Queen's may catch Balliol — Full river for Torpids
With flood water still filling the river at Oxford the crews for the Torpids, which will be begun to-day, are faced with four days of heavy going and those crews which have learned to use their legs will have a big advantage.
The main interest is whether Balliol will be deposed from their place at the Head of the River. Behind them they have Queen's who, for all their ungainly looks, are a tough crew and probably the most determined racers on the river. Balliol do not seem to have the easy confidence which has marked them in recent years and may be hard pressed to escape the attentions of Queen's. Worcester will start third and like Queen's may race well. If Queen's can make their bump on Balliol to-day Worcester should do so to-morrow, which will leave two days for a tense battle between Queen's and Worcester.
Merton, who are fourth, are a much improved crew and should be fast over the second half of the course. St. Peter's Hall may be caught by St. Edmund Hall who have done a big mileage in training and are a really fit crew. Christ Church are one of the fastest boats but, starting among the lower boats of the first division, cannot reach the position which their pace properly deserves.
Balliol bumped in the Oxford Torpids — Queen's go Head of the River
From our Oxford Correspondent
Conditions, generally, were good for the first day of the Torpids at Oxford, though, with the floodwater, there was still a strong stream running.
Early in the afternoon the crews had to row against a head wind but later this dropped and the first and second divisions raced in a flat calm. Queen's did everything that was expected of them when they went Head of the River [in Torpids] for the first time in their history by bumping Balliol. They had come up to within half a length at the Gut but made little appreciable gain along the Green Bank and were still half a length down at the University Boathouse. They they made a great effort and eventually made their bump opposite the Wadham Barge about a furlong from the finish. In all, 18 bumps were made.
Queen's have easy task at Head — Balliol again caught in Oxford Torpids
From our Oxford Correspondent
There was a faster stream running, but no wind, for the second day of the Oxford University Torpids when 20 bumps were made, bringing the total to 38 for the two days. With Worcester bumping Balliol coming out of the Gut, Queen's had an easy passage at the head of the river, but as Worcester made their bump so early there is every likelihood of a great race to-day when they started behind Queen's. St. Edmund Hall went up again when they caught Merton at the Freewater Stone and Christ Church bumped St. Peter's Hall in the Gut.
Except that Hertford rowed over at the head of the second division, before bumping Wadham in the first division, every crews in the second division changed places.
Queen's still ahead — Oxford Torpids form maintained
From our Oxford Correspondent
The expectation that Worcester would chase Queen's hard in the Oxford University Torpid races did not work out, for Worcester were never nearer than their distance behind the leaders and at the finish there was something like two lengths between them. If that form is maintained Queen's should have no difficulty keeping their place to-day.
St. Edmund Hall continued their upward journey when they caught Magdalen at the top of the Green Bank while Christ Church, Exeter, and Hertford all made their bumps in the Gut.
Queen's Head of River — sustained effort in Torpids
The Torpid races at Oxford last week ended in a chapter of hard-earned success for The Queen's College, who supplanted Balliol from the headship on the first afternoon. On the last day of racing in the Torpids, in 1949, Queen's finished twenty-seventh, in the Third Division, and the lowest college first Torpid on the Isis. Next year, with the help of a double bump through the sandwich position, they rose six places to fnish twenty-fisrst. In 1951 they finished sixteenth, and in 1952 and 1953, beginning to find the going a little hard, they gained three more places in each year, finishing just in the First Division. In 1954 they graduated from among the more successful second-rate crews, to become a real power at Oxford, rising five places to finish fifth. Next year they ended second on the river to Balliol. In 1956 they could get no farther, rowing over behind Balliol throughout the racing. Now, at last, their sustained effort has been rewarded with the headship, gained for the first time in their history.
Queen's were a rough and ready crew, with little polish, but after reaching the top they had no difficulty in staying there. Some thought that Worcester would displace them, after catching Balliol on Thursday, but they lacked the solidarity, though they had a fair turn of pace. Balliol might well have slipped more seriously than they did, but they were reprieved when Magdalen succumbed to St. Edmund Hall on Friday. St. Edmund Hall raced well, but could get no farther after catching Magdalen. Christ Church might well have made their four bumps if they had not been robbed by St. Edmund Hall, who caught a weak St. Peter's Hall crew on the first afternoon.
Starting in the Second Division were several crews of considerably better standard than usual, notably Hertford, St. John's, St. Catherine's, and Keble, though these latter two, of course, started low down. Pembroke were thought to be in the same category, but lacked finishing power, and petered out after two nights. On the other side of the balance-sheet it was depressing, and indicative of the changing face of Oxford rowing, to see New College struggling to remain in the First Division, and Trinity, Brasenose, and University falling disastrously from their one high estate.
Though there were no really good crews, the overall standard of Torpids was probably higher than last year, and certainly showed more signs of constructive coaching. Generally it was those crews which had trained that little bit harder which made the up-grade — as, indeed, it nearly always is.
- The Times Fri 8 Mar contains a discussion of the relative strengths of Oxford and Cambridge college rowing, concluding that Oxford college boat clubs are too small to be effective.
|B:||M. H. Harper|
|2:||D. L. Drysdall|
|3:||O. R. Siddle|
|4:||M. T. Carter|
|6:||A. H. Gordon Clark|
|7:||C. P. Tootal|
|S:||G. L. Harvey|
|C:||T. C. Frears|
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