bumps 2018 - W2

W2 in May Bumps 2018

Day 1

W2 rowed up confidently to the start line, putting intimidation into ‘intimidation paddle’. After a solid practice start, we were spinning and waiting for those dreaded 4 minutes to pass before the canon went off. When it did, we sprung into action, heads in the boat, unleashing the beast, under encouragement from our fantastic cox, Zoe! It was a long race, with medwards being bumped out behind us relatively early on, leaving us the task to catch kings in front of us, with little to spur us on from behind. The long row ended with a row over, remaining on station with kings for most of the way. Bring on tomorrow, where hopefully we can use pressure from behind to apply pressure in front to edge towards that almighty BUMP!!

By Karla Boxall

Day 2

After rowing over on Day One, W2 knew that we had a tough fight on our hands to catch King's who had managed to hold us off for the whole course. As soon as the cannon went off, the legs went on, and our start got us within station with King's. However, it soon became apparent that the real battle would be between us and Darwin W1, who had swiftly bumped our chasing boat on Day One. They gained on us through the corners, but we held them off for as long as we could, determined to stand our ground. They crept closer and closer until we felt their bow make contact with our stern just as we came out of Grassy onto the Plough reach. Darwin were a strong crew and worthy opponents, but we're coming back on Day Three with a clean slate ready for whatever Bumps throws at us.

By Cait Findlay and Katie Jones

Days 3 & 4

Bumped by Lucy Cavendish W1 and Wolfson W1


May Bumps 2018 - W3

W3 in May Bumps 2018

Day 1

A steady start into a strong wind saw Newnham W3 lose little water to Trinity Hall W2, however the chasing crew slowly closed the distance. A crab slowed Newnham’s momentum temporarily and Trinity Hall caught Newnham just before grassy. Lady Margaret W2 was far ahead always.

By Lucy Jarman

Day 2

Unfortunately W3 got bumped again. We had a good start and were gaining on Tit Hall, but Eddie’s also had a quick start and another unfortunate crab meant they caught us. Even so, we’re remaining positive - tomorrow is a new day!

By Alice Bell

Day 3

The third day of Bumps greeted W3 with more favourable weather conditions than the previous day, with considerable less sun and wind. After marshalling early and fuelled by chocolate and sweets, we adopted the plan of rowing as strong, as fast and for as long as possible, in the hope of eradicating any possibilities of stray crabs being caught. After a slightly windier row down the reach, we encountered a rather stubborn narrow boat driver who seemed intent on disrupting all rowing activities... and indeed he caused a backlog in the line of boats all waiting for a practice start. Eventually we were able to get clear to practice our start and continue to row down to the loch, then discovering that our position was one away from the canon under Newnham bridge...! We were determined not to let this fact deter us from a strong start behind St Edmunds’ crew and in front of Hughes Hall and as the canon blasted, we all settled into a comfortable rate which allowed us to row the longest distance out of the three days. Unfortunately, our fast start did not allow us to escape Hughes’ Hall who eventually bumped us, as we were gaining on St Edmunds’ crew. A proud row home after another tough day!

By Sitara Bartle

Day 4

The last day of bumps saw us starting from under the newnham bridge. after shielding our ears from the first two cannons we were pushed out into the river. With the third cannon we were off. Our start wasn’t the strongest giving Hughes Hall a chance to pull away. We picked up the pace fighting to get away from Catz but sadly couldn’t hold them off and were bumped. Despite this, we got further than we had on other days so still rowed home with pride.

By Rebecca Stoklund-Lee



Lent Bumps 2018 - W1

Days 1 & 2

Racing cancelled due to dangerous cyclng conditions on the towpath, and the subsequent safety concerns should there be an injured rower/cox/cyclist. Below is Newnham W1 having rowed up to marshalling, only to be told to row back as the division was cancelled.

W1 on Day 2 of Lent Bumps 2018

Day 3

After a momentous effort to clear the towpath, racing was finally underway for W1, whose first day of racing had been called off as they arrived to marshal. Adrenaline filled, frustrated and nervously excited, we rowed up to marshalling, throwing in some of our iconic ‘confidence drills’ to help focus our minds (and show off a bit!). On the start line all we could think about was staying warm enough, and as the 1 minute canon sounded, layers were frantically shed and we pushed off.

DRAW ONE! And we were off. We executed our start sequence perfectly and came inside station on Downing. But they were also having a good race and were quickly inside station on Clare ahead of them. One whistle sounded for Downing, then one whistle for us. We were all a length apart and the race was looking increasingly close. We put in a big push, focusing on our finishes and sitting up tall. But Downing did the same and the whistles were sounding everywhere. Gemma took a brilliant line around Grassy and we drew closer to Downing. Now was the time for a push and we knew it. We had overlap on Downing and our bow pair could hear their cox calling for a push. Unfortunately for us, Clare had given all they could and coming onto the Reach they seemed to die a death. Downing were never going to concede to us, knowing that they were so close to Clare, and pushed on stubbornly. Suddenly, we had calls to hold it up. We were all exhausted and confused – who had got who first? Had we bumped or did we need to restart? It soon became clear (mainly from Downing excitedly gathering greenery) that Clare really had given up and Downing and managed to bump them strokes before we would have bumped Downing.

It was not the result we wanted, and we were somewhat disappointed, especially after days of frustration with cancelled racing, But we knew we had had a great race and rowed our best and our hardest. The fact we didn’t see FaT coming to ‘chase us’ until we’d parked up shows how much water we had gained on the crews around us. Bumps is a cruel mistress, and it’s not always the best crew who come out with the bump. We were proud of our term’s training, of each other and of the fight we had put up. It is frustrating that our four days’ racing had been cut short by the Beast From The East, and we didn’t have another chance to chase Downing (or Jesus), but we were also grateful of our chance to race and were hungry for more action. We rowed home, and warmed up and inspected the damage to our trusty Rosalind Franklin – we had mounted Downing’s rigger when we’d held it up, but she will live to race another bumps on Saturday and bump Clare in half the time it took Downing!

By Ellie Holloway

Day 4

We came into our last day of Lent Bumps super excited! After having spent all morning shovelling snow and gritting the towpath to enable the races to continue, we were ready for a fight. After yesterday’s unfortunate almost-bump situation with Downing W1, who managed to get Clare W1 before we could make the final bump, we were confident that we could move up on Clare today.

With a good start we began grinding down the gap between us, and by Grassy corner we were getting whistles. Before we knew it though, Clare were also getting whistles on Downing ahead! With the fear of a repeat of yesterday, Gemma called a restart and the last few metres were ours. A BUMP with Clare's yellow paint smeared on our bow ball to prove it!

We then had our victory row back with the essential greenery and our stroke and cox swapping places which added to the entertainment for the watching crews.

By Alice Cozens

W1 on Day 2 of Lent Bumps 2018

Lent Bumps 2018 - W2

Day 1

The first day of Lent Bumps 2018 saw an excited Newnham W2 paddle up (fashionably late) to marshalling, and adorning many many layers to keep the sub-zero temperatures from getting to us. Before we knew it, we had spun at Baitsbite, and were counting down the seconds to the starting cannon. Our goal for the start was togetherness, since our natural power would come as long as we all moved as one off the start. And sure enough, we had a good start: we were within station on Robinson W1 within the first minute, and holding good ground against Pembroke W2 behind us. Around the gut, the pressure from behind eased as Pembroke were bumped out by Wolfson W1, leaving us to concentrate solely on making strides towards the stern of Robinson. For every corner push we made, they made one - and for every tight line we took, they took it just as well.

We stayed on station with them for the entirety of the race (and they stayed on station with the Sidney W1 they were chasing). As cox, my main aim was to keep the girls' power and morale high throughout the race – even though it was clear we were in it for the long run – and I’m immensley proud of the girls for keeping the pressure up and staying together throughout. The three crews passed the finish all on station with each-other, happily showing that Newnham's second VIII is evenly matched with other college’s first boats!

The weather looks set to deteriorate over the next few days, and we’re hearing word of Bumps being cancelled for Thursday and possibly Friday. We’ll see what happens, but if we race again, it’ll be another interesting three-way tussle between our W2, and Robinson and Sidney W1’s!

By Hannah Jones

W2 on Day 1 of Lent Bumps 2018

Day 2

Racing cancelled due to dangerous cyclng conditions on the icy towpath. So, instead, W2 made a snowman on the Old Hall lawn!

W2 on Day 2 of Lent Bumps 2018

Day 3

Quote of the day - Kate Randall: "Today has honestly been the weirdest day ever" – we all agreed!

The morning found us at 8am on the towpath with shovels, broomsticks, dustpans and a lot of enthusiasm that we were gonna race that day! After bumps had been cancelled the day before, and the whole of Cambridge had been frozen under the "Beast from the East", colleges put aside their competing oars and put their shovels together in a long and freezing effort to clear the ice so that we'd be allowed to race. And so we did, and bumps was reinstated!

We set of early enough to get some practice rowing in snowfall and winds of over 20 mph. We arrived at the start slightly early and got off the boat to keep warm. No one can say exactly why and how it got to what happened next but a giant group-hug ensued, followed by what could only be described as the W2 baked potato re-enactment - the outer circle of rowers in the group-hug were wrapped into tin-foil safety blankets, one of which went over our heads in a tent-shape construction [see pictures attached]. Rowers stayed in this formation, maintained by Charlotte and Claudia, for quite some time, meanwhile gently jumping, feeding on jelly sweets, and being filmed by Cambridge Communications.

The first cannon found us in this position! We moved briskly back into the boat in a slight panic, trying to de-kit and get ready to row before the 1-min gun, which didn't wait too long! We were trying to push off the bank but the bow rigger was stuck frozen to the bank, the countdown already well below 20! Last few seconds we managed to push off, and there it was - the starting cannon! Unlike Day 1, our start was much stronger. Power dropped off after the starting sequence but not completely and we carried on at a decent speed. However, we knew it was not going to be an easy race. With Robinson W1 ahead of us, Wolfson W1 were gaining on us from behind, at first slowly, and after the first whistle - swiftly! Despite pushing really hard for a power on the legs with the passionate encouragements from our brilliant ninja-cox, they had caught up with us within a few seconds. We tried to fight them off for as long as we could, but at this point it was quite obvious that a bump was inevitable. And so we were bumped by Wolfson W1 in about a third of the race-course.

Defeated by a strong and worthy opponent, we rowed back home, sad at the outcome of the race, but still proud to have kept it together and to have gone out for a race in the winter conditions that got bumps cancelled the day before (hadn't happened since the 1960s)!

Tomorrow is the last day of bumps and we will hold nothing back! We will be there with our shovels first thing in the morning to secure our race, and we will give it all we have got in the afternoon! It is bumps - anything could happen! And we'll be there, and we will do our best!

By Stani Georgieva and Sophie Baldwin

W2 on Day 4 of Lent Bumps 2018

Day 4

This Saturday was the most exciting day for W2 on the river. It was with the most nerve-wrecking row-over in the whole campaign, which left us both proud and happy.

We were off to a very strong start, immediately gaining on Wolfson W1 in our Revenge of the Bumped. Whistles were being blown already before the motorway bridge. Later around Grassy, they managed to pull away from us, but we never let them off easily.

On grassy we faced some serious challenge from Lady Margaret W2 – they were coming for us with fierce determination, hoping for a bump. As they were only a boat length away, we had to put an absolutely incredible push and shot out of the corner like a bullet from a gun. Picking up the pace, we left them stranded behind.

Having once again gained strength, we never let it go. By the Long Reach, Lady Margaret W2 had dropped to several boat lengths behind, and we could focus on the boat ahead. Now we were back on station with Wolfson W1, and absolutely determined to catch them. As we picked up the rate to 36 we were back in Wolfson’s dirty waters and heard whistles all the way to the finish. Unfortunately, the course finished before we could get any closer. However, we will try again next year!

By wow pair: Evelyn Svingen and Lucy Gates

W2 on Day 4 of Lent Bumps 2018

Lent Bumps 2018 - W3

Day 1

Fueled with pasta, garlic baguettes and jelly babies, we rowed down in the VERY cold weather, It was the first bumps for everyone in the boat, spirits were high but we were all slightly nervous and could feel our hearts beat a little bit faster. We were pushed out by our bank party and before we knew what was happening, the canon was fired.

We had a decent start, but Trinity Hall II inched closer and caught us just after Newnham Bridge. It was a disappointing outcome for everyone but we rowed home strong and are ready and excited for the rest of the week.

By Amelia Sawyers, Kai Song and Annie Cipriani

Day 2

After yesterday's bump, W3 were determined to come back strong. We battle-paddled our way up to the start, bracing ourselves against the blizzard conditions. We were chasing Trinity Hall W2 and being chased by Lady Margaret W3 and, despite putting up a good fight, Lady Margaret bumped us. We're all making the most of carb-loading and rest during our day off in the snow, and ready to come back fighting on Friday.

By Sophie Thorpe