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Bumps, Banks, Blades and Spoons: Summer VIIIs 2023

Summer Eights have come and gone, and the highlight event of the Oxford rower’s trinity term card has left us for another year. A staple of Oxbridge culture, Bumps racing, coined due to the narrow rivers forcing a more unconventional form of racing to be adopted, is simple. Make contact or “Bump” the boat ahead of you to take their position. Conversely, all boats fight hard not to be bumped. If you neither bump nor are bumped by another boat you are considered to row over. Boring definitions aside, how did the regatta unfold?

John’s M1 and M2 are unstoppable?

Gaining 3 positions on Wednesday by getting the over bumps on Somerville, then bumping Christchurch IIs the next day and Mansfield 1s on Saturday, to say SJBC’s Eights week went well for John’s M1 is an understatement. Almost identically Johns M2s who overbumped Corpus Christi’s M3s, rowed over the next day and then gained a position each day for the final 2 days. Johns’s w1s bumped on all days but the first two added three extra places to the aggregate. Across all crews, a total of 11 places gained for John’s, making it the most successful club on the river this year. 

Worcester W2 Blades! Again?

Back-to-back Blades in Torpids and summer eights this year, Is there any stopping the Worcester W2s? 


Brasenose’s M2s gained blades this year with an impressive campaign. Alongside them, the rest of the crews put on great performances making this club the third most successful down the isis this year. 

Exeter: Tale of two fates 

Let’s see – the Women’s crews did excellently. Exter W1s got the over bump on Somerville, on Friday, and gained 5 positions over the competition. The W2s and W3s also had a great campaign, gaining lots of positions. The men however did not manage to share the same fate, and in fact, suffered the very opposite, the worst of which being the M3s who were very much on course for spoons but kept place on Saturday avoiding it. 

Wadham: worse for wear 

Wadham College Boat Club had a particularly tough time. Not one of the crews gained a position and the W2s lost five positions across the week, so perhaps not a week to remember. Times like these warrant a special shout-out to its W3 crew, in a week where WCBC looked hit by a bad case of Murphy’s law, and each crew sunk like stones, this crew managed to stay afloat, gaining back on Friday the place they lost the day before. 

Somerville: it was not great

Better luck next time to the Somerville crews too, they sit at the bottom of the table in places lost this year with an aggregate of 14 places. With only 3 competing crews this year, this number is put very mildly, quite bad. That being said, all hope is not lost, perhaps they’ll come back with some vengeance next year. 

Image Credit: Nikola Boysová

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