The Magdalen Crew
Magdalen start head of the river, and it seems probable that they will retain their position. They are a well-balanced crew, they are pretty well together through the boat, although stroke and No. 6 are not quite so long as No. 7 and No. 5, and No. 4 is not quite with the rest of the crew at the finish. They row very hard, however, command a high rate of striking, and they make good use of their swivel rowlocks. They never bounce the boat at all. They have for the most part a fine racing record behind them, and they should be able to keep the place that the stern three won. Sackville-West, though a short-bodied man, is rowing extraordinarily well at No. 5, and to his exceptionally fine natural swing the crew owe a great deal.
The only crew they need to fear are Oriel, who have been well coached by Mr. R. C. Sherriff. They are a typically "Metropolitan" crew. Unlike Magdalen and Exeter, who have combined swivel rowlocks with a more or less orthodox style in other respects, Oriel are no respectors of tradition, but in their own way they row very well. They are beautifully together, and their boat, unlike those of some colleges who rely upon leg-work alone, never seems to check. They are supposed to be the fastest crew in Oxford, but though they will almost certainly bump Brasenose and Worcester, they seem scarcely fast enough to catch Magdalen, who will have the considerable advantage of clear water. Reid is rowing very well indeed at No. 7.
Neither Brasenose nor Worcester is a particularly fast crew, though Worcester, with Migotti, the University Secretary, rowing at No, 7, are better together and faster than Brasenose. Brasenose are very indifferently together. Holdsworth, the University stroke, is rowing steadily and with good rhythm at stroke, but the rest of the crew do not follow him, and they annot row at more than 32 or 33 strokes a minute. The excitement of the races will be to see whether Christ Church can catch New College. At one time New College were the fastest crew on the river. Ellison, the new President, is at No. 7. and Hogg, the University No. 5, rows in the same position in his college crew. There is, too, a very useful No.6, Hope. The crew are well together, quick on to the beginning, and their sliding and wristwork are good, as was the case with all Dr. Bourne's New College crews, but the blades do come out of the water before they should, and in the past week the crew has not come on as fast as was expected at one time.
Christ Church have no fewer than three Blues rowing — Erskine-Crum, the ex-President, at No.5, Bankes, the University heavy-weight, at No.6, and Couchman at No. 4. It is unusual so soon after the Putney race to find all the Blues rowing well, but these are. The crew in fact looks very like the Oxford crew. Prichard gives them good rhythm and they are well together, excepting in the bows. They do not seem to get quite the pace out of their boat that their form promises, but they are definitely a good crew and are almost certain to improve their position, even if they have to wait till next week to do so. Bankes is rowing well and is gaining the steadiness that he lacked in the University crew.
University College, who start seventh, are a disappointing crew. They work very hard, but more against than with each other, and are therefore far slower than many weaker and less hard-working crews. Not all the efforts of Currie, a very solid oarsman, at No. 5, and Tomlin, at No. 7, can prevent them from being ponderous, and Balliol seem likely to bump them. They are a neat, lively crew, well together, very obviously built around Thomson, at No. 6, who is rowing well, even if he is inclined, in common with far more Oxford oarsmen than would have been the case 10 years ago, to bend his arms too early.
Trinity are a dangerous crew. Until Tuesday Duntze, of the winning Shrewsbury Ladies' Plate crew, was stroking them. Now he is at No. 6, Mosley the Blue, at stroke, and Freeman at No. 6. They have length and stride and are likely to improve more than most crews in the racing. Duntze has given them rhythm, and, with Mosely's well-known capacity for sudden spurts, it would not be surprising to see them get their four bumps before the racing finishes. St. John's, the Sandwich boat, look like improving their position. They have a good stride and are a powerful crew, rowing in very much the same style as Shrewsbury. Pembroke, who start just above them, have, as usual, been very well coached by Mr. Pazolt, but they have not quite the neatness of former years.
Exeter, who start head of the Second Division, are a really good crew. They have the best beginning of any crew on the river, although they are rowing with swivel rowlocks, commonly supposed to detract from the beginning. They might easily improve their position every night.
For the rest of the Second Division, Jesus are quite a neat crew in the style of Jesus College, Cambridge, but Keble, who start fourth, are, after Exeter, the best crew in the division. Stroked by Edwards, the younger brother of the Blues, they have splendid rhythm, are excellently together, and should hold their position near the top of the First Division if need be. Lincoln also have a turn of speed and Hertford, who start at the very bottom of the division, have the best crew for several years.
The disputed bump between Pembroke [II] and Lincoln II. was decided by the Boat Club Committee in favour of Lincoln II., who had rowed past when Pembroke II. were blocked, and St. John's were fined £5 for causing an obstruction.
Interest in the First Division centred in the race for the head place, and, although Oriel had the reputation of having done the fastest time over the course, there were many who believed in the ability of Magdalen to keep their place. The result was, in consequence, somewhat disappointing, as Oriel soon took the measure of Magdalen up Iffley Reach and bumped them coming through the Gut. Oriel have shown great keenness on the river of late years, and no one will grudge them the highest place, which they last held in 1842.
[Div II] At the start Merton had bad luck as one of their rudder-lines broke, and after going a short distance they were caught by Corpus. Worcester II. were unable to clear Corpus and were bumped by Hertford.
The First Division was watched by a great crowd in anticipation of a keen race between Oriel and New College for the Head of the River, but it turned out to be disappointing, as at no time were Oriel in any danger of being caught. New College started for all they were worth, and certainly gained considerably in Iffley Reach, but Oriel came out of the Gut with a lead of about a length. From this point they kept at that distance apart, and Oriel reached the winning-post still with a length in hand.
The Summer Eights at Oxford were concluded yesterday in unusually favourable conditions... Oriel, as had generally been expected, secured the position of the Head of the River. Their success was immensely popular to judge by the cheers of the crowd as they rowed up last night. They must be one of the lightest crews who have left off Head of the River, for they only averaged 11st. 2¼lb. and the heaviest man in the boat was under 12 st.
New College were also a good eight and there is no doubt that the week's racing left the two best crews in pride of place. Oriel have thus, after a lapse of 91 years, regained their supremacy on the river. Exeter II. carried off the week's honours with seven successive bumps in the six days, and if time had permitted they would have probably gone higher still. New College II., Merton II., and Hertford II. [also New College III] all gained six places, and the most successful crew in the upper divisions was Exeter, who had five bumps to their credit.
Sir, — in your description of the Oxford Summer Eights you mention that Oriel "must be one of the lightest crews who have left off Head of the River, for they averaged only 11st. 2¼lb." The Jesus crew who rowed over Head of the River at Cambridge in 1884 averaged only 11st. 0¼lb.; and the crew which in 1885 won the Grand at Henley averaged 11st. 3⅓lb. The success of these crews was stated at the time to be due to the introduction of long slides (13½in) by S. Fairbairn. He was well above the average weight, but was the inspiration and backbone of both crews. May the light Oriel crew be encouraged — if necessary — to go to Henley and do likewise.
Sir, — With reference to the letter from J.W.D. in your issue of May 31, I write to say that the Magdalen College eight which left off Head of the River in 1880 averaged 10st. 12¼lb. There was no 12st. man in the crew.
|B:||E. Starling (Radley)||10st 9lb|
|2:||C. E. L. Mather (Charterhouse)||10st 9lb|
|3:||G. E. Hadow (Haileybury)||11st 4lb|
|4:||A. W. Holmes (Liverpool)||11st 8lb|
|5:||E. L. Moore (King Edward's, Sheffield)||11st 13lb|
|6:||W. F. Crum (Shrewsbury)||10st 13lb|
|7:||C. S. Reid (Shrewsbury)||11st 4lb|
|S:||J. C. Cunningham (Sherborne)||11st 3lb|
|C:||R. B. Lawrie (Fettes)||8st 3lb|
|B:||A. D. M. Ross (Winchester)||10st 4lb|
|2:||J. Rundle (Sherborne)||12st 6lb|
|3:||C. F. Dixon (?)||11st 3lb|
|4:||W. T. Grenfell (Groton, U.S.A.)||13st 2lb|
|5:||P. Hogg (Sherborne)||12st 7lb|
|6:||R. Hope (Eton)||12st 1lb|
|7:||G. A. Ellison (Westminster)||11st 9lb|
|S:||M. B. Stubbs (Winchester)||12st|
|C:||Maung Chan Khan (Rangoon)||8st|
|B:||C. Morny (Stowe)||11st 7lb|
|2:||J. L. Press (Clifton)||9st|
|3:||R. S. H. Turnbull (Belmont Hill, U.S.A.)||10st 4lb|
|4:||D. Montagu-Scott (Stowe)||10st 2lb|
|5:||M. W. Major (Sherborne)||13st 3lb|
|6:||G. R. W. Beaumont (Highgate)||14st 2lb|
|7:||M. W. L. Tutton (Eton)||1st 7lb|
|S:||H. De S. Shortt (Bradfield)||11st|
|C:||E. R. Broad (Plymouth)||9st|
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