Our preparation for the Bumps started with our customary 16 mile row to Cambridge with a mixed crew made up of our Men's and Women's eights. Pleasant weather helped as we relaxed into a steady row from our club house in Ely, arriving in Cambridge 4 hours later. The only discomfort was felt by Duncan as the crew shouted abuse at him from within Bottisham Lock.
Our men's crew rowed first. 7th bung in the 3rd division, under the bridge (right next to the cannon). Our casual start did not take City 9 by surprise but we settled into a good rhythm and started our procession to the finish. Our prey then bumped Champs 6 at first post and ahead of them Cantabs 8 bumped Champs 5 leaving us nothing ahead to chase so we settled for a row over.
Our women's crew raced next. 9th bung in the 2nd division giving them the option of chasing to the railings. A good start saw them move up on Champs 5, quickly taking half a length, but then tiring around grassy corner, falling back again and suddenly in danger of being caught by City 7 the crew rallied behind stroke Liz Kerr and pulled away again opting for the short finish at Ditton post for a row over.
Men's crew. 7th bung again (cannon just as loud). This time our casual start caught Champs 6 off guard and we quickly stole a bump at first post after just 30 strokes. Ahead of us City 9 bumped Champs 5 setting us up well for the next race.
Women's crew. 9th bung again but a disastrous start saw stroke lose her seat and despite a determined attempt to keep going the race was forfeited as smoke from Liz's backside was considered a fire risk! An easy bump for City 7 and the women moved down one place.
Men's crew. 6th bung put some distance between us and the cannon but outflow from the drain kept pushing us away from the bank. The cannon fired, the crews adrenaline was up, but with no perceptible effect on our start, which remained casual. Our advance towards Champs 6 was steady and we quickly took half a length while leaving our opponents from the previous night in the distance. Our quarry quickly exhausted themselves, having opted for a sprint which they couldn't maintain, and as we rounded grassy corner we steadily closed the distance and finished them just before The Plough. ahead of us City 9 kindly bumped Cantabs 8, again setting us up for the next evening.
Women's crew. Still smarting from the night before they took their position on the 10th bung, determined to recover their position on the river. The race started well and Ely moved up on City 7, closing to half a length at Osier Holt but a poor line at Grassy Corner left the crew exhausted and Rob Roy 3, seeing their chance, pounced and the women dropped another place.
Men's crew. 5th bung but the torrential rain made us nostalgic for our more sheltered position under the bridge. The crew had opted for a fancy dress theme of "Star Trek: To Boldly Row" and so sitting at the start, in our Starfleet uniforms, we waited for the gun. Our, now legendary, casual start was feared by our opponents and proved to be as effective as previous nights as we quickly settled into a powerful steady rhythm, advancing towards Cantabs 8 and closing the distance to a length by Grassy Corner. Deploying our bowside thrusters we maintained a good speed and course around the corner, ready for our planned "warp factor 10" from the cox. Extra power surged from the crew, the boat leapt forward and bumped Cantabs at the plough before they had time to react.
Women's Crew. Desperate to right the injustices they had suffered the previous two nights our 'Ladies Wot Row' had abandoned their customary head scarves for more practical shower caps for the battle ahead. From the start their superior pace and strength overwhelmed the less experienced Rob Roy 3 crew, who had bumped them the night before, and by First Post corner they were celebrating a bump and regained one position on the river.
The combined efforts of our two crews meant that we finished 2nd in the John Jenner Trophy moving up two places overall.
For more images visit the Cambridge Evening News Gallery.
Tim Dodes, Andrew Kearney, Alasdair Jones, Duncan McCulloch, Ed Miller, Richard Maxey, Ashley Wykes, Orlando Buhay and Simon Burge.
Liz Kerr, Alison Crowley, Jill McCulloch, Nicki Powell, Lyn Haynes, Jane Atkinson, Rachel Watson, Anna Relton, Jo Yarker and Teresa Aslett
Cox for both crews was Christian Schosland