It was Day 4 of Lent Bumps, and Medwards W1 made our way to the start line for the first time this week, after our first two races were cancelled due to the snow.
The start cannon went, and we worked through our start sequence with our race plan in mind. It was the classic fly-or-die, bump-or-get-bumped kind of day, and we had no intention (or hope) of making it much further than Plough. However, after the start sequence finished and we lengthened out we began to realise how naïve we had been – Emma were about to absolutely destroy us and we would be lucky to make it to Grassy! Their whistles began to come thick and fast and we hadn’t even made it to head station. Mark was screaming fractions at us (as if this was a time for us to be doing maths!) as we began to gain on Christ’s, but did it really matter? As we approached First Post Corner, Emma had overlap, and their bow ball getting ever closer to our cox.
However, Alice called for a Power 10 and something in the boat seamed to click, maybe as we realised how embarrassing getting bumped before First Post Corner is (especially if you only started at station 7), and my god we gave it a power 10. For 10 strokes we connected, and we sent together as we refused to give up – that’s just not something Medwards gals really do! And in that moment, as we worked together and pushed around the corner, the gods of rowing looked down on us and gave us their blessing as Emmanuel W1 caught a mighty crab. We watched as their 4-seat blade swung round and they began to drop back. Had we just defeated the beast that was Emmanuel W1? As they struggled to regain control of their crab we realised there was no way they were going to make it round the stroke side corner, and clearly so did they, as we watched all 7 remaining rowing blades stop rowing and restart.
Before we had time to process what had happened, Mark’s shouts returned but with a different tone: we had two whistles on Christ’s and were gaining fast. However, the excitement clearly took control of the crew and we began to panic. Moments ago, bumping Christ’s had seemed like a distant dream but was suddenly going to become a reality, and we clearly just couldn’t handle that as we fell to pieces. The next few strokes to follow were probably some of the worst rowing we had ever done as we struggled to control our excitement. As we approached Grassy we hit overlap and the continuous whistle began.
Suddenly disaster struck as our 4 seat caught a crab. Or had it? Like a ninja, Hannah’s blade was back in and we powered on. Emma were fast approaching again, and we knew we had to make our next move. Alice called for another Power 10 and we got our rhythm back. As we approached the Plough, Emma had closed the gap of about three lengths to just one and their whistle began, but that didn’t matter any more as we heard Mark’s calls to hold it up.
The excitement spread through the boat as nobody was quite sure what had just happened. Had we actually just bumped Christ’s? Had we really just escaped Emmanuel W1? The answer, to everyone’s amazement was in fact YES, we most certainly had!
Tomorrow we will return (weather and ice permitting) and prove what Medwards really can do. Unfortunately, we will now be chasing Emma W1, who went on to over-bump FaT. However, as we just proved, the nature of the beast is that in Bumps, anything can happen… 😉
Taine Ranaghan, 7