Oriel launch powerful defence
Oriel rowers look unassailable as head crew in the Oxford University Torpids, which start today. St Edmund Hall, who start ninth, are also expected to go well in the men's first division. Trinity seem set to rise to the second division.
As usual, the women's first division offers more chance of movement, although Osler House are convinced that Somerville are set to fall to a strong challenge from New College, enabling Osler to pick off both later in the week.
Three sinkings in the Men's Division IV caused near-chaos on the first day of Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday.In fact, four of the top five boats in Div IV sank.
Brasenose are left frustrated as racing is ruled out
Oriel and Somerville, who both rowed over on the first day, retained the men's and women's headships of Oxford University Torpids after dangerous conditions, following snow and heavy rain, prevented rowing on the swollen Isis for the third day in succession on Saturday.
The cancellations were frustrating for Brasenose in the men's top division after they had closed within a quarter of a length of Oriel on Wednesday.
Rowing in Hilary Term this year was, yet again, severely hampered by the weather. Floods, having already disrupted much training, caused the complete cancellation of the last three days of Torpids. Those races that did proceed, on Wednesday, went far from smoothly. A pile up in the Men's Fourth Division delayed all divisions thereafter. The ensuing rush to make up for lost time was responsible for a feast of technical bumps that subsequently rather spoiled the Women's First Division. Despite this haste the Men's First Division was rowed in semi-darkness.
Oriel successfully defended the Headship but, unsettled by illness, not with their customary ease. Brasenose, in second place, pushed them hard to finish just three-quarters of a length down. Pembroke and S.E.H. has particular cause to rue the weather's interference. Having bumped University and New College respectively they were then denied the opportunity to make the further progress one might have expected. On the other hand Oriel II will have had few regrets over the floods intervention; they dropped three places and start next year as sandwich boat. In the Men's Second Division Hertford and Queen's both suffered similar unhappy falls.
In the women's races New College, University and St Hilda's were all penalized with technical bumps for not being on the bung-line in time. Since New College were starting second, Somerville were essentially unchallenged and retained the Headship without difficulty. The only genuine bump in the division was that of Christ Church on Pembroke.
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