Eights Week — The Summer Eights began in dull weather at Oxford yesterday. This picture, taken by a staff photographer, shows the leading boats in the Third Division just after passing The Gut. Trinity easily maintained their position as the Head of the River.Actually the photograph shows the top of the division, led by Merton, entering The Gut and, in the background, the New Bridge — the concrete footbridge built in 1937 later to be replaced by Donnington Bridge.
Oxford College rowing this summer certainly reflects the defeat of the University in the Boat Race. It is never easy to produce a really fast and polished crew in little more than three weeks. This summer, however, the quality of the crews below the first half of the second division is poorer than usual, and many of the crews towards the top of the first division, though they may have fairly strong men in the stern of the boat, have very weak bow oarsmen. Again there is a general inability among the crews to row the really fast stroke that is so vital in bumping races, and swivel rowlocks have failed to bring with them the smoothness and ease that they should. Indeed, it looks as if there were far more freshmen from non-rowing schools participating in the races than in most years.
Last year the Trinity College crew that rowed Head of the River was the best Summer Eight crew seen at Oxford since 1925 and possibly since the War. The crew that has succeeded it ought to stay Head of the River, but it is many lengths slower than last year's crew. Hillary is stroking. Furlong is rowing crisply and neatly at No.7, and Waldron and Stockton are rowing at No.6 and No.5 respectively. Yet the crew has little of the leg-drive and quick wristwork of last year's eight and, though very much shorter at the finish, the men are not together and therefore cannot row the same fast stroke. Stockton has fortunately recovered his form and is once more one of the best oarsmen at Oxford, but he alone cannot make a crew really fast.
New College, who start second, do not give the impression of being able to bump Trinity, though they are certainly better together and row their finish out more firmly. Bourne is stroking and stroking them well, but he is trying to set the crew a standard which all the men are not able to follow. Robinson, at No.7, is rowing a good firm blade and is backing Bourne up well. He has rowed well in this position in the Isis crew, and his blade belies a rather awkward wooden swing. Gieve, a trial eightsman, is rowing solidly at No.6, and Blair-Fish at No.5, yet the crew has not quite enough power and life. New College rowing is, however, plainly on the upgrade, for the second cew is nearly as stylish as the first and nearly as fast. It is, indeed, the only second crew which looks experienced and well-coached.
A Deceptive CrewBalliol start third and, rowing in the same style as last year, once more they are a deceptive crew. Individually they are the least promising crew in the first division. There seems to be no potential trial eightsman, let alone a Blue, in the whole crew, yet they alone are well together, possibly because they have a very controlled swing and do not overreach forward. At any rate, their times in practice make it look as if they might retain a position, which they certainly would not do if strength and style were all that mattered.
St. Edmund Hall, with Slemeck, the new President, rowing at No.7, have been coached by Mr. G. O. Nickalls, and with their fixed tholepins and straight backs are rather like a crew of 10 years ago. Matthew, the stroke, learned his rowing at St. Edward's, the nursery of so many good oarsmen nowadays. He give the crew a good deal of life and certainly Slemeck is rowing better now than he ever has before. James, who rowed for Westminster in 1935 and 1936, is a hard working No.6. He and the crew generally, except Slemeck, row the finish rather light, but St. Edmund Hall are more likely to make bumps than any other of the first five crews. Magdalen should have been the best crew at Oxford, but unfortunately Forbes, the best oarsman, and Stewart, the hardest workker in the University crew, have both decided that they have no time to row. This has weakened the crew considerably and, as was the case last year, they are far from being together. Doughty, stroke of the 1938 Isis crew, is stroking with a good deal of steadiness, but without much elasticity. Garton, the ex-president, this year is rowing at No.6. Burnell, the other old Blue, is at No.5, but he is not giving the men behind him much length at the finish.
Magdalen, indeed, are in some danger from Oriel. Huse is rowing at No.7 with, perhaps, a shade too much length for the rest of the crew. Even Oriel have not had the luck to get quite together this year, and they rowed head for many years for this reason, yet they are one of the better crews and as usual their boat runs well. The same is true of Story, stroke of Christ Church, as of Huse. The men behind him leave him in the water at the finish and this makes it impossible to put much fire into a crew. Brasenose have been coached by Brigadier Gibbon, and, with Nelson-Edwards at No.7 and Baillieu, a promising freshman and son of an old Blue, at No.5, they are a lively crew. Exeter, behind them, are not a bad crew either. They know how to use their legs and have quite fair length in the water without being ponderous.
Corpus, without a Winser to stroke them, are in some danger from Pembroke, who have in Bingham, the University stroke, Winser's successor as a college stroke. Pembroke, one of the few crews still using fixed tholes, are not very well together behind Bingham, but he is a host in himself and he may be able to keep his light crew going long enough to make some bumps.
The best eight in the second half of the first division is unquestionably St. John's, who start bottom. This crew has a quick beginning and is well together. The men work hard and use their legs as they should do. It would be surprising if they do not make a number of bumps, and they deserve watching by those who choose next year's University crew. New College II are unlucky to lead the second division behind St. John's. Higher on the river they would do better, and the same is true of Worcester behind them. This is a crew that move their boat smoothly, and they have a fine heavyweight oarsman in Howard at No.5, who keeps the crew swinging. University are well stroked by Esplin, who stroked a trial eight.
Of the other crews in the second division, by far the best is Wadham. Robertson, their stroke. won the Wyfold Cup for London last year. His father and grandfather were Blues, and though he is very light he gives his crew a great deal of length. He is well backed up by Hendrie at No.6, another member of the London Wyfold crew, and the eight generally row with a crispness and polish rare so low on the river. Indeed, the crews between St. John's and Wadham, considering their position, are well up to the usual standard, if not above it, unlike the crews above and below them. It would appear that in the first division there will be fewer bumps than usual.
[Div V] Trinity III were well up with Queen's III at the time [that Queen's bumped out], and as they were unable to get clear St. Edmund Hall III rowed past them, which is equivalent to a bump. The latter went on, however, and were caught by Brasenose III at the top of the Green Bank. St. Edmund Hall claim that they bumped Trinity III and have lodged a protest against the bump by Brasenose.
[Div III] Merton II, with Trinity II well on to them at the time, bumped University College II at the New Bridge and Trinity II, having the good fortune to get a clear course, then went in hot pursuit of Keble II. They made a fine effort along the Wall and made their bump opposite Talboy's Raft, thus gaining three places at the expense of Keble II, who fell to the bottom place in the division.
[Div I] The race for the Headship was not very exciting as from start to finish Trinity never had to extend themselves. They paddled in six lengths ahead of New College
Trinity rowed over at the Head of the River without ever being in danger, but this evening they will have behind them St. Edmund Hall, who bumped New College. St. Edmund Hall have never before been so high on the river. The three crews in the fifth division who had been concerned in disputed bumps were ordered by the Committee to row yesterday in their original order.
The race for the Headship proved uninteresting as St. Edmund Hall failed to make any impression on Trinity, who, without extending themselves, finished nearly three lengths in front. Each of the Lincoln crews made two bumps.
Trinity retained the Headship easily, finishing well ahead of St. Edmund Hall. Eighteen bumps were made during the afternoon, but only one of them was in the First Division, St. John's gaining their fourth place at the expense of Exeter.
[Div IV] St. Catherine's, coming out of the Gut, were less than a quarter of a length in front of St. John's II, who appeared to make their bump at the Crossing. It was not acknowledged, however, and St. Catherine's passed the post in safety. Brasenose II, in the meantime, had been gaining on St. John's II and, after being half a length down at the Long Bridge, gained rapidly along the Green Bank and made their bump just before reaching the Cherwell.
Trinity again rowed over at the Head of the River, keeping well away from St. Edmund Hall. For the second evening in succession there was only one bump in the First Division and St. John's made it, this time at the expense of Brasenose.
There was a dispute in the Third Division, Brasenose II claiming to have bumped St. Catherine's before St. Catherine's had caught Oriel II. [Strangely, the decision seems to have been to give all 3 crews row-overs but there is no further mention in the following day's report]
The Summer Eights were concluded at Oxford yesterday in beautiful weather. Trinity, who started at the Head of the River, never had any difficulty in retaining their position. There was not a single bump yesterday in the First Division, in which St. John's, with five bumps in the six days, were one of the most successful crews [missing the bump on Magdalen 'by a few feet'].
Wadham II gained seven places during the week's racing and Trinity II and Balliol IV each had six successes. Corpus, Magdalen II, Queen's II, Keble II, and Exeter III each lost six places.
|B:||D. I. Graham (Eton)||11st 12lb|
|2:||W. Woodrow (Shrewsbury)||12st 5lb|
|3:||A. Tyser (Eton)||12st 9lb|
|4:||O. L. Stevens (Tonbridge)||11st 8lb|
|5:||J. S. Stockton (Shrewsbury)||13st 5lb|
|6:||F. A. L. Waldron (Shrewsbury)||14st 1lb|
|7:||R. C. Furlong (Wellington)||12st 12lb|
|S:||R. H. Hillary (Shrewsbury)||12st 1lb|
|C:||T. E. Yeo (Repton)||9st 1lb|
|St. Edmund Hall|
|B:||M. H. A. Boyd (Marlborough)||11st 2lb|
|2:||P. W. Smith (Leatherhead)||12st 2lb|
|3:||G. Worth (Wyggeston)||12st 5lb|
|4:||C. H. Jellard (St. Edward's)||13st|
|5:||B. A. Rogers (Brentwood)||12st 4lb|
|6:||R. C. T. James (Westminster)||13st 1lb|
|7:||A. G. Slemeck (St. Edward's)||13st|
|S:||P. H. Mathews (St. Edward's)||11st 5lb|
|C:||A. C. Wace (Shrewsbury)||8st 9lb|
Return to Bumps Index