If Oxford rowing is to improve permanently it must grow from the bottom upwards, and there are several signs that it is doing this. In the first place 56 crews entered for the racing, a record number which at any rates argues that enthusiasm for rowing is by no means dead at Oxford. This will necessitate racing in five divisions. In the second place the standard of second crews is certainly higher than it has been for many years. The Magdalen second crew is the best second crew seen in the last 12 years, and Worcester , Keble, and Jesus all have good second crews. Finally, if there are no crews which would compare with the best three in many past years, there are not nearly so many bad crews, and certainly not the idle crews which have been so unhappily prevalent in recent times.
Head of the River
Brasenose once more start Head of the River with four Blues past and present. Kent is stroking, as he did last year, on bow side. Raw, the Trial Eight stroke, is at No. 7, Poole at No. 6, Holdsworth at No. 5, and Smith at No. 3. They are strong, but definitely not such as good crew as last year. Kent, while himself rowing well, has been unable to relieve them of their ponderousness. Their bladework is dirty, their wristwork slow, and they cannot command a high rate of striking. As at Henley, before they scratched for the Grand Challenge Cup, they work very hard for no great pace, and, in spite of their great strength, the physical advantage of clear water, and the moral advantage of starting Head of the River, it is extremely doubtful whether they will remain there.
The second crew is University College, with two Tinnés, brothers of last year's President, at No. 7 and No. 4 respectively. This is another crew which wastes a good deal of effort for little return of pace, but they do row exceedingly hard. It would not be going too far to say that Tomlin at No. 5 is potentially the best oarsman in the University. He has an ugly catch at the beginning, but he rows very hard indeed, is supple, swings well, is long in the water, and, being exceptionally strong, is almost as effective after six minutes rowing as at the start. If University College keep their position, which does not seem likely, in spite of a fairly rapid improvement this week, it will be chiefly through his steadiness and hard work at No. 5.
The Magdalen Crews
Next come Magdalen, who, after their good showing in Torpids, are confidently expecting to go head. As the captain of the club has modestly put himself in the second crew, some surprise has been caused that he did not decide to put the exceptionally fast Torpid crew on as a first boat just as they were. As things are the Torpid men are seated at bow, Nos. 6 and 7. and stroke in the first crew and bow and Nos. 4., 5, and 7 in the second crew. Both Magdalen crews have been most admirably coached. After the college's sad lapse two years ago from the proud position it had held through the 40 years of Sir Herbert Warren's presidency among the first four crews it seemed, with last year's young crew, that here at last was an Oxford nursery of the best type of othodox rowing. This has been fulfilled in the Torpid and these two crews. Both are smooth and polished, with good wristwork, good swing, and steady sliding, but both lack experience, and the first crew particularly lacks weight. There are many who think that the second crew, starting 16th on the river, are the faster of the two, and with their average weight of over 12st. they probably would be against a wind. With the wind the first crew, however, who are not quite so long, command a higher rate of striking and at the same time are steadier, so that their boat runs better.
It is interesting to see the fourth and fifth brothers Irvine, one at No. 6 in the first crew, and one at stroke in the third, carrying on the family tradition. The eldest first rowed for Magdalen 13 years ago, the second, the hero of Everest, rowed for Merton and Oxford 10 years ago. Sackville-West at No. 6 in the Magdalen second crew is a Freshman, who stroked the second Torpid. He was captain at Winchester and shows great promise. He rows very hard and is one of those rare oarsmen whose toes really do flatten down on the stretcher, instead of lifting up during the last part of the forward swing. Few ever attain such poise as this, and his beginning should be correspondingly harder.
Behind Magdalen are New College, with Ellison, the University bow, rowing much more compactly at No, 7. When paddling they show evidence of Dr. Bourne's teaching of wristwork, but when rowing they are not well together. A rather variable crew, they are likley to be bumped by Christ Church.
Christ Church are certainly one of the fastest crews. Erskine-Crum, the President, is rowing well at No. 5 — contrary to custom most of the Blues are this year — and there is a promising man at No. 6. The crew are well together and rowing at a fast rate, but their stroke, as in so many Christ Church crews since the college's success in the Grand Challenge Cup of 1908, is a little clipped at both ends. This may be an advantage in bumping races, but it does not tend to the greatest pace. Nevertheless Christ Church are likely to rise one or more places, and it is not impossible that they may go to the head. There is little to choose in the first five crews. The next four, however, are not so fast.
Balliol are smooth but rather lacking in dash and are likely to lose their place to Oriel. Waterhouse is rowing at No. 5, but he has lost much of the length and ease he used to have when rowing.
Pembroke, once more coached by Mr. Pazott [Pazolt?], who has coached them so successfully in recent years, are very light and have been handicapped severely by illness. They are not up to the standard of last year.
The best of the four is Worcester. Addison, as usual, is doing a great deal of work at No. 6 in spite of his bent arms. He is essentially a man who shines in crew which is not of the highest order, and he makes such crews win races.
Oriel are reputed to be the fastest crew at Oxford. Coached by Mr. Nisbet on the tideway and by Mr. Page, late of Jesus College, Oxford, and now of Thames, they are rowing in the London style. They certainly have precision of bladework as a crew, but they are not yet a good example of what a crew rowing in this style should be. For instance, they do not compare favourably either as a crew or individually with the Pembroke College, Cambridge, crew of last year.
Jesus have had several outings with them. For a crew in the Second Division they are unquestionably fast and row in much the same style. Oriel will amost certainly make three bumps at the expense of Exeter, Pembroke, and Balliol, but may well prove in the end to be not appreciably faster than the other crews above them.
Queen's work hard, but are short in the water, and the same applies to St. John's, who start in front of Magdalen II., third in the Second Division. Wadham, starting behind Queen's, are rather ponderous, and the Trinity crew, who are at the head of the Second Division and who have Chadwyck-Healey, the University stroke, stroking them and a promising man at No. 5, are likely to rise a long way into the First Division. Chadwyck-Healey is not a pretty stroke to watch, but he has his experience at Putney behind him and he knows how to put the rate up, so that this crew is the only one which can comfortably row 38 over the course without clipping the stroke too much, and there are harder ways of succeeding in making bumps.
On account of the high stream which was running the President of the O.U.B.C., W.D.C. Erskine-Crum (Christ Church), to avoid the danger from the congestion that always occurs at Randall's Bridge, wisely decided to curtail the course a matter of 80 yards, and the races finished at the old University Barge instead of at Salter's...
There was an unfortunate mix-up in the Second Division, which will have to be adjudicated on by the O.U.B.C. Committee. St. John's, hotly pressed by Magdalen II., bumped Lincoln, but Magdalen were so close up that they could not get clear of St. John's. In the meantime Merton and Jesus rowed past them and Jesus made a bump at the Long Bridges. The question is, therefore, whether Merton, by rowing past Magdalen, can claim a bump over them instead of losing one to Jesus.
Magdalen at Head of River
There was much speculation over the race for the Head of the River between Brasenose and Magdalen, but few were prepared for the comparatively easy defeat of the Brasenose crew, which included three Blues and the stroke of one of the Trial Eights. Brasenose, however, were outpaced from the start, and, although they came out of the Gut with a fair lead, they failed to hold it and Magdalen drew up fast along the Green Bank and bumped them at the New Cut, Magdalen thus recovering the place at the Head of the River which they last held in 1923....
The decision of the Boat Club with regard to the disputed bumps in the Second Division was that Magdalen II., Merton, Jesus, and St. Edmund Hall should row again during the morning. The result was that Jesus bumped Merton as they were coming out of the Gut, St. Edmund Hall were within a quarter of a length of Jesus at the time.
Worcester, who had shown unexpectedly good form in bumping Pembroke and Balliol on previous days, added Christ Church to the list, although Christ Church had brought up the former Blue, L. Clive, to stroke them in the hope of keeping their place. Worcester are a very fast crew, and they made their bump before reaching the Boat House. University College will be fortunate to escape them to-day.
The Summer Eights were fortunate on Saturday to escape the rain which fell soon after the finish of the racing and continued without stop all through the night. As a consequence the river rose 15in. on Sunday, and although it fell a little yesterday morning there is every likelihood of another flood, as it was up again in the afternoon. The stream was running at a tremendous pace, and Salter's have been compelled to suspend altogether their steamboat service between Oxford and Kingston.
To avoid any possibility of accidents when the lower boats were taking up their positions the Boat Club wisely decided to short the course three distances, a matter of 130 yards.
There will probably be another re-row today, as Christ Church have lodged a protest against the bump claimed by Oriel in the First Division, and the matter will come before the Boat Club Committee. This is the third disputed bump that has occurred during the racing this year. Coxswains have been perhaps unfairly criticized, as directly a boat has lost way they are helpless in the strong stream that is running.
[Div I] Worcester bumped University College in the Gut, and they were being hotly pressed by Christ Church at the time. Christ Church were unable to get clear and Oriel rowed past them, which is equivalent to a bump.
The floods showed an alarming increase. The Brasenose ground is completely under water, and the water has encroached on the path around part of Christ Church Meadows and near the new Boat House... The appeal of Christ Church against the claim made by Oriel for a bump when they rowed past on Monday was heard, and the two crews were ordered to row again during the morning. The result was the same. Oriel again showed their superiority in no uncertain fashion, and made a bump before getting through the Gut.
The floods have at length begun to recede and the river showed a fall of three or four inches from Tuesday's level.The Times Bumps chart accompanying this article is incorrect in showing (Div II) Wadham II bumping Corpus on the last day — the commentary says "Wadham II. paddled through" (i.e. rowed over) and this is reflected in the starting order for the 1933.
The racing was remarkable, for, with the exception of Pembroke III., who started at the bottom, not a single crew in the Fourth Division rowed through and all the six bumps were made before half the course had been covered. The boats had not nearly found their level, for no fewer than 20 bumps were made, a remarkable number for a last day's racing. Altogether in the six days' racing there was a total of 110 bumps.
Magdalen, who deprived Brasenose of the place at the Head of the River, well deserved their success, and they retained the position without ever being compelled to go all out. They were coached by Mr. P. Johnson, the Old Blue. Their second and third crews also did extraordinarily well, the third making six bumps and the second five. That seems to show that Magdalen rowing has once more reached a high standard.
Worcester owed their success largely to the vigorous coaching of Mr. Vivian Nickalls, and did well to make five bumps, although this performance was eclipsed by Oriel, who improved their position every night, a tribute to the coaching of J. H. Page of the Thames Rowing Club, and A. C. Henley, their old captain. Merton II. also had a record of six bumps, which made some amends for the disasters that overtook their first crew ... On the other hand Wadham, University College II., and Wadham III. went down every day [also Lincoln].
|B:||R. F. G. Sorell (Radley)|
|2:||P. G. Hewison (Bedford)|
|3:||P. M. Bristow (Radley)|
|4:||A. Smithies (University of Tasmania)|
|5:||F. D. Barnaby (Haileybury)|
|6:||A. S. Irvine (Shrewsbury)|
|7:||C. L. C. Hawkins (Eton)|
|S:||J. C. Bond (Oundle)|
|C:||C. K. na Nagara (St. Paul's)|
|B:||A. W. Holmes (Liverpool)|
|2:||W. F. Crum (Shrewsbury)|
|3:||G. E. Hadow (Haileybury)|
|4:||W. G. W. Warren (Crewkerne)|
|5:||E. K. Moore (King Edwards's, Sheffield)|
|6:||J. F. G. Sykes (Wellington)|
|7:||C. S. Reid (Shrewsbury)|
|S:||J. C. Cunningham (Sherborne)|
|C:||G. M. Veit (Uppingham)|
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