Keble favouritesBy Jim Railton
Keble are strong favourites to retain the headship in this week's Oxford Summer Eights, starting today. If they do, it will be their fourth "head" in succession and a fitting achievement in their centenary year.
With three of this year's Blue boat — Lonsdale, Hall and Dale — and two of last year's Isis crew in the boat Keble have by far the most impressive line-up. Furthermore, they are tipped as most likely winners by their leading opponents, which could possibly be interpreted as a tactical ploy in a week promising serious fun and considerable business for the boat repairers.
Keble have made their training preparations at Wallingford, Godstow and Henley before returning to the home reaches for the final training under W. R. Fink, who rowed five in the 1965 Oxford crew. At Thames Ditton they were beaten by Eton in the final of the senior/junior eights; but on that occasion they were without their heavyweight six, A. J. Hall. They have made rapid progress since.
Keble's main opposition is expected from Christ Church, Oriel and Balliol, who start second, fourth and fifth respectively. Christ Church are once again coached by Harris and stroked by the Blue, J. K. G. Dart, and include C. R. W. Parish, the Isis oarsman.
Oriel, however, may well prove to be the dark horses in the competition and have planned their approach meticulously. They have even employed modern training techniques such as videotaped recordings of their training sessions; and are desribed as "rough but tough".
Balliol include three Blues in their crew — Tee, Higgs and Hawksley — with the Yale oarsman, J. Higham, at five. Rumours of dissensions among the Balliol crew are strongly refuted by their captain and stroke, J. Lister, in spite of this being a characteristic of successful boats in top class rowing. Coached by the Tasmanian, R. J. D. Gee, Balliol on form could dislodge boat Christ Church and Oriel; but I doubt that they will seriously challenge the Keble eight.
Keble maintain their headshipBy Jim Railton
Keble maintained their headship by cruising home two lengths clear of Christ Church on the opening day of the Oxford Summer Eights yesterday. There were, however, a few anxious moments for Keble's supporters as the leading crews emerged out of the Gut.
Christ Church, rating 36, were rapidly gaining on Keble's and had reduced their lead to three-quarters of a length. Lonsdale, the Keble stroke, sensing some danger, urged his crew into greater activity to win comfortably.
Oriel confirmed their reported good form by bumping St. Edmund Hall at the Stone and it should be an exciting contest when they compete against the House [Christ Church] today. A few strokes after Oriel's triumph University caught Merton and will certainly be in the hunt today, starting immediately behind Balliol.
Balliol had a thoroughly bad row but in spite of this managed to hold fifth position. Just off the start Hawksly caught a minor crab and a shipwreck on strokeside almost brought the crew into the bank with the result that the stroke's blade was damaged.
Other promotions in the first division were made by St. John's who caught Brasenose and Lincoln at the expense of Worcester.
Keble again lengthen in timeBy Jim Railton
Keble continued to give an impression of living dangerously in the Oxford summer eights yesterday by allowing Christ Church to creep up to three-quarters of a length in the Gut. The House stormed off the start at 42 to the leaders' 41 and made an immediate impression, but once again Keble lengthened just as danger threatened and came home three-quarters of a length clear.
Oriel, starting in third position, once again went off fast and progressively closed on the two leading crews. They began to rush their work, however, as they came out of the Gut and slowly died in the final straight. Balliol, as expected, caught St. Edmund Hall just out of the Gut but must row with greater sparkle today to make any impression on the leaders.
Jesus gave one of the most impressive performances of the day, anchored by D. R. Hunter at six, who has made a rapid recovery from a bad car accident six months ago. Starting second in the second division, they overhauled Worcester, but their attempts to gain a positive footing in the first division three-quarters of an hour later were frustrated. They made considerable ground on Lincoln, but Lincoln caught Brasenose, leaving Jesus to row over with two hard races in front of them today.
Keble draw awayBy Jim Railton
After the penultimate day of racing in the Oxford summer eights, there can be little doubt that Keble should have no trouble in retaining their headship with Christ Church, Oriel and Balliol finishing second, third and fourth, respectively.
Keble's captain, A. G. Burns, admitted that there had been some complacency among his crew on Thursday, but there was certainly no sign of it in the last minutes of yesterday's race. Off the start, the first three crews closed rapidly on each other with Oriel rating 44, making the most ground. Once again Christ Church closed to gap to half a length on Keble in the Gut but to do so found it necessary to rate 36 to the leading crew's 34.
Just out of the Gut W. R. C. Lonsdale, the Keble stroke, turned on the pressure and the head crew drew swiftly away to come home just over a length clear.
Oriel came into the home straight one length down on Christ Church but in spite of showing more control in the final stages than on Thursday could make no impression on the House.
Balliol, in fourth position, were again unimpressive consdering the talent on board and finished two lengths down on the Oriel crew. Balliol still aim to finish second, which displays exceptional optimism after their performances this week.
|B:||R. H. Blackwell (Durham C.)|
|2:||C. K. Z. Milne (Hampton G.S.)|
|3:||M. A. Skelton (Canford)|
|4:||A. G. Burns (St. Paul's)|
|5:||F. J. I. Dale (Emanuel)|
|6:||A. I. Hall (Hampton G.S.)|
|7:||W. N. G. Johnson (Radley)|
|S:||W. R. C. Lonsdale (Monkton Combe)|
|C:||R. P. Lowden (Sedbergh)|
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