Report: Last day of Lent Bumps 2020

Here it is, the slightly belated last report from Lent Bumps 2020. — And don’t you dare complain, Joe Shaw (dear Captain), it had nothing to do with me. It is a thankless job, chasing hung-over boaties for a report.


The last day of Lent Bumps 2020 was for Sidney the best ending of a campaign possible. All three crews bumped in their final races; all crews had reason to celebrate: all crews had risen in the Lent Bumps rankings.

M1, with two row-overs and two bumps, had climbed from 10th to 8th position in the M2 division. W1, who rowed over on the first day and bumped on three consecutive days thereafter, rose from 6th to 3rd in their division, W2. And, incredibly, W2 brought back a staggering FIVE bumps, taking them from division W4 into 14th place in division W3. That, ladies and gentlemen, means not only blades but SUPER BLADES!

An amazing campaign, spearheaded by three colourful crews, three talented coxes, 24 powerful rowers, supported by an experienced band of coaches, a passionate constellation of bank parties, and the cheers from so many more who have been following the event, landed Sidney Sussex Boat Club with a total net result of (maybe you have already crunched the numbers?) +10!

Nothing short of a tremendous result and achievement – terrific enough to win us the Marconi Cup.

Pure gold.

Here are the reports from the boats:


Emboldened by our bumping of Peterhouse W1 in the final few seconds of our race on Friday, the last day of Bumps saw an excited, if slightly apprehensive, W1 hit the Cam. Despite having our hair in ‘focus plaits’ (thanks Marie and Cath), Peterhouse’s threat to ‘watch our back’ (Rowbridge, 2020) ran through our minds and nerves were high. Perhaps explaining our rate 47 practice start outside the plough.

As the seconds ticked by, peacefully reinforced by the canon, we were reminded by our bank party to keep it relaxed – stay loose. We were in for a long, strong row. After a perfect push-off by our bank party and top-notch taps by bow pair, we were off!

A strong start, despite the wind, saw us chase down Kings. But Peterhouse also had a strong start and were inside station on us until Grassy. While we braced the wind round First Post, Kings gained on St Catherine’s, getting two whistles on them in the gut. We responded and stepped up our game with our first move. Thankfully, St Catherine’s followed our lead and did the same, pulling away from Kings and getting two whistles on Homerton.

Killer machine steaming down Grassy.

With this, we went into pair pushes that flew us closer to Kings along the Plough Reach. The crowds at The Plough certainly helped us, as did Tim Rhodes’ calls of ‘on the legs Sidney’, and we soon had continuous whistles on Kings, ploughing into them on Ditton corner! We did it! A Bump! (And before the reach in the wind – yippee!!).

After being adorned with greenery, we happily rowed back and off to celebrations atbh. A successful Bumps campaign for W1! A big thanks goes to our bank party for all your help and support throughout the week – we couldn’t have done it without your screams of “its now or never” and “reel them in”.  +3 – I guess that’s what real women do.

— Sophie Stuart–Menteth, W1 7-seat


After a strong row-over on Day 3 we knew what was waiting for us on the last day of Bumps: a good chance to bump up, if we execute our race plan well. Darwin behind us did not really pose a threat, but them chasing us all the way would give us that extra bit of motivation to push away from them and catch Wolfson.

Not expecting to face each other in the races, we had sparred Wolfson in the lead-up to Bumps and we knew that we could do it, but it was going to be a long and hard race. Pumped up and ready to go the distance we started cleanly and, as expected, pushed off Darwin easily. In the Gut we started to gain whistles on Wolfson and closed in to three whistles by the end of Grassy Corner due to an excellent line taken by Phyllis. Snapping their stroke’s oar, we bumped them just after the bend. Once we had cleared the way for oncoming crews, mighty celebrations and three cheers for a strong Wolfson finished a race to be remembered.

Watch your blades, Wolfson! (And watch that line around Grassy, folks)

Back at the boathouse, all of Sidney W2, W1 and M1 celebrated an unbelievable Bumps campaign together with Corpus – what a way to end Lents! Oh, and by the way, Sidney WON the prestigious Marconi Cup!!!

— Günther Turk, Men’s Captain and M1 5-seat


Saturday was crunch day for W2. We had one goal: not being bumped. The return of Effy to the 4-seat meant that we had the whole gang back together and we were incredibly excited to finish our bumps campaign with the full crew. Our pre-race huddle once again reminded us that we were in for a long hard row, and we got into our (thankfully dry) boat ready to race.

Whilst we didn’t have to brave the awful rain this time; the wind proved a far more formidable enemy. As our coaches counted us down, the strong headwind pushed us half a length down on Homerton, who we were chasing that day.

We started off hard and stronger than ever – we knew we had a lot of distance to make up if we were going to catch Homerton before they caught Newnham. From the very start I heard two very unfamiliar whistles – Homerton were rapidly gaining on Newnham! Asking for a big focus on strong finishes and sharp catches brought us to one whistle near the motorway bridge. After asking for another 10% on the legs we soon were on two whistles and were ready to make a move. After calling for a huge move and big squeezes I finally saw the cox’s hand shoot up. We had caught them in true W2 style, not needing to take a single corner. Not only did this secure us blades, but super-blades!

— Louis Baxter, W2 cox

A dream come true – oh, sorry, I meant SUPER DREAM

It’s in the bag. W2 got to fly the Sidney flag on the river, and the first boats keep going from strength to strength. It all fills me with great joy. I have had the honour and the pleasure to read, edit and comment on the lovely testimonies from the lovely people of this club, I had the privilege of bank partying M1 on a rainy day one, and I have rejoiced at every achievement – impressed by the talent and passion that this club harbours.

If the experience of an incredible campaign fills me with joy, the fact that this is the last Bumps report that I myself edit admittedly saddens me. Today I handed over the baton to Heather Rowland, who will be replacing me shortly in the role of Sponsorship and Publicity Officer – and more importantly, Head of the SSBC Editorial Office. I have no doubts about the bright future of the Editorial Office under Heather’s command, and I look forward to following her work.

But most of all, I look forward to following the progress of Sidney Sussex Boat Club.

Sidney Sussex
Sidney Sussex BC – BC
By far the greatest boat club
The world has ever seen


Tor Svenungsson, Leaving Head of SSBC Editorial Office

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