The Oxford Summer Eights begin to-day when Trinity, who finished head of the river in 1939, start again in that position.
Eights at Oxford are much what they might be expected to be in this first year of peace. They are not so polished, not so strong, as in 1939. But they are lively, there is a fair sprinkling of quite reasonable crews, and in some respects there is more character about the rowing than there was shortly before the war. There is more uniformity, and it is most noticeable that nearly all the crews have tried to revert to the more traditional style of Oxford rowing, rather than copying, somewhat unsuccessfully, what Jesus do on the Cam. This may not make for faster crews in Eights Week, but it should benefit Oxford rowing in the long run.
Trinity start head. Lively but very ragged in the bows, they look strong and, unless they get caught early on the course, have a good chance of retaining their position. R. M. T. Raikes, the new O.U.B.C secretary, is rowing well at seven. They should be safe until next Tuesday or Wednesday, when Oriel or Magdalen may threaten them. St. Edmund Hall are laborious, and likely to be bumped by New College. In fact they are in danger of losing four places. New College are lively and neat but sadly lacking in horse power. R. M. A. Bourne is rowing excellently at six, but thought they should bump St. Edmund Hall they will be hard put to it to escape Oriel and Magdalen.
Oriel have three blues in the stern, and are obviously the most polished crew. But they have weakness further up the boat and seem sluggish. Probably they will be fastest over the second half of the course, and it is there that they are likely to catch New College.
Christ Church are lively but rough. They will probably fall to Magdalen or St. John's but may themselves bump St. Edmund Hall. Balliol are likely to fall to Magdalen, St. John's, and Exeter, and may be further endangered by University College or Corpus if they come up from the second division. Magdalen have considerable potentialities. If they attain their best they are capable of going head, but they will be hard put to it to catch Oriel unless they are quick off the start. St. John's are rough but have great dash and a good hard finish. They should make at least three bumps. Brasenose, Pembroke, and New College II will all have to fight to stay in the first division. In the second division, University College, Corpus, Magdalen II, and Merton seem the most likely bump-makers.
Trinity College, admirably stroked by Major R. Wakeford, V.C., again rowed over at the head of the river yesterday, but they were hard pressed by Oriel, who at one time were only a quarter of a length away.
The summer eights finished at Oxford yesterday with Trinity head of the river after a week which did not produce many surprises in the first two divisions. Trinity were a convincing and deserving head. Challenged by Oriel on Monday, they escaped and were never again seriously in danger.
Oriel were disappointing, very short forward, spongy in their stroke, and they did not fulfil their earlier promise. Magdalen were almost certainly the fastest crew at Oxford. A tendency to sluggishness cost them a bump on the second night, and though they improved during the week's racing, they were not quite fast enough to catch Oriel. New College had quite a good turn of speed, but little power behind it, and finally they lost one place. St. John's deteriorated during the latter stages of practice and ought to have been fast enough to bump St. Edmund Hall, who actually kept away from them quite comfortably last night.
University College came convincingly into the first division with six bumps, and Magdalen II also regained the position they held so long before the war, of the highest second eight and the only second eight in the first division. Corpus and Merton both fulfilled their promise of making bumps. On the whole the week's racing confirmed the previous impression that there was quite a lot of good material on the Isis, promising well for the future.
Balliol III made a record for the college by making eight bumps.
New College II, Worcester, and Merton rerowed in Division II of Summer Eights at Oxford yesterday, when Worcester bumped New College II.
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