Oriel men plan to steer clear of penalty
The Oxford University torpids start today under a cloud of proctorial disapproval. After several serious accidents and increasing morning activity on the river keeping students away from lectures, the proctors asked OUBC to ban outings between 8am and 1pm. For torpids week the start has been put back to noon.
Oriel look set to bump back to the men's headship they lost last year through technical penalties. The head crew, Christ Church, is showing indifferent form and should be easy meat for Oriel.
The situation at the top of the women's first division is more open, with Osler House aiming to regain the headship after last year's demotion by Somerville. This year's Osler crew has more raw power than last year's, but less experience than in previous years.
Oriel's return to top overshadowed
Oriel's return to the top of the men's first division of Oxford University torpids yesterday was marred by the death of John Hebbes, an Oriel man, the previous day [rowing for the OUBC squad].
Oriel decided to row only after a lengthy meeting, and once on the river, wore down Christ Church and made the bump 50 yards from the finish. They were tipped to catch Christ Church and Hebbes's death made the crew all the more determined. The other bump in the division was by Magdalen on St Catherine's.
In the women's top division, the expected challenge by Osler House on Somerville never materialised. Somerville pulled away from the start, and there were three clear lengths between the crews as they passed the University boat house.
There was no change at the top of the men's and women's first divisions of Oxford University torpids yesterday.
In the men's race, Oriel only just held off Brasenose and, at the finishing post, a canvas separated the crews. Brasenose, one-and-a-half lengths down at the Boat House were the stronger crew over the last quarter and an exciting finale is in prospect today.
Somerville's win at the top of the women's division was emphatic. They pulled away from New College and opened up a two-lengths lead at the Boat House and maintained the margin.
Threat to Somerville
Oriel and Somerville finished head of the men's and women's divisions in Oxford University Torpids (a Special Correspondent writes).
Oriel finished a length up on Brasenose; Somerville, whose domination could be threatened by the decision to admit men to the college, confidently rowed over.
Given that Hilary Term of the last two years has seen disruption by freeze and by flood it was, no doubt, with not inconsiderable surprise that crews enjoyed an apparently unprecedented period of entirely average weather.
The mood of the week was of course subdued by the news of the sudden death of John Hebbes. Flags were flown at half mast above the boathouse of all colleges and O.U.B.C. who were further to remember John in their naming of the Blue Boat.
Popular opinion before the bumps held that both headships were in danger. This view was proved partially correct on Wednesday when Oriel, starting second, performed a late bump on Christ Church to regain the headship that they had controversially surrendered last year — despite seeming to display noticeably less urgency than their immediate rivals over the first part of the course. Once Brasenose had bumped Christ Church the following day it still remained to be seen whether or not the college could mount a realistic challenge to the head crew on Friday. B.N.C. did not disappoint and pressed hard to finish no more than half a length down at the line. Oriel however, feeling obliged to assert their dominance rather more convincingly, saved their best row until last to finish a comfortable two lengths clear on Saturday.
Lower down Worcester impressed by reentering the First Division with five blade winning bumps whilst Pembroke, continuing their progress of recent years, took three bumps to go fourth. Magdalen also rose three places to finish seventh.
Somerville, however, retained the women's headship with ease as the expected challenge from New College, who had advanced three places in two days to start second on Friday, failed to materialize. Elsewhere in the division St Hilda's won their blades with four bumps having started the week as sandwich boat.
Those spectators to whom a feast of bumping appeals would have done well to watch the women's Second Division. Here Christ Church and Oriel rose six and seven places respectively in contrast to St Hugh's who fell a dismal ten in a bitterly disappointing week for the college.
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