St. John's likely to head river
Oxford University Torpids will be begun today with 42 crews in five divisions. As on previous occasions crews will race in lanes. From the start to the top of the Gut they will be in two lanes and from the Gut to the finish they will divide into three lanes. Promotion will thus depend on passing crews in other lanes though one crew may bump another in the same lane. If a bump is made, the crews concerned must still race through to the finish [this seems incorrect — only the bumped crew continues racing].
The indications are that St. John's, though not covering much water, will finish at the head of the river. St. Edmund Hall are well together, but have not shown much life in their work. They may be overtaken by Christ Church today. Balliol are smooth in their work and their blades well synchronized but it is doubtful if there is much solid power in the boat.
Keble should have no difficulty in rising to the first division. For two minutes they are probably the fastest crew on the river and if they can keep up for a further five minutes they will take a lot of holding. St Peter's, also, should move out of the third division. There is well applied power in the boat and they will race every inch of the way. Division V should be unusually interesting as Mansfield College have entered an eight for the first time.
St. John's make up ground — Balliol show little fight in Torpids
Oxford University Torpids were begun yesterday in fine conditions. The wind was blowing off the Oxfordshire bank, but not enough to trouble the crews seriously.
Among the first boats the racing did not produce much change in order. St. Edmund Hall rowed over at the head of the river, though at the finish they were only three-quarters of a length ahead of Christ Church. St. John's passed Balliol, who seemed to have little fight in them, along the Green Bank, but on yesterday's form it now seems unlikely that St. John's will catch either Christ Church or St. Edmund Hall.
In Division II Keble failed to overtake Oriel, and over the second half of the course were making heavy work of their challenge. St. Peter's had every chance to pass Hertford and go to the top of Division III. They were half a length ahead coming out of the Gut, but lost the advantage along the Green Bank.
In Divisions IV and V there was considerable slaughter. Only St. Edmund Hall II had nothing to show for or against them in Division IV, and there was a general change of places in Division V.
Racing in lanes precludes much hope of bumps, but St. John's were involved in the two which occurred, the second boat bumping Keble II and the third catching the newcomers Mansfield, who are now the bottom boat.
St. Edmund Hall stay at head
When the Torpids were continued yesterday at Oxford, with snow falling some of the time, the First Division provided a chastening for the prophets. Although Christ Church were overlapping St. Edmund Hall in the Gut, any idea that there would be a change of places at the head of the river was soon dispelled.
At the University boathouse St. Edmund Hall had gone away again and there was at least a length of clear water between the boats, with St. Edmund Hall at a slightly lower rate of striking. St. John's, also, have virtually lost any hope of going ahead [sic]. Christ Church had gained on them and at the finish nearly a length and a half of clear water separated the two boats. The only change was at the bottom of the division, where Oriel passed Lincoln along the Green Bank.
In Divison II, New College had gained slightly on Keble, with half a length of clear water separating them at the top of the Green Bank, but Keble were never in any real danger. At the bottom of that division, Hertford hardly seemed to be taking it seriously. At the O.U.B.C. they were striking a gentle 22 and were at least half a dozen lengths behing Wadham.
Keble II were unkindly treated by St. Edmund Hall in Division IV. First, they were passed by St. Edmund Hall's second boat and then were bumped by S.E.H. III. Worcester II were also out of luck in this division. Number three in their boat was catapulted into the river after 10 strokes, and, with only seven men rowing, they fell easily to Pembroke II and Lincoln II.
In Divison V St. John's III, who had started as bottom boat on Wednesday, continued their upward journey and, by passing St. Catherine's II and then bumping Hertford II, have gained five places.
St. Edmund Hall finish head of the river
From our Rowing Correspondent
St. Edmund Hall duly finished head of the river in the Oxford Torpids on Saturday, a good length ahead of Christ Church. Local forecasts had suggested that Christ Church would catch them and that St. John's might go through both to finish head.
St. John's, though strong and hardworking, never looked like doing so. Christ Church were probably faster, and threatened St. Edmund Hall on the second day, but seemed to lack the Hall's finishing stamina. Oriel, another strong but rough crew, did well on Friday when they passed Magdalen and threatened Balliol, but did not have the pace to clinch the job on Saturday.
During the week there was much talk of the unfairness of stations, and I have no doubt that this, and the fact that only one bump was registered on Saturday, and that during the four days there was only one change of position in the first four places, will be canvassed as reasons for reverting to traditional bumping races. This would be a great pity.
In terms of bumps there were 11 in the top two divisions, one fewer than in 1962, when the usual bumping races were last held, and two fewer than last year. What is obviously true, as a glance at the chart will show, is that the bumping and passing system brings a lot of movement in the first two days. It is also true, and this is one of the advantages of the system, that it puts a premium on stamina, and a discount on the mad rush to the Gut.
As regard stations there is no doubt that the advantage is different at different points on the course. But the fact that the top four crews rowed over in the same order on three consecutive days, changing station each day, hardly suggests any overall unfairness. And if luck is to be invoked one must remember that in ordinary bumping races crews quite often fall because of what happens ahead of them.
The new system has now had a good trial in Torpids. It may not suit some who want to win without training properly. But it cannot fail to improve the standard of rowing in the long run, and it is, incidentally, a better spectacle. The next step should be to try it out in the Summer Eights.
|St. Edmund Hall|
|B:||G. J. Williams (Redruth)|
|2:||N. P. Robertshaw (Winchester)|
|3:||J. A. E. R. Richards (Shrewsbury)|
|4:||G. P. W. Roberts (King's, Canterbury)|
|5:||R. W. Clark (King's, Canterbury)|
|6:||G. H. Turner (King's, Chester)|
|7:||J. F. Mew (St. Paul's)|
|S:||P. E. Driscoll (St. Paul's)|
|C:||N. R. Thorp (Lewes County G.S.)|
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