The Third Division Race — A view of the river at Oxford yesterday, the first day of Summer Eights, during the Third Division Race, showing Oriel II. and St. Edmund Hall on the left of the picture. In the distance are Brasenose II. and Queen's II. and University II. and Magdalen III., who bumped at the bend.
The Summer Eights races which will be started to-day at Oxford will be almost as abnormal as those which took place in 1919. As in that year, there will be only four nights' racing, but the boats will start with the normal interval between them and not with a longer one, as they did then... Many coaches have tried to crowd into ten days the work of three to four weeks. Further, counting on the fact that many oarsmen who had been doing hard work, such as at the docks, would be in good physical condition, rowing half courses was started immediately.The article gives Division times of 4, 5 and 6pm.
In the First Divisions Christ Church will start Head of the River, and in spite of the fact that they had six Blues rowing in the University crew only four will take part to-day, as Pitman has gone down and the younger Edwards is not rowing. Usually four Blues are too much for a College crew, but no blame can be attributed to the stern four in this crew. Shaw at stroke, Murray-Threipland at No. 7, Edwards at No. 6, and Rathbone at No. 5 are all rowing well, if a trifle heavily. It is the bow four who are so weak. Indeed they look very like another four rowing in the same boat. As a crew they are fairly neat and are capable of a full 38 strokes a minute. They are probably good enough to keep their place, but are certainly not in the same class as their crew of last year.
Brasenose, who follow them are very heavy and slow into the water and are not apparently as fast as Christ Church, in front, or Magdalen, behind them, but they have the advantage of length in the water, and if they can keep away till after the gut should be safe in the second half of the course. Popplewell, at No. 7, an old Westminster Eightsman, is rowing well, and Crawford, the Blue, is rowing better than he did in the University crew, and in improved style.
Magdalen, who start third, are probably the best crew on the river, but by so small a margin that they do not look like bumping Christ Church even if they can catch B.N.C. In the last 46 years Magdalen have been one of the first four crews, and except in 1914 one of the first three, and strangely enough in this century they have always seemed to excel when there were practically no Blues in the boat. This year they are a neat and level crew, stroked by Johnson, the winning Trial Eight stroke. No individual stands out, but the crew get their pace by beginning and finishing together. James, at No, 5, is a past winner of the Eton Pulling, who should be watched. At the moment he has an awkward head catch, but in another year, when he is more robust, he might prove a worthy successor to his cousin, the Hon. W. E. C. James, who was President in 1921.
New College have been coached by Dr. Bourne, and in their neatness show signs of his never-failing skill at imparting the technique of wristwork, but their training has been none too easy, and only last Thursday three men were taken out of the second crew and put in the stern seats of the first. Stroke, 7, and 6 went to bow, 3, and 4; 4 to 2, and only 5 kept his seat. After only three days' practice and so drastic an expedient, it is wonderful that they are as good a crew as they are, but they are very short, and it seems as if they must go below fourth, a position which is the lowest they have held for 43 years. No. 5 is rowing extremely well and has a particularly easy style for a rather big man.
Merton, who follow them, are rowing with shortened slides, and this had robbed them of much of the robustness of style and length which has been so marked a feature of Merton rowing during the last few years. They are short in the water, with the exception of Hoare at 6 and Mounsey at 5, both of whom, particularly the latter, are rowing well, and they will be lucky if they maintain their place.
Queen's are reputed to be a very fast crew off the mark, but they are clumsy and do not show to such advantage in the second as in the first half of the course. Of the other crews in the First Division Wadham have some neatness and length. Trinity and Lincoln, where Frankin is rowing excellently at 5, are both hard-working crews. Pembroke, who start one from the bottom, row the fastest stroke of any crew on the river, which should be of help to them, particularly this year, when crew have not had the time to acquire pace by style.
Balliol, who start head of the Second Division, are supposed to have done the fastest times of any crew in practice, but their rowing is not so convincing as their paddling. Peppercorn at 6 is individually rowing better than anybody on the river at the moment, and the well-drilled precision of the crew does great credit to the coaching of Mr. Pazolt, the Beaumont coach. At the same time they lack the drive which would be necessary for them to make bumps if they were starting higher on the river.
Magdalen II. and New College II, both good second crews, start immediately behind Balliol, and it is difficult to say which will remain the head second crew. University, with the President rowing 6, are fourth, but they are not a good crew, and are unlikely to improve their position, although No. 5 is one of the best men rowing in the eights, a really solid worker of the type too rarely seen.
Jesus, who start seventh, are as good a crew as their successful crew of last year were, and might easily make four bumps. Jesus rowing is very much to the front now and, at the present rate of improvement, may yet be challenging the position of her more famous sister college. After Magdalen and Balliol this crew is the best combined on the river.
In the Third Division all crews seem up to the average. Keble should improve their position, and apart from this, the most noticeable feature is the appearance of a second St. Catherine's crew.
Racing in the Summer Eights was concluded at Oxford yesterday. Eleven bumps were made, bringing the total in the four days to 40.
[Div I] Christ Church maintained the leading position without difficulty, this retaining the Headship of the River for three consecutive years. Brasenose, after narrowly escaping disaster on the two previous evenings, were bumped after an exciting struggle by Magdalen opposite the barge of the latter.
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