Oriel threatenedThe two head crews face stiff competition in their defence of the Oxford University Summer Eights which start today. Oriel face Pembroke in the men's division while Merton will test Pembroke in the women's.
Oriel and Pembroke comfortably rowed over at the head of the men's and women's top divisions, respectively, on day one of the Oxford University Summer Eights. Pembroke finished well clear of St Catherine's.
Oriel were pushed by Pembroke but kept the headship of the men's first division on the second day of the Oxford University Summer Eights.
For the third consecutive day there was no change at the top of the men's and women's first division of Oxford University's Summer Eights yesterday. Pembroke rowed over unchallenged in the women's first division after Merton bumped their nearest challengers at the start of the Green Bank.
Oriel and Pembroke successfully retained the Headships of the Oxford University Summer Eights on the Isis on Saturday.
But, in two outstanding division one races, both were close to being bumped. Pembroke, at the top of the women's division, were a length clear of Merton at the Gut, but the boats were overlapping at the finish.
Barely a quarter of a length separated Oriel and Pembroke at the post.
After Torpids had been rained off the previous term, many crews were looking forward to the opportunity of showing what they could do. In the Men's Division One, Oriel continued their dominance on the Isis, though days two and three did see overlap with Pembroke who were then foxed on the last day by a piece of inspired and unexpected coxing from the Oriel and Blues coxswain. The notable movements of Division One were the three bump rises of Lincoln and Teddy Hall and New dropping three places.
The women saw both Merton and New emphatically storm their way into the top three, with New winning blades in the process. Pembroke fought hard on the last day and retained the Headship. St Hilda's also made a statement with a three bump rise, and Osler-Green did the same to make amends for their two year straight drop from losing Head. Magdalen won spoons for their efforts in running from Division One to Two.
Going into this year's  Eights, eyes are certainly on the two Headships Pembroke are wanting to draw blood since Oriel regained the river in 1996. Oriel II are also hotly pursued by Pembroke II who would very much like to take the title of highest second boat — one that Oriel have held since the '70's and are keen to retain. In the Women's competition, will Merton continue the form they found last year and in this year's Torpids and take the double?
|B:||Alex Coppell||St Catharine's, Cambridge|
|2:||Luke Finch||King's College School|
|3:||Mark Vickers||St Paul's|
|5:||Luke McGee||Brown University, USA|
|6:||Dieter Dijkstra||Univ. College, Oxford|
|C:||Peter Hackworth||St Paul's|
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