Passing the College Barges — Fine weather again favoured the Oxford Eights yesterday, when a number of bumps were made in the four divisions. Our photograph shows the scene as crews in the Third Division were passing the College barges. Altogether four bumps were recorded in this division. The races continue until Wednesday.Judging by the Saturday commentary on this division, I would guess that the two crews shown are University II about to bump Christ Church II
The Brasenose crew, which has made rapid progress in the last part of the practice, after an unpromising start, is stroked, not by Holdsworth, the University stroke, who is rowing at No. 4, but by Kent, son of Mr. C. W. Kent, one of the most famous of Oxford strokes. He may not reflect his father's prowess, but he is a promising stroke. There is a compactness about his work and a firm drive from the stretcher, which Holdsworth lacks, and Oxford owes Mr. Haig Thomas much for this discovery. Behind him is a block of four Blues, Poole at No. 7, Johnston at No. 6, Smith at No. 5, and Holdsworth. Of these the outstanding man is Smith, who is rowing extraordinarily well and neatly. Johnston, the President, is plainly stale and getting tied up at the finish, while Poole is not yet at his best again since his mishap [dislocated knee]. For all that, the crew are reasonably well together. They look, too, as if they would improve as the races go on. At the beginning of practice it seemed certain that they would lose their position, but now they are the fastest crew over the course, and it will be surprsiing if University College catch them.
In the absence of Martineau, University College are stroked by Tinné. Freeman, who was tried at bow in the [Oxford] University crew, rows at No. 7, Dutton No. 6, and Emmet, and old Trial Eights man, at No.5. Tinné gives them beautiful rhythm when paddling, with a fine hard finish, so rare a sight in Oxford. When rowing, however, he is inclined to rush his men. They command a higher rate of striking than most crews, and Tinné is always most dangerous in bumping races where a lack of rhythm matters least. If University College should bump Brasenose it will be by surprising them before the Gut, for they have not the same pace over the last part of the course as the crew which starts Head of the River.
New College, which starts third, is rowing with 12ft. 6in. oars, and this naturally tends to diminish the rate of striking. The crew is well stroked by Godber, the former Blue of 1928 and 1929, and Macdonald-Smith is rowing No. 4. On account of the crew's good rhythm it appears to be rowing a slower stroke than is the case, and it possesses considerable pace over the last part of the course, which would be greater still were the men better together. Usually Dr. Bourne's crews are most well together, but this is an exception, and it appears doubtful whether it will have quite enough pace to trouble University College over the last part of the course; while it will itself be in some danger from the quick starting of the Christ Church crew.
Christ Church give the impression of two fours, one powerful and heavy in the stern of the boat and the other light in the bows. It is long since an oarsman so accomplished and effective as H. R. A. Edwards has rowed in an Oxford college crew, and it is an interesting commentary on styles that his rowing with a swivel rowlock alone in the crew would be noticed by anybody unaware of it. Clive is stroking. That is a good arrangement, which recalls the stroking of Merton crews by D. T. Raikes. Erskine-Crum is rowing No. 7 much better than he was in the University crew, though still with a tendency to feather under water at the finish, and Lord Forrester, an Eton Eights man, is a powerful if round-backed No. 6. Unfortunately he copies Clive's trick of throwing his head back, but does not reproduce so closely Clive's tremendous driver with his legs. This should be a fast crew, but since it cannot maintain its pace for much more than two minutes, like University College it will be most dangerous below the Gut. If driving power in a stroke and a good No. 5 were everything they would go to the top, but lack of rhythm prevents them from being fast over the whole of the course for all Clive's courage and driving power.
Mr. Pazott [presumably Pazolt] has again done wonders with the light Pembroke crew, stroked by Mellor. They are probably the fastest crew after Brasenose, and their quickness and stride are an example to all. Having seen what Mr. Pazott can do with exceptionally light crews from Beaumont and Pembroke it may be wondered whether he might not produce a crew like the Cambridge crew of 1924 if he were given such material as the University coaches have.
Neither Exeter nor Wadham is impressive, and Exeter men may well hanker after those swivel rowlocks which brought them such success two years ago.
Magdalen is a neat crew with a fair turn of speed. It has been well coached by Mr. McCulloch and there is every probability that it will finish in a position more in keeping with the rowing record of the college during the last 40 years. The Magdalen second crew, too, is certainly the fastest of the second crews, so that the eclipse of the college looks like being short lived. At the same time, the first crew must be prepared for a strenuous race if it is to keep away from Balliol. Platt-Mills is rowing excellently at No. 6 and Waterhouse's form at No. 5 is beyond criticism, but he looks as if his health, which prevented his rowing in the last Boat Race, were again troubling him.
Worcester is another crew which rows in good form and is, like Mr. Drinkwater's other crew, University College, quicker into the water than most.
Oriel are not likely to remain in the Second Division. Of the other crews Queen's have done fast times in practice, and though they have little pretension to good form, should improve their position.
[Div III] The dispute between Lincoln St. John's and Brasenose with regard to a bump in the Gut on Saturday was settled by the Committee ordering a re-row, in which Brasenose [II] settled the question of supremacy by bumping Lincoln [II] in Iffley Reach, and with regard to the mix-up among the lower boats in the Fourth Division the Committee came to the conclusion that justice would be met if they rowed in Saturday's order.
...the river was practically in flood, and there was a tremendous stream running to the accompaniment of a strong southerly wind, a combination that rather handicapped the lighter crews.
[Div III] Hertford [II] at one point looked like getting home with plenty to spare, but, after passing the Boathouse, the Balliol [II] cox took full advantage of the slack water under the wall, Hertford in the meantime plugging along in mid-stream. Fortunately for them Balliol were laying so wide that the cox had to use such an amount of rudder in coming across that he never got quite near enough to make a shot, and Hertford escaped disaster by a couple of yards. There was an unfortunate happening in this division at the start, the Oriel [II] coxswain, instead of dropping the starting rope, loosed one of the rudder lines and ran into the bank. Worcester II. rowed past them and so gained a bump. Worcester, however, hardly realized that they were entitled to a bump and went on for some distance before easing up, and Brasenose ran into them, the latter naturally thinking that they had made a bump. Brasenose lay to under that impression, while St. John's actually rowed through the whole distance to the winning post without realizing that they were entitled to a bump at the expense of Brasenose.
The Summer Eights were finished yesterday at Oxford in delightful weather and attracted huge crowds both on the barges and towing path. Brasenose left off Head of the River for the fourth year in succession and for the 22nd time since the races were instituted. They have fully justified their position and owed their success largely to the coaching of N. W. Haig-Thomas. The University stroke, R. W. H. Holdsworth, occupied No. 4 thwart and the responsibilities of stroke fell on the shoulders of J. de R. Kent, so that it was a case of history repeating itself, as he followed his father, C. W. Kent, who stroked Brasenose when they were Head of the River in 1889 and 1890.
University College rowed over each night, and while they were not troubled by the boats behind them they gave Brasenose little anxiety. They were well away from Magdalen when they rowed up last night. Magdalen, who had been coached by W. A. McCulloch throughout their practice, had the excellent record of five bumps and proved that weight after all is not such an important factor, as they had no man in their crew over 12st.
Queen's also did remarkably well with six bumps to their credit, as they gained another victory in the morning, when they had to re-row their race with Trinity, so that they have now firmly re-established themselves in the First Division... lower down, St. Peter's Hall and Keble II. came out well, each having six bumps to their credit... Lincoln II. lost six places.
Sir, — Eights week is now over and again the question forces itself upon the mind of the spectator, what advantage is gained by the multiplication of college boats?
Either rowing material must be lacking or the services of those capable and willing to coach. Granting the inevitable exceptions could anyone describe the general appearance of the contents of the third and fourth divisions as they wallow past the barges as anything but pitiful?
It is difficult to believe that there can be any enjoyment to the individuals participating, and still more any benefit to the standard of Oxford rowing.
M. D. Oxon.
London, May 28
Sir, — We feel that the letter in your issue of to-day, sighted by "M. D. Oxon." calls for some reply.
It may perhaps be stressed in the first place that Eights Week is not staged primarily for the benefit of the spectator. Your correspondent is quite entitled to think that the appearance of the third and fourth divisions wallowing past the barges was pitiful, but he should not infer from this that the multiplication of college boat is of no benefit to Oxford rowing.
In our opinion there is no doubt whatever that the more boats put on the river the better. The standard of University rowing depends largely on the standard of college rowing, and the success of any college boat club depends to a great extent upon its junior crews. The mere fact of a college having a third eight makes its second eight at least two lengths faster. And in every third eight this year there were at least one or two men who next year will row in their college's second eight, and the following year perhaps in a first eight.
In spite of the surmises of your correspondent, the men in these crews did get a lot of enjoyment out of their rowing. There was probably a more healthy spirit of sportsmanship in evidence at the bottom of the fourth division than anywhere else on the river, for these men were free to indulge in care-free athletic competition without being overburdened by any sense of great responsibility. But, apart from all that, this much at least we have learnt from Mr. Fairbairn, that the more crews a college has and the more races they row in the stronger will be that college's boat club. And strong college boat clubs mean a higher standard of 'varsity rowing.
We are, &c.
C. M. Johnston, President, O.U.B.C.
R. Ashburner, Captain, Balliol College B.C.
R. A. J. Poole, Captain, Brasenose College B.C.
Vincent's Club, Oxford, May 29.
Sir, — I was pleased to read the reply of the President of the O.U.B.C. and captains of college boat clubs to "M.D. Oxon's" letter.
The reply was in the right spirit, and the more wallowers that pass the finish, the better the rowing will become. It is practically raising the question that I have been associated with; that is, "pretty pretty" versus honest hard work. To slog yourself out and finish wallowing is the only way to attain true style, and, furthermore, to get true enjoyment.
The race I enjoyed most in my rowing career was when we were beaten in the Goblets by Muttlebury and Barclay in 887. Our boat was going beautifully, but we were behind. I kept thinking no crew can live at this pace, but they did, and we were rowed to an absolute standstill. We stopped. I looked round at my bowman, "old Hutch," and he was in a glorious state of exhaustion, the saliva hanging out of his mouth and the whites of his eyes all bloodshot. He is 72 years old now, and in the winter mounts a push bicycle with 40lb. of luggage and rides from Durham to Dover, and from Calais all over France; so that race did not do him much harm. So, I say, keep them wallowing, Oxford, and good luck to you.
Junior Carlton Club, Pall Mall, S.W.1, May 30
|B:||C. F. Williams (St. Peter's York)||11st 5lb|
|2:||J. Chester Guest (Geelong, Australia)||12st 9lb|
|3:||V. C. Fairfax (Geelong, Australia)||11st 8lb|
|4:||R. W. C. Holdsworth (Shrewsbury)||11st 3lb|
|5:||G. M. L. Smith (Wincehster)||11st 12lb|
|6:||C. M. Johnston (Shrewsbury)||12st 3lb|
|7:||R. A. J. Poole (Eton)||13st 4lb|
|S:||J. de R. Kent (Sherborne)||11st 4lb|
|C:||G. L. Phillips (Dean Close, Cheltenham)||8st 5lb|
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