The sun shone on the beautiful weekend in May for the annual UH Bumps; the most exciting and fiercely competitive race of the year. In men and women's divisions, tens of boats start at once in the aim to bump the boat in front and hopefully get the race over with as soon as possible so they can row the rest of the course calmly and enjoy the wave of cheering from Kew Bridge.
The Men's firsts were bumped twice and managed to row over in their third race. They will be starting next year in 6th place between Bart's and King's Men's 1sts crews.
And so our last UH races and favourite weekend of the year finally arrived- BUMPS! Fully embracing the novelty of having a week post exams for some water time to nail those starts, the RUMSBC ladies were excited and ready!
The weekend started with 2 races for the women on the Friday. With some good outings under our belts from the previous days, both crews were looking forward to the first race to see what we were up against. Nothing quite sums up that feeling when all the crews are lined up on the bank in their positions, poised at 3/4 stops with blades squared and buried, waiting in anticipation for the final klaxon... It's why we love this race more than any other, and so the first race was off! W1 were starting in 3rd position, the top 3 crews having remained unchanged over the last 2 years. We knew we were facing a strong crew ahead, GKT, but with fire in our bellies we were ready to show them what they were up against and give it our all to see how close we could get. After an adrenaline fuelled start, the crew settled onto a solid pace and strong rhythm. With excellent coxing from Hannah, W1 pushed off ICSM leaving them far in the distance and kept the pressure on GKT - not close enough for a bump but a strong row over.
After fulfilling our duties staking the men's first race and cheering them off bridge in true RUMSBC style, it was back to the boathouse for a not-so-quick turnaround (much to the dismay of Jerry...) and back into our boats for race 2!
With the first race jitters aside, the crews were back in position and racing before we knew it. For W1 another strong race followed, a calmer start settled onto stroke Eimear's metronomic race rhythm to take us smoothly over the course. With bumps happening on either side, W1 pushed through all the way to the line for another row over, knowing that for tomorrow's race and the final race of the weekend they would be chasing a new crew (George's) and were hungry more than ever for that bump!
After a squad lunch in our favourite pub overlooking the river to start Saturday, the women were refuelled and ready to go. With the added excitement of the last day being costume day... W1 were ready to show their worth as 8 'carrot' gold and W2 to spread peace and love down the Thames as the hippy crew, we couldn't wait for racing to get underway! W1 set off into their last race (and half the crew's last race ever for RUMSBC W1!) with perhaps a tad too much excitement to get their bump, finishing the weekend with a final row over but certainly setting themselves up for bumps next year - George's had better be ready!
For some of the squad it was their first ever bumps races, and for some of us it was our last, but most importantly it was also finally time for BUMPS PARTY!! The event of the year which we had all been waiting for, and there were certainly going to be some tears! It was a fantastic weekend to end the UH year and a year for the women's squad to be proud of, I couldn't have asked for a better one as Captain and want to say a huge thank you for that! Special mention goes to Laura Cousins, who has been a brilliant 2nds captain this year and without whom bumps weekend (and the whole year!) would certainly not have gone as smoothly!
A final mention goes to Eimear McKavanagh, who I am sure as incoming captain will be leading the women's squad to many more medals over the year to come! Middle middle middle!
- Joy Schmidt, Women's Captain 2014/15
After what had been a fantastic year for the Men’s Second VIII, following Head of the River Race, the focus shifted to preclinical examinations. This brought a lack of training with yet in a nice change to previous years, there was a week of training left before Bumps, rather than Bumps being a hungover affair. However, once these examinations were concluded, there remained one week of intense Bumps preparation with a new crew.
Despite decent progress, just two days before Bumps and following a sleep-induced injury that Sam Gunning would be proud of, Patrick was unable to walk, let alone row. A frantic search for a substitute rower went on and on the morning of the race, we drafted in Andrew Cole, without whom we would not have been able to field a full crew. Soon enough, we were on the water, rowing up to the start line and trying to get set in what was a scratch crew. As a crew, we knew that getting blades at Bumps was a very real possibility given how well we had rowed all year but we had to take each race as it came and our best rowing was still required. On the start line, Lucy helped to settle the pre-race nerves and ensure that everyone was fully prepared. Chasing Barts Seconds, we had a bit of a shaky start yet the power of the crew told as we quickly made ground on our target. We responded to Lucy’s call for a powerful ten strokes well, moving to within a foot of the Barts crew yet having given a lot to get there, then lost a bit of ground before a final push saw us bump. Pleased but knowing that the job was less than half done, we eagerly awaited the next day.
On the Saturday, we started off chasing St. George’s Hospital II, a crew who had given us tough competition throughout the year but one whom we believed we could catch if we performed well. It had been a while since a technical issue had affected one of our races, and once again it was the cox box that went faulty on the way up. After some very tense moments, a race launch was able to find us a cox box and deliver it to us minutes before the commencement of the race. Relieved to have a fully working boat once again, we focused on our race plan: to catch George’s quickly as we suspected they would catch the boat in front of them. It is a great testament to the crew that this plan was executed perfectly. A decent start saw us make ground on George’s but hearing that they were catching up to their target boat, we knew we had to push hard and we eventually caught them moments before they were about to catch their boat. To add insult to injury, we did it using the spare George’s cox box. The hectic nature of the day meant that we didn’t have much time to plan our next race and we hurried to support the RUMSBC women in their final race. Once back at the boat house, we adorned our costumes, for which we would later receive second place in the fancy dress competition.
Excited for the final race and the opportunity of blades, we headed to the start-line before another technical fault saw a footplate come loose. Without the equipment to fix it on board, we sacrificed a beer can but the ringpull wasn’t able to act as a screwdriver. Thankfully, a safety launch was able to help us out with Tom Hughes complaining that his pint was sacrificed in vain. The crew we were due to be chasing, presumably having had their Jimmies rustled, didn’t show up. Presented with the opportunity of a technical bump and automatic blades by Jerry, we had a crew discussion and to their credit, no one wanted to win that way. If we were going to get blades then it would be done the correct way. With this choice in mind, we were chasing the Royal Vets alumni crew two places in front. A perfect race saw us make very quick ground on them and we once more responded to Lucy’s calls to catch them in time. Ecstatic and being cheered on by the very sporting alumni crew, what we had achieved sank in to each and every member of the crew. Following a happy row back with some celebratory drinks, we put the boat away and headed upstairs to celebrate.
A fantastic bumps afterparty followed with all enjoying well-earned frivolities. I want to personally thank and congratulate every member of the crew. They have had a fantastic year and have deserved all the accolades received. Every single person gave their all to the crew this year. As well as the Bumps crew of Lucy, Abs, Tom McLay, Fabian, Charlie, Luke, Andy, Tom Hughes and Rory, the contributions of Mike, Jack and Patrick to the crew this year cannot be understated. Furthermore, as a seconds crew, we would not have been able to enjoy this success without what our Men’s Captain, Alex Cowan, has brought to the whole squad. Alex has been a motivating and encouraging captain all year and our achievements reflect how positive a change he has brought to the squad. Thank you very much M2, thank you Alex. Roll on another successful year.
- Sam Jackson - M2 Captain
W2 took to the water in high spirits and with great enthusiasm for the coming day. Having won UH head we were confident that we could do well, but due to exams little training had been done in the build up. Unfortunately our lack of fitness was to be our undoing, with St Georges bumping us at Kew Road. Despite this, our spirit was not crushed and in spite of having a change of stroke (special mention here to Beth Hughes for stepping in so valiantly!) due to a mistimed SVT, in our second race we powered through a row-over respectably.
Next came the final day of bumps, and we were determined to rebump Georges and take back our position as top 2nds crew. We started off strong, nearly getting overlap on Georges, Grace pushing us through the pain with her aggressive Scouse style, urging us to victory. Alas, it was not to be. Due to their greater levels of fitness, the halfway mark they pulled away. This left us to row over in our last race of the year.
Overall it's been a fantastic year for the seconds, with excellent showings in all the sprints and an amazing result in UH head, beating every seconds crew, and most of the firsts! This has been a brilliant year for us and we look forward to next year. Middle middle middle!
- Laura Cousins (W2 Captain) & Georgie Lloyd
After a very successful season with Men’s Novices winning all but one of the UH events, we were very eager to prove once again that we were the novice crew to beat.
On Friday, after supporting women at the start line, we headed to our first ever Bumps race. Despite the nerves and excitement playing up, we started strongly and confidently; quickly closing the gap between us and George’s thirds to a mere half a length. The victory seemed so close but George’s weren’t going to give up that easily. They had been training hard, stepped up their game since the last time we saw them row and, in spite of our best efforts, did not surrender. However, we were not going to let them have it that easily as we rowed through holding them at half a length all the way till the finish line.
Following the frustrating race on Friday, we were determined to bump on Saturday. We rowed to our position only to find that our stackers weren’t there! Pressed for time, we weren’t sure whether we would be able to compete. Luckily, Barts lent us a hand and our girls got there just in time. Despite a stressful start, we set out strongly, rapidly closing on Barts forth. We were, what it seemed, only a few strokes away from our first ever bump when the nerves and constantly changing positions took their toll and we ended up catching a crab, coming to a halt. Unable to recover quickly enough we were forced to concede to Barts thirds. Sadly, we didn’t get to a chance to redeem ourselves in the last Bumps race of the season due to a Barts crew, a few boats ahead of us, taking the rudder off and causing a crash.
Despite not doing as well as we hoped for and finishing the season on a high note, I am extremely proud of the entire crew and how far we all got over the last year. Bring on the next season!
- Julia Negreskul (MN cox)
After a solid week of training, the women's novices were back in business for their last race as novices: bumps. After being bumped in their first race, the girls were hungry for a bump in race two. The team pulled out all the stops with their best rowing of the weekend, managing to hold off the opposition and rowing over in style. With one race left, they had their eye on the most prestigious prize of the weekend: the costume prize. Seeing Noah's Ark take to the waves on Saturday was a majestic sight indeed, with cox Greg Gibson complete with extensive facial hair and a staff/impromptu bumping device. Unfortunately this was not enough to intimidate the opposition. Despite being bumped, the girls had a strong row back and finished the weekend on a positive note.
'Alas sometimes when I look to the wind I still hear Noah calling us...' Nadia Eden
All that remains is to say thank you to all the 2014/15 women's novices for a fantastic year, it's been a pleasure to be your captain.
- Libi Hawkes (WN Captain 2014/15)
Our alumni crew met up before their race on Friday at the Bulls Head and proceeded to get ready for the race ahead. Having fuelled up on Pimms and suited up as the superheroes (and villain) of RUMSBC, they took to the Tideway once again to see if they could remember how to row.
A crew filled with competitive women, they weren't going to make it too easy for the novice crew behind them, however eventually they decided they would be happier rowing back in a leisurely manner and so were then bumped. A great effort and an even better performance at Bumps Party followed.
And so this is it. The last race report of the year and my goodbye post as Media and Comms.
RUMSBC has had a great year winning the UH Cup (trophy pending) and medals in every single UH race. We have performed well at British Rowing Races and had four people attending Henley Women's and Royal Regattas this year with the UL Development Squad. We have had fantastic social events throughout the year thanks to our wonderful Social Secs and VPs officers. We have grown in size as a club, bought a new M2 boat and actually have quite a few coxes trained up which will mean a great start to next year.
Sincere thanks goes to our coaching team for the year Alan Sinclair and Henry Fieldman. You have both been invaluable to our training and I'm sure everyone would agree that their rowing has improved. Good luck at the Olympics next year!
Thanks also to the committee for keeping RUMSBC going and for enduring 3 hour long committee meetings.
Next year we are UH Captains and hopefully will go from strength to strength and take the UH Champions title home for another year, showing once again that we are the best UH club on the Tideway.
Middle Middle Middle!!
- Eimear McKavanagh (Media & Comms 2014/15)