A High StandardAs was to be anticipated, the effect of having won the University boat race two years in succession is plainly reflected in the best five or six crews rowing in the Summer Eights to-day. It is a long time since the standard in the first division was so high and there is very little doubt that Trinity are the best Oxford College crew since the Christ Church crew of 1925.
What is not so plain, perhaps, is where Oxford will find her material for winning University crews from 1940 onwards, unless there are plenty of ready-made oarsmen coming up from the public schools. The second and third cews of the more prominent rowing colleges, excepting New College, are of a very low standard and, together with almost all crews below the first division, betray a sad lack of sound coaching in the principles of rowing. At Cambridge the lower crews in May week not only row better together, for they have a longer period of training, but their leg work, sliding, and wrist work have for the past ten years been far superior to anything to be seen in comparable crews at Oxford this year.
New College start head of the river this year. With the exception of Blair-Fish, who rowed at No. 5 in the Trial Eights, they are a young and inexperienced crew. No fewer than three freshmen are rowing and yet it is not going to be easy to displace them from their position. They are using Mr. Lowe's swivels and they look like an old style Eton crew. They have nice straight backs, a really lively catch, and a fine steady swing. Bourne, though he was considered too light for the Eton eight, has indeed much of his famous father's quality as a stroke. If it be accepted that, to be certain of a bump, a crew must be at least 10 seconds faster than New College over the course, it will take a very fast crew to get the better of New College once they are through the Gut. Bourne is ably backed up by Robinson at No. 7 and by Graham at No. 6; while Blair-Fish brings experience and a steady swing to their assistance at No. 5.
The third crew, Balliol, are well together, and are well stroked again by Jones, who rowed in the trial Eighs. There are no outstanding men behind him. Though the best has been made of the available material it is not likely that Balliol will keep their position. Brasenose have Cherry rowing magnificently at No. 7, and it almost seems as if there were six ghosts of that great oarsman behind him. He has imbued them with his style, but not with his fire, and once again it is shown that it takes more than one heavyweight, however fine, to create a fast crew. Nelson-Edwards, who stroked Shrewsbury two years ago, give the crew splendid rhythm, and Harper, like all St. Edward's School boys, rows admirably at No. 5, but the crew cannot row at much more than 34, and their pace is not worthy of their style. They, too, are not likely to keep their place.
The two fastest crews, Trinity and Oriel, start sixth and fifth respectively, and St. Edmund Hall behind them must be nearly, if not quite, as fast as Magdalen over a short distance. Although, in very fast conditions, Trinity have reduced the record for the course, standing since 1920, from 6min. 18sec. to 6min. 8sec., it is doubtful whether even they are as fast as Oriel for three minutes. Oriel, admirably stroked by Hodgson, the University stroke, who last year was incapacitated, are beautifully rhythmical and perfectly together. They can average 40 strokes a minute for three minutes, and they have the smoothness of J. H. T. Wilson's Pembroke crews. Mure is once more rowing admirably at No. 7, Pepys, who just missed a Blue, is at No. 3, Martin at No. 5 was in the crew four years ago, and Whalley is rowing very well and compactly at No. 6. There seems a very fair chance that Oriel will go ahead [sic], and if they do and Trinity follow them up, it will be interesting to see whether they have sufficient pace over the second half of the course to stay there. Hodgson has shown himself a very clever stroke in the past as well as a dashing stroke in this crew and he may be expected in such circumstances to nurse his crew safely up the Barges.
A Fine CrewThe possibility of Trinity overbumping Balliol on the first night, however, must not be entirely overlooked. Such an occurrence, so high on the river, would be amost unprecedented, but Trinity are a very fine crew. There is no weakness in the bows, their leg work is exactly together, and they are a powerful, hard-working lot. Hilary, the Shrewsbury second eight stroke, gives them good rhythm. M. Rowe is a quick, hard-working No 7. Waldron and Young, the two Blues, are rowing well at No. 6 and No. 5, as also is Stockton at No. 4. Mr. Kitchen has reason to be proud of this crew, as has the coach of St. Edward's School, now one of the greatest nurseries of Oxford rowing, of the St. Edmund Hall crew that follows. This crew, too, is very fast off the mark and has a good long swing to carry it home. It may well follow Oriel and Trinity up a place or two. Burrough is rowing well at No. 5, but Slemeck at No. 7 is fresher and is as responsible as Burrough for the general liveliness and swing of the crew. His rowing encourages great hopes of him for next year's Oxford crew. Dashwood, last year's stroke, is rowing No. 2 this year. Cary, of Westminster, is at stroke and Clark, at No. 6, who learned his rowing at Oxford, links up Slemeck and Burrough well.
There are no other really good crews. Pembroke, starting 10th, are well stroked by Bingham and may make bumps as they command a high rate of striking. Christ Church, who start behind them, are rough and clumsy but very hard-working, and they, too, should regain some of the ground that they lost last year.
University seem to be the most workmanlike crew in the Second Division, though Worcester and St. Peter's Hall both have a turn of pace. The latter are almost certain to make bumps starting where they do. Jesus are rowing the style of their sister college at Cambridge.
The demands of Oxford College crews at Henley are no longer so certain to prevent the formation of a Leander crew for the Grand Challenge Cup as at one time seemed probable. There may well be some sufficiently good Oxford oarsmen available and, granted a little support from Cambridge and from graduates of both Universities, there is a definite prospect of raising an eight quite fast enough to prevent the Grand Challenge Cup from going abroad for the third year in succession [in the event, there was no Leander entry, but neither were there any overseas entries, and the GCC was won by London RC].
St. Catherine's II recorded and over-bump in the bottom division.
[Div I] New College, who have started Head of the River on 13 occasions, maintained their position after an interesting race. Magdalen gained considerably on them in Iffley Reach and coming out of the Gut were within less than a length. New College rowed well along the Green Bank and Magdalen were a length behind at the Wall. Magdalen spurted hard and went all out after passing the Cherwell but New College, rowing well within themselves, held them and passed the Post nearly a length ahead... Trinity, who had been credited with phenomenally fast times in practice, soon had the measure of Oriel and caught them coming up the Green Bank.
Trinity II, in the third division, had bad luck, as on getting into their boat at the University Boathouse their No. 7 slipped and cut his knee severely. As there was not time to get a substitute they did not go to the post.
In the fourth division Worcester II, who were bumped by Hertford II, swung across the river and held up several crews. Which, if any, of the bumps recorded will be allowed must depend on the decision of the O.U.B.C. Committee.
[Div I] Brasenose were unable to keep away from Trinity and were bumped at the Ferry. St. Edmund Hall made a great effort to overhaul Oriel and were within a few yards coming out of the Gut, but failed to maintain their effort and Oriel reached home nearly a length ahead [although see the following report].
Two disputes were settled by the O.U.B.C. late on the previous [Friday] evening. In the one St. Edmund Hall claimed having made a bump over Oriel at the Long Bridges, and this was allowed. In the other [crews] who were in the mix-up the previous afternoon, were ordered to re-row with the result that Balliol III bumped Christ Church III coming out of the Gut. There was another mishap in the Fifth Division on Saturday, when Wadham II bumped Exeter III, and Balliol IV, who were unable to get clear of the two boats, were bumped by Corpus II. Balliol IV have appealed.
New College retained the Headship, but there was a surprise when Trinity paddled over, Magdalen having been bumped by Balliol coming through the Gut.
New College still HeadAfter their success over Magdalen on Saturday there seemed a possibility that Balliol might give New College a hard race for the Headship, but New College held them all the way up and Balliol, in turn, may experience no little anxiety to-day when Trinity, who made short work of Magdalen, start behind them.
The appeal of Balliol IV against a bump by Corpus II on Saturday came before the Committee, who ordered a re-row. The result, however, was the same, Corpus catching Balliol after a hard race 100 yards from the winning post.
A Challenge from TrinityNew College retained their position at the Head of the River yesterday when Summer Eights were continued at Oxford.
Trinity again gave proof of their excellence, bumping Balliol just as they were coming out of the Gut, and their prospects of securing the Headship to-night are very promising. St. Edmund Hall also did well to catch Magdalen.
[Div IV] Trinity II rowed over for the first time. Magdalen III, who followed, had bad luck when, above the New Bridge, one of the crew lost his oar with the result that they had to stop rowing, and were overtaken by St. Peter's Hall II. New College III had to make a wide detour and in consequence Pembroke II bumped them. New College subsequently lodged an appeal. [presumably turned down]
Trinity Head of the RiverTrinity gained the Headship of the River at Oxford yesterday when the Summer Eights were concluded. They bumped New College at The Willows, and so took a position which they had not held since 1864.
[Div III] Brasenose II were losing to Christ Church II who, however, were overtaken by Queen's II at the crossing [although it seems this was later overturned — see note at top].
My old college, Trinity, has gone head of the river for the first time since 1864. It would be interesting to know if there is anyone alive who witnessed the Eights, or, better still, who rowed in one of the college eights, in that year
Mr. B Cozens-Hardy, Norwich
The names of the winning Trinity crew of 1864 are inscribed on the Head of the River cup now in the possession of the College, and no doubt Mr. Cozens Hardy can obtain them from the Bursar, who is also likely to kow if any of the crew are alive to-day. The inscription is one of the first on the cup, which was presented about two years previously.
Mr. Reginald Jones, London N.W.11.
|B:||D. J. Graham (Marlborough)|
|2:||A. O. L. Stevens (Tonbridge)|
|3:||R. C. Furlong (Wellington)|
|4:||J. S. Stockton (Shrewsbury)|
|5:||H. M. Young (Westminster)|
|6:||F. A. L. Waldron (Shrewsbury)|
|7:||M. W. Rowe (Eton)|
|S:||R. H. Hillardy (Shrewsbury)|
|C:||P. N. Drew-Wilkinson (Rottingdean)|
|B:||G. L. Y. Radcliffe (Westminster)|
|2:||J. R. Dumas (Radley)|
|3:||R. Blackwell (Winchester)|
|4:||D. W. Geive (Shrewsbury)|
|5:||J. M. Blair Fish (Dauntsey's School, Lavington)|
|6:||N. F. D. Graham (Eton)|
|7:||J. A. Robinson (Eton)|
|S:||R. M. A. Bourne (Eton)|
|C:||F. R. N. Nabarro (Nottingham H.S.)|
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