St. Edmund Hall's powerful crews — First boat unlikely to be displacedWith five winning Blues, three winning Isis men, three Isis spares, and two junior trial caps, it is not surprising that St. Edmund Hall have two of the strongest college crews seen at Oxford for many a year.
The first crew start head of the river in the Summer Eights tonight, and nothing short of a catastrophe or a miracle is likely to displace them. Their second start 18th and could probably catch a dozen crews ahead of them. But their progress must depend, of course, on the luck of the racing.
Keble have one Blue, three men and a spare from Isis, and junior trials, and should be safe enough in second place. Christ Church have one Blue and three junior trials, and Lincoln one Blue and two junior trials, and there could be an interesting struggle here. Oriel, immediately behind them, have only two junior trials men, but a record of 12 bumps in succession over the past three years. They might advance further, but have probably found their level.
In the bottom half of the first division, the racing looks open. Merton are tipped to make bumps, but may not find it easy. Magdalen are poised precariously at the bottom of the division and, to avoid the ignominy of leaving it, must catch Exeter tonight. Otherwise, they are likely to find University, with two Isis men and all set to return to the first division, on their tails tomorrow.
St. Edmund Hall II are sure to rise and will be praying for an over bump, which they could well make if given the chance. That would enable them to reach the sandwich boat position, with the opportunity of two more bumps on the last night. Sandwich boat at the bottom of the second divsion, Pembroke, after a long spell in the doldrums, look as though they could well move up.
Success again for St. Edmund Hall — Headship held without difficultyThough Keble held them for a minute at the start, St. Edmund Hall had no difficulty in retaining the headship of the river at Oxford last night. They passed the O.U.B.C. at 36 a good three lengths clear of Keble, who were at 34. Keble in turn were some three lengths ahead of Christ Church, who were rating 33 and looking rather short.
Oriel closed quickly on Lincoln, and caught them before Donnington Bridge, which must give them at least a chance of catching Christ Church tonight. Queen's closed on Balliol, but not so fast as they lost ground to Merton, who came within six feet in the Gut. However, it took Merton until the O.U.B.C. to make their bump, by which time Balliol had drawn away from Queen's.
St. John's were within six feet of New College at the Gut, and caught them soon afterwards. Magdalen also came within six feet of Exeter in the Gut, but could not finish the job. They were still within striking distance at the O.U.B.C., but by this time University were threatening them. And it was University, not Magdalen, who pulled out the stops and made their bump about a hundred yards short of the finish.
Kindly fatesThe fates were kind to St. Edmund Hall II, for Hertford, immediately ahead of them, obligingly caught Brasenose below the Gut, which enabled St. Edmund Hall II to make their overbump on Trinity at the pink post. Trinity were then rating only 33 to St. Edmund Hall's 38, which speaks for itself. St. Edmund Hall II must have a fine chance of making two more bumps tonight.
Wadham overlapped Jesus in the Gut, and made repeated abortive shots the while Worcester were closing on them from behind. As far as the pink post it was touch and go, but Jesus just managed to keep away, and Wadham paid the penalty opposite the O.U.B.C., or to be more accurate, the acknowledged defeat at this point. Judging by the state of their rudder, Worcester must have hit them somewhere down the course.
Pembroke were surprisingly little more than their distance ahead of St. Catherine's at the O.U.B.C., but there was a six-length gap back to Balliol II. St. John's II were a length and a half behind Balliol, and there was another huge gap to Magdalen II.
Oriel crew keep up challenge — Possible threat to St. Edmund Hall.Summer Eights were continued at Oxford yesterday, but with a cold wind and the threat of rain summer seemed far away.
St. Edmund Hall seem virtually certain to hold their place at the head of the river. Yesterday they rowed through to finish three lengths ahead of Keble, who in most years would themselves be good enough to be at the head of affairs. Two lengths of clear water separated St. Edmund Hall and Keble at the top of the Green Bank with St. Edmund Hall striking 32 to 33 by Keble.
St. Edmund Hall's lower boats are making overbumps a speciality, the second, fourth and sixth crews all having made one. The fourth gained theirs in the re-row yesterday after Wednesday's dispute, but this effort was slightly marred when they were later caught by Hertford II.
The only crew which may give serious chase to St. Edmund Hall is Oriel. Yesterday they caught Christ Church below the Gut to continue a great performance. Starting in Eights Week of 1962 they have now risen 14 places in 14 successive days of racing, and today they may worry Keble.
The other bumps in division one were more or less as expected. Merton catching Balliol at the Long Bridges, St. John's overtaking Queen's along the Green Bank, and University catching Exeter below Weir's Bridge.
For St. Peter's this has been an unfortunate week. They have four boats on the river and for a second day all of them were bumped. Magdalen's three boats are hardly more lucky. For the first time, as far as anyone can trace, their first boat has dropped into the second division. They second Magdalen boat went down a place yesterday and the third boat, being overbumped by Keble IV, has lost four places.
Mixed success for Keble's ployIn an attempt to overtake St. Edmund Hall at the head of the river, or, more likely to avoid Oriel, the Keble first boat altered their rigging to give them an extra three-eighths of an inch outboard when the Summer Eights were continued at Oxford yesterday.
This made no difference to St. Edmund Hall, who again had three lengths of clear water at the finish. But Keble succeeded in holding off Oriel and were never in any real danger.
By catching Magdalen at the top of the second division and then bumping Exeter when they raced as sandwich boat, St. Edmund Hall second boat safely established themselves in the first division. It has been a triumphant week for the Boat Club, as, apart from the first boat at the Head of the River, the other seven boats have gained 18 places between them.
For Mansfield, near the bottom of the seventh division, it was an historic day as, for the first time in their history, they made a bump by catching St. John's V.
Two Crews in Class of their own — St. Edmund Hall never extended.Unfortunately there was no crew in the Summer Eights at Oxford capable of extending St. Edmund Hall, and they passed the O.U.B.C. at 35 on Saturday with at least four lengths of clear water behind them. They were smooth, strong, and competent, and my hope is that Henley will prove them also to be fast.
Keble, having relegated three Blues and a gaggle of trial caps to the third eight, well deserved to finish second. Although Oriel closed on them a little at the start Keble had a good three lengths in hand at the finish.
Oriel, with the genuine home product — nothing more distinguished than a couple of junior trials men — did well to catch Christ Church and Lincoln, showing what hard work and enthusiasm can achieve. Merton, in the same situation, came within half a length of making their fourth bump, at the expense of Christ Church.
St. John's did not have even one trial eights man to help them, and must be proud of their tally of victims — New College, Queen's, Balliol, and Lincoln. Starting lower, in the key sandwich boat position, University's success was expected, but none the less creditable.
Spectacular advanceThe most spectacular advance of all was by St. Edmund Hall, who made an overbump on Wednesday and two bumps on Friday, to gain a total of seven places. Their list of victims, Hertford, Brasenose, Trinity, Corpus, Magdalen, Exeter, and New College — all, of course, first Eights — reads like a Roll of Honour of the Head of the River crews of the past 100 years.
Apart from St. Edmund Hall and Keble, the standard was not high. The concentration of talent in these two colleges in the past few years has set them in a class of their own at Oxford for the time being. But there is, perhaps, a defeatist attitude in some other colleges.
It is too easy to blame failure on a shortage of ready-made oarsmen. The fact is that schools are sending more men to the university with at least some rowing experience than ever before. In all but a handful of colleges woefully little is made of them.
|St. Edmund Hall|
|B:||S. R. Morris (Radley)||12st 9lb|
|2:||H. M. Thomas (St. Edward's)||12st 12lb|
|3:||E. J. H. Gould (St. Edward's)||15st|
|4:||D. J. Mills (King's, Canterbury)||13st 10lb|
|5:||D. M. P. Barnes (King's, Canterbury)||13st 7lb|
|6:||H. W. Howell, Jnr (Yale)||14st 2lb|
|7:||R. D. Clegg (Tiffin)||12st 10lb|
|S:||E. S. Trippe (Yale)||13st 4lb|
|C:||R. Miller (Harrow)||8st 12lb|
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