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Cantabrigian earn double headship as Town Bumps return after hiatus

After a two-year wait, the Town Bumps returned to the River Cam to a warm reception from not just all those involved but the many watching on as well.

It has been more than 18 months since the river last saw the traditional Cambridge racing – which was the university’s Lent Bumps in 2020 – while the city clubs have had to wait since the summer of 2019.

There was a feelgood atmosphere along the route, no doubt aided by the good weather, and after the absence of racing, the return had a familiar feel, with Cantabrigian Rowing Club taking the double headship.

For their top women’s crew, it was a fourth successive year at the top of the standings.

They also had the top two crews in the women’s division one, a highest net climb through the divisions of 32 places – City of Cambridge were second with plus three – and three crews won their blades by bumping up every night.

Club captain Ellie Darlington said: “It was incredible. Despite the pandemic and us losing a few athletes and crews to people having to self-isolate right up to race day, I think these are some of the strongest results we’ve had.

“It’s certainly the best results we’ve ever had for our women’s crews but that isn’t something which happened overnight. If you look at the historic bumps charts, you can see that this has been in the making since around 2012, when the Cantabs women really started to make their way up. Success this year has been facilitated by the successes and hard work of crews, captains and coaches in the last 10 years.”

Those successes include the crews in the women’s squad rising 29 places, beating their previous best of 28 in 2017.

Darlington also had the perfect view on Thursday night of the Cantabs’ women’s second crew bumping City of Cambridge to take second spot under the railway bridge.

“A one-two has been a couple of years in the making, and I’m really proud of the women’s squads this season for being so well-motivated and enthusiastic, and for the coaches to be able to create a training environment which has been so fun and productive for everyone, no matter the standard of the crew,” said Darlington.

The men’s success was a fitting tribute to former coach Andy Johnson, who died earlier this year, and was added to by the Hills Road Sixth Form College boys’ first eight winning their blades as Cantabs’ fourth crew.

Darlington added: “I think Bumps showed that we’re in a really strong position as a club, and have really benefited from some amazing coaches and volunteers who run the club on a day-to-day basis.”

Cantabs’ men’s headship crew: Callum Mantell (cox), Ellie Darlington, Rebecca Smith, Katie Brown, Elena Williams, Molly Shaw, Becca Hatton, Gloria Jansen, Chiara Avancini.

Cantabs women’s headship crew: Sara Russo (cox), Hal Barrow, Finn Grimwood, Ricardo Herreros-Symons, Andrew Marsden, Hannes, Burfiend, James O’Dell, James Lindsay, Harry Turner.

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