Title may lie between Keble and OrielBy Jim Railton
The head title in the Oxford University Boat Club summer eights which start today seems to lie between the holders, Keble, and last year's runners-up, Oriel. Keble have two Blues on board, Wiggin and Moran, while Oriel boasts a stern four powered by four Isis oarsmen. There is no form guide on either crew and the outcome of today's opening race between the two may well provide the key to Saturday's title.
Talent this year seems to be either well spread out or thinly disguised. St Edmund Hall, also with four Isis oarsmen on board, look set to climb the ladder to third place. New College, with the Australian Blue, Michelmore, are also expected to make progress. Pembroke, poised in the middle of division II with the Blues Wood and Crawford, must surely have strong ambitions for a place in the top league.
Oriel's fast finish gives them sweet revengeBy Jim Railton
Oriel gained sweet revenge in the opening day of the Oxford University Boat Club summer eights yesterday, overhauling the head crew, Keble, just 200 yards from the finish. Last year, Keble went ahead [sic] at Oriel's expense on the first day. Keble were just holding their distance coming out of the Gut, but a sustained, powerful attack by Oriel provided the dividend of the day.
Oriel are now well established as favourites for the Head on Saturday. Christ Church, in third place, were the only crew in division one to row over, with every other eight in the first division including the sandwich boat, Exeter, making a capture or surrendering a place.
It was a surprisingly civilized day for the first day of the summer eights. There was hardly a complaint lodged all day, and just one overbump in division five. Women gained access to the Oxford summer eights for the first time last year, and were represented in one division. This year, there are 25 enthusiastic crews on the river in two divisions, and the Head crew, Lady Margaret Hall, could be under threat today, having just held off Wadham by a quarter of a length on the first day.
St Edmund Hall now challenging KebleBy Jim Railton
Oriel consolidated on Wednesday's advance on Keble to take head position when the proved their superiority again with over two lengths gain on their opposition yesterday. Keble today face a new threat with St Edmund Hall advancing to third position at the expense of Christ Church. Other first division gains were New College, Lincoln and Merton, over Balliol, University College and Wadham.
At the top of the women's division, Wadham went head at Lady Margaret Hall's expense, catching their opponents at the bottom of the Green Bank. On Wednesday St Hilda's [II] were late at the start, and as a consequence wre disqualified losing a place to St Anne's [II]. Yesterday, St Anne's, no doubt feeling guilty at their easy gain, failed to turn up so St Hilda's are back to where they started.
Oriel hold Keble at bay to stay at topBy Jim Railton
While Oriel rowed over at the head of Division I yesterday, Keble easily survived the threat posed by St Edmund Hall. So Oriel, having dethroned Keble on the first day and held them at bay for two more, must win this year's Head title. Only New College, Merton and Exeter made progress in the top league yesterday.
There was chaos in Division III when Balliol II and St Edmund Hall II interlocked and blocked the river. In consequence it will be early or no breakfast for six crews facing a rerow this morning.
At the top of the women's division, the head crew, Wadham, face a final threat from St Hugh's, who advanced to second place at the expense of Lady Margaret Hall. St Anne's graced the occasion with their presence yesterday, and their second eight officially registered a hit on St Hilda's II. Previous to that, the chart hopping between the two has been a result of a disqualification and failure to appear.
Brave Keble have no answer to OrielBy Jim Railton
Oriel, who went to head of division one on the opening day of the Oxford Summer Eights predictably held on to the title on Saturday. Oriel's overall power with four Isis oarsmen on board and the Oxford cox, Fail, proved too much for last year's head crew, Keble, although they had two Blues, Wiggins an Moran, on board. On Saturday, Oriel opened up their station distance again over a valiant Keble, who could provide now answer.
St Edmund Hall and New College predictably finished in third and fourth positions, followed by Balliol. Christ Church went down to sixth place while brave Merton conquered every day of the competition to finish seventh. Wadham won the ladies' head title.
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