Boaties Gearing Up For Lent Bumps

HENRY CHARRINGTON looks ahead to this term’s college rowing highlight, the Lent Bumps.

Caius rowing college rowing downing rowing First and Third lent bumps lent bumps 2011 Women's rowing

Following training camps and wind-affected outings, college rowing crews are entering the final stages of preparation for the biggest event of the term: Lent bumps, which is just three weeks away.

With Fairbairns delayed due to a frozen river last term, there has been an extra opportunity to demonstrate competitiveness in the lead up to Bumps, alongside the usual Head-to-Head, and the lengthened Newnham Short Course.

Caius look to be the dominant crew in the men’s division. Having won all three events on the Cam so far this term, they are definite favourites, but are keen to prove that they do not have the arrogance of last year’s Queens’ crew.

Action from last year’s bumps

Lucy Parker, the Caius M1 Cox, told TabSport: “(we are) happy with how things are going, but are taking nothing for granted.” Indeed, their mere three second winning margin over Queens’ at the Head-to-Head suggests that they are right to hold back on any premature victory celebrations.

Queens’ will be looking to continue their charge up the Bumps table, which will not be popular with the rest of the rowing community, who frequently hound them for their “unreasonable and snooty arrogance.” They still trail Jesus, but the poor performance of the Jesus boat will give the Queens’ boys confidence. Clare, meanwhile, in danger of another unsuccessful year, sit below them and will be hoping for an improvement.

First and Third’s headship position in the Lent Bumps is looking fragile. They will be particularly concerned by the speed of Downing, who are threatening the headship this term after a third place finish at both the Head-to-Head (where they were 17 seconds faster than FaT), and Newnham Short Course.

Starting in second place, Downing will hopefully make for more interesting action at the top of the table than last year. Moreover, the success of their M2 also demonstrates a depth to their squad that is usually lacking in college rowing.

Lady Margaret (St John’s), who will start third in the bumps, sit between Downing and Pembroke, both who have outshone them so far, coming 2nd equal last weekend in the short course, to LMBC’s 6th place.

This has not, however, deterred LMBC’s captain Steve Purvis, who claims: “they are unbelievably fast at the moment.” Given that they have yet to race as a full strength crew, they are likely to be more dangerous than they appear from results so far.

On the women’s side, Downing have taken the lead, producing winning performances at the Head-to-Head and Newnham Short Course. Like their male counterparts, they are chasing FaT for the Lent’s headship. Considering they handed FaT a 20 second defeat last weekend, a double headship for Downing is a very real possibility.

Christ’s, who took blades last year, do not look so threatening, having lost a number of their crew to the Blues squad. Elsewhere, Newnham put in a winning result at Fairbairns, but have not raced since, so should also be watched out for.

The cancellation of the Head of the Nene last Saturday denied the chance for a number of Cambridge crews to prove themselves, but with Robinson Head and Pembroke Regatta both taking place within the next two weeks, they still have plenty of time to show their calibre before bumps and the Head of the River Race in April.

TabSport’s Prediction

Caius will look to storm through, but don’t discount Queens’, who will be right up there as usual. Downing will also be strong across all their boats, so watch out for them.