Love Eight Relationship on Isis

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Summer Eights 2004 After last year’s historic double headship, Pembroke
College came down to earth with a bump or two during this
year’s Summer Eights, with New College W1 and Magdalen
College M1 sitting at the top of the tables come the close of
racing on Saturday. Magdalen M1 had started fourth on the river on Wednesday, and
some thought that despite the obvious speed in the boat, the
inherently unfair nature of bumps racing might deny the
Blue-stacked crew the headship. Magdalen proved all doubters
wrong by bumping Exeter, Pembroke and Oriel on successive days,
to go head for the first time in fifty years, with a day to
spare. Pembroke had lost the headship on Wednesday to Oriel, having
been bumped well past the boat houses on the opening day. But
despite bringing Theology finalist Basil Dixon into the boat for
the rest of the week, Pembroke could neither gain revenge on
Oriel nor hold off Magdalen as they dropped to third. Whilst the decidedly iffy weather meant that tow-path support
was not what it might have been, Magdalen’s bump on Oriel
was met by scenes of jubilation on the banks and boat house
island, with Magdalen supporters and neutral observers alike
happy to see a crew other than Oriel or Pembroke at the top of
the table. Of course, it could have all been very different
– Magdalen, along with Catz men and Somerville women, had
failed to enter their boats into Eights on time, and the college
captains could have voted to bar them from racing or impose
penalty bumps – but in the end the fastest men’s crew
on the river finished head, something that all too often does not
occur. Oriel M1 have often been accused of arrogance, and are
certainly not the most popular crew on the river. However, the
entire crew, led by captain Alisdair Robbie, made a trip to
Magdalen boat house after racing on Saturday to congratulate the
headship holders (along with many other first division rowers),
an action that deserves acknowledgement and commendation. Further down the men’s first division, renowned for the
number of row-overs normally recorded, there were a surprising
number of bumps, with both New College and Balliol moving up
three places, although New’s bump on Christ Church on
Thursday was marred by a pile up on the Green Bank which left the
House’s cox Charles Thorogood in the Isis. Although
everybody involved appeared anxious not to apportion blame for
the incident, Thorogood had a very lucky escape as the rest of
the racing boats thundered towards him before the division was
eventually klaxoned. Balliol captain Andrew Crawford was
overjoyed with his crew’s success after they bounced back
from gaining spoons last year, demonstrating how quickly fortunes
can change. Much the same could be said for Christ Church, who gained
spoons to end up ninth, only three years after they had gained
blades after starting in that position. Captain Lenny Martin was
obviously upset by his crew’s fortunes, but took heart from
Balliol’s comeback. With college stalwart Robin
Bourne-Taylor returning from Olympic duty next year, the House
should find it easier to persuade their other men’s Blues
back in to college boats, something that they had been unable to
do this summer, and real improvement is possible. But as a member of this year’s crew noted, ‘Whilst
we are all obviously disappointed that we have gone down, other
events this week have helped us to keep things in perspective.
We’ve got spoons. It’s hardly the end of the world,
compared to what happened to that poor girl from Catz.’
Indeed, a one minute silence before men’s division one on
Thursday, in memory of Emilie Harris, a rower from St
Catherine’s tragically killed the day before, was kept by
one and all, with crews still on the river from the previous
division easy-ing to show their respects. If women’s rowing ever takes second place to men’s,
it certainly was not the case during this year’s Eights. In
the women’s divisions New College kept us biting our nails,
having to wait three days to gain the headship. Osiris coach Karl
Offord reported that New had come within a foot of bumping
Pembroke on the first day, and the girls in pink did not have an
easy ride on Thursday either. Their downfall was to come on Friday however, when a crew
member crabbed off the start and New took advantage of the
mistake to make an easy bump. They then rowed over comfortably on
Saturday. Other performances of note in the women’s first division
were that of Teddy Hall who won blades and moved up six places on
the river, including an overbump on St Hilda’s on day one,
after the Christ Church and Catz had bumped out in front of them.
Christ Church were also extremely quick throughout the week,
moving up three for the third year in succession. With only two women’s crews achieving blades, the
competitiob was fierce at every level. As one observer noted,
‘Good crews go up three, lucky crews win blades.’
Queen’s also moved up from the seconds division, putting in
an excellent performance. In men’s division two St John’s, Worcester, and LMH
won blades, the latter moving up from the third division, and
looking assured in their new Stampfli. No blades were won in the
women’s second division, although both Oriel and Worcester
were impressive. Worcester’s chance of blades were foiled on
the first day by a klaxon while they were chasing an overbump on
LMH – the first time LMH had not been bumped in Eights for
over two years. At the end of the week, the top divisions of Eights had been
seriously shaken up. Whilst Oriel and Pembroke are unlikely to be
on the back foot for long, it was refreshing to see change and
the top of both first divisions. Almost as refreshing as that
pint of Pimm’s. racing on Saturday. Magdalen M1 had started fourth on the river on Wednesday, and
some thought that despite the obvious speed in the boat, the
inherently unfair nature of bumps racing might deny the
Blue-stacked crew the headship. Magdalen proved all doubters
wrong by bumping Exeter, Pembroke and Oriel on successive days,
to go head for the first time in fifty years, with a day to
spare. Pembroke had lost the headship on Wednesday to Oriel, having
been bumped well past the boat houses on the opening day. But
despite bringing Theology finalist Basil Dixon into the boat for
the rest of the week, Pembroke could neither gain revenge on
Oriel nor hold off Magdalen as they dropped to third. Whilst the decidedly iffy weather meant that tow-path support
was not what it might have been, Magdalen’s bump on Oriel
was met by scenes of jubilation on the banks and boat house
island, with Magdalen supporters and neutral observers alike
happy to see a crew other than Oriel or Pembroke at the top of
the table. Of course, it could have all been very different
– Magdalen, along with Catz men and Somerville women, had
failed to enter their boats into Eights on time, and the college
captains could have voted to bar them from racing or impose
penalty bumps – but in the end the fastest men’s crew
on the river finished head, something that all too often does not
occur. Oriel M1 have often been accused of arrogance, and are
certainly not the most popular crew on the river. However, the
entire crew, led by captain Alisdair Robbie, made a trip to
Magdalen boat house after racing on Saturday to congratulate the
headship holders (along with many other first division rowers),
an action that deserves acknowledgement and commendation. Further down the men’s first division, renowned for the
number of row-overs normally recorded, there were a surprising
number of bumps, with both New College and Balliol moving up
three places, although New’s bump on Christ Church on
Thursday was marred by a pile up on the Green Bank which left the
House’s cox Charles Thorogood in the Isis. Although
everybody involved appeared anxious not to apportion blame for
the incident, Thorogood had a very lucky escape as the rest of
the racing boats thundered towards him before the division was
eventually klaxoned. Balliol captain Andrew Crawford was
overjoyed with his crew’s success after they bounced back
from gaining spoons last year, demonstrating how quickly fortunes
can change. Much the same could be said for Christ Church, who gained
spoons to end up ninth, only three years after they had gained
blades after starting in that position. Captain Lenny Martin was
obviously upset by his crew’s fortunes, but took heart from
Balliol’s comeback. With college stalwart Robin
Bourne-Taylor returning from Olympic duty next year, the House
should find it easier to persuade their other men’s Blues
back in to college boats, something that they had been unable to
do this summer, and real improvement is possible. But as a member of this year’s crew noted, ‘Whilst
we are all obviously disappointed that we have gone down, other
events this week have helped us to keep things in perspective.
We’ve got spoons. It’s hardly the end of the world,
compared to what happened to that poor girl from Catz.’
Indeed, a one minute silence before men’s division one on
Thursday, in memory of Emilie Harris, a rower from St
Catherine’s tragically killed the day before, was kept by
one and all, with crews still on the river from the previous
division easy-ing to show their respects.ARCHIVE: 5th week TT 2004 

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