Favourites are hard to assessOriel are favourites to retain their headship in the Oxford Summer Eights, which starts today, but it is not easy to assess their form (Jim Railton writes).
One of the Boat Race mutineers of 1987, Dan Lyons, an American, has been sighted in the boat, having returned to Oxford to complete his examinations. He has been declared in statu pupilari by the Oxford University Boat Club Committee.
Oriel today will also have the Olympian, Terry Dillon, on board but before the weekend he is scheduled to joing the British national squad in Duisburg, West Germany. Oriel's line-up also includes the Blues Richard Hull and Guy Blanchard.
Oriel's immediate pursuers, New College, have the British international, Tom Cadoux-Hudson, on board.
New College to challenge Oriel's status
Oriel will set off this evening as Head of the River in the Oxford Summer Eights, a position they have held, except for a brief hiccup in 1985 and 1986, since 1978.
Stroked by the Blue, Richard Hull, with another Blue, Guy Blanchard, behind him, Oriel looked only a moderate crew recently but have since come on well and are expected to maintain their status.
However, the standard of the first division looks high, and New College, with their world bronze medallist and Blue, Tom Cadoux-Hudson at 6, will certainly be strong challengers, while University and Christ Church could also be fast.
Lower down, Hertford, stroked by this year's winning Boat Race president, Mike Gaffney, with Paul Gleeson at 6, and St John's, led by this year's Oxford stroke, Richard Thorp, both have pace.
In the women's division Somerville were convinced they could depose Osler House but as they now have injury problems, the outcome is less certain.
Oriel easily row over as headBy Jim Railton
The opening of the Oxford Summer Eights yesterday was postponed for almost an hour when hailstones, thunder and lightning made rowing impossible. The storm came when novice crews were on the river.
The run-off stream from the fields caused difficulties for coxswains at the start, too. They had to overcompensate pointing on to the floodwater, otherwise they would have run into the bank. Considering the difficulties, the coxswains performed well. Another potential hazard yesterday afternoon was the invasion of the river by driftwood.
Oriel, stroked by Richard Hull with the Blues, Guy Blanchard and Terry Dillon, and not forgetting the former United States world champion, Dan Lyons, on board, rowed over comfortably at the head of the men's first division.
Oriel opened up an appreciable gap on the second placed crew, New College, who themselves held off University in third place. The surprise of the day, however, was St John's overhauling Hertford, who were strongly fancied to rise rapidly.
In the women's top division Osler House not only held onto their lead but also in fact opened up a gap of some three lengths over their immediate pursuers, Somerville. Osler House looked destined to row over yet again as head crew on Saturday.
St John's in early impact
By a Special Correspondent
St John's quickly caught Hertford and made a bump within the first minute of the last, storm-delayed division of the Oxford Summer Eights.
This was the only event to disturb the starting order at the top of the men's divisions, but Worcester were lucky to survive a sustained assault by Pembroke which intermittently brought the crews within five feet of contact.
Oriel had eight seconds clear water from New College at the head of the river and University improved on their starting distance without coming within realistic prospect of taking second place.
Osler House finished at the head of the women's divisions well beyond Somerville's reach. Wadham's impact on St Hugh's in the gut took them up into third place with every expectation of further ascent to follow.
Wolfson caught St Anne's on their 18th stroke but St Hilda's held of New College's challenge until the Green Bank.
Oriel stay in front of chasersBy Jim Railton
Oriel, in their quest for their seventeenth headship in the Oxford men's summer eights, continued to frustrate their immediate pursuers, New College and University, on the second day of the competition yesterday.
In the women's division, Osler House rowed over comfortably. Wadham are now second.
St John's win on second try
By a Special Correspondent
After a near miss on the Green Bank, it took a second assault at the New Cut for St John's to catch Keble and move up one more place in the men's divisions of the Oxford Summer Eights.
Balliol found no such difficulty bumping Hertford, but University's renewed attempt to dislodge New College from second place was unrewarded once more.
Magdalen's sustained pressure, too, was never sufficient to lift them back into the First Division and today they face another race as sandwich boat behind elusive Wadham.
Oriel rowed over unthreatened in first and last places in the men's divisions but between these extremities five college crews were taken down a place.
Somerville held on to second place in the women's divisions for longer than expected before finally succumbing to Wadham at OUBC. Jesus and Wolfson made two more swift bumps and New College finished with a generous overlap on Brasenose without converting it to a bump.
St John's continue to improve their lotBy a Special Correspondent
St John's caught Pembroke for their third bump in as many nights in the Oxford men's summer eights yesterday, and this decisive progress, into seventh place, was the most exciting action in the first division apart from Oriel's impact on Christ Church as both eights rowed to the start.
The collision caused the House to speedily evacuate into the only other bow-stroked boat available, and with both them and Oriel having already lost men to the British team for Duisburg, there was a deal of uncertainty about the last race of the day. But the top six crews retained their positions.
New College trouble Oriel
Oriel allowed New College to close to under a length at the finish of the Oxford Summer Eights but still remained head of the men's divisions. University lagged in third place with a margin of seven seconds at OUBC and Christ Church lay a further three lengths back.
The House was not only handicapped by releasing Johnny Searle to a British crew for Duisberg but by the loss of their own Empacher which Oriel unendearingly demolished in a dangerous manoeuvre on the way to the start.
St John's moved up a further notch by catching Pembroke in the gut where Balliol's long overlap on Keble was eventually converted.
Oriel retained the Head of the River in the Oxford Summer Eights, and there was no change in the order of New College, University, Christ Church and St Edmund Hall
St John's earned their blades with a fourth bump, on Worcester, to move into sixth place. In the women's divisions, Osler House rowed over head.
Oriel has comfortable row to bumps victoryOriel, the head crew, rowed over comfortably on the final day of the Oxford University summer eights on Saturday, leaving the four nearest challengers again involved in close combat which went unrewarded.
The Oxford Summer Eights ended with the first five men's crews unchanged from their positions at the start of the week. Oriel, New College, University, Christ Church and St Edmund Hall all reaching the finish evenly spaced.
The article includes the complete bumps charts and lists the names of the two head crews, although for the crew details here I've used the captions to the photos in the 1990 Eights Programme
Victory for Oriel and Osler HouseOriel comfortably held off New College to retain the Headship of the Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis, which ended on Saturday. In the women's first division, Osler House beat Wadham.
Eights Week 1989 saw extremes of weather conditions; the first day was halted for over an hour by a torrential downpour, while later days enjoyed much bright sunshine. Oriel retained the headship with a highly experienced but little practiced crew — the final line up trained only a handful of times before racing. The head crew was weakened by the loss of Terry Dillon to international duties on Friday and Saturday but the same could be said of Christ Church, who lost Jonny Searle, and were further handicapped by their valuable boat being, in the words of The Daily Telegraph, 'unendearingly demolished' in a collision with Oriel during Friday's warm-up. Despite this drama there were no bumps in the top five places.
Lower down the 1st Division Hertford's rise of recent years was halted by rapid bumps from St John's and Balliol. St John's were impressive throughout gaining four good bumps to carry them to sixth place.
In the 2nd Division Jesus and Brasenose rose strongly. The former won their blades whilst the latter failed only narrowly to enter the 1st Division — closing to less than a canvas behind Wadham on the final evening whilst rowing as sandwich boat.
The women's headship was held by Osler House rowing in a distinctive short, sharp, attacking style. Wadham's challenge looked strong, bumping St Hugh's and Somerville on the first two days. However in two races from second place they failed to make a significant impression on the leaders. St Hugh's looked a weak crew and, starting third, fell four places.
A strong University crew entered the 1st Division and won their blades with four impressively early bumps. They replaced St Hugh's II who fell 6 places to complete a sad week for the college.
The quality of racing was high this year despite the lack of change near the top of the orders. Lower down excitement in the form of bumps, and even a sinking, was plentiful.
|| B: ||
A. Borer || King's Coll, London
|| 2: ||
A. P. McNally || King's Coll, London
|| 3: ||
D. K. Lyons || US Naval Academy
|| 4: ||
J. J. C. Leyne || Lea
|| 5: ||
T. G. Dillon || King's Coll, London
|| 6: ||
J. J. Whitting
|| King Edward VI School, Stratford
|| 7: ||
G. B. Blanchard || KCS, Wimbledon
|| S: ||
R. A. Hull || Robinson Coll, Cambridge
|| C: ||
G. S. Radcliffe || Downing Coll, Cambridge
|| B: || Mel Blake
|| 2: || Susie Thomas
|| 3: || Katy Jeffery
|| 4: || Katie Smith
|| 5: || Nikki Jackson
|| 6: || Julie Getley
|| 7: || Jo Gurney
|| S: || Helen Cocker
|| C: || Ian Comaish
|| Coach: || Pete Sudbury
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