The Torpids or spring eight-oared races begin at Oxford to-day. The crews have never had more favourable conditions for their practice, and in any case they cannot have anytthing but a normal stream to contend with, as the river is now at summer level. There are 39 crews competing, as against 37 last year...
Corpus start Head of the River, but they will have some difficulty in maintaining their position. If Wadham get overtaken by Magdalen, who are the most stylish crew on the river, they have a big advantage over the other crews, as they have seven of their last year's Putney crew rowing [sic — I don't understand this either]. Keble promised to have a good eight, but the order has been disorganized through illness, a fate shared by several others. New College have R. C. Sherriff rowing at No. 7. with W. E. Henley, the Rugby forward, at No. 6. and as they are down in the Second Division may improve their position. University College possess a lot of strength in the body of their boat, a remark which also applies to Christ Church, who start just above them.
University College nearly had their barge destroyed by fire on Tuesday night. Fortunately, Dick Talboys, the University waterman, was walking along the towing path about 7 o'clock and, noticing some smoke coming from the base of the chimney, gave the alarm, with the result that the fire brigade were soon on the scene. The fire, however, was not extinguished until the dressing room had been practically burnt out and several hundreds of pounds' worth of damage done.
The Torpid Races were begun at Oxford yesterday in delightful weather; in fact, throughout their practice the crews have been most lucky. The conditions have not been reflected in the rowing, which has been very disappointing, and only in one or two crews has it approached anything like the usual standard. Some crews, certainly, have experienced very bad luck during training. Keble and Balliol were unfortunate, and St. Peter's Hall had to find a new stroke at the beginning of the week.
[Div I] Corpus kept their place at the head of the division, although not without having to row hard. Wadham, driven on by Magdalen, had got up well with them coming out of the Gut, but they were compelled to go wide, and this enabled Corpus to recover themselves before Wadham were bumped by Magdalen just after passing the Long Bridges.
The Torpid Races were continued at Oxford yesterday in cold, cheerless weather, following a hard front of 13deg [F, so -10.6°C]. There was, however, again a large attendance at the riverside... As was expected after their easy victory over Wadham, Magdalen deprived Corpus of the headship without much difficulty, making their bump before the boats got out of Iffley Reach. New College made amends for their disappointment of the previous afternoon, as, after depriving Exeter of the headship of the Second Division, the brought off a double by bumping Brasenose, in the First, after a hard race from the Willows to near the finish.
The weather was cold and cheerless for the third day's racing of the Torpids at Oxford on Saturday.
Fourteen bumps were recorded during the afternoon, the largest number being in the Third Division, in which University College II. and St. John's II. were the only crews to row through. It produced an exciting struggle between Christ Church II., Oriel II., and Worcester II.. Worcester II. in fact claimed to have bumped Oriel II., but it was not acknowledged, and Worcester II. were unfortunate in being bumped by Pembroke II., while Oriel had gone on in the meantime to bump Christ Church II., whose third boat, however, made a bump over Merton II., whose No. 3 borke an oar at the start. The four bumps in the Second Division all took place below the Boathouse, Keble II. making their fourth bump. Magdalen retained the headship of the First Division without any effort, for they finished nearly 200 yards ahead of Worcester, with a bump between Corpus and Wadham between.
A short spell of sunshine in the early afternoon brought an increased attendance at the riverside yesterday, and the crews again had favourable conditions with a sluggish stream and little or no wind with which to contents. Bumps were not quite as plentiful and were one fewer than on the two preceding days, but the racing was a deal more interesting, and those on the Boathouse saw a thrilling struggle for the head of the Second Division between St. Catherine's and Brasenose. As they came out of the Gut Brasenose looked like bringing about hte downfall of the leaders, St. Catherine's, and were within a few feet of them at the Willows, where St. John's made a fine spurt, and the issue was in doubt until they were passing the Boathouse, where St. John's achieved their object, and St. Catherine's retained the head of the division by a narrow margin.
In the First Division Magdalen kept their place at the head without being extended at all. Wadham were hard put to it to escape Worcester. Christ Church gained another place at the expense of Corpus, but University College had their upward career checked by Keble. Balliol provided Oriel with their fifth bump and their second crew were equally unfortunate, falling to Merton after a hard race.
The irrepressible Keble II. claimed another victim when they caught Wadham II. at the Willows, this being their sixth bump, and they look like finishing up with a highest possible. St. Peter's Hall regained the place they lost on Saturday at the expense of Queen's.
The Torpid Races were concluded at Oxford yesterday after a week's interesting racing, in which the weather kept fine every day. In fact the races have never been rowed under more favourabl conditions.
The last day produced some of the most interesting rowing of the series, and in the First Division Worcester and Christ Church had a ding-dong struggle, for, after passing the Boathouse, the one crew would gain a bit and then lose, and in the end Worcester got home by a very narrow margin. University College and Oriel also had a close race, in which University College just succeeded in keeping their place. St. John's made two bumps, catching St. Catherine's and Balliol II., and thus made their way well into the First Division. Jesus might have achieved the same feat if one of their crew had not caught a crab when they had University College II. at their mercy.
In all 73 bumps were made in the three division during the six days' rowing, an unusually large number, which may have been due to the fact that there were so many indifferent crews competing.
Magdalen were in a class by themselves, and were probably the best Head of the River crew seen since the War. They owed their success largely to the fact that they consisted mainly of the clinker eight which rowed in the Head of the River Race at Putney last year. Two other crew members of the eight rowed in their crew at Henley, and the had a capable stroke, Bond, of Oundle School. There was no other really good crew, but on the last day's racing Christ Church undoubtedly proved themselves to be the second best, and had four bumps to their credit, a record which was equalled by only two other boats in the First Division, New College, who made five, and St. John's, who made four. The most successful boat, however, was Keble II., who gained six places, but they had evidently found their level at last, as Trinity were well away yesterday when they bumped Pembroke. On the other hand Balliol made a poor showing with a series of defeats for both their first and second crews, although their third crew, on the other hand, made four bumps. Queen's and Magdalen II. both lost six places, and Corpus, who started Head of the River, Christ Church II., Brasenose I., and Brasenose II. each lost five places.
|B:||R. F. G. Sarell (Radley)||10st 9lb|
|2:||W. J. F. Fletcher (Radley)||10st 9lb|
|3:||W. McK. Wright (Tonbridge)||12st 8lb|
|4:||W. Hughes (Bishop's Stortford)||11st 8½lb|
|5:||G. A. Lincoln (Westpoint Military Academy, N.Y.)||12st 6lb|
|6:||A. S. Irvine (Shrewsbury)||13st|
|7:||G. F. C. Hawkins (Eton)||10st 4lb|
|S:||J. G. Bond (Oundle)||11st 4lb|
|C:||C. Komarakul-Na-Nagara (St. Paul's)||81st 11lb|
|B:||P. J. D. Gamon (Shrewsbury)||10st 0½lb|
|2:||A. I. J. Williams (Monmouth)||9st 9½lb|
|3:||A. F. Bagley (St. Paul's)||10st 10½lb|
|4:||T. C. L. Nicoll (St. Paul's)||11st|
|5:||D. V. Henchley (Battersea G.S.)||12st 12lb|
|6:||F. N. R. Hawks (King's Coll.Sch.)||11st 9lb|
|7:||G. W. A. Rowland (Lancing)||12st 1lb|
|S:||D. R. Hughes (King's, Chester)||11st 12lb|
|C:||A. P. Milner (St. Edmund's, Canterbury)||8st 12lb|
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