Regatta disappointment becomes Bumps jubilation
St Neots Rowing Club’s bitter disappointment at having to cancel its regatta last weekend turned into immense jubilation when its three senior crews were successful at last week’s Cambridge Town Bumps. The club successfully retained the John Jenner Trophy for the second year running, beating ten other clubs. This trophy is awarded to the club attaining the best overall results across the four days of racing, divided by the number of crews entered by that club.
St Neots entered three eights, a men’s and two women’s, and all three crews provided adrenaline-filled excitement to the watching spectators as they raced to improve their placings on the previous, and very successful, year.
The racing is held over four evenings on the River Cam and eights are lined up in separate divisions at set intervals along the river bank. A cannon is fired at countdown intervals until the final start cannon, at which point the crews strain every muscle in an explosion of energy to get a quicker start than the boat they are following. The aim is to catch and overlap the next crew before being caught by the chasing crew. For the spectators it’s an exhilarating spectacle as boats catch and overlap, even physically bumping, and for the crews it’s either a few moments of immense power and speed and it’s all over, or for others it becomes an endurance test as they continue to chase down over a 2 kilometre distance.
The women’s second crew set the agenda each evening, with a row over the first night and three successive bumps on the following evenings, achieving a creditable 11th place in their division overall, three places higher. The women’s first crew racing in a higher division was bumped the first two evenings, with the second bump taking place just 400 metres from the finish. They then achieved two subsequent demanding row-overs, easily fending off the chasing crews but unable to bump the crew ahead. On all nights they had come to within half a boat-length of the preceding crew but were just unable to complete the bump. They showed true grit and finished in a very creditable eighth place overall.
The men’s first eight bumped on three nights with one row-over and on the last night found themselves bumping the same crew twice, due to a dubious marshalling call. Other challenges over the week were hitting the bank and one crew member crabbing his blade but on all occasions the crew recovered very well and quickly made up time, much to the surprise of their victims.
Club Chairman Ed Porteus, who organised the St Neots crews and stroked the men’s crew said:
It really is a significant achievement for St Neots to retain this trophy for two years running. All three crews put in a magnificent effort over the four nights, with high drama on each evening making this a real victory for all the club’s rowers who showed true grit and determination. Our presence was very much felt at the event, and to achieve 6 bumps between us was just enough to pip City who had 18 boats taking part.”
Image courtesy of www.jetphotographic.com