Christ Church and Wadham won the headships at Summer VIIIs last week, and most of the attention was on those two feats and Keble JCR’s boat-burning motion. However, several other events took place that are just as worthy of coverage:
Balliol M4 bump Balliol M3
At the bottom of Men’s Division VI, Balliol M4 managed to bump Balliol M3 on Saturday, with the two crews winning Blades and Spoons respectively.
After bumping St Catz’s M3, Merton M3, New M3 and St Hilda’s M2 on the first four days of the competition, the so-called ‘Beer Boat’ that Balliol had fielded was suspected to be filled with some of the College’s superior rowers. And after a disastrous first three days, in which they were bumped thrice, the Broad Street College’s third boat went into Saturday’s racing low on confidence. It was no surprise, then, that a bump occurred early on in the race.
“You love to see it,” Balliol Boat Club tweeted, clearly appreciating the comedy of the situation.
However, it was a successful week for Balliol’s rowers overall, as their M1 boat also won Blades. Indeed, some 4,000 people watched the YouTube footage of Balliol’s bump of Magdalen: cox David Horwich was launched into the Isis in dramatic fashion.
Christ Church-Keble Instagram war
Keble and Christ Church engaged in an intense Instagram battle before this year’s competition, as the pair’s M1 boats prepared to compete for the headship. The account ‘Keble4Head’ posted a series of memes belittling Christ Church, Oriel, Wolfson and Pembroke, whilst proclaiming their own chances of the headship.
One such image featured a comparison between the crowds at Donald Trump and Barack Obama’s inaugurations, with the two labelled ‘Oriel 2016’ and ‘Keble 2017’ respectively. The account proclaimed that this was “irrefutable evidence that the people are behind Keble going [for] head.”
Meanwhile, the account ‘Keble4Bank’ hoped that the Parks Road College managed to crash—their bio read “New empacher: £40k. Blues rowers: £200k. Watching them plough into the bank: priceless.”
However, it was Christ Church Boat Club’s account that had the last laugh—their video of Saturday’s Division I race, which featured a middle finger being pointed in Keble’s direction, garnered over 250 views within a day.
Jesus M2 bow ejector crabs
After bumping on each of the first three days of Summer Eights, Jesus’ M2 boat entered Saturday’s racing with a chance to secure the boat’s highest finish since 1961. They were chasing Linacre M1, but they bumped out before the Turl Street College were able to catch them. That meant that on the final straight, there was a vast distance between them and Keble’s M2 boat.
However, with nothing to lose, Jesus rowed hard for the finish.
But bowman Ben Tucker pushed himself if anything too hard—“I’m still unsure how it happened,” he told Cherwell.
“I think my blade hit a big chunk of a wave when it was square and the oar rotated completely upside down,” he continued.
“I had very little time to get it back square in time for the catch and the blade must have been slightly off square to cause the crab.” The race was klaxoned, but not before an iconic photo was taken.
Keble win headship—for fines
Whilst their Blues-heavy M1 boat eventually fell short of Christ Church in the battle for the Head of the River, Keble College Boat Club did secure one headship this Eights Week.
Indeed, they opened up a lead of £29 over Oriel in the fines leaderboard, which dates back to the 2005 Summer VIIIs competition.
Oxford University Rowing Clubs (OURCs) have an extensive list of reasons to fine College boat clubs, with Keble racking up a £215 bill this week alone.
The reasons for these fines included an extra bank rider wearing Keble stash, late umpires, dangerous circulation, cutting up other crews near the bungline, and absent marshals.
Keble have been fined £1040 in the past twelve years, with Oriel just behind on £1011. Pembroke sit third on £965, with Balliol, New and Exeter making up the remainder of the top six.