Oriel under pressure on two frontsOriel face stiff opposition from Pembroke and New College when they defend the headship of Oxford University Summer Eights, which start on the Isis today.
In the women's divisions, Osler-Green look strong. Their winning Torpids crews has been strengthened by the return of rowers from the University squads and they should retain the headship.
Oriel and Osler-Green rowed over at the top of the men's and women's first divisions on the opening day of the Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis yesterday.
Oriel were pushed all the way by Magdalen, who closed to within half a length at the finish. Brasenose moved up to fifth after bumping St Edmund Hall.
Osler-Green were never troubled and were clearly in a different class in the women's top division. They were five lengths clear of St Catherine's at the University Boathouse. All top six women's crews rowed over, but Pembroke did gain an overlap on St Hilda's.
There were no changes at the top of the men's and women's first divisions on the second day of the Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis yesterday.
Oriel and Osler-Green finished well clear of Magdalen and St Catherine's but there were many positional changes in the women's first division. St Catherine's finished one length clear of New College; all those below them were involved in bumps.
In contrast, there were only two bumps in the men's top division. Exeter caught Balliol while, lower down the division, Keble rowed past Jesus, who steered into a bank.
The third day of the Oxford University Summer Eights races on the Isis yesterday produced another predictable procession at the top of the men's and women's first divisions; Oriel and Osler-Green are near certainties to retain their respective headships today during the final day of the races.
Lady Margaret Hall and Wadham are on course for their blades with their third bumps in the women's first division, and in the men's top division, Worcester bumped Jesus out of the division, a fate which befell Jesus's top crew in the women's races on the first day.
Champions defy all challengesOriel and Osler-Green retained the headships of the men's and women's first divisions of the Oxford University Summer Eights on Saturday, but the two races could not have been more contrasting.
When Osler-Green passed the University boathouse, no other boat was in sight. The next ten crews had all bumped out and 400 yards of clear water separated Osler from University and St Anne's — the only other crews still rowing — at the bottom of the division.
The men's race produced a close struggle between Magdalen and Oriel. Magdalen closed to half a length along the Green Bank, and a canvas after they passed the boathouse, but Oriel withstood the challenge and pulled away to finish half a length clear. Balliol caught Christ Church to return to the ninth position in which they started the week, while the rest of the division rowed over.
Eights Week 1997 saw some extremely exciting racing, particularly at the top of the men's first division, where Magdalen surpassed all expectations to push Oriel extremely hard on three out of the four days of racing. Oriel, though, remained Head, despite Magdalen closing to a third of a length at one stage. In the top two divisions, only one crew other than the Head crew won blades: Queen's came storming out of the third division to gain their bumps with clinical speed and efficiency. In so doing, they helped send Oriel II to the foot of the second division, where it is now just two places above New College II, the next highest second boat.
Keble and Worcester may well be crews to look out for this year, both having joined the first division last year. The year in general showed great fluidity, with no crew rowing over on all four days.
In the women's divisions, Osler-Green remained at Head with ease. St Catz, their immediate pursuers, never threatened and themselves succumbed to New College on the Saturday. Wadham and L.M.H. were the only other senior crews to win blades; again these may well be crews to watch this Eights.
|B:||F. F. A. Lepetit||Dulwich College|
|2:||J. C. Hubback||Oundle|
|3:||G. J. T. Wright||Shrewsbury|
|4:||S. Reece||Flint HC|
|5:||G. C. Warner||Magdalen Coll S|
|6:||S. W. Cottle||Shrewsbury|
|7:||H. Jayaram||King's, Chester|
|S:||T. C. MacMillan||Eton|
|C:||J. A. Redfern||Judd|
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