As the nights get shorter, the river becomes more crowded with punts, tourists in row-boats, and the hundreds of rowers cramming in as many hours as they can on the river in an attempt to take part in the glorious Pimms-quaffing tradition that is Oxford Summer Eights, kicking off with Rowing- On taking place on Friday of 4th week. All eyes will not, however, be on the rowing-on divisions in Eights, but instead on both Headships. After Pembroke Men’s disasterous Torpids crash, they’ll be looking for revenge on the water, and have a stronger returning contingent of University rowers than Oriel that could lead to a close battle. Merton women, having come so agonisingly close to the Eights Headship last year, look to be on course to take victory this year following good results at the Bedford Regatta and their acquisition of the Torpids Headship earlier in the year. Further down the Men’s 1st Division, Magdalen look to be fielding a very strong Eight – stacked with no fewer than 5 oarsmen who represented Oxford over the Easter Vacation. In the Women’s 1st Division, St Hilda’s will also be looking to build on their Torpids success, chasing the Univ crew which bumped them back in 2001. Taking a look at the 2nd Divisions, Wadham men will be eagerly trying to bump up into Division One after their agonising 8 consecutive row-overs last year. Hot on their heels will, no doubt, be Univ, who chase a Brasenose crew losing several key oarsmen to Finals on the first day. Trinity looked strong at City Bumps and in Torpids, and surely crews ahead will be watching anxiously as they look to make amends after their relatively poor performance last year. Keble women should be upward movers, encouraged after their win at Bedford Regatta. A few final mentions; Corpus Christi should be closely watched, as despite languishing in the Men’s 3rd Division, they seem to have managed to find themselves the 3-man of the Blue Boat and a home-grown OUBC triallist to row for them in Eights. Also, the antics of the heavily-loaded Brasenose and Wadham Schools VIIIs should prove quite amusing to anyone up early enough to watch them race.
ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2003