Jesus W1 celebrate headshipJesus College Boat Club with permission for Varsity

May Bumps returned to the river from 14 to 17 June, and there were blades (bumping on all four days), spoons (being bumped on all four days) and overbumps (bumping up multiple pages in one race) galore in a frenetic four days on the muddy (read: polluted) waters of the Cam.

The men’s headship was contested by the M1 boats of Caius, Lady Margaret (St John’s) and Magdalene. Caius, who have been at the head of the river in Mays since 2019, once again held off the charge of Lady Margaret to retain headship of the men’s division. Magdalene also put in a strong challenge but could not bump Lady Margaret at any point in the week, leaving the top of the M1 division in a stalemate. There was more dramatic movement further down the division as King’s (who moved up to fourth) and Jesus (who reached seventh) overtook Downing and a Peterhouse crew who narrowly avoided spoons.


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The most dramatic performance though, was that of St Catharine’s. Stroked by Matt Edge (the bow of this year’s victorious men’s Blue Boat) their M1 moved up six places – from the head of the M2 division to 12th in the M1 division – thanks to an overbump on Day 2. The M2 division which they left saw spoons for Christ’s M1, who dropped down into the division. Sidney M1 also had a campaign to forget. They bumped a weak St Edmund’s crew on the first day, but were overbumped repeatedly and ended up seven places lower than they begun. St Edmund’s themselves spooned, as did Darwin, but Downing M2 and Catz M2 both bladed, and First and Third M2 (having dropped two places in the first three days) put in a mighty performance on Saturday to get an overbump on Sidney just 10m away from the finish line. The M3, M4, and M5 divisions also saw lots of excellent rowing, including blades for Emma M3, Clare Hall M1, Selwyn M2, Lucy Cav M1 and Homerton M2.

Jesus reached the women’s headship with a sterling performance across all four days of competition. They bumped Pembroke, Emma and Newnham on the first three days before facing off against Caius on the last day. Caius were strong, having bumped the traditionally strong Newnham on the first day to take first place on the river, but Jesus caught them by Ditton Meadows on Saturday to take headship – and blades.

Jesus were not the only boat to take blades in the W1 division, as strong performances from Churchill, Trinity Hall, St Catharine’s, and Queens’ meant that they also went home with an engraved oar. Girton suffered a far less desirable fate, spooning out of the top division. They were replaced by a strong King’s boat, who bladed their way back into the first division for the first time in seven years. Sidney W1, Jesus W2 and Wolfson W1 also achieved blades, while Darwin W1 were unlucky to get spoons after falling victim to incredibly fast Sidney, Jesus and Selwyn crews. In the W3 division, it was Tit Hall W2 who were the biggest risers, moving from fifth in the division to the top of it, and rowing over behind Lady Margaret W2. Queens’ and Caius’ W3 also got blades.

Lower down the river there were some standout performances in the W4 and W5 divisions. Sidney Sussex’s W2 continued their boat club’s successful year, rising five places on the river. The Vet School’s W1 boat also had a successful campaign. They got blades, bumping Corpus W2, Peterhouse W2, Clare W4 and Caius W4; an impressive achievement for any boat, never mind one borrowing Fitz’s boathouse and Selwyn’s boats. Another excellent performance came from Hughes Hall’s W2 boat, who got blades and rose five places on the chart.