ROWING: Jonathan Fuhrmann gets a good look at the crews in the Pembroke Regatta, just days before Lent Bumps begin.
With Bumps just around the corner, college crews took the opportunity to race side-by-side in the Pembroke Regatta on Saturday.
In windy conditions that blighted the first half of the day, the Magdalene men claimed the inaugural alumni division in the day’s first races, with Clare taking the trophy in the women’s division.
Caius WI vs. Magdalene WI
Unsurprisingly, Caius M1 won the men’s division without particular difficulty, beating Downing in a predictable final by a length and a quarter. Generally, the men’s top division was devoid of major surprises, except for Hughes Hall, who are in the third division in Lents, beating first-division Fitz in a closely-fought battle.
The top few crews seem remarkably well lined up in order of speed in Lents: apart from the possibility of First and Third falling a place or two, there is a good chance of an uneventful top half. Further down, Peterhouse may benefit from a weak Tit Hall above and Girton and King’s look set to rise through the ranks. Emma, not having shown great speed so far, are likely to drop along with Magdalene.
Robinson are almost certain to hit Fitz, but may not be quick enough to catch Christ’s. Caius M2 predictably won the M2 division and are looking fast, but have decent crews Selwyn and Catz right above them in Lents looking to stop them advancing.
Further down the charts, predictions become even more difficult. Darwin are a likely candidate for spoons in the third division, having been beaten by women’s crews on several occasions this term. LMBC M3, winners of the M3 division, will have to compete in the getting-on race, which will undoubtedly annoy them, but they should have no trouble regaining their place at the bottom of the third division in Bumps.
In the women’s divisions, last year’s utter dominance by Downing W1 seems to have evaporated – they were knocked out by a strong-looking Caius who went on to beat Christ’s by a canvas in the final. Clare should not be discounted though – a crab off the start in their first-round race against Christ’s left them several lengths behind, but the final margin was less than a length.
Fortunately for Downing, their headship does not seem under much of a threat, with Caius starting Lents back in tenth. Tit Hall and Selwyn might benefit from slower crews above them, with King’s potentially rising a few places as well. Murray Edwards, who were looking strong last term, start in the second division and will be looking to break back into the first division – with their aptly-named new boat “Octopussy”, what could possibly go wrong?
Maggie W2 won the W2 division of Pembroke Regatta, suggesting that unlike their first boat, they might have some speed relative to crews surrounding them. Christ’s W3, who currently do not even have a place in Bumps, were their opposition in the final thanks to scratches on their side of the draw.
Lent Bumps begin on Tuesday 28th February and run until Saturday 3rd March.
Photograph by Pam Hardeman