Town Bumps Day 4 – Double Headship, +36 overall, 7 blades

The final day of Town Bumps was as successful as the first 3 for Cantabs, with bumps galore resulting in the club finishing a +36 for the week across all 27 crews, both the men’s and women’s headships, and 7 crews winning blades.

Photo: Ken Drake

Men’s Division 4

M11 (Activ8), M12 (InVeterEight), M13 (Hunter Crew), M14 (Motley Crew), M15 (After Eights)

On Friday, this division ended up suffering problems when delivery of the cannons used to start the race was delayed by heavy traffic. Attempts to start the division with air horns instead were not entirely successful, and resulted in crews being pushed out then pulled in twice, and the bottom 4 crews having to start separately to the rest of the division. This meant that M14 rowed over at the top of the mini division and M15 also rowing over behind the crew that bumped them on Thursday. Both crews finished -3 for the week.

In the top half of the division, M11 had a good row and bumped X-Press M6 to finish +2 for the week, and M12 rowed over to avoid spoons. Unfortunately, M13 were bumped by City M12, though finished +1 for the week.

Women’s Division 3

W7 (J15s), W8 (Hills W1), W9 (Progression Squad W1), W10 (Hills W2), W11 (J16s), W12 (Progression Squad W2)

There were lots of bumps in both directions in women’s division 3 on Friday. W7 bumped Champs W6 to finish +1 for the week, W8 bumped Chesterton W3 and W11 (happily!) won blades after (unfortunately!) bumping Cantabs W9. Barbara Blacklaws from W9 reports:

We had a poor start, almost hitting the bank, so we were a bit unsettled and that continued. The J16s came up fast so we did not really have time to settle before they caught us. We would have preferred to have been further down the course but well done to the juniors. We feel we gave our much appreciated crew coordinator the full bumps experience after her year in Cambridge – 2 row overs, a bump and a bump against us!

W10 were bumped by Nines W7 to finish -2 for the week, and W12 were unfortunately bumped back by Nines W6, who they had bumped on Thursday. However, this has been a really good learning experience for W12, all of whom only learned to row earlier this year and for whom this was only their second ever race.

Men’s Division 3

M7 (Hills M2), M8 (Poachers), M9 (Past Masters), M10 (J15s)

M9 secured blades in this division after bumping City M10. This is all the more impressive, as Creon Taoself in the crew only learned to row in the April Cantabs Learn to Row programme!


M10 bumped Radegund M2, finishing +3 for the week. M8 rowed over, finishing +2 for the week. Finally, M7 bumped X-Press M4 to end a colourful week of ups and downs, finishing in the position where they started!

Women’s Division 2

W5 (Intermediate Women), W6 (J18s)

W5 with willow after winning blades

It was blades for W5, after they got a solid bump on X-Press W2. Rebecca Cicolecchia reports:

Day 4 dawned with the Intermediates full of high hopes, hardly daring mention the “B” word in case it jinxed our chances of a 4th bump. X-Press W2 had done their level best the previous evening with some friendly jeering, to put the fear of god into us, swearing to deny us blades. So we were expecting a long, hard chase to the finish, counting on wearing down X-Press, who’d rowed over every night up until then. It turned out, however, that X-Press’ tired legs were simply no match for ours, as we’d hardly even stretched ours over the preceding races. We’d hardly got into our stride before the whistles started up, Sam began yelling at the top of his lungs and the gap closed. Another early bump long before First Post Corner, and a thrilling end for the jubilant Cantabs crew, who’ve decided they quite like the ‘unbalanceable’ Wintech after all!

W6 with willow after bumping up 3

W6 also had a good row and bumped St Neots W2, meaning that they’d bumped the maximum number of times possible this week, as they had started behind our own W5.

Men’s Division 2

M5 (Hills Returners/Senior Men), M6 (Aquaphobes)

Aquaphobes after their final bump

M6 put in another good row, to finish +3 for the week, by bumping Champs M2. Lucio Cicolecchia reports:

‘Fast and Furious’ – an appropriate description for the last day of Bumps! If you are up for blades, desperate to avoid spoons or just want to finish in style, it goes in a blaze. And in a blaze it passed. Chesterton 2 were determined to bump the Aquaphobes and in so doing win blades and avenge the bump inflicted on them last year; Champs ahead of the Aquaphobes were desperate to avoid dreaded spoons! So the race plan was simple: row hard and catch Champs quickly and deny Chesterton their blades. With usual cox Emma away, Anna was in charge of the boat, having only been out twice with the crew. As expected, Chesterton charged hard and took the narrowest of corners, hoping to close in quickly, but the Aquaphobes flew out of their station and even before the stride call, whistles were trilling. The noise and the wash couldn’t break their composure and even as they went under the motorway bridge they knew they were closing in fast. Within three strokes of the bridge, Champs had conceded and Chesterton was left with the only option of trying for a desperate overbump. That’s all for this year, we look forward to the rest of the the season with some more good races.


M5 had a solid row-over, meaning they finished +2 for the week.

Women’s Division 1

W1, W2, W3, W4 (all Senior Women)

W1 rowing over Head of the River, 25s clear of City of Cambridge W1

There was joy for Cantabs as for the first time in 25 years, and for the first time in eights, Cantabs W1 finished the Friday as Head of the River. The crew finished a massive 25 seconds ahead of City W1, who were pushed hard by Cantabs W2 (finishing +2 for the week and starting 3rd as the highest ranked W2, higher than all W1s except City W1) for a bump.

W2 gaining on City W1

W2 got to around 1/2 L before being unable to sustain the pace long enough to catch City, though really enjoyed trying!

W3 about to bump City W2

W3 had a great end to their bumps campaign, bumping City W2 to win blades and finish as the highest ranked W3, and ranking higher than all other clubs’ W2s.

W4 celebrating going up 6 for the week

Similarly, W4 finished as the highest ranked W4, ahead of all other clubs’ W3s, after enjoying a quick bump on City W3. This crew finished the week +6 after an overbump on the first day, and their row moved them from the 2nd to the 1st division for the first time. Their cox Colette Milbourn won 2 blades this week, having also coxed the WJ16s to blades earlier in the day.

Men’s Division 1

M1 (Senior Men), M2 (Hills Returners), M3 (Senior Men), M4 (Hills M1)

After 2 row overs ahead of St Neots where Cantabs finished around 5L clear at the finish, M1 knew that St Neots had nothing to lose on Friday. As expected, St Neots had a ‘fly or die’ approach to the race, in a last ditch attempt to try and steal the headship. Their plan looked like it could be successful in the early stages of the race, giving M1 a fright as they got to within 1/2 L through the corners. However, St Neots eventually ran out of steam, and finished around 19 seconds behind Cantabs at the finish.

M2 and M4 rowed over, finishing level for the week, as did M3 who managed to avoid getting spoons and another evening in the ‘gazebo of shame’.

Photo: Jonah Harris

There was plenty to celebrate at the post-bumps Hog Roast: not a single one of the 27 Cantabs crews had “spoons” (for being bumped four times), seven crews won blades, and Cantabs was only the third club ever to achieve the double headship.

Thank you

Thank you to friends and family who came to spectate and support during Town Bumps, as well as to all of the volunteers who make it all possible – bank parties, marshals, coaches, crew coordinators and committee members, as well as the Bumps Committee who manage the whole event. Thank you to Bill Amos for most of the photos included in these bumps reports, and to Ian Watson and Downing College for boat hire.

Yeah Cantabs!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.