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Written by:
Paul Holland
13 Jun 2024

Paul Townshend, boathouse manager and rowing coach, gives us a rundown of all the action on the river from day one of the May Bumps.

“Despite a not-so inspiring weather forecast, in the end the 2024 edition of the May Bumps began in lovely conditions with little wind and flat water.

“M2* kicked off the day and showed just how much progress they have made this term and how they have improved since this year’s Lent Bumps. With seven first year rowers on board they rowed their best row of this academic year and managed hold off Clare Hall’s M1 boat all the way until well past Ditton Corner and onto the Long Reach. This gutsy row should stand them in good stead for yet more progress as the week continues. Well rowed M2!

“Next up were W2 who began from the head station in Division 3. In their first race of the day they enjoyed an extremely strong ‘row-over’ finishing many lengths ahead of the nearest boat despite rating in the mid 20’s by the end. More was to come. The crew dusted themselves off and made their way back to the start and the pleasures of Station 18 where they would seek to secure a place in Division 2. After a strong start and a controlled stride they began to close on the Lady Margaret Boat Club (St John’s) W2 and were soon hearing whistles which helped lift them for another burst and in doing so they caught LMBC and bumped well before First Post Corner. The mass of greenery was well-deserved for a monumental effort and a momentous day for THBC being the first time that THBC W2 has been in Division 2 of The Mays since 2004 (before all the current W2 crew had been born in fact!). The crew will now be hoping for more bumping this week. Well done W2.

“M1 has enjoyed a very positive term and has made enormous strides in recent weeks. They managed to get off the line well chasing a very fast Hughes Hall crew (that was later to bump back into the top men’s division) and being chased by an equally fast Fitzwilliam crew. A great tussle continued between THBC & Fitzwilliam past The Plough and onto the Long Reach where unfortunately Fitzwilliam put in another push and in doing so managed to bump THBC. M1 will return fully refreshed on Thursday looking to avenge today’s race by chasing Fitzwilliam while being chased by Christ’s M1.

“The final race of the day was left to W1 who started at station 8 in the top division chasing Pembroke W1 and ahead of Downing W1. A solid start meant that THBC immediately began pulling away from Downing and pushing onto Pembroke soon hearing 1 then 2 whistles. This pushed Pembroke onto Churchill W1 in front of them and a titanic battle ensued between these three crews from First Post Corner all the way to Top Finish with no one crew bumping another and never more than a matter of feet between all three boats. All three crews rowed over and will return in the same order on Thursday.

“As always, ‘Row Hall’ was by far the most dominant cry from the spectators and no doubt that will continue throughout the rest of the week.

“Well done to all and onto Day Two: Row Hall!”