Magdalene M3 concedes to Churchill M3, who are one bump away from achieving blades.Alexander Massie

The white blanket that Cambridge woke up to this morning did not fill rowers, coxes or coaches with the same joy the rest of us might have felt. Icy conditions on the river are not enjoyable for anyone, and many competitors are still scarred from the perils of Lent Bumps 2018, which took place during the infamous ‘Beast from the East’ cold snap. Needless to say, all were pleasantly surprised when the sun came out in time for the afternoon’s races.

Naturally, chaos ensued in spite of the sunshine, most significantly in the M1 division, where the services of St. John’s ambulance were required before a race had even begun. On the row down Pembroke M1 crashed into Downing M1’s stationary boat – Downing’s boat sustained significant damage in the form of a hole on stroke-side, and its cox was lucky to escape with a few scratches on their back. Both crews had to row home without competing, and Downing was awarded a punitive bump against Pembroke, whose cox has been banned from racing for the rest of the campaign.

Downing’s boat sustained significant damage in the form of a hole on stroke-side, and its cox was lucky to escape with a few scratches on their back.

When M1 finally managed to start, Lady Margaret M1 defended the headship they took from Caius M1 yesterday. But with two more days of racing to go, it’s certainly not safe yet. The fight for women’s headship is even less predictable, though Jesus W1 managed to maintain its position with a row over today. Top position is looking harder to reach for last year’s winner, Newnham W1, who are currently on track for spoons. Downing W1, who have bumped both days so far, poses a far greater threat to Jesus. They will be aiming to bump and gain the headship tomorrow.

In the W2 division, a less serious crash occurred when Emmanuel W2 were taken into the bank off the start by an unfortunate tailwind. Unsurprisingly, they were promptly bumped by Robinson W1. In this division, Corpus Christi W1 and Downing W2 are the only two crews currently eligible for blades. The latter only bumped into this division today and their victim, Queens’ W2, were sent down a division.

M2 is shaping up to be a division of great contrast. The top four crews have held their ground by rowing over both days so far, while the rise of Hughes Hall M1 (colloquially known as ‘Huge Hall’) is making waves further down the division. The crew achieved an over bump today, gaining them three places and sending Darwin M1 down by the same measure.

Only one bump occurred in the W4 division. With one day to go, none of its current crews are eligible for either blades or spoons. The Cam was spared M3’s inability to finish a race without creating a pile up as they took a rest day, along with W3 division. Instead we were brought excitement from the M4 division, in which both Churchill M3 and Girton M2 are one bump away from achieving blades. Darwin M2, in contrast, is dangerously close to being awarded spoons.


Mountain View

Lent Bumps Day 2: Division 1 Digs Deep

Bumps are notoriously difficult regulate with multiple different chases occurring simultaneously at various points along the river, and this was illustrated in the M4 division today. Magdalene M3, Homerton M2 and Churchill M4 where caught in a gripping three boat race coming into The Gut.

Ultimately, Magdalene got away and Homerton were bumped by Churchill. However, this remains to be the source of some controversy between coaches and umpires, since Homerton’s bow ball was seen to have been ahead of Magdalene’s cox for three strokes, grazing its stern around First Post Corner. An appeal was registered by Homerton, but no re-row was mandated by umpires.

In the interests of maintaining some semblance of order on the towpath and the river, CUCBC issue fines for dangerous or antisocial offences, including an £85 penalty for public urination. The final controversy of the day came in unusual form during the W1 division, when a CUCBC marshal was heard on the radio asking if there were toilets near First Post Corner and was advised to go in a bush.

Public urination fines have in previous years been levied against Boat Club members. Such fines contribute to the Umpires’ Dinner the week after Bumps.