M1 May Bumps 2016: race reports

Wednesday

After gaining three whistles in the final day of Mays last year, but failing to finish the job, Selwyn M1 went out with a vengeance to get that day one bump on Magdalene. Aware of our strong performance in Cambridge racing this term, Magdalene went off quickly and kept us on station through to the Gut. To our dismay they caught Churchill right before Grassy, and we were forced to row past the two crews listening to the loud and emphatic cheers of Magdalene, with the sudden realisation we would not get the day one bump on them we had been hoping for all year.

However, we had settled into a strong race pace and were determined not to go home empty handed. Having started six and a half lengths away from Christ’s, who were three places ahead of us, the gap had already closed to four. We chased them through Grassy, past the Plow and onto the Reach. By this point the gap had narrowed to two lengths and we knew the over-bump was in sight. Our cox called for our race move, allowing us to hit another gear and move into Christs at the fast rate we had all race. One whistle quickly turned to three and before we knew it we had overlap. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for the crew, our cox slammed on the rudder as he went for bump in the second half the reach, causing us to face the bank. Having been a length away no more than ten seconds ago, confusion quickly turned into cheers as we realised we had just got the first division one over-bump in 13 years. Our focus now turns to the remaining three days of our campaign, and we are eager to bring home for bumps for Selwyn!

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Thursday

We approached today’s racing with the momentum of yesterday’s over-bump, but also the knowledge that we would be chased by a hungry “fly and die” Magdalene crew. Our warm up was strong and effective, having got rid of nerves that seized us yesterday, and the crowds were cheering “GO SELWYN”. We bumped Catz in 400m after opening a wide gap on Magdalene, and watched joyfully as they rowed past with the clear expression of sorrow on their faces that read “what might have been”.
On Friday we will be chasing Kings and a bump will place us at the top of our combined boathouse, a position Selwyn has not held for at least 20 years.

Friday

On Friday we chased Kings, giving us the opportunity to reclaim the top spot of our new combined boathouse. Hot of the back of our success yesterday we were determined to do it again. We got of to a strong start and within thirty seconds had our first whistle. From there on we executed the job swiftly, bumping them before first post corner. Bring on the last day.

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Saturday

We approached Saturday confidently, knowing that Emmanuel, who we were chasing, had not been able to move on Queens in Friday’s racing. To our complete surprise they gained rapidly off the start, and we were forced to use our race move ‘Hawaii’ as we entered the gut, or risk the two crews in front bumping out and leaving us with no one to bump. 800m in Emma had overlap on Queens going round grassy. Meaning after only 2 minutes we were doing our second big race move. The tension and potential disappointment in the boat was massive. Huge thanks go out to Queens were able to hold on and move away from Emma, who’s “fly and die” tactic became apparently clear as we closed a length on them in under 20 strokes. We bumped right before Ditton, achieving our blades and going up six places over the week. Perhaps excusable was the slightly over enthusiastic greenery. Huge thanks to our coaches Rachel Crockford and Henk-Jaap Wagenaar.

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Just how close it was to all being taken away!

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