Lucy/Hughes W1 Boat Club clinch blades in the Lent Bumps
by Elinor George, LCCBC President on 7 March 2014
This Lent Bumps has been a great success for the Lucy/ Hughes W1. We came in at the middle of division 2, and as such were preparing for a tough fight on our hands. We had all been training really hard, despite the adverse weather conditions over the past couple of weeks. Thankfully the weather started behaving just in time, and Tuesday saw the commencement of our Lent Bumps campaign.
As a veteran of last Lent Bumps, having experienced serial row-overs and fast gaining crews, I was hoping for a bump (maybe two) at the outside.
With our strong performances in Winter Head to Head (winning pots), Newnham Short Course, and those dreaded 5km tests, we knew that we had the endurance to go all the way to the Railway Bridge. As it turned out, I needn't have worried as every bump came with in the first 500m of the race!
Jesus W2 - ecstatic first win
First up was Jesus W2, and we were looking to retake the place that they had taken from us last year. We had a good start and in no time at all it seemed, we were hearing whistles. Hannah Spry, our coach, had told us previously that she was rather stingy with the whistling and that if we did hear one for a boat length, we would be much closer. This gave us the impetus to press on with the legs, maintaining our racing pace to close up on them. Two whistles...and then continuous, and before too long we came to sudden stop as we had got contact! After some confusion over clearance, we managed to pull into the side to celebrate our first bump! The longed-for greenery had finally arrived and we were all ecstatic for the win!
Sidney Sussex W1 - shaky start, followed by speedy finish
Wednesday was our day off, but Thursday we were back on and up against Sidney Sussex W1. Hannah had told us that all the boats in front of us the day before had been of a similar speed, so we were prepared for a longer battle that day. We would need to maintain pressure and rate for a while before catching them eventually (hopefully). We weren't too concerned about Jesus W2 behind us as we knew we were faster off the start, so all we had to focus on was gaining on Sidney. This time the start was not so great, but with our stride came our speed. Then the whistles started; Michelle told us how Sidney were becoming flustered and that the cox was taking a poor line around First Post Corner. With the call for a Power 10, we gave it everything we had and we were rewarded with another immediate 'HOLD IT UP'.
So 2 out of 2 - the pressure now was really mounting, particularly as Friday we were up against Emmanuel W2, with whom we share a boathouse.
Emmanuel W2 - tight inside corner wins the day!
This was going to be the hardest day - Lady Margaret W2 had been bumped each day within the first 2 minutes, so it was touch and go whether we'd manage to catch Emmanuel before they caught them. If we didn't catch them, then we were planning for the overbump or a rowover. Whatever happened, we could only do our best. This time our start sequence did not fail us and we were pushing up on Emmanuel, but at the same time they were closing in on LMBC. Whistles were going everywhere - whether they for us, we couldn't tell; we just had to keep powering on, hoping that it would be enough. Michelle kept us updated how Emmanuel were getting closer and closer to the bump and that we had to really accelerate off those footplates if we were going to get this third bump; it was do or die time! She took a really tight inside corner and whilst Emmanuel had overlap on LMBC...we hit!
LMBC II - the final challenge
Our final 'bumpee' was LMBC II - overall, we were the stronger crew so the most important thing was to get into our stride as soon as possible and take it out of them seat by seat. Despite the original grey skies, it was a glorious day and the spectators were a huge boost to our confidence. The calls for 'GO LUCY-HUGHES' gave encouragement but did not distract us from the task in hand - the flag could not be flown until the whistles were blown. Lining up, this time in position 8, we did our final check throughs, our little fist bumps and had our final team chat from Hannah. The nervous excitement of what we could potentially achieve, that had been there every single day, still came and then it was the final countdown...5,4,3...GUN! Emma gained quite quickly in the first length but with Lauren's expert steering we were dead centre and going for LMBC II. We desperately listened out for whistles, hoping against hope that each stroke we took brought us closer to that final bump...one whistle...two...then continuous...but no instruction to 'Hold it up"; then there it was!
Despite our early celebration on the first day, we'd become 'old-hands' at clearing on First Post Corner but as soon as we were into the bank, the cheers from our Bank Party and our screams of excitement reverberated all along the river bank. Most of the spectators wouldn't have seen the bump itself but at least we had a great row past with both the Lucy and Hughes Flag flying high! There were cheers and claps for us all the way home, from the boat we'd bumped, from spectators who'd turned out especially for us, as well as from other College crews in much higher divisions than us. It was fantastic to hear 'Well done Lucy/Hughes' reminding us all that, although we may be two of the smaller, lesser well-known colleges, on the river, we can hold our own with the likes of Lady Margaret, Emmanuel, Sidney Sussex and Jesus.
Not only were we awarded Blades, but we were the only women's crew, apart from Head of the River, to achieve them. The last time Lucy/Hughes achieved Blades in Lent Bumps was in 2011. We also reached the top of the Marconi Table, with a score of 48.
Personally, I would just like to say a huge thank you to all the team:
Coach: Hannah Spry
Cox: Michelle Low (and Lauren Magilton)
Stroke: Sarah Roe
6: Catherine Quinn (Captain)
5: Sally Mole
4: Ces O'Hanlon
3: Prue Hay
2: Christina Woolner
Bow: Jessie Ingle
Not to mention our amazing boat man: Pete Twitchett (who has come to our rescue so many times this term).
Everyone has put there all into making this team a success, and without that effort and dedication, we would not have been able to achieve all that we have. Of course, there is still a way to go till Mays and work yet to be done, but this is a tremendous achievement, especially for our four novices in the boat, (Ces O'Hanlon, Prue Hay, Christina Woolner, and Jessie Ingle) and our novice cox, Michelle (whose expert steering secured the bump for us Friday).
We also couldn’t have succeeded without our fantastic new boat ‘Speedwell’, donated by Dame Veronica Sutherland.
It has been a wonderful term for W1 and I look forward to bringing more good news in the new term.