Lent Bumps: Men’s Preview

The Tab tips crews for blades and spoons at Lent Bumps

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The Tab predicts who’ll be the winners and losers in this week’s Bumps action.

It’s that time of year again. Lent Bumps, when for five days, all eyes turn to the Cam to see the giants – and the minnows – of college rowing battle it out for their own share of boatie glory.

In years to come, some will sit and explain to their grand-children about how they stroked their mercurial College 4th VIII to ‘Blades’, as the poor, clueless kids stare at the oar above the mantelpiece and truly believe Granddad was an elite athlete and not just lucky enough to have, let’s say, Robinson III (and similar) in front every day.

There are some great stories to be told all the way up and down the Bumps charts. All that really matters though is the Headship. And that, at the moment, belongs to… (you guessed it) First and Third.

That’s the way it looks like staying as well. Only Queens’ can match them for speed and they start way down in 13th, not even high enough to get to race with the big guns.

Downing start second and, a blip at Bedford aside, are quick – quick enough to hold off LMBC too.

Behind them, Clare are pretty atrocious, and are looking down the barrel of spoons, while Pembroke, Jesus and Tit Hall (in 5th, 6th and 7th) all look fairly similar, and will have to go some to go up more than one place each.

Caius, a far cry from their Silas Stafford-inspired May VIII of 2009, will struggle to do anything better thanrow-over comfortably in front of a lacklustre Emma.

   Queens’ M1. Photo: Nick Gates

Only when we get down to 10th are we going to start seeing some real action. Fitz, Magdalene, King’s and Queens’ start in exact reverse order of speed. Day 1 (Wednesday for the top division) is going to be carnage.

There should be a bump by Grassy, but who gets it is anyone’s guess. If I had to have a stab… King’s to get Magdalene and Queens’ to get seriously close to an unbelievable overbump on Fitz. If Queens’ get King’s, they’re even better than we all thought, and will go on to get blades easily.

Queens’ Powerhouse Michael Clark rates their chances. He told the Tab:

“We’re unbelievably good now.”

Big chat. Up to them to prove it.

Christ’s are awful, and will get bumped. Repeatedly. Peterhouse, after a stonking Bedford Head, are (along with Queens’) probably your best bet for Division 1 Blades.

Lower down, Catz, recognisable by their numerous strips of Cambridge-blue lycra, should also go up four. Shame on the CUBC/CULRC/GB (allegedly) triallist development programmes if they don’t.

Watch out for a vastly-improved Sidney too. In years gone by, they were a joke. They’ll be the ones laughing by the end of this week though.

Below that, it’s anyone’s guess. That’s the beauty of it. Expect some huge pile-ups and a technical row-over or two. Down in the basement, Emma M4 is one of the worst boats I’ve ever seen. Ever. And they weren’t even the last to qualify. God help us.

But, at the risk of falling flat on my face…


Tab’s tips for blades:

Peterhouse M1

Catz M1

Sidney M1 (maybe)


Tab’s tips for spoons:

Clare M1

Christ’s M1

I don’t know…First and Third M4 – you’re a 4th boat.


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For The Tab’s predictions for women’s bumps click here