from our Special Correspondent
The Torpids at Oxford will be begun to-morrow, and there appears to be every prospect of an interesting week. The standard on the whole is higher than it has been in the last three years, and though there is probably no crew so fast as the Christ Church crew, which stayed head last year, there are no bad crews in the First Division. There are, indeed, many which have a very taking style.
Groundwork appears to have been well taught everywhere, and this is rather surprising, inasmuch as the existence of two University crews, instead of the usual one, has diminished by some dozen the number of regularly available coaches. The best points about the various crews seen is the number of oarsmen who have learnt really to swing from their hips, and the good blade time which so many crews are keeping.
Hitherto it has always been customary for freshmen who have rowed in Trial Eights and have not been included in the University crew to row in their College Torpids, but last summer it was decided that all who rowed in Trial Eights should be disqualified from doing so, and this should have meant a fall in the standard, for a stylist from Eton on Shrewsbury at stroke, six, or seven in a torpid will often have a most beneficial effect on a crew. There are two Salopian freshmen rowing at bow and six in the Brasenose Torpid who did not row in Trial Eights — Bennett and Armitage — and it appears that in consequence Brasenose may see an end to their run of bad luck since the war. Brasenose are a neat crew, and they appear to have pace also.
In spite of there being other good crews near the top of the First Division, I do not think that Christ Church should be displaced. They are well together, and their blade work is neat. Their swing also is good, so that they should be able, with the advantage of clear water in front of them, to keep away from any other crew. New College, who start second, are the most likely of the first four boats to lose their place. They are very neat and well together for a torpid, but appear to lack stamina and life. Behind them are Worcester, who made so many bumps last year. Though not as neat as either New College or Christ Church, they are at the moment the fastest crew on the river. They are a heavy crew with plenty of drive, and their pace almost inclines one to believe in the Worcester system of using short oars for fixed-seat crews. The next crew are Magdalen, who seem to be faster than they were last year, and it is by no means inconceivable that both they and Worcester will catch New College. Magdalen are a clumsy crew, but they have in their boat several of their Henley crew, who did so well against the Norwegians in the Thames Cup. Corpus are a neat and workmanlike crew, but scarcely so powerful as they were last year. Among the other likely to do well are Queen's, Keble, and Pembroke. Magdalen, Christ Church, and New College also have good second crews, of which the first two are in the First Division and likely to remain there.
Thirty-four boats had entered for the Torpid Races, which were begun at Oxford yesterday. There was some keen racing, and 10 bumps were recorded...
[Div III] Jesus were quickly bumped by Brasenose II. While the boats lay to after the bump Brasenose II were run into by Christ Church III and sunk, and before Christ Church could get clear Queen's II. rowed past them.
[Div I] The leading boat maintained its position without difficulty, but New College I. could not escape from Worcester, who bumped them, after a fine race, at the Magdalen Barge.
Worcester slowly but surely gained on the leading boat from the start, and a keen race followed until, amid intense excitement, Christ Church were bumped within a boat's length of the post.
Brasenose II. bumped St. Catherine's soon after passing the Freewater Stone. The St. Catherine's coxswain failed to acknowledge the bump, with the results that his boat was sunk.
The Torpid Races were concluded at Oxford yesterday. Eight bumps were recorded, making the total for the six days 49... Worcester easily maintained their position at the head of the river... During the racing New College II. headed the list with six bumps.
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