New crews may leave way clear for Oriel
A weaker than usual Oriel seem likely to stay head of a mediocre men's first division in the Oxford University Torpids, which start on the Isis today (a correspondent writes). The closure of the river in previous years has reduced the depth of college rowing and there is a higher than normal percentage of novices in first division boats.
New College are running well, however, as are a well-drilled Lincoln at the top. of the second division. Some strong crews at the bottom of the division, including Osler House, St Peter's, and Merton, will be looking to move up.
The women's divisions are even more depleted of experience and Osler House, despite not fielding their characteristically strong crew, seem set to fend off a large but inexperienced New College.
Oriel stay at head of the river
Oriel and Osler House comfortably rowed over at the top of the men's and women's first divisions on the opening day of Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday. Oriel finished six lengths clear of Brasenose, who start today ahead of Pembroke.
Somerville, starting third in the women's first division, were overtaken by both Wadham and St Catherine's and their second crew were relegated to the third division.
Pembroke witll start in second place in the Oxford University Torpid rowing races today after bumping Brasenose yesterday.
A rerow in the men's second division at the Oxford University Torpids means that the bottom positions are unconfirmed.
Oriel and Osler keep headships
Oriel and Osler House retained the headships of the men's and women's first divisions of the Oxford University Torpids, which ended on Saturday. Brasenose, on Wednesday and Thursday, and Pembroke on the last two days, never got close enough to mount a serious challenge to Oriel, and Osler finished well clear of New College. St Catherine's moved up to second place after making three bumps.
For the first time since 1992, the full four days of Torpids took place this year. Although training was moderately affected by the weather, the crews were of a reasonable standard, with particular attention being paid to an Oriel crew hoping to make this the twenty-fifth year without being bumped off head. However, among threats hovering just below was that of a Pembroke crew that appeared not to have stopped training since October.
Wednesday saw the Pembroke challenge start when they bumped up to third, while Oriel rowed comfortably clear of Brasenose. At the bottom of the division Balliol went down to sandwich boat after being bumped by Oriel II and Lincoln in quick succession. Thursday found Wadham becoming sandwich boat in the first division while Pembroke manoeuvred into second position. On Friday, despite a quick start from Pembroke, Oriel rowed comfortably clear. A hotly tipped New College was unlucky not to bump Christ Church, who bumped Univ to move into fifth place, while Lincoln halted the rise of Oriel II, catching them at the top of the Green Bank.
Saturday saw Oriel row over head five lengths clear of Pembroke, with Magdalen settling in third place. Lincoln and Wadham both won blades and moved into the first division in the process, while Exeter also won blades and will be sandwich boat next year. In the second division Queen's won blades, moving to fourth in the division.
In the women's first division Osler once again rowed over head, with New College remaining in second place [?] despite a strong challenge from St Catherine's. Not wishing to yield to the forces of chauvinism, both Lincoln and Queen's matched their men's boats' performances by winning blades in the second division, while in the first division Oriel, bumping Christ Church before Donnington Bridge, managed to maintain their pristine unbumped record. St John's also won blades, moving from the second into the first division.
From Mr Philip Wedmore
Sir, Can anyone explain the difference between the Cambridge Lent races and the Oxford Torpids which struck me when I looked at the bumps charts (March 4)?
Torpids showed a much more tangled web of rises and falls. They are also dominated by a small number of boats which fall an extravagant number of places. Oriel V and Christ Church III fell 12 places, but were beaten in this regard by New College III, which managed to fall 13 places. As a result, the number of boats which rose in Torpids is higher than the number of boats will fell: 46 compared with 31 for the men and 25 compared with 16 for the women.
In Lents, the number of risers and fallers is the same, both for women and men.
Which is better for the moral attitudes of our undergraduates: the Oxford scheme of slight success for the many balanced by heavy loss for the few or the more balanced Cambridge scheme?
Shades of blue
From Mr Ian Sheldon
Sir, The diffference between Oxford University Torpids and Cambridge University Lents, to which Mr Philip Wedmore referred (Sports Letters, March 8), arises from the different rules governing the actions of crews after a bump has occurred.
In Lents, the race is over for both crews, whose positions are reversed on the next day. So, for each crew moving up, one must move down.
In Torpids, however, only the crew that has recorded a bump drops out, while the crew that has been bumped must continue rowing. This leads to the possibility thof one crew being bumped by many others on the same day, hence the imbalance between risers and fallers. In practice, a drop of more than two places is usually the result of crashing into the bank!
As for which system is better for undergraduates' moral attitudes, one would hope that performance on the sports field has no bearing on the behaviour off it. Some football "fans" might take note.
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