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1939 APS Head of the River

The seventy-second Head of the River returned to the Barwon on 18th and 19th May brought no joy to the Geelong schools with both being eliminated in the heats. Melbourne Grammar made it another victory after their 1938 win.

Geelong Grammar made the move to swivel rowlocks from poppets.

At the junior regatta, again only six crews were permitted to race.

 


Starter: A L Storrer

Umpire and Timekeeper: H T James

Judge: T S Barnfather

Clerk of Scales: J D'Helin

Despatch Steward: J L McCabe Doyle

Head of the River

Time: 5:41.2
Margin: 1 length and 1/2 length

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: S E Righetti, 2: A W Moore, 3: D H Davis, 4: R L Due, 5: R C Rollason, 6: R A Hoffert, 7: P J R Steele, Str: J R B Grice, Cox: J W Skinner, Cch: Walter E "Wally" Ricketts
2nd Wesley College - Bow: J E Critchley, 2: J O Reynolds, 3: J V Lawler, 4: M Bradbury, 5: P Watkins, 6: N T Flentje, 7: I D Dawes, Str: L E R Williams, Cox: R G Duncan, Cch: Charles Donald
3rd Scotch College - Bow: John H Young, 2: Stuart C McCracken, 3: Roderick M Aitchison, 4: Gordon D Fisher, 5: Morris A Barr, 6: Leonard V Barnett, 7: William E I Littlejohn, Str: Alan M Marshall, Cox: Frank H Smith, Cch: Charles B Boyes

The race was an all the way win for MGS. An early effort by WC looked promising but MGS commanded the race throughout and all attempts against them proved unsuccessful.

The Argus reported the final as follows:

Even as he did, however, the starter’s gun was fired, and MGS and Scotch dashed away, leaving Wesley still on the line. The second barrel was fired immediately, and MGS and Scotch stopped and returned to their marks.

All went well in the second start, and 24 oars hit the water as one. First away was MGS, which jumped off perfectly striking 41. Scotch, striking 40, was with them, and Wesley, also 40, close up. MGS’s start was remarkable. The crew was into its full swing and out of it own water on the fourth stroke, and inside the first half-dozen it had moved ahead of Scotch, which was a couple of feet in front of Wesley.

In the first 100 yards MGS gained a lead of a ¼ of a length form Wesley, which had passed Scotch. Steadying down to 38, MGS gradually moved away. For a brief period it looked as though Wesley might take the lead, as with a dashing sprint reminiscent of its best form the crew drew up on the dark blues.

But the effort was shortlived. Grice for a dozen, and Grammar went away again. At the ¼ mile the positions were Grammar (38) half a length ahead of Wesley (37), Scotch (35) a ¼ of a length farther back. Racing to the half mile, Grammar was easily the best of the three crews in every way. It reached the half mile in 2min 24sec, a fast time. Here Mr. Ricketts was standing, and he called to his crew for a sprint. The response definitely disposes of Grammar’s rivals. Jumping to a lead of a length and still maintaining their length, swing, and drive, the dark blues drove on rhythmically. Scotch was now a length behind Wesley and did not look like getting up.

Nearing the mills, Wesley raised the rate from 35 to 38 in an endeavor to make up some of the leeway, but the rowing suffered rather than improved. Taking no chances, grammar sprinted again, and made its lead a length and a ¼. Never letting up, Grammar won by a length. Scotch was third, half a length behind Wesley. Time 5min 41sec.

Melbourne Grammar First Crew

Back row (from left): A.W. Moore (2), R.L. Due (4), W.N. Ricketts Esq., D.H. Davis(3) and S.E. Righetti (bow). Front row: R.A. Hoffert (6), J.R.B. Grice (stroke), J.W. Skinner (cox), P.J.R. Steele (7) and R.C. Rollason (5)
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

1939 Wesley Crew

Photo from Wesley College Boatshed

1939 Scotch Crew

Photo from The Scotch Collegian

Other crews racing were:
Geelong Grammar - Bow: J N R White, 2: B G Dexter, 3: B N Dobson, 4: F G Davidson, 5: J D Wall, 6: C F Angas, Str: S W H Fairbairn, Str: G H Lester, Cox: E R Searle, Cch: William H Pincott
Geelong College - Bow: R J L Dennis, 2: L A Cartwright, 3: A F Blackwood, 4: A R Meakin, 5: A L Matheson, 6: W C Koch, 7: D W P Borthwick, Str: J W Barrett, Cox: R Lyall, Cch: Charles G Saleh
Xavier College - Bow: R F Marron, 2: F P Thomas, 3: A N Davison, 4: W J Hobbs, 5: F J Vigano, 6: P S Condon, 7: W G Fisher, Str: John V Bourke, Cox: D W Kerr, Cch: James W Bynre

Heat results
E1: 1st MGS, 2nd XC, Time: 5:19.2. Margin: 2 1/2 lengths
E2: 1st SC, 2nd GGS, Time: 5:15.0. Margin 1/2 length
E3: 1st WC, 2nd GC, Time: 5:15.4. Margin: 1/3 length

The Age reported on the heats:

First Heat - MGS v Xavier

Both MGS and Xavier got away well in the first heat, although neither started cleanly. For the first ten strokes Grammar’s rating was 40 and Xavier’s 38. MGS went to the front early and at the ¼ mile mark had a lead of about half a length, which was gradually increased to the finish. Both crews were rowing well, and the half mile was completed in 2 min 29.5sec., when MGS had increased their lead to ¾ of a length.

As the half mile post was passed, Xavier challenged, but it was their last effort and the crew began to get ragged and lose pace. MGS, rowing well within themselves, went away to lead by an easy length a ¼ of a mile from the finish. Rowing cleanly and clearing about 4 feet, Grammar increased their lead rapidly over the last part of the race with Xavier’s boat becoming very unsteady. Won by 2 and a half lengths in 5 min 19 1-5th sec.

Second Heat - Scotch v Geelong Grammar

The second heat was an example of fine stroking on the part of the Scotch stroke. Geelong Grammar started well, and took the lead at about 40 strokes to the minute, Scotch rowing at 38. At the ¼ mile both crews had dropped the rating slightly and Geelong Grammar had about 1/3 of a length lead and were making the pace very hot. Scotch were beginning to creep up, however, and had steadied down from a rather dirty star.

At the half mile both crews were rowing at 36, but Geelong, suffering from the early pacemaking, were becoming ragged. The time for the first half was 2.27, faster than the first heat, although for the full distance the second heat was 4 seconds slower. After the half had been passed, Scotch went to the lead and were content to hold it, rowing at about 34 to Grammar’s 33. Scotch were rowing well and clearing about three feet of water, and although Grammar challenged near the finish, Scotch were able to win while easing off.

Third Heat - Geelong College v Wesley

As was expected the race between Wesley and Geelong College proved to be the hardest and fastest of the day, and Wesley’s narrow win was probably partly due to the clever tactics of the cox in taking the crew close to the south bank around the bend. Wesley got the better start, but Geelong College, with the rating at 42, quickly took the lead, and at the ¼ mile had a slight advantage. At this stage the crews were rowing nicely, with Geelong striking 38 and Wesley 36.

At the half mile Wesley had made up the distance between the crews, and it was still anybody’s race. The rating was dropped by two strokes by each crew, and at the ¾ mile mark Wesley were in the lead, but were being challenged by Geelong. Both crews quickened, Geelong to 38 and Wesley to 36, and Geelong began to come up, but Wesley replied with some fine rowing, which enabled them to hold the lead and cross the line with one-third of a length advantage in 5min 15 2-5th sec.


Second Crews

(These races were not part of the Head of the River regatta. The Melbourne metropolitan schools conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. The Gelong schools raced amongst themselves on the Barwon River.)

Metropolitan Schools

Time: 2:42.0
Margins: 0.75 length and one length

Distance 1/2 mile

Geelong schools

Time: NTT
Margin: 1 1/4 lengths

Melbourne Metropolitan Schools

1st Scotch College - Bow: G B Littlejohn, 2: J G Law, 3: G N Price, 4: E McL Holmes, 5: R J Titcher, 6: B A Taylor, 7: G A Hagenauer, Str: A L Burns, Cox: J gates, Cch: Harvey Nicholson
2nd Melbourne Grammar
- Bow: J Archer, 2: M Hodgson, 3: L Stynes, 4: H Jowett, 5: G Hyert, 6: C Shain, 7: J Currie, Str: R Lamont, Cox: L Lyle
3rd Xavier College
4th Wesley College
- Bow: G A Gronow, 2: F P Muller, 3: W H Wilkinson, 4: K W Elliott, 5: K Macdonald, 6: G M Brock, 7: J D Foletta, Str: G B Laws, Cox: C A McPherson, Cch: Mr Mitchell

The Argus reported as follows: Gaining a lead of half a length in the first ¼ mile, Scotch rowed a very well judged race and won by ¾ of a length, with a length between second and third. Time: 2 min 42 sec.

Melbourne Grammar Second Crew

(From left): L.B. Lyle, R.K. Lamont, J.C. Currie, C.A. Shain, G.S. Hyett, H.A.C. Jowett, L.S. Jones, M.N. Hogdson and J.M.L. Archer
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

An inaugural SC v GC second crew race took place on Saturday 29th April. SC won in 2:28.0 over a half mile in slight head breeze conditions.

The seconds race on The Yarra - Scotch win by 3/4 length
Photo: The Scotch Collegian

Geelong Schools

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: G Patterson, 2: G Armytage, 3: W Gove, 4: I Gaze, 5: R Rowan, 6: C Murray, 7: G Dutton, Str: J Nevett, Cox: C Lansell
2nd Geelong College - Bow: I McDonald, 2: E Tilley, 3: A Barrett, 4: J Aitken, 5: F Robinson, 6: B Vanrennen, 7: J Furguson, Str: Robert Aitken, Cox: D Fearon

Third Crews

(These races were not part of the Head of the River regatta. The Melbourne metropolitan schools conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. The Gelong schools raced amongst themselves on the Barwon River.)

Metropolitan Schools

Time: Not known
Margins: 1/3 length and 1/2 length

Distance: 1/2 mile

Geelong schools

Time: NTT
Margin: 1 length

Melbourne Metropolitan Schools

1st Scotch College - Bow: G J Robertson, 2: K S Williams, 3: J S Shaw, 4: A P Flockart, 5: R G Blacker, 6: H Iser, 7: A C Wann, Str: R StG Summons, Cox: R K Sim, Cch: John Blanch
2nd Wesley College
- Bow: A G Trathan, 2: C H Niven, 3: W Blewett, 4: R J Walker, 5: W Keritz, 6: D G Gibbs, 7: P M Straw, Str: E F Osborne, Cox: D W Webster, Cch: Mr Mitchell
3rd Melbourne Grammar
4th Xavier College

Melbourne Grammar Third Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Geelong schools

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: M Kidd, 2: W Cox, 3: T Peacock, 4: A Harrison, 5: P Armytage, 6: C Hidgcock, 7: J Hamphill, Str: J Osborn, Cox: S Kinsbury
2nd Geelong College - Bow: R Dennis, 2: J Morrison, 3: J Strickland, 4: R McQueen, 5: J McDonald, 6: A Sloan, 7: C Williams, Str: J Legge, Cox: D Philip

Fourth Crews

(These races were not part of the Head of the River regatta. The Melbourne metropolitan schools conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. The Gelong schools raced amongst themselves on the Barwon River.)

Metropolitan Schools

Time: Not known
Margins: 1 length and 0.75 length

Distance: 1/3 mile

Geelong schools

Time: NTT
Margin: 5 lengths

Melbourne Metropolitan Schools

1st Wesley College - Bow: J W Harrower, 2: D J M Bartram, 3: D J Williams, 4: J W Chitty, 5: S J Powling, 6: M G Pizzey, 7: D H Trigg, Str: J R Richards, Cox: I L Rowe, Cch: Mr Macfarlane
2nd Melbourne Grammar
3rd Xavier College
4th Scotch College
- Bow: R C Barbour, 2: J B G Serle, 3: I D Shugg, 4: H J Gossip, 5: I H Callister, 6: I F Beaurepaire, 7: J Ettelson, Str: R McK orr, Cox: J G Fussell, Cch: Tom Darling

Melbourne Grammar Fourth Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Grammar Archives

Geelong schools

1st Geelong Grammar - Bow: S Michael, 2: D Inglis, 3: C Conocher, 4: M Southey, 5: F Kellaway, 6: P Wills, 7: S Scott, Str: W Hare, Cox: E Smith
2nd Geelong College - Bow: J Carter, 2: J Anderson, 3: J Neilson, 4: I McDonald, 5: D Hope Johnson, 6: J Turnbull, 7: D Vanrennen, Str: P Bartlett, Cox: W Martin

Fifth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: Not known
Margin: 1 length

Distance 1/4 mile

1st Scotch College - Bow: R R Shaw, 2: A G Mathew, 3: A J Salthouse, 4: H Stretton, 5: A G Simpson, 6: G Stobie, 7: D A Cameron, Str: W L Goldsworthy, Cox: W Grano, Cch: D Shaw
2nd Melbourne Grammar - Bow: S V Parkes, 2: G R Kiddle, 3: J S Bell, 4: R P F Goddard, 5: C G Hill, 6: V M W Pett, 7: K W Webb, Str: R H Wallace-Mitchell, Cox: G A Cunningham

Melbourne Grammar Fifth Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Gammar Archives

Sixth Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: Not known
Margin: 3/4 length

1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: S Shepard, 2: R Downs, 3: R Van Assche, 4: J Low, 5: W Sherwin, 6: H Ponsford, 7: J Jackson, Str: C McLaren, Cox: H Marks
2nd Scotch College
- Bow: D H Powell, 2: D H Hume, 3: A G Strickland, 4: A J F Wannan, 5: J B Ware, 6: E C Gates, 7: K F Alder, Str: A W Adair, Cox: R Dyer, Cch: Messrs McCracken and Sloan

Seventh Crews

(This race was conducted as part of the Junior Eights regatta amongst Melbourne metropolitan schools on May 12 on the Upper Yarra. It was not part of the Head of the River regatta.)

Time: Not known
Margin: Dead heat

= 1st Melbourne Grammar - Bow: N Jackson, 2: W Lockington, 3: G Casey, 4: W Ward, 5: H Brown, 6: K Spargo, 7: N McLean, Str: S Egan, Cox: J Richards
= 1st Scotch College
- Bow: W K Kelleher, 2: G Anderson, 3: P Y Permezel, 4: S P Derham, 5: J Cumming, 6: R H Thorn, 7: A E Gaze, Cox: J I Shaw

Melbourne Grammar Seventh Crew

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Gammar Archives

 

Sources

 

  • 1939 APS Head of the River Program
  • The Pincott Club Handbook 2006
  • Scotch Collegian 1939
  • Lift her home to victory, lads! A centenary history of Xavier College 1906-2006 by Michael Lefebvre
  • Appendix to A Deepening Roar Scotch College 1851-2001 by James Mitchell, Allen & Unwin 2001
  • MELBOURNE CREWS WIN HEATS (1939, May 19). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205635168
  • GRAMMAR, HEAD OF THE RIVER (1939, May 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 16. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12130350
  • THREE TO SCOTCH (1939, May 15). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12128358
  • Geelong Events (1939, May 15). The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved April 20, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205632038
  • Wesley College Chronicle August 1939 Pages 26-29

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