Lent term began early for DCBC, with a training camp in Banyoles, Spain. It was full of opportunities, from racing against some of CUWBC’s finest to exploring wonderful Barcelona. Thanks to the hard work of our lower boats captains, the club had enough members to maintain 6 crews from start to end of term. 4 of these crews made it to bumps, with M3 narrowly missing out as the fastest non-qualifying crew. A special mention must go to Kirsty Nangle, who earned her seat in W1 after just a term of rowing.
This year’s crew revolutionised the fortunes of Downing M2, moving 3 places up the bumps charts. On day 1 they bumped Queens M2, day 2 it was Darwin M1. Day 3 was a row over as the crew ahead bumped out before Downing had a chance to deliver the bump themselves. Day 4 will surely live on for a long time in the memories of our boys and all the spectators on Grassy corner… A stopped boat on the inside meant Selwyn M1, who our M2 were chasing, went too wide, crashing into the bank. Downing were then caught between the two (now stationary) boats and despite the cox’s best efforts, joined Selwyn in the bank. Two further boats joined the pile up, meaning that all that could be seen was a mess and tangle of broken blades and battered boats. Everyone was okay and the result of the carnage was M2 being awarded a technical row over.
Our women’s second boat were the real stars of the show, earning not just blades but SUPER-BLADES by moved up 6 places in 4 days!! This makes them the most successful downing crew in many years but also this year the most successful women’s crew in Lent bumps across the entire university. On the first day, they were stuck behind a stationary Churchill crew for 18 seconds, but still managed to pull off an overbump on Tit Hall W2. The three remaining days saw them bump Anglia Ruskin W1, Clare Hall W1 and Darwin W2, with impressive aggression, ease and grace.
Massively impressive performance from all members of the (mostly novice) crew, but in particular, cox, Sophie Corrodi for staying calm, cool and collected in even the most exciting and nerve wrecking of times.
From long before the start of term, Downing M1 have known the one thing they wanted out of this term: the headship. Good form early in the season, winning Winter Head to Head and coming second in Pembroke Regatta suggested to all of us that they had a great chance. Day 1 of bumps saw our M1 take the coveted position of Head of the River, which they last held in 2014. They defended their lead in style on the second day, but unfortunately disaster struck on day 3 when their rudder string snapped in a freak equipment failure. Entering the final day feeling angry and cheated outing of their hard-earned position, the boys gave everything they could muster in their last attempt at headship, but frustratingly weren’t able to close the gap, finishing the week in second as they had started.
W1 began bumps knowing very little about how they compared to other colleges, but the cannon on the first day revealed their good form and they were able to hold their own again the top crews. Three strong row overs at 2nd were fine, but not very satisfying. A huge push on the final day saw overlap with Jesus for headship within two minutes of the start cannon, but the crew ran out of steam before ultimately being bumped down to 3rd. Despite being their worst day according to the bumps chart, the whole crew agreed that it was the best row of the week, and something to be proud of.
Unfortunately the week did not bring the double headship we might have hoped for, but strong performances from second boats in particular bodes well for the club in the near future.
At the end of term the first boats will be representing DCBC on a bigger stage with W1 racing WeHORR, and M1 doing HORR on the tideway in London. M1 are also heading to Amsterdam to take part in the Head of the Amstel race.
Downing’s three triallists for CUWBC, Holly Hill, Théa Zabell and Izzy Edwards, will hopefully be in the Cambridge boats competing against Oxford over the Easter holidays. So be sure to show them your support!