Oriel face challengeThe first day of the Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis today could prove crucial for the head crews, Oriel and Somerville. Oriel's Leander-based training has been interrupted by the absence of crew members with the British squad and they face a stiff challenge from an excellent Pembroke eight stroked by Jo Michels. Somerville lack their former superiority, but Osler House, looking best among the women's crews, need to bump every day to reach the headship and may find their progress held up by a Pembroke bump in University, whose Torpid performed poorly.
Heavy rains threaten Oxford eightsCompetition on the second day of Oxford University Summer Eights today could be restricted to senior crews because of heavy rainfall (a Special Correspondent writes).
Before the last five divisions were rowed yesterday the National Rivers Authority informed officials that 70mm of rain had fallen in an hour in the Cotswold catchment area and advised no further navigation with the river rising.
The senior umpire, Adrian Smith, decided to continue, as the crews still to row were first eights and experienced enough to cope with the conditions, but he said that the situation would be reviewed this morning.
In the men's and women's top divisions Oriel and Somerville finished five lengths clear of Pembroke and Brasenose
Top crews defy conditionsAlthough the Isis was on red alert, the National Rivers Authority reluctantly allowed the top six divisions of Oxford University Summer Eights to be rowed yesterday (a Special Correspondent writes).
The fast stream ruled out the lower divisions from racing, but the river dropped during the day and a full complement may be able to take part today.
The organisers moved up the bung lines three places and ordered crews to spin above Haystacks to keep the boats well clear of the weirs.
The main confusion was the starting gun in the men's fourth division being fired 20 seconds early. It caught crews in various stages of preparedness, but the bumps made were allowed to stand.
Oriel and Somerville were again unchallenged in the men's and women's top division. Pembroke were one of five crews making bumps in the women's race and today start behind Somerville.
In the men's first division the top six crews all rowed over. Behind them Worcester continued their climb from ninth place with their second successive bump, on St John's.
New College, Worcester's victims on the opening day, fell back further when they were caught by Brasenose.
Wadham moved to the top of the second division by bumping Jesus, who started in the first division, and Trinity maintained their climb from the third.
Somerville and Oriel do well in fast laneThe third day of Oxford University Summer Eights was again restricted to the top four men's and two women's divisions because of a high and fast running stream on the Isis yesterday (a Correspondent writes).
It peaked at 10am which would have made conditions too risky for the less experienced crews, but officials are confident the full 13 divisions will be rowed today.
Generally crews have complied with umpires' orders on the stretches where the boats could safely spin, but they were ignored by New College and Keble, both fined £100.
Somerville, in the women's first division, finished four lengths clear of Pembroke, who will be challenged by Osler House today. Osler caught Brasenose, who were fined for late acknowledgement by their cox, and they are expected to make further progress with a third bump.
Oriel were in a class of their own at the head of the men's top division. The first five crews rowed over, but lower down Worcester, Brasenose and Magdalen made bumps.
Top crews hang on to their prizesBy a Correspondent
The four-day Oxford University Summer Eights ended on Saturday with the competition back to 13 divisions and Oriel and Somerville retaining the Headship of the men's and women's first divisions.
Neither crew was put to the test and the event developed into a contest for second place. In the men's top division, the first five places never changed, but there was some movement in the women's first division.
Osler House, starting in fifth place on Wednesday, bumped Pembroke to finish behind Somerville, but their failure to make progress on the first day ruined their chance of challenging the leaders.
The decision of the organisers to continue racing on Thursday and Friday while river conditions were tricky, due to torrential rain in the Cotswolds, was justified. Safety precautions on the fast stream were enforced.
Oriel's men and Somerville stayed at the head of Oxford University Summer Eights. Lower division crews rowed only two days because of high water.The article also includes a complete bumps chart.
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