Merton II chasing St. Catherine's in the second division of the Oxford University summer eights which were continued on Saturday.
The Oxford University Summer Eights, inaugurated in 1818, [sic] will be begun to-day and last for the usual six days.
Balliol managed to stave off the challenge of Merton College when the Oxford University Summer Eights opened in ideal weather on the Isis yesterday, but the challengers were about a canvas away at the finishing-post after a great struggle.
Magdalen, reputed to be the fastest crew on the river, disposed of New College in the Gut and are now behind Merton.
Merton's Challenge ResistedThe weather deteriorated (the red flag was hoisted on the O.U.B.C. boathouse) and there was a much smaller attendance for the second day of the Oxford University Summer Eights in which 24 bumps and one over-bump were recorded.
In the morning University III and Trinity III re-rowed in division V and the bump claimed by the former on Thursday was disallowed, while in division III Christ Church II were awarded the disputed bump over Brasenose II.
There was another close race for the headship with Balliol finishing about a quarter of a length ahead of Merton and Magdalen some distance behind.
Keen Struggle for HeadshipThe five top crews in the Oxford University Summer Eights rowed over on Saturday for the second night in succession. But nothing could be more deceptive than that bare statement, for there was, in fact, a titanic struggle between the first three boats.
Magdalen, once again showing the pace which enabled them to catch New College so early on the first night, closed up rapidly on Merton, and were already threatening them in the Gut, while Merton were closing, surely but less quickly, with Balliol. Up the Green Bank Magdalen continued to gain ground steadily, until it seemed that they must make their bump before the O.U.B.C. There can have been no more than 6ft. between the boats at the crossing, and there may well have been even less. As the crews passed the boat houses Magdalen were within striking distance, but they were getting ragged, while Merton were making superhuman efforts to save themselves and to catch the leaders. It soon became apparent that Magdalen had shot their bolt. Balliol, too, had nothing to spare, but it looked as though they would just get home. And so it turned out, the three crews finishing with perhaps a third of a length of clear water between each other.
New College and Trinity also rowed over, well outside their distances, but University College made their third successive bump, at the expense of Christ Church. University College are a powerful crew, if not very lively, and it looks as though they may make things uncomfortable for Trinity and New College before the end of the racing. If so it will be possible to judge how they compare with the three leading crews.
So far the racing has fully confirmed the impression, given in practice, that it is a lack of strokes which is most apparent among this year's crews. There is no shortage of plucky racers, but there is an absence of rhythm which reduces the rowing to a matter of physical strength and courage.
Balliol Scrape HomeThe usual close race between the three headboats Balliol, Merton, and Magdalen was repeated on the fourth day of the Oxford University Summer Eights.
At the boat house Magdalen were only a few feet from Merton and Merton had a canvas length from Balliol. Along the Wall the distances were slightly increased and in fact there was no change between any of the first eight crews. University College, by failing to catch Trinity, were deprived of a bump for the first time in the four days' racing.
Magdalen Catch MertonAfter trying unsuccessfully for four nights Magdalen at last made their bump on Merton yesterday. The wind had veered round so that it was slightly ahead instead of following and this may have helped them.
But they must certainly have rowed much better than on the preceeding nights, for they were overlapping by some quarter of a length as the came up the Green Bank and they made their bump about half-way between the Long Bridges and the O.U.B.C. The bump was certainly well deserved and hard-earned, but one must be sorry for Merton, who had fought Magdalen off so gallantly on three occasions and who, yesterday, were within feet of making their own bump on Balliol.
Merton's proper place on the river was, no doubt, second and, had they gone down to Magdalen earlier, it seems probable that they would have finished there, for Balliol could hardly have kept away from them without the advantage of rowing in smooth water at the head of the river. Balliol, too, have rowed most gallantly and will certainly put up a great fight to-night, but, barring accidents, there is every possibility that Magdalen will go head.
During the interval before the first division started, the R.N.L.I. lifeboat Elizabeth Wills Allan, which has been showing the flag up the river, made her way down the course on her way back to London.
Magdalen Head of the River
Seven Bumps for OrielAs was to be expected Magdalen went head of the rvier at Oxford yesterday, which was the closing day of eights week. They bumped Balliol at the top of the green bank.
Magdalen have not finished at the head of the river since 1932, but they are no strangers to the position of honour, for this year's success bring their total to 15, one more than New College, but still three fewer than Brasenose, who have finished head 18 times. Magdalen could hardly be called a really good crew, for they were inclined to be clumsy, and did not seem to be good stayers. None the less, they were considerably the fastest crew at Oxford for three or four minutes. On three successive nights they were within striking distance of Merton, only to drop back after the O.U.B.C., a fact for which H. M. C. Quick, rowing seven in the Merton crew, was in no small degree responsible.
Credit for BalliolBut, on Monday, Magdalen excelled themselves, and Merton, who were the second fastest crew at Oxford, at last succumbed. Since it was only fitness and the greatest determination which had kept Balliol away from Merton, they had little chance of evading Magdalen last night. But Balliol, too, deserved the fullest credit for staying head for so long with an inexperienced crew. Their mainstay was the American D. Cadell, and one could not but wonder what contribution he might have made to Oxford rowing if the University coaches had persevered with him in 1951.
Oriel made their seventh bump yesterday to finish ninth on the river, while Wadham completed six bumps and could, no doubt, have made more if they had had the opportunity. Other successful crews were University and Queen's, who made four bumps each and Hertford, who made six, while Balliol II went up seven places.
Altogether it was a successful eights week, with plenty of hard racing, even if there was a general lack of finesse. Even the weather was kind in that the storm did not finally break until the end of the first division racing last night.
|B:||P. G. P. D. Fullerton||11st 8lb|
|2:||A. N. Binder||10st 12lb|
|3:||R. M. Van Oss||13st 2lb|
|4:||J. H. Richards||12st 12lb|
|5:||L. P. Shurman||13st 4lb|
|6:||D. P. Wells||13st 4lb|
|7:||J. A. Gobbo||12st 9lb|
|S:||H. B. Holt||12st|
|C:||R. H. Oake||9st|
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