IN the Pall Mall Gazette of December 10 appeared an article under this title that throws some light on the action of that university. From this we learn the trials, comprising about all the rowing talent that Oxford can show this winter, are composed of almost entirely new men, only two of the old hands pulling in the two boats. As Oxford managed to retain last year five of her old oars, two of whom were fourth-season men, the contrast of circumstances this year is rather unpleasant.
Speaking of the crews, the Gazette says: "The material, taking the men separately for their physique, is fair, but nothing exceptionally strong; here lies the weak point of Oxford this season. We do not mean to say that the men are a weakly lot. There are plenty of good No. 3's and No. 2's, but there is a dearth of those first-class giants of which a good crew should always have three or more." Then follows a criticism of the men individually, which suggests that there is material in the boats that can be improved and developed in time. The impression left on the reader's mind is that Oxford is disappointed in her trials, and that her 'Varsity next Easter will not be the crew that she would like to enter in an international regatta. "We hardly expect the crew," says the Gazette, "to be quite so good as that of last spring, which was one of the fastest on record; but, as they all have good style to start with, they ought to get well together; and they are fairly, though not exceptionally, strong." All this is very significant, as is the intelligence that Cambridge is in the same box, having "only two of last year's crew in residence."