Oriel above average
Oxford University Torpids races begin today, with the method of racing following the pattern of recent years. From the Gut to the finish, crews will race in relays with overtaking rather than bumping giving upwards progress. This means that all crews [?] must row over the course and bumps can be made only by crews in the same lane.
A crew finishing at the top of a division on one day will race as bottom boat in the next higher division on the following day. So, Division I will daily increase by one crew while Division VI will similarly decrease. The numbers in the other divisions will remain constant at nine crews.
There should be some keen racing at the top of Division I. St. Edmund Hall are well together but they may not be fast enough to hold off Oriel who look to be rather better than the average. Starting in fourth place in Division II Worcester are lively and quick to the water and should have no difficulty in working their way into the top division.
St. John's go head of river
After being head of the river in Torpids at Oxford for the past five years, St. Edmund Hall were displaced yesterday by St. John's. At the finish St. John's led by a canvas, while Oriel were less than half a length behind St. Edmund Hall. As Oriel started a length and a half behind St. John's they have a clear chance of catching St. Edmund Hall today.
Only Pembroke and Hertford avoided chaos at Donnington Bridge in Division Three. When Corpus bumped Jesus, who had made a bad start, the boats slewed across the river and completely blocked the crews behind them. [Seems inconsistent with the rule that no bumping was allowed before the Gut?]
Conditions were difficult. The strong east wind blew hard against the stream, which, fortunately for the crews, was low and slow-moving, but the water was still extremely rough on some parts of the course.
Advantage to Oriel in Torpids
St. John's, who went head in the Torpids at Oxford on Wednesday, easily retained their place when they rowed yesterday, though they cannot be over confident that they will escape the attentions of Oriel today.
Oriel, who made their first big effort along the Green Bank, sent St. Edmund Hall down to third place when they passed them in the bottom of the barges to finish half a length in front and just under two lengths behind St. John's. In today's race St. John's will be on the Berkshire [towpath] side which is probably the more difficult of the three stations, and Oriel will be on the Oxfordshire side. With that advantage Oriel may overhaul St. John's.
On the first two days Magdalen have lost seven places in Division II. It is more than likely that Corpus Christi will catch them today. But, with the present scheme of Torpids racing, Magdalen have now reached the position where they must stay in the second division. With no sandwich boats, as in eights, there is no way of relegation to a lower division.
St. John's draw away from Oriel
With one day to go St. John's still hold their place at the Head in the Torpids at Oxford. Rowing on the Berkshire station yesterday, St. John's, as expected, lost a lot of distance coming through the Gut and at the lower end of the Green Bank were leading Oriel by a few feet. But, for the rest of the journey, St. John's drew away. At the University boathouse they were a length ahead and at the finish had added another half a length to their lead.
Displaced from the Head of the River on the first day, St. Edmund Hall went back to fourth place yesterday when they were overtaken by Balliol 200 yards from the finish.
Crews in the second and third divisions seem to have found their level. In the second division New College caught Merton and Corpus Christi overtook Magdalen. In the third division the only change was at the top where Trinity rowed past Hertford. It is not often given to lower boats to cover themselves with glory, but in the three days of racing Worcester II have certainly done so. Starting in second place on Wednesday in the sixth division they went into the fifth, rowed clean through that division and today will be bottom boat in the fourth division.
Worcester II too good to be so low
St. John's were half a length clear of Oriel at the University boathouse on Saturday, with both crews striking 36, and there was never any doubt that they would retain the headship of the Torpids, which they had taken from St. Edmund Hall last Wednesday.
Oriel in turn were well clear of Balliol, who looked sluggish at 32. Christ Church were challenging St. Edmund Hall at the Cherwell and just got by to regain fourth place. New College and Worcester both passed Lincoln and Keble.
At the top of the second division Queen's, Pembroke and Merton were all overlapping at the O.U.B.C., but Merton were flagging and succumbed to both.
Easily the record
Worcester II claimed three more victims to bring their total for the four days to 11, which is easily the record since the new system of bumping and passing was introduced in 1960. It may be argued that this makes a mockery of the system, but I think it is not so.
Worceseter had four members of last summer's first eight rowing in their second boat, and were clearly out of their class so low on the river.
But the ethics of this have nothing to do with the case, which is that, whatever local unfairness there may be, this system enables crews to finish in something much nearer to their proper order of merit. As it also produces a better spectacle, harder racing, and better experience, there seems to be everything in favour of introducing the same system to Eights Week.
|B:||S. Hampson (R.M.S. Bushey)|
|2:||A. A. M. Fraser (Eton)|
|3:||M. R. Aish (Imperial Coll.)|
|4:||R. J. Hadman (Rugby)|
|5:||J. W. M. Rouse (Rossall)|
|6:||R. G. A. M. Swyer (Cranleigh)|
|7:||A. W. Axford (Windsor G.S.)|
|S:||P. A. P. Brown (St. Paul's)|
|C:||D. Bernard (Quinton)|
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