Oriel deny Torpids title is in jeopardy
Oriel College again start favourites to win this year's Torpids, which start on the Isis today, but their position as head of the river is under threat for the first time in many years.
This season Oriel have lost both the Autumn Fours and the Christ Church Regatta, and both Christ Church and New College believe that they can catch them in Torpids as well.
Nick Watkins, the New College captain, says his crew is faster than Oriel this year, but, starting in fifth place, they have a lot to do. " We would have to bump every day to win and that's difficult," Watkins said.
However, Oriel train far more than any other college and are in no mood to surrender. Their captain, John Witting, is convinced that they will win Torpids for the eighteenth year in succession. " There's no chance of us losing. I don't think there's any serious opposition, " he said.
The starting order in Torpids is the finishing order from the previous year and Oriel at the top are followed by Christ Church, Oriel II, Keble, New College and Brasenose.
The main contenders in the women's race are Osler House, who are head of the river, and Somerville, in second place.
Oriel row over with ease
Oriel comfortably rowed over at the Head of the Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday. They pulled away from Christ Church, their closest rivals at the start, and at the University Boathouse four lengths separated the two crews.
Lower down the division, New College made a quick bump on Keble and the only other movement was by St Edmund Hall who caught Pembroke. St Catherine's got to within a quarter of a length of Pembroke at the finish but they in turn just held off Balliol who had an overlap.
There were no changes at the top of the women's first division. Osler House moved away from Somerville, who narrowed the gap early on and they finished well clear of Lady Margaret Hall, the third crew.
New gain ground on leadersThe newspaper also contains a photo of the foot of M.Div IV racing on the Thursday, captioned
New College made their second bump on the second day of Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday. They caught Oriel's second eight approaching the Gut to move into third place behind Christ Church. Christ Church could have difficulties in holding off New College today, if New can overhaul the House [Christ Church] to move up behind Oriel it could set up an interesting curtain-raiser tomorrow.
In the women's first division, Osler House just held off Somerville. The distance was down to a canvas at the University Boat House but Osler were stronger over the final stretch.
Oxford rowers take to the water
In combat: men's fourth division crews in a strenuous battle for supremacy on the Isis yesterday in the traditional Hilary Term fixture, Torpids.
Oriel hold lead as challenges subside
Oriel look likely to retain the Headship of Oxford University Torpids for the eighteenth consecutive year on the Isis today. New College were confident of challenging them yesterday, but failed to make any impression on Christ Church, the second-placed boat, and stay in third place.
The House [Christ Church] never got within striking distance of the leaders, but there was plenty of movement lower down the division. St Edmund Hall rowed into a bank after being bumped by St Catherine's and before they could extricate themselves, Balliol, Magdalen and University rowed past them. As a result they dropped down to the second division.
In the women's first division, Somerville, who got within a canvas of Osler House, the leaders, on Thursday, found themselves in trouble from Wadham. The gap was down to half a length along the Green Bank, but Somerville pulled away and finished a length clear of Wadham and a similar distance behind Osler.
Oriel and Osler remain in commandThe article includes the final bumps chart.
Oriel finished head of the river in Oxford University Torpids for the eighteenth year in succession after rowing over on the final day. Osler House remained at the top of the women's section, although they were hard pressed by Somerville.
The poor weather could not dampen this year's racing, especially on the Saturday when unabated rain did not deter a healthy crowd from watching the rowing.
The headship was held with ease by Oriel for the eighteenth consecutive year. There was speculation that New College were faster than the Head crew but Christ Church held them off on the Friday only falling prey to them going up the Greenbank on Saturday after a long struggle. Both Brasenose and Hertford climbed up the First Division whilst Keble, Oriel II and Pembroke fell (the latter into the Second Division). The result of these changes was that the finishing order on the final day was an accurate reflecion of the relative speeds of the top crews.
University blasted their way up and out of the Second Division past the plummeting Pembroke, with five impressive bumps. In the same division Wadham gained their blades. It must be said that the general standard of oarsmanship was high and undoubtedly New College weighed in with the best overall performance, with several of their crews gaining blades.
Once again the top of the Women's Divisions was dominated by Osler House and Somerville. The latter proving to be strong challengers on all four days. However Osler held them off successfully and rowed over to finish Head. Further down, Wadham's bid for the Headship faltered when they narrowly missed Somerville on the third day.
Certain crews — for example St Hugh's II — suffered spectacular drops which made the progress of crews in all divisions a fascinating affair.This year, with two rowing-on divisions, saw more women's crews than ever on the Isis; one hopes that the extended programme will encourage even more to participate in future.
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