Dutch coach's radical changes to engine room

VARSITY SPORTS: Oxford rowers experiment on the water while the Light Blues eye a hat-trick of victories on the rugby pitch

From the moment they appeared on the Tideway, the Oxford trial crews for the 1997 Boat Race on 29 March demonstrated the new gospel of how a boat should move, writes Hugh Matheson. Under the care of Rene Mijnders, the coach to the Dutch Olympic eight which won gold by a length in Atlanta, their approach to the transfer of power from man to craft has changed radically.

The two crews, "Y-fronts" and "Boxer Shorts", started after the University Stone yesterday, and each quickly settled into a rhythm of about 34 strokes per minute. Nick Robinson, from Hampton School and stroking Boxer, was generally a pip lower than Tim Foster stroking Y, and he fell behind by about a quarter-length after a minute.

Foster, an experienced British international, had a reshuffled crew behind him after Charlie Humphries had withdrawn with flu. The Oxford president, Ed Bellamy, moved from the four to the six seat and Dan Law was promoted from a junior trial eight.

Foster's crew, on the Surrey station, held its narrow lead around the Fulham flats. This was in part because James Micklethwait, his cox, was able to crowd Robinson's boat out of the stream. Robinson's cox Alex Greaney was on a yellow card for past steering clashes and was under orders not to push back.

After the Mile post, timed at 3min 37sec, when the bend began to turn against him, Robinson appeared to raise the game and was able to draw level as they approached Hammersmith. Behind him, the pair of Etonian junior internationals, Andrew Lindsay and James Roycroft, were sending down a lovely easy rhythm and Luka Grubor, the Croatian international who won the Henley Grand Challenge Cup with Imperial College last summer, was beginning to show the full effect of his 15st 10lb strength.

But Foster, at 27, was canny enough to use the bend and Micklethwait's aggression to pull back in front, and were a canvas ahead when they shot Hammersmith Bridge.

Bellamy, who may well find himself in contention with Humphries for the final seat in the blue boat, looked small between Damian West in the No 5 seat and Roberto Blanda at No 7, both of whom claim 6ft 6in measurements, but he was holding the rhythm well and kept the crew in good heart. Where the Hammersmith bend dies out after St Pauls, Micklethwait had his final attempt to push Greaney wide.

This time he would not go and the crews clashed blades. Foster, as expected from one who stroked London University, emerged with an extra two-seats advantage. But Robinson responded, and along Chiswick Eyot they drew level then took a canvas lead.

Neither crew looked strained at the finish, and the quality of the rowing and quantity of work never wavered. There was another small clash as the river turned, once again, in Foster's favour after Chiswick Steps, but he was unable to regain the lead. Although the stern four of Robinson's crew was giving away 18 years in experience to the stern four of Y-Fronts,they prevailed by what coach Mijnders called "a long half-length" in 17min 10 sec.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?