Oriel, although reinforced by the return of Charlie Humphreys, may be hard-pressed to defend the Oxford University Summer Eights headship when the event gets under way on the River Isis today. After their success in Torpids, a buoyant Pembroke crew will be looking to bump Oriel to claim the double.
Pembroke unable to close gap on OrielThe expected assault by Pembroke on Oriel did not materialise on the opening day of Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis yesterday (a Special Correspondent writes).
Oriel, who lost he headship of Torpids to Pembroke two months ago, pulled away from the start and were two lengths clear passing the University Boathouse — a distance they maintained to the finish. A bigger gap separated Pembroke from Magdalen and, with New College and Brasenose comfortably rowing over, the indications point to little movement in the top half of the men's first division.
Osler-Green, so often the leading crew, were again in a class of their own in the women's top division, finishing five lengths clear of New College, who opened up a similar gap on St Catherine's, the third-placed boat.
Errant bird causes trouble on riverIt does not take much to disrupt boat races on the Isis, as the organisers of the Oxford University Summer Eights found to their cost yesterday.
The women's third division was progressing in an orderly manner until a swan escaping from a tributary paddled on to the racing line as the leading crews approached the University Boathouse and the race was stopped. Three bumps made before the warning claxon was sounded were allowed to stand, but the next race was delayed for 15 minutes for the swan to be herded to safety.
Oriel and Osler-Green again rowed over at the top of the men's and women's first divisions, but Pembroke chased Oriel to the finish. In the women's first division, Pembroke, Wadham and Lady Margaret Hall all recorded their second bump.
Wadham and Pembroke made their third successive bumps in the women's first division and Pembroke moved them [sic] up behind Osler-Green on the third day of the Oxford University Summer Eights yesterday. Pembroke's men are similarly placed behind Oriel in the men's top division, but Oriel and Osler-Green look assured of the Headships.
Oriel and Osler-Green successfully retained the Headships of the men's and women's first divisions of the Oxford University Summer Eights on Saturday. Pembroke were the challengers in both divisions but the leaders were always in control and passed the finishing post a length clear.
Exeter, in the men's first division, and Merton, in the women's first division, were the only crews to earn blades, making a bump each day.
Merton emerged as the most successful college overall, all [?] three of their crews moved up four places to equal the acheivement in the Torpids two months ago.
After epic (and nearly successful) efforts in 1998, expectations were high that Pembroke might go head in Eights, after achieving this feat in Torpids. However Oriel ensured that this was avoided, never letting Pembroke get within their distance and convincingly defending the Headship on all four days.
This year  it looks as if Exeter might be challengers, having won blades and risen to third on the river in the process, continuing their trend of recent years. Merton also flourished, with their first and second boats winning blades. S.E.H. were in the opposite situation, and their fifth boat ended at the foot of the river.
Other crews who may be worth looking out for this  Eights Week include Christ Church and the Blues-heavy Lincoln.
In the women's divisions, Osler defended the Headship, although not with their usual ease. Pembroke, having risen three places to second on the river, pushed to within a length of the Headship on the Saturday. Wadham also rose three places, to fourth, and may well challenge this year . However, New College, currently in third position, is replete with squad rowers and may well be able to take the top spot.
Merton women nearly matched their men, with their first boat winning blades and their second boat rising several places. Oriel II fell one place to sit at the foot of the river.
|B:||G. R. B. Anderson||Eton|
|2:||F. F. A. Lepetit||Dulwich College|
|3:||R. Todd||KGS Wimbledon|
|4:||C. P. A. Humphreys||Hampton|
|5:||A. Lockwood||Magdalene, Cambridge|
|6:||A. Coppell||St Catharine's, Cambridge|
|S:||H. Jayaram||Christ's, Cambridge|
|C:||R. Gupta||Leicester GS|
|Coach:||A. Nelder||CCAT, Cambridge|
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