Cold crew in hot waterThe article includes a photograph captioned "Cold as Isis: the Donnington Bridge, Oxford, stretch of the Isis river was typical of rowing conditions yesterday"
By Mike Rosewell
The bitter weather is causing political as well as training problems for crews at Oxford University and Oriel College.
With both the Oxford Torpids and the Cambridge Lents scheduled in the coming three weeks, college crews like Oriel have been struggling to find training water. At Oxford, the university boat club officials banned college rowing on the Isis last weekend and, for fairness, extended this ban to the Godstow reach above the Isis, where many college first crews are the guests of St Edward's School.
In the past, crews ignoring the Godstow ban have been fined £100 per illegal outing. Often the financial loss was absorbed, but this year the Oxford officials are introducing a "four bump" Torpid penalty for offenders.
Oriel College, Head of Torpids for the past 19 years, have become one of the first victims of this rule. Oriel rowed briefly at Godstow last Saturday, as did Wadham, before experiencing ice and coming off the water. But at an Oxford University meeting on Monday evening they had four technical bumps awarded against them.
Whether this penalty will be upheld depends on a college captains' meeting on Friday when a two-thirds majority could reverse the decision.
Oriel argue that they were unaware of the ruling and, in fact, warned off other colleges who were about to boat.
Neil Stevenson, the Oriel captain, said that Oriel were "unaware that a ban was in force, as were all the other college crews we spoke to that day". It was "an inappropriate punishment for a minor crime", he said.
Oriel and Wadham will ask for lenient treatment at an Oxford college captains' meeing this evening. Both colleges were awarded four technical Torpids bumps after rowing at Godstow last weekend, while a safety ban had been imposed by the Oxford University Rowing Club committee.
Oriel and Wadham failed to persuade the Oxford college captains to show leniency at the captains' meeting last Friday and will be penalised by four technical bumps apiece when Torpids starts on Wednesday. The decision ends Oriel's 19 years as Torpids leaders.
Oriel are penalised
Oriel's banishment from the top of Oxford University Torpids was confirmed at a meeting of college boat club captains and they start in fourth place today when the four-day compeition begins on the Isis.
The punishment, handed out after they defied a no-rowing ban because of ice on the river, means that Christ Church start at the top and it sets up a possible confrontation between the two crews on Saturday.
Oriel on course to meet leadersThe article is accompanied by a photograph of the start captioned "Hoping to start with a bump: the men's seventh divsion of the Oxford Torpids gets under way at Donnington Bridge yesterday"
Oriel, relegated four places last week from the top of the men's first division for defying a no-rowing ban, are on course to meet the new leaders, Christ Church, on Satuday.
They have to make a bump each day and New College were the first victims on the opening day of Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday.
They closed to within a canvas at the Gut and made the bump along the Green Bank. Ahead of them, Christ Church comfortably held off Brasenose. The House [Christ Church] were three lengths clear as the two crews rowed past the University Boat House and the second-place crew will be put to the test today to hold off Oriel.
There were only two other bumps in the division. University overhauling St Catherine's and Pembroke making an early bump on Magdalen.
In the women's top division, Somerville made their expected bump on Osler House to go to the top. Osler did not give up easily and Somerville's success came within sight of the finishing post. University dropped down three places in the middle of the division.
Oriel close on leaders
Oriel summarily disposed of Brasenose to move up to second place behind Christ Church on the second day of Oxford University torpids yesterday (a Special Correspondent writes).
They made the bump midway along the Green Bank. Passing the university boathouse, New College closed menacingly on Brasenose. New could not maintain the challenge and Brasenose escaped, but they could be in danger today.
In the women's first division, Somerville comfortably rowed over ahead of Osler House, whom they bumped on Wednesday. St Catherine's caught Lady Margaret Hall near the finish to move up behind Osler.
Christ Church blunt Oriel
Oriel's hope of returning to the top of the men's first division, a position they have occupied for the past 20 years, was effectively blunted by Christ Church on the third day of Oxford University Torpids yesterday (a Special Correspondent writes).
Relegated to fourth place for rowing when the river was closed, Oriel moved to second place after bumping New College and Brasenose and they confidently expected to make further progress.
They closed to within a length of the House [Christ Church] at the Gut but never got any closer. Christ Church pulled away to open up a two-lengths lead at the University boathouse, which they had extended by a further half a length at the finishing post. Oriel have a second chance today but Christ Church will view the clash with greater confidence.
Somerville had no such worries in the women's top division. They finished well clear of Osler House, who were never threatened by St Catherine's, the third crew.
Oriel are bumped down off the top by Christ Church
A record spannign two decades ended on Saturday when Oriel failed to win the Headship of Oxford University torpids on the Isis (a Special Correspondent writes).
A brief excursion onto the river when rowing was banned resulted in their being bumped down four places off the top, to be replaced by Christ Church who proved worthy winners. Bumps over New College and Brasenose on the first two days left Oriel with two opportunities to overhaul Christ Church but twice the challenge was beaten off.
The most spectacular decline, however, was achieved by New College II in the women's Division III. They stopped rowing at the Gut after being caught by Exeter and plummeted ten places.
Torpids title changes handsThe article includes a bumps chart.
Christ Church finised head of the river in the Oxford University Torpids, ending Oriel's 19 years at the top.
University and Pembroke earned their blades in the first division with a bump each day, but Hertford dropped six places after crashing into the bank.
Though without five of their best rowers, Somerville rowed over at the head of the women's divisions.
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