Lent Bumps: Women’s Preview

The Tab looks ahead to next week’s Women’s Rowing at Lent Bumps.

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With the river now resembling a traffic jam on the M6 and a worrying increase in the number of ejector crabs from crews practising their racing starts at the last minute, you can tell that Bumps is nearly upon us.

From Tuesday afternoon, 121 crews and over 1000 rowers will be taking part in the key event of this term’s rowing, hoping to move themselves up the Bumps Charts and bring down rival crews.

On the Women’s side, the crews in the top five positions on Day 1 are Emmanuel, First and Third, Jesus, Downing and Caius. In theory, any one of these crews could be in possession of the Lents Headship by the end of the week, but who will take it?

Emmanuel are looking poor this year. They have consistently scored much lower than would be expected for a Headship crew, coming 4th in Fairbairns, 8th in Robinson Head and losing to Clare (10th in 1st division) in Pembroke Regatta. It will come as no surprise then to predict a solid bump from First and Third to go Head of the River on Wednesday. The question really is not whether there will be a bump, but when it will come. Those with absolutely no faith in Emma should probably station themselves around 1st Post and Grassy Corners, while those with a little more confidence, should take up position along Plough Reach with cameras at the ready.

Jesus, who are starting behind FaT, also look set for a miserable week. Downing, following them on Day 1, are certainly one of the top three women’s crews on the river and will waste no time in letting Jesus know exactly where they stand. Since Jesus have remained mysteriously absent from any on-Cam races this term, there have been rumours that they are hiding their weakness before Bumps. It will be interesting to see whether Downing manage to bump them before FaT get Emma. Either way, Caius (5th place) will be well out of the action, either rowing over or being bumped by Queens.

The only real competition for the Women’s Headship will come on Friday and Saturday, when Downing, who will probably be in 2nd position at this point, will be going for FaT with all guns blazing. Downing Women’s Captain, Claire Taylor, said “We’ve been edging closer and closer to FaT since Fairbairns and are hoping to be able to close the gap on them come Friday.” With Downing also snapping at FaT’s heels for the Men’s Headship, it looks like the top divisions of this year’s bumps will be a two-horse race between Downing and FaT.”

Other Division 1 women’s crews deserving a mention include Christ’s (currently 7th) who came 3rd in Fairbairns and 2nd in Pembroke Regatta and could get blades if everything goes to plan. Clare will also be looking to redeem themselves after spooning last year and look set to take advantage of the weaker crews above them.

In Division 2, Magdalene will probably gain a few places and Murray Edwards will also do well, especially given that Anglia Ruskin (who recorded an especially slow time at Head to Head) are ahead of them. FaT II will also be upholding the First and Third torch, looking set to bring down a good few W1 boats ahead of them, after victory in the W2 Division at Robinson Head.

For anyone who would like to try their hand at predicting the Bumps, First and Third run a predictions game, with a stylish ‘BumpIt’ T-shirt on offer for the winner.