Helen’s Hell Hounds win their blades!
A fantastic week’s rowing by a combined crew of Juniors and Returners saw them win their blades on the last night.
The crew came together wonderfully well in a couple of weeks and we had a nicely balanced squad combining 7 Juniors with 7 Returners. We had to make some changes through the week to cope with Covid isolations and Latitude Festival! With only one outing for the starting crew before bumps, they very quickly found balance and rhythm and rowed beautifully all week.
First night nerves were turned into real power off the start on chain 16 and we caught St Neots in about 35 strokes, well before the A14 bridge.
Second night – same crew – even stronger – and caught a good looking X-Press 3 – again before the bridge, although it took all of 50 strokes.
Third night we decided to set our finish line at the bridge as we were worried that City/St Mary’s (Kaura’s school crew that she refuses to join!) would catch the 9s crew ahead of them. Didn’t quite make it by the bridge and – caught them just after as they closed on 9s.
So big final night – same set-up – can we catch 9s before they catch Chesterton 2. This was a real race: 9s closed on Chesterton quickly and it looked like they were getting away, but a fantastic series of pushes saw the girls catch them just after first post corner. Brilliant racing – brilliant coxing by Helen Lavelle.
A really excellent week for a tremendous crew.
- Cox: Helen Lavelle
- S: Grace Caroe
- 7: Amber Parsons
- 6: Kaura Gould/Ella Black
- 5: Gemma Eastham/Marlena Scott
- 4: Catherine Watson
- 3: Amy Glemas/ Evie Buchan / Lexie Weiss
- 2: Scarlett Atkinson
- B: Esme Stewart
W2: Dev Squad: Due to being overbumped, 99s W3 ended up chasing The DEVastators on Wednesday, which left the Champs crew confident that they could hold 99s off. DEVastators had an excellent, smooth start and were able to settle into a strong rhythm as it quickly became clear that 99s were easily left behind. Rob Roy W2 in front quickly bumped City W3, so The Devastators had a good go at overbumping Ely, but by the Reach it became clear that they were not to be caught. It was a hugely satisfying row that gave Champs great race pace practice for the nights to come. (Bonney)
M1: The M1 crew lined up on the start apprehensive about the row ahead. Being in a city sandwich between city 3 and city 4 was always going to be difficult, especially looking at how city 4 had risen through the ranks.
A strong start held off the inevitable for a little time, but the M1 crew were bumped by city 4 just before the A14 bridge. Every cloud has a silver lining though and the crew had a solid row back cheered by fantastic support from the banks. (Simon Brice)
Champs Juniors: Bumpety bump bump!
Weather Warnings Issued – Orange alert for BUMPY conditions by Becca Auster
The calm before the storm, a beautiful sunny afternoon – no rain, lightning or thunderstorms. A pleasant day really.
The phone pings – “I’ve got a text!”, I shout to an empty room whilst sitting at my desk. Phew! No, not the Covid app but a picture from night 1, a real meaty sandwich of crews giving it their all.
Yep, there goes the nervous excitement again. Seriously, we have to do this three more times?!
Boathouse. A much calmer sky; a much calmer crew (well almost… apart from the secretly loving mumblings of “remind me not to do this again next year”). A solid row down to the start with a superb sub (Izzy) and Henley champ Carole at stroke. The race reports from our first night clearly brought the crowds in (ok, maybe the sunshine helped) and we were ready to put on our best performance.
Photo courtesy of Martin Bond, A Cambridge Diary https://www.facebook.com/acambridgediary/photos/a.492929534090053/4118180898231547/
W2: Dev Squad
Despite first night nerves, The DEVastators had a fast start and quickly gained on 99s W3, getting a whistle soon off the start. Rob Roy W2 were coming up quickly behind, and as The DEVastators got down to a canvas on 99s, Rob Roy overlapped just beyond the A14 bridge and managed to bump Champs a few strokes before they had a chance to bump 99s.
Weather Report: A Bumpy Week Ahead by Becca Auster.
Bumps nerves always start early. In fact, perhaps even as early as the point in which you find yourself agreeing to be in a crew *again* – you know it’s madness, you feel like you’ve done your time and yet yes, there you go again “yes, of course I’d love to row in the bumps”.
So here we go, June 2021. The pressure is on, you’ve just won the timed race for the women. Your crew got blades in 2019. Covid pissed on the parade in 2020. So expectations are high.
The low level anxious excitement kicks in a week or so before, with peak nerves landing as soon as that first canon goes. But alas, day 1 couldn’t start that smoothly… would have been too easy right? After managing to keep Covid restrictions at least a boat length away, it was the weather (in true British fashion) that looked as though it could really rock the boat. With forecasts of thunder and lightning and radars showing a pretty damming picture, the WhatsApps soon began to buzz. By 3pm the BBC were at risk of being flooded with applications for weatherpeople as the crew suddenly practised their weather reports:
“It’s hailing here” “it looks as though the torrential rain is heading away from cherry Hinton” and so on.
Against the odds, we made it to the boathouse under moody skies. The feeling of electric energy couldn’t have been a more accurate description. After the final weather reports sorry, pep talks were done we set off under the sounds of distant rolling thunder and ominous skies, down to the start.
In position, ready to go… wait, am I ready? In creeps those thunderous thoughts – again, “why did I volunteer for this utter madness?”
No time to dwell, with the canon erupting as loud as the thunder the crew got off to a lightning start, quickly moving to within a length of St Neots. Then a length became half a length and then the three whistles could be heard. The split second thought of “oh wow, we have actually got this” flashed across my mind…and disappeared as quickly as a lightning bolt as City W2 appeared from nowhere with their ‘fly or die’ call.
The whistles were erupting, as was the bank, as was my heart by that point. Surely we have bumped them… it was Grassy corner, now or never. The City boat was getting ever closer, but not close enough. Champs W1 drove on, with the St Neot’s boat being as resistant as Covid.. Just as it looked like City were within two strokes of getting their bow ball level with our cox, St Neot’s conceded. Champs W1 got the bump.
It certainly felt like we got our bumps fill in one night, how is it that there’s three more to go…
Weather warning: orange alert, watch out for the flashes of orange. Risk of endangering willow.
Given a solid start after the gun sounded M1 just could not manage to get the speed necessary to catch City 3 before Cantabs 4 bumped us just clear of A14 overpass