Summer Eights Prospects
It is generally expected at Oxford that Magdalen will go Head in Summer Eights, which will be begun to-day. This would be the first occasion since 1923 [actually since 1932 — correction in Friday report]. Sixty crews are entered and Magdalen have entered a fifth boat, which is a record in these races.
Magdalen certainly are very much the best looking crew in the University; and there are many good looking crews; although the standard of the first division as a whole is more uneven than usual. Magdalen are, in fact, the best looking crew there has been at Oxford for a good many years and the way in which they are rowing augurs well for Oxford rowing generally. Their pace, however, is certainly not so great as their appearance suggests, because they are not really together. They have been thoroughly well coached by Mr. E. D. Horsfall and Mr. G. O. Nickalls, who have taught them, with one exception, to use their legs in a way that no Oxford College crew had done since the Christ Church crew of 1925. This crew is really trying to row as the best Oxford and Leander crews used to row in days gone by, and as the Zürich four rowed at Henley last year.
The Virtue of Sturrock
Garton, the stroke, is a nephew of Mr. A. S. Garton and he drives the crew along though he sits up more at the finish as he gets tired. Morell backs him up well at No. 7. It was his recent move down from the bows that has delayed the crew getting together. The real virtue of this crew, however, lies in Sturrock, who is far more at home at No. 6 here than ever he was in the University crew. Now there is no hint of unsteadiness in his rowing, and he has taught everybody else to attack the water as he does. Providing this crew shake together during the racing they should unquestionably be fast enough to go Head.
Oriel are by no means a crew to be despised. They have five of last year's crew rowing bow, No. 3, No. 5, No. 6, and No. 7. They have recently changed strokes. Like Magdalen, they get well on to the beginning. They row in the very exaggerated crouching style that was more popular with Tideway clubs five years ago than it is now, but they are superbly together, as might be expected with so many of last year's crew.
It does not seem likely that New College, for all their three Blues in the stern and the courageous stroking of Hope, will be fast enough to catch Oriel. The crew are on the short side, both Hope and Ashby being apt to clip the finish. Mynors is rowing well again at No. 6, but the crew has not got the stride that their crew that did so well in the Head of the River race at Putney possessed. Dumas, at No. 4, is a man worth watching. Balliol are too light and short to retain their position so high in the First Division. Balliol crews have, all this century, tended to be sluggish and ponderous. This crew, however, is exceedingly lively and well together.
After Magdalen come Christ Church, stroked by Lewis, the new President, with Barker, the son of Mr. H. R. Barker, the old Blue, who is coaching them, at No. 7. They are well together and slide more steadily than most crews on the river, but they do not appear to command a high rate of striking. They are hardly strong enough to keep away from Trinity and Brasenose, who follow them. Trinity, admirably coached by Mr. MacNabb in the Third Trinity manner, are, after Magdalen, the best looking and probably after them the fastest on the river. They are stroked by Waldron, the Shrewsbury Freshman, who but for measles would almost certainly have rowed No. 4 in the University crew.
Promise of B.N.C
Brasesnose are rowing in faultless fixed pin style on swivel rowlocks. They are a fast and taking crew and there is little to choose between them and Trinity. Indeeed, it is probable that, for three minutes (an important period in bumping races), Brasenose are the faster. Lumb, of Huron University, a Trial Eights man, strokes them. Cherry is rowing beautifully at No. 7, and Wood is rowing well, too, at No. 6. It is, indeed, to be remarked how much better than usual this year's Blues are rowing in Summer Eights. The Brasenose crew are long in the water, and it seems certain that they will follow the Trinity crew up one or two places.
Of the others St. Edmund Hall, who start eighth, have a good leg-drive and should keep their place for two nights at least. St. Peter's Hall, who start 24th, are a similar crew and should go up. Both use swivels and their bladework is very clean. University College, with the ex-President, Sciortino, at No. 7, start 10th, but they are very badly together and do not look like keeping their place. Corpus, stroked by Winser, can scarcely be expected to go up six places again after their quick rise under his leadership the last two years.
Garside is rowing well in the St. John's crew, who start 12th, behind Corpus, and these two should go up two places or so together. Exeter, the sandwich boat, are well stroked by a Thames Rowing Club man and there is another at No. 4.
Of the second crews, New College are a good deal the fastest.
[Div I] Oriel again held their position without much effort, for although New College gained some distance halfway Oriel passed the post with a length in hand. Magdalen caused New College anxiety over the first half of the course, but the latter held their own all along the Wall and finished a third of a length in front.
[Div V] Oriel III proved no match for Univerity College III, who went off at a tremendoush pace and caught them at the Launch Boats. Oriel failed to acknowledge the bump and University College, rowing on, crashed into them and smashed their own bows.
There was an unusual occurrence in the fifth division. University College III being unable to get their boat, which had been badly smashed on Saturday, repaired in time, and they were unable to take up their position before the signal gun fired.
In the second division, after St. John's had rowed in well ahead, Keble, Pembroke, and Magdalen II came up the Green Bank all together. The Keble cox signalled a bump, and the Pembroke cox did likewise at identically the same time. The three crews will re-row this morning at 11 o'clock.
There was again a cold easterly wind when the Oxford Summer Eights were continued yesterday and there was a much reduced attendance. Oriel maintained their position at the Head of the Rivver and, indeed, not a single bump was made in the First Division. Only two bumps were made in the Second Division yesterday evening. one of the successful boats being Magdalen II, who in their re-rowed race with Keble and Pembroke in the morning had bumped Pembroke at the Long Bridges.
The Summer Eights were concluded before a large attendance at Oxford yesterday when Oriel retained their position, which they secured four years ago, at the Head of the River. Yesterday they finished a length and a half in front of New College, whose crew included three Blues and a Trial Eights man. Magdalden, who finished third, were probably faster than New College but apparently lacked stamina. Brasenose, who gained three places during the six days' racing, finished fourth.
Magdalen II and New College III each gained seven places, Pembroke II gained six, and Merton and St. Edmund Hall III each five. University College II, Jesus II, and Hertford II each lost six places.
[Div IV] Worcester II paddled up, being saved from any anxiety when Magdalen III broke a rudder in coming through the Gut and ran into the bank, leaving St. Peter's Hall II to row past them.
Sir, — In 1932 Oriel went up six places from tenth to fourth, bumping among others Balliol, New College, and Christ Church on the way. The following year they went ahead [sic], bumping Worcester, Magdalen, and Brasenose. In 1934 and 1935, and now again in 1936, they retained the headship, this year very convincingly. During all this time no Oriel man has found a place in the Oxford boat. Is there any precedent for a college rowing head of the river four years in succession without any of their men getting a Blue? Is there possibly some connexion between the explanation, whatever it may be, and the dismal record of Oxford in the University Boat Race?
I am, &c,
Sir, — The answers to "Oxonian's" conunundrums as to why no Oriel man has been given a Blue during the four years the college has been head of the river and whether the dismal record of Oxford in the Boat Race has any connexion with the explanation are very simple. For six years Oriel have been coached in what is know as the Steve Fairbairn style and have rowed with swivel rowlocks. Both these indispensable aids to good rowing are anathema to the antediluvians who control the O.U.B.C. and will not permit any divergence from their ancient style and boat fitments, although since 1923, except on two or three occasions, the Grand at Henley has been won by crews using the Steve Fairbairn style, in its original or modified form, and swivel rowlocks. Nor will they permit a man coached in that style or accustomed to the ease of swivels to row in the Oxford boat. Cambridge are and have been for some years very different. Hence their annual victories.[in a subsequent letter, published Mon 8 June, S. J. Spurling corrected and elaborated on some of his comments about Grand winners]
I am, &c.,
S. J. Spurling
Thames Rowing Club, Putney, May 30.
|B:||W. K. Evers (Kingswood)|
|2:||G. C. C. Pepys (Winchester)|
|3:||A. F. Martin (Bolton)|
|4:||A. B. Hodgson (Eton)|
|5:||G. Huse (Hammersmith)|
|6:||H. L. Birch (Charterhouse)|
|7:||G. L. Robinson (Wolverhampton)|
|S:||K. G. Motz (Marburg University)|
|C:||R. Stephenson (Barnsley)|
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