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1886-1889 Intercolonial Championships

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24 Apr 1886, Yarra River VIC
9th Men's Intercolonial Eight-Oared Championship

Distance: 2 1/2 miles
Time: 18.42.5
Margin: Several lengths

1st VIC – Bow: Edward R Ainley, 2: F J Taylor, 3: W J Leverett, 4: S H Gowdie, 5: Alex Chamley, 6: C A P Moline, 7: C A Champion, Str: Robert D Booth, Cox: H Kempf. Average weight 11st 5lb.
2nd NSW – Bow: Nick Johnson, 2: George G Robertson, 3: W (Bill) G Brett, 4: Henry H Pickering, 5: J Edward H Kennedy, 6: J A Brodie, 7: George Searle, Str: Charles A Bros, Cox: S "Brummy" Ferguson, Cch: W (Bill) G Brett. Average weight 11st 2lb.

A new boat was commissioned for the NSW crew from R Fuller in Melbourne.

28 May 1887, Parramatta River NSW
10th Men's Intercolonial Eight-Oared Championship

Distance:
3 miles 330 yards
Time: 17.12.75
Margin: 4 1/2 lengths

1st VIC – Bow: Edward R Ainley, 2: F J Taylor, 3: C F Thomas, 4: S H Gowdie, 5: Alex Chamley, 6: J L Bannister, 7: C A P Moline, Str: Robert D Booth, Cox: C J Grant, Cch: George Upward, Emerg: G J Harrison. Average weight 11st 9lb.
2nd NSW – Bow: George Searle, 2: W C Freeman, 3: J Gerald Kennedy, 4: W Martin, 5: John Fraser, 6: J E (Ted) Kennedy, 7: Nick Johnson, Str: Charles A Bros, Cox: J (Sid) Hellings, Cchs: Messrs John Myers and Donovan, Selectors: Charles Bros, John Myers & Albert Goodyear. Average weight 11st 10lb.

Again only two colonies competed. Prior to the race, the NSW Rowing Association objected to the inclusion of W G Leverett in the Victorian crew, as he was a registered bookmaker and not a bona fide amateur.

The Victorian Rowing Association decided he was eligible to row. Leverett resigned from the crew to resolve the issue. The Victorian crew, without Leverett, won the race.

Good things were expected of the NSW crew but they were not fulfilled with a 4 1/2 length loss. It was not assisted by a crab by both Gerald Kennedy and George Searle losing their slides.

21 Apr 1888, Yarra River VIC
11th Men's Intercolonial Eight-Oared Championship

Distance: 2 1/2 miles
Time: 17.46
Margin: 4 lengths

1st VIC – Bow: Harry Oxlade, 2: Edward R Ainley, 3: F G Payne, 4: E Hopkins, 5: C A P Moline, 6: R B "Bob" Nicolson, 7: Alex Chamley, Str: S H Gowdie, Cox: H Charles Edwards. Average weight 11st 7lb.
2nd NSW – Bow: Nick Johnston, 2: F J Payne, 3: J A Brodie, 4: W Martin, 5: J Fraser, 6: J E (Ted) Kennedy, 7: J Gerald Kennedy, Str: Charles Dobson, Cox: J (Sid) Hellings, Cch: Jim Clark, Emerg: W F Kloster, Selectors: Charles Bros, Jim Oatley & John Myers. Average weight 11st 9lb.

Considerable controversy surrounded the selection of the NSW crew. The NSW selectors, namely Bros, Oatley & Myers, were called upon to resign after submission of the names of the crew which excluded prominent oarsmen of the time, namely Johnson and the Kennedys.

The crew was finally selected with these oarsmen included. Bros, as well as selector, was named as stroke. He withdrew from the crew and was also asked to resign as treasurer for neglect of duties.

The race was closely contested until Dobson crabbed and the crew stopped rowing. The Victorians were queried over two crew members who were saddlers. The Victorians responded by saying that they were eligible under their rules.

24 Nov 1888, Parramatta River NSW
12th Men's Intercolonial Eight-Oared Championship

Distance:
3 miles 330 yards
Time: 16.57
Margin: 6 lengths

1st VIC – Bow: Harry Oxlade, 2: F G Payne, 3: W Watson, 4: J L Bannister, 5: E Hopkins, 6: R B "Bob" Nicolson, 7: Alex Chamley, Str: S H Gowdie, Cox: E Hobson. Average weight 11st 11lb.
2nd NSW – Bow: R S Thompson, 2: F Hooker, 3: W C McDonald, 4: W Bellbridge, 5: J Carlton, 6: F Bellbridge, 7: J Collins, Str: T McDonald, Cox: A Chate, Coach and selector: Albert Goodyear. Average weight 11st 12lb.

This was the second intercolonial event of 1888. It had been proposed by NSW that the race should be held in November rather than April/May and this was achieved in November 1888.

Whilst George Upward described the Victorian crew as one of the strongest to ever row for Victoria, the NSW crew suffered from the withdrawal of the Sydney Rowing Club oarsmen. The result by the NSW crew was therefore called as "a plucky performance" by Alan May in Sydney Rows.

The amateur question was raised again with the result that the each colony agreed to race under their respective rules.

1888, Paramatta River NSW
Men's Intercolonial Four Championship

Distance:
3 miles 330 yards
Time: 12.58.5
Margins: 2 & 3 lengths

1st VIC – Bow: Harry Oxlade, 2: F G Payne, 3: J L Bannister, Str: George Upward, Cox: unknown
2nd NZL (Napier & Canterbury Rowing Clubs) - Bow: E M Boulton, 2: F A Styche, 3; H F Nichol, Str: A L Smith, Cox: F H Shaw
3rd NSW - Bow: F Hooker, 2: F Bellbridge, 3: J Charleton, Str: J Macdonnell
4th TAS (Tamar Rowing Club) - Bow: H F Hudson, 2: I F Dean, 3: James Henry Coogan, Str: G Cragg

Referee of 5th December 1888 reported the race as follows: The Victorians were quickest away and soon had a length to the good, but before reaching One Man Wharf the "Maoris" spurted and drew within half a length of Upward and his men. Off One Man Wharf the Sydney coxswain steered too close to the Tasmanian boat, and a foul being the consequence. Both crews lost several lengths, and extinguished whatever chances they had of winning. Crossing over to Gladesville Upward quickened, and led past the wharf by two lengths. Even in this early part of the race the "lightblues" rolled in their boat, but in spite of this Macdonnell gamely spurted, and made a close race with the Tamar men, who did not show very good style. Passing Putney Point the Victorians had increased their advantage, but nearly came to grief in the rough water through No 2 catching a crab. They quickly recovered themselves, and having something in hand, drew away again from the "Maoris", whose long, swinging stroke was being rowed with unflinching gameness. Meanwhile the NSW men continued to stick to the Tasmanians, each crew in turn obtaining a slight lead. Blaxland's Point was reached by the "Vics" four lengths ahead of the New Zealanders, who in their turn led the Tasmanians by about six lengths. The home crew spurted at the finish, and were only last by a few feet.

A scheme was hatched to send an Australian crew to England being representative of all colonies. A test race in NSW was held for this purpose. Entries from Tasmania, NSW, Victoria and New Zealand competed. However iterest in the tour waned. In December NSW suggested that each of Victoria and NSW nominate 5 oarsmen, cox and coach. The VRA held a meeting in February to raise funds but the attendance was so disappointing that the matter was abandoned. NSW also decided to not to proceed with the first Australian representative crew.

23 Nov 1889 Yarra River VIC
13th Men's Intercolonial Eight-Oared Championship

Distance: 2 1/2 miles
Time: 17.22
Margin: 3 lengths

1st VIC – Bow: W Hatch, 2: F G Payne, 3: W Watson, 4: Arthur G Jenkins, 5: Stephen Fairbairn, 6: R B "Bob" Nicholson, 7: D Blair, Str: Robert D Booth, Cox: H Charles Edwards, Cchs: George Upward and Mr Warren. Average weight 12st.
2nd NSW – Bow: James A Smith, 2: Stewart A Tiley, 3: William Mead Reynolds, 4: F A Styche, 5: God G McGill, 6: W C Freeman, 7: Nathaniel "Natty" J McDonald, Str: John Thompson, Cox: J (Sid) Hellings, Selector: John Blackman. Average weight 11st 1lb.

The Victorian crew started favourite and justified this standard taking a margin at the start and moving this out to three lengths by the finish. The crew contained the great Stephen Fairbairn who recounted later “the old coach told me years after [the crew] was the best crew Victoria ever had.”

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