MELISSA WILSON: Selwyn and Caius triumph, but with many crews absent, the Cambridge 99s Regatta leaves a lot to be guessed at for Bumps.
With pretty bleak conditions but no rain, the Cambridge Ninety Nines regatta allowed for some gutsy side-by-side racing. With quite a few returning blues, it provided a final indication of colleges’ progress before bumps.
Though this was a shorter course, most colleges looking to bump will be aiming to do so less than a kilometer into the races. The side-by-side element this weekend also showed which crews can respond to the direct competition they’ll face in less than a month.
The regatta experienced a fairly unenthusiastic turnout from many colleges, allowing relatively weaker crews a chance in many of the finals. With both Caius and Downing M1s absent, LMBC and Selwyn were able to push through to the men’s final, where Selwyn won by a persuasive length – incredibly promising as they stand a staggering 17 places below LMBC in the bumps positioning. They will also have gained even greater security from the regatta, having beaten Caius II in the semi-finals, who will be chasing them on the first day of bumps.
In the men’s second division Christ’s M2 triumphed over Sidney Sussex (M1) by canvas, which also bodes well for their chances of moving out of the sandwich-boat position in bumps.
On the women’s side competition was equally depleted, with reasonably predictable outcomes from the various races and little indication of what will happen around the top-end of the bumps tables. Emmanuel, who start fifth this Mays, rowed well but were beaten in the final by a tough Caius crew.
The latter repeated the success they’d seen at the Cam’s last side-by-side races, – Pembroke regatta – winning the final by a length. The rest of the division entrants are clustered together, one after another, in the line-up for bumps, ranking low. There may be a bit of re-shuffling, but the final this weekend was a relatively unsurprising one.
Murray Edwards II won the women’s second division – a strong result considering six of the seven boats competing with them are ranked above them in bumps. Racing against them in the final was Queens II, who were beaten convincingly by two and a half lengths.
With the absence of a lot of the Cam’s top-ranking crews, the 99s regatta still leaves a lot to be guessed at in the run-up to bumps.
May Bumps will begin on Wednesday 13th and run till Saturday 16th June.
Photos courtesy of David Hardeman