Day 2 of Town Bumps saw Women’s Division 1 and Men’s Division 1 race for the first time, with Division 2 crews having the day off. There was mixed fortune in each of the first divisions, with the other divisions providing yet more exciting racing.
The highlight of the women’s racing on Day 2 came from Women’s Division 1, which saw 4 Cantabs crews racing. W1 raced well to row over as Head of the River, finishing well clear of the 2nd placed City W1. Coach Tom Copeland said:
W1’s slick start saw them move away from the first stroke, giving them breathing space to move onto their rhythm and length as they raced around First Post. As the gap hit 2L, City’s bank party gave a single blast on their whistle, causing the race marshal to laugh. As City’s challenge faded into Ditton Corner, W1 started moving comfortably away, stepping it down on the Long Reach as the gap continued to open out. They crossed the finish line with a 4L gap in a time of 7:09 – just 7s off our fastest time off the Headship station, set on the last night in 2017.
W2 (Returners) chased City from their 3rd position, getting to within 1L of them but struggling to close the gap any further. They will be looking to improve their performance, as a crew that only came together a few days ago.
There was a lot of action further down in the division, which saw W3 (Senior Women) bump Nines W1 by the (now non-existent!) Pink House. Stroke Isabella Mahoney said:
We started on station 6, directly on top of the outflow. Nines W1 had a good start and closed distance with X-Press, while we were fighting off the outflow and weeds, and beginning to regain our hearing! Just before First Post Corner, we began to make gains on Nines. Taking very tight lines round First Post and Grassy, we got our first whistle along Plough Reach. Once around Ditton, we started to deal with the bumpy water from Nines’ wash better and, with about 500m to go before the finish line, the whistles went from one to two to continuous in quick succession before the bump.
W4 (Senior Women) had a great start and managed to bump City W2 in less than two minutes. This means that Cantabs W4 are now ranked higher than all other clubs’ W2 crews. Stroke Gill Cooper said:
A good practice start opposite the Plough helped to set us up in a positive mindset, only slightly dampened by an equipment problem. Fortunately, Will Cherry (coach of the Intermediate Women’s Squad) sprinted off down the towpath and came back with tape needed to fix the issue, and shortly after the 4 minute gun, all was ready. On the gun, we launched into our start sequence, attacking it hard. Our first rhythm call only generated a small downward shift in rate, but we could hear encouraging shouts from the bank, soon followed by our first whistle. Keeping the rating high and focusing on long powerful strokes, we were soon rewarded by a double whistle. The wash from City W2 ahead of us was considerable, but as we reached 3 whistles it suddenly calmed down, as their cox took an outside line on the approach to First Post. Isabel held firm to her racing line, knowing that City had nowhere to go to evade us. The whistles quickly became continuous and were almost immediately followed by calls to hold it up as they conceded the bump. Having bumped City W2, the only boats now above us are the W1 crews from other clubs, plus our own W1, 2 and 3; a record in the history of Womens 8s racing in CRA Bumps.
Cantabs women’s crews now finish +4 overall so far this week.
Men’s Division 1 unfortunately saw M1 bumped off Head of the River by a strong Cambridge 99 crew along the Reach. However, M2 (Hills Road) had a good race, starting 7th on the river, bumping X-Press M1. Phil Gunning was in their bank party and said:
M2 started under the railway bridge, and powered off the start to get a whistle before the bank party could even catch up with them! They continued to grind down on X-Press, moving comfortably up to 2 whistles around First Post and then 3 whistles in the gut. Coming into Grassy they touched X-Press but it was not acknowledged, so they then proceeded to mount X-Press, which eventually alerted X-Press’s cox to the bump! Well done to Emily and the boys for quickly disentangling and clearing to give M3 a clear run around Grassy.
M3 (Senior Men) comfortably rowed over, after crews in front and behind bumped out, but M4 (Hills Returners) were bumped in their first outing as a full crew by Peterborough M1.
Elsewhere in Division 3, M8 got their 2nd bump of the week after catching Isle of Ely M1. The Poachers (M9) bumped X-Press M4 to finish 6th in Division 3. The Coaches (M11) proved how tricky it can be to rank crews in lower divisions by bumping Past Masters (M10) around Grassy to finish as (sort of!) the highest ranked Cantabs M11 in the club’s history (though, of course, next year’s start order won’t reflect this!).
Division 4 saw mixed fortunes, with the J15/16 Juniors (M12) bumped by Nines M7, and Invetereight (M16) bumped by City M13. However, Motley (M17) raced well to get a bump on Champs M7 and Hills Road M3 (M13), Hunter Crew (M14) and Activ8 (M15) rowed over.
Cantabs men’s crews now finish +1 so far for the week.
Historical bumps charts for men and women can be found here. Women’s racing switched from coxed fours to eights in 2001.
Thank you to Guy Beauchamp and Bill Amos for the photos. You can find more of Guy’s Town Bumps photos on WeRow.