1st VIII – Rowed over to claim HEADSHIP!
The 1st VIII woke up on Saturday morning with enough adrenaline to fuel the entire boat club. We knew that our previous successes were all leading up to this crucial day. Downing wouldn’t be going down without a fight but we were ready to give it everything we had and show Cambridge why we deserved this headship.
The row up to station was a blur, with the only thing I remember being the cheers of support from the bank and other crews along the river. We knew both the 2nd VIII and the 3rd VIII had ended their bumps campaigns on a high and wanted to make NCBC go 3 for 3. Before we knew it, the cannon had gone and we were beasting it away from Downing at a chonky rate 38+.
We had a solid lead by the time we rowed passed the roaring crowds at the plough but didn’t dare believe that we would make it. Every stroke was painful but every stroke took us one step closer to headship so we clung on for dear life and pushed Downing away. They may have had a whistle here and there but this only made us push harder.
Once we reached the cheers of the M1 crews at the P&E, it slowly started to sink in that we might actually be able to do this. Downing made one final push into us but Cat wasn’t having any of it, and called our ‘up a gear’ making us extend our lead even more.
With half the crew in tears over the line, we pulled into the bank in disbelief that we’d actually done it. A swarm of NCBC supporters descended upon us, handing us flowers, prosecco, and the NCBC flag. Once we had drunk enough, we spun and went for a speedy (quite literally, sub 2mins splits anyone?) victory lap. With smiles on our faces all the way to the Plough and back we certainly celebrated in style. The course certainly feels a hell of a lot shorter when you’re drunk on headship (and prosecco)!
We rounded off the day with a performance of our signature drill. “We Will Rock You” was echoing down the river – I’m sure the general public appreciated our beautiful harmonies… Once we had enough photos to post a different one every day for a whole year, we downed some more prosecco and headed back to college to truly celebrate the fact that WE’D WON HEADSHIPPPP!!!!!!!
-Beth Taylor, Captain and Stroke
2nd VIII – Bumped Jesus W2
We knew today was the day. Whilst Hughes Hall W1 focused on trying to catch us for the fourth time, the only thing we could think about was handing Jesus their spoons. With this strong-minded, enthusiastic attitude, we marshaled to the start line with some strong practice starts, ready to give it all in not particularly pleasant conditions.
After the 1-minute canon went, our coach Ed reminded us to be relaxed, controlled, and powerful. And so we did. Our start was strong. Surprisingly, Hughes Hall’s start was also powerful, so we have to work extra hard to push them away through the choppy river.
As our bank party Ed H shouted at us to put our power down, we got closer to Jesus, finally hearing the 2 whistles. The steering and the conditions did not help the set of the boat, but the 2nd VIII did not give up.
Bow pair, Emily and Cat W, felt the impact of bumping the Jesus boat several times, but they did concede. Hughes Hall was getting closer and Jesus W2 would not give up! Finally, they did, giving the 2nd VIII the bump they had been working for, not only during Bumps, but throughout term. As crew captain, I am extremely proud of the whole crew. Yeah Newnham!
-Maria Victoria Rodriguez Noci, Crew captain and Seat 4
3rd VIII – Bumped Trinity Hall W2
The last day of this crazy week of Bumps … despite our muscles aching from the back-to-back rowovers, a grey drizzle settling above, and our starburst supplies dwindling, the 3rd VIII were ready to get in the boat and empty the tank! Going into the final day, we knew we had to do something different to finally catch Trinity Hall ahead of us. We had tasted the sweet reward of a bump on day 1, and we were hungry for more. So, with battle braids, blue and yellow hearts, and a new strategy in place, the 3rd VIII were determined to go out with a bang! … or bump!
After a chonky paddle to the start, with Cat P, Amy and Gemma (our lucky charm) on the bank, dispelling final words of wisdom, we pushed out for the last time. GO! With our strong start sequence, we had reached one whistle on Tit Hall almost instantly, which gave an immediate boost of confidence that we could catch them. With Sidney Sussex taken care of by Queens in front of us, we could focus on our one goal. Despite our cox Beth’s prior insistence that WE MUST SETTLE THE RHYTHM, she didn’t appear to have any objections to our stroke Caitlin settling at rate 36 … because she could see we were gaining ground.
Unbeknownst to us blind rowers, Tit Hall were also close to bumping St Cats ahead of them, which could have resulted in a technical rowover for us. Nonetheless, suddenly we hear 2 whistles, which jolts a wave of adrenaline into our muscles to push harder until we finally hear the chaos of multiple whistles and eventually Beth telling us to hold it up. WE BUMPED!!!
We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our Bumps campaign, gaining two places ahead in total, and bonding as a crew as we placed foliage in our hair for the paddle home. On behalf of the 3rd VIII, I’d like to thank Sophie, Eliza, and Emily for subbing this week, and for all our bank parties, especially those who helped calm my nerves when hearing the cannons! Stay tuned for a 3rd VIII Bumps Campaign documentary slideshow from Alice Wood!
-Jasmine Gray, Seat 7