Brasenose could challenge Oriel Eights headshipThe Oxford University Summer Eights, which start today on the Isis, offer tantalising rowing prospects over the next four days in both the men's and women's first divisions (a Special Correspondent writes).
Oriel, who start head, were beaten by 1¼ lengths by Brasenose, who start fifth, over 1,500 metres at Wallingford. Oriel's narrow escape in Torpids last term does not bode well and Brasenose could be in a position to challenge them by Saturday.
Osler House's women, with a strong complement of 1995 Blues, look fast and should survive at the head. Their strongest challenge could come from St Hilda's, in fifth, whose crew is composed entirely of members of the 1995 Oxford University WBC squad, with Abbie Chapman, the Boat Race cox, steering.
Brasenose launch headship ambition in styleThe top three crews rowed over on the first day of the Oxford University Summer Eights yesterday, but Christ Church, starting fourth, were caught by Brasenose, who could be in position to challenge Oriel for the headship on Saturday, coming out of the Gut.
Also in the men's first division, New College quickly bumped Keble and University crabbed, allowing Magdalen to score an overbump.
At the top of the women's divisions, the leading three crews also rowed over, but St Hilda's, whose boat is composed of members of the 1995 Oxford University squad, achieved an early contact with fourth-placed Somerville and can expect to despatch Pembroke as quickly today.
Oxford EightsPembroke bumped their way to the head of the river, but a query surfaced over the eligibility of their stroke.
Pembroke tighten grip on top placePembroke consolidated their position as head of Oxford Summer Eights. They kept a two-length lead over Oriel and heard that Joe Michels, their No 7. is still a junior member of the university. The programme today runs an hour early.
Pembroke ploy holds off OrielPembroke regained the Oxford University Head of the River title on Saturday, which the college last earned in 1872.
Now, unless grey areas in the race rules are rapidly cleared up, Pembroke's solicitors have established that the way is open to pack college eights with elite performers in the quest for a place on the winners' list.
Oriel backtracked on a declared earlier intention to do so and settled for an unimpressive crew that passed the boathouses two lengths behind the leaders.
With characteristic maturity, Osler House retained the women's headship and New College again resisted the potent force of St Hilda's.
At the top of the first division Oriel seemed in a less than sure position to retain the headship, with only one Isis rower and a lightweight in the boat and a Pembroke crew on bungline two headed by the OUBC President. On the first day Oriel rowed over but not without a considerable threat from the strangely powerful Pembroke boat. However, on day two Pembroke had an easy row, onto the headship they had not won for 123 years, when Oriel caught a crab under Donnington Bridge. Days 3 and 4 saw Pembroke and Oriel maintain their new positions without event on the river, although in both the boathouses and the newspapers various allegations flew, none of which proved correct. New College were the only other crew in the first division to make a significant move upward, winning blades by the final day. Worcester and Christ Church plummeted 3 places, both being bumped by a well coached Magdalen boat, while University went one better and took spoons by going down every day. Only S.E.H. managed to skirt incident and stayed put at 3rd on the river.
The Women's first division saw Osler-Green keep their laurels comfortably as head boat despite an expected threat from St Hilda's, who were staved off by a strong New College boat.
The Men's second division were joined for the first time in living memory [actually 1992–1993] by Keble who went from 11th to 15th, being caught on the last day by the steadily rising Exeter who are sure to enter, along with Keble, the first division this year. Lincoln, starting as sandwich boat, joined Keble in the ignominy of collecting spoons as did 3rd division boats such as New College II, Worcester II, Lincoln II [?], L.M.H. II [?] and for a third year running Oriel III.
Pembroke won by hard workFrom the President of the Oxford University Boat Club
Sir, your report (May 29) on Oxford University Summer Eights implies that Pembroke packed its boat with elite rowers and entered the competition unfairly. This is incorrect.
The dispute centred on one oarsman, Joe Michels, a junior dean at Pembroke for the past two years and currently a research fellow in condensed matter physics.
The question was solely whether Michels was a junior member of the university (automatically eligible for Eights) or a senior member (eligible for Eights with permission from a captains' meeting).
The university's published regulations clearly show that someone in Michels's situation is a junior member. The rules committee voted unanimously that this was the case and that he was eligible to row without further discussion. Oriel's threatened use of former members did not materialise because they were not current members of the university and therefore ineligible.
Far from being stuffed full of "elite performers", the Pembroke eight contained four freshmen, three of whom had never rowed before coming up to Oxford. Gutsy rowing and a year-long commitment to training bumped Oriel in 30 strokes and easily held them off over two days, not some devious ploy.
It is that sort of spirit that is revitalising Oxford rowing at all levels, from the Blue boat down through to the colleges.
From Mr Tim Waters
Sir, Pembroke were greatly helped by the willingness of our two Blues to row in the crew, a refreshing contrast to the all too familiar egotism of many university level oarsmen/women.
Unfortunately, speed on the Isis is a rare commodity and crews possessing it are often the target of malicious gossip or denigrating comment.
(Coach, Pembroke College Boat Club)
|B:||T. A. W. Jarratt||Magdalen CS|
|2:||S. J. Wootton||Bearsden Academy, Glasgow|
|3:||W. H. Wagner||Abingdon|
|4:||A. J. D. Pask||Leeds GS|
|5:||J. P. W. Walshe||Bryanston|
|6:||T. J. Minor||Vandyke Upper S & CC|
|7:||J. G. Michels||La Salle, USA|
|S:||J. B. McLanahan||Yale|
|C:||L. A. N. Hudson||U. Wales, Cardiff|
|Coach:||T. L. Waters|
|B:||Susie Noury||11st 10lb|
|2:||Sue Snape||11st 5lb|
|3:||Catherine Magill||12st 10lb|
|4:||Sophie Pilkington||12st 7lb|
|5:||Emma Haynes||10st 7lb|
|6:||Gillian Pottinger||9st 1lb|
|7:||Joanna Skillman||9st 7lb|
|S:||Denny Levett||10st 7lb|
|C:||Nick Schenker||8st 4lb|
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