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Written by:
Paul Holland
19 Jun 2023

On the final day of racing Trinity Hall crews gave it their all with two crews winning their “blades”. Paul Townshend, Boat House Manager and Rowing Coach gives us a full round-up of a fantastic culmination to four days on the river.

“Bright sunshine and a light breeze once again greeted all of the THBC students to the boathouse for the final instalment of the 2023 edition of the May Bumps. The mood was incredibly positive from the very first arrival of the day until the conclusion of racing.

“As had been the case all week W3 led off and what a wonderful row from this recently formed crew. THBC rowed-over the course chasing Hughes Hall the whole way and in doing so showed themselves, and everyone else, just how far they had come in such a short time. They should be enormously satisfied with their week’s work. What a great way to start the day.

“Things were about to get even better….

“W2 arrived at the start line up three in the preceding three days and no one dared mention the possibility of blades. Downing W2 stood between them and having their photo hang on the walls of the boathouse. THBC flew off the start and soon settled into their best rhythm of the week. Downing proved extremely worthy opponents and fought hard until Ditton Corner after which THBC closed in on wonderful bump with Downing conceding shortly after entering the Long Reach. A wonderful race from both crews. W2 have worked extremely hard this year and the crew fully deserved their blades. We cannot wait to see what many of this crew can achieve in the coming years. THBC W2 now sit at head of Division Three which is the highest pacing for W2 since 2011.

“M2 produced what was arguably their best race of the week and managed to hold off a fast Emmanuel M3 crew until just after the Railway Bridge. Like W2, many of this crew learned to row in the Michaelmas Term and so the lessons they will have learned and the experience they will have gained not only during The Mays but throughout the year will hopefully have enthused them and will spur them onto bigger and better things in the future.”

“Like M2, M1 saved their best race on the final day of this years Mays. They produced an extremely strong row over to remain second in Division Two and remained level for this year’s competition. This will set up those in the crew that will return next year as well as those that join them for a real charge at returning to Division One in the 2024 Mays. Well done to M1!

“Finally, W1. Up to this point in the week, W1 had not rowed more than 450m each time they had raced. They had bumped First & Third Trinity W1 on Day One, Christ’s W1 on Day Two and Fitzwilliam W1 on Friday. All that stood between them and winning their blades was Downing W1. The practice start, before a huge THBC contingent at The Plough, saw the crew record their fastest speed of the year which gave the crew renewed confidence that, as much as is possible in Bumps racing, their fate lay largely in their own hands. In the end, once the cannon fired and the crew produced their strongest start of the week, they needed less than ninety seconds to overpower Downing W1.

“With last year’s W1 winning Mays Blades for the first time in 39 years, to repeat this the following year is a most wonderful achievement and is a testament to the hard work of the crew but also the whole of the women’s squad this year. To win Mays blades is a rare enough feat but for both W1 and W2 to achieve this is all the more exceptional matched only by Jesus W1 & W2.

“THBC W1 now sit at a super 8th position on the river representing the highest position for W1 since 2008.

“Congratulations to all of our rowers, coxes, coaches and supporters who added so much to the atmosphere of this year’s racing.”

More bumps reports

Top image shows W1 with the flag, indicating they have won blades. Paul Townshend and supporters watch from the towpath.

Image by Mary Hockaday, The Master of Trinity Hall.