The first Summer Eights since 1914 will be begun at Oxford to-day. Unlike those at Cambridge, the eight-oared races at Oxford last summer did not influence the starting positions of the various colleges, and, considering the unsettled state of rowing, this undoubtedly was for the best, for it allowed many colleges to enter their crews for fixed seat races and this to set a firmer groundwork for future excellence.There follows an assessment of various crews and their prospects, which, identifies the best crews, in order as: Magdalen, Christ Church, New College and Merton. Queen's were also tipped to do well.
University, who are head of the river, are a most disappointing crew. They possess a vary fair proportion of invidivual talent, but are slow and ponderous and, when paddling, make no impression on the water, with the result that any attempt to row a fast stroke developes into a bucket. Mr. Tinne, the old Blue, certainly has made immense strides with them, but even his efforts will hardly prevent them ffrom being displaced.
New College, who are second, are a neat crew, but are lacking in punch; they show a tendency to be short and to row their blades into the water. They are, however, well together, the best, perhaps, of any. They are also quite fast, particularly over the second half of the course, for they are using 12ft. 6in. oars. They are a very level crew, of whom perhaps D. P. Leney, at No. 4, is rowing best at present.
Christ Church, behind them, have been changing their order until within a day or two of the races, and it is rumoured that they may change again. In spite of this, under Mr. H. R. Barker, they are a remarkably uniform and taking crew; they are longer in the water than any other crew, and have quite a hard beginning. They doubtless will improve still further before the races and quite possibly may go head. R. S. Partridge at No. 6, although rough, is a worker who would be of great use to any crew, and W. M. Binney, at No. 3, is a young oarsman of considerable promise.
Magdalen, the next boat, are the fastest on the river at the time of writing, and possibly are the favourites, but they will have to go very fast to get Christ Church; and, up to date, they have not reproduced their form of last year. Their merit is individual, with three Blues in W. E. C. James, the President, A. T. M. Durand, and S. Earl; and R. S. C. Lucas, who rowed in last year's Oxford crew at Henley, besides G. O. Nickalls, son of Mr. Guy Nickalls, an Eton Eightsman of promise, and another Trial Eightsman. They are not, however, so fast as their material and form would warrant; they are rather short in the water and very apt to bounce their boat, which fact tends to destroy the pace which their hard beginning should give them. Mr. James, probably, is rowing the best of anyone in the Eights and undoubtedly sends down a puddle in proportion to his weight of nearly 14st.
Merton, who are behind Magdalen, are the surprise of the year. They do not include any individual oarsman of remarkable merit, except D. T. Raikes, the University Secretary at No. 6, but they have made vast strides under the coaching of the famous stroke, Mr. Bucknall, and are so fast for the first two minutes that they might easily surprise Magdalen. Beyond doubt they are the hardest working crew at Oxford, and, although their lack of experience makes them ragged and slow over the latter half of the course, the first part of their rows is an example to many other boats.
Balliol are a disappointing crew; in spite of their two Blues and a trials man, besides a stroke who stroked a good Adelaide University crew, they seem to possess little pace. They are ponderous and do not use their legs to advantage; and, although as low as eighth, are not likely to make bumps. They have a useful No. 7 in H. W. B. Cairns, the Blue, and a very hard worker at No. 3, but apart from these oarsmen they are not a very promising crew.
Queen's, who are in the Second Division, should go up a long way; they are rather ragged, but quite long, and Mr. Berrisford, the ex-president, is sure to drive them along fast.
Oriel, in the First Division, are not at all a slow crew, but very rough and lacking in watermanship. They should, however, keep their place or even bump St. John's, who, in spite of A. C. Hill, the Blue, at No. 6, are short and slow.
Of the other crews, the fastest, perhaps, are Brasenose, with a good No. 6, Lincoln, with a good No. 7 in D. I. Coates, and Magdalen II. and New College II..
The University Summer Eight-oar Races were resumed at Oxford yesterday afternoon after a lapse of six years and will extend over six days. The boats started in the same order in which they had left off in 1914.
[Div I] University were unable to maintain their position and New College, displaying capital form, gained rapidly from the start, securing the Headship just before reaching the Long Bridges. Magdalen caught Christ Church at the Weir's Bridge.
[Div I] The effort of University to escape Magdalen was futile, the latter making gthe bump before reaching the Long Bridges. Trinity lost a race to Balliol. "No. 2" of the Trinity crew caught a crab and fell overboard near the Free Ferry. Balliol then went in pursuit of St. John's and succeeded in getting within a length.
After a short byt sharp struggle Magdalen ran into New College near the Free Ferry.
[Div I] Magdalen, the head boat, rowed in fully three lengths ahead of New College, who were hard pressed throughout by Christ Church, and they reached the post by about a quarter of a length to spare.The article lists the members of the Magdalen head crew.
During the six days's racing 46 bumps were made, of which Queen's and Exeter were credited with five each... University have lost six places.
|B:||H. C. Irvine||10st 12lb|
|2:||J. C. P. Proby||12st 2lb|
|3:||G. O. Nickalls||11st 10lb|
|4:||R. S. C. Lucas||13st 4lb|
|5:||S. Earl||12st 4lb|
|6:||A. T. M. Durand||13st 4lb|
|7:||W. E. C. James||13st 9lb|
|S:||the Hon. B. L. Bathurst||10st 6lb|
|C:||W. H. C. Porritt||8st 7lb|
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