IT was thought in the spring of 1874 that the interest in boating would receive a lasting stimulus by the inauguration of the new Club System now in operation; but experience has shown that the enthusiasm so strongly awakened at the outset has steadily decreased, until the condition of the crews is now deplorable. But want of interest has not been the sole cause of this, for, since the revival of athletics here, it has been decisively shown that to hope for success one must apply himself to but one kind of sport. This of course is the only correct principle, but it necessitates a larger number of men to keep up the interest in the several branches of athletics.
The Club Crews, thus deprived of many of their best men, find it hard to keep afloat, and for want of material rather than pluck, do much less real work than formerly. Still the general effect of the new system is very beneficial, for by affording more opportunities for rowing than the old one, it keeps more crews on the river and is therefore likely to develop a larger number of good oarsmen.
The four-oared crews which are to compete this spring are not, as yet, definitely made up. Matthews and Weld have each a four in daily practice; of the two the latter is in some respects the better. Holworthy has a four in prospectu, while Holyoke has done nothing for one so far. It is, however, difficult to say what a day may bring forth with the last-mentioned club.
The sixes are mostly made up, and are doing a moderate amount of work. There is the usual speculation as to each crew's chances of victory, but as the men on the crews are changed almost daily, it would be no easy matter to make a correct prophecy.
Matthews is now rowing with W. F. Weld, '76, stroke, S. Perkins, L. S. S., E. T. Hastings, '76, T. W. Preston, '79, W. Sheafe, '79, J. Q. A. Brett, '77, bow. The crew work quite well together, they pull a fast stroke, and there is a general tendency in the boat to roll.
The Weld six will probably be composed of J. W. Wells, '79, stroke, F. A. Bates, '77, H. H. Brown, '76, W. A. Brownlow, '76, P. W. Page, '77, G. S. Raymer, '78, bow. They pull a slow stroke, but find some difficulty in keeping time with their bodies.
Holyoke at present is made up of C. G. Weld, '79, stroke, W. S. Miller, '78, D. T. Seligman, '76, J. N. Willison, '77, C. Isham, '76, P. Tuckerman, '78, bow. The crew are working very regularly, but need much coaching; they decidedly fail in putting enough muscle into their stroke. Holworthy is not yet definitely settled upon, and it is impossible to get any "points" in regard to its chances. As at present composed, the crew consists of R. W. Guild, '76, stroke, W. R. Taylor, '77, J. R. W. Hitchcock, '77, M. Bull, '77, F. M. Ware, '79, W. E. Russell, '77, bow.
From present appearances the race will be closely contested, at all events, and it is greatly to be hoped that the crews will do all in their power to prevent the contest from degenerating into a mere scratch-race.