Listomania

Would ‘Muttle’ make The List?

What do you think of when you hear ‘rowing list’? Maybe you are thinking of Megan Kalmoe’s ‘Hot List’, or one of the lists of rowers that sometimes pop up on FISA’s website? I had not really considered to post a list of rowers on HTBS, as I have been happy to occasionally post entries on some of my ‘rowing heroes’. But a week ago, I received an e-mail from my HTBS colleague Tim Koch in London. Tim had got an e-mail from David Brooks, a Brit living in the USA. David, who calls himself an ‘amateur sports historian’, was interested in getting information about some British oarsmen to be able to put together what he calls ‘an all-time British rowing squad.’

Both Tim and I thought that it sounded like a good idea for a discussion on HTBS. Tim immediately threw in five names: Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, Jack Beresford Jnr., Guy Nickalls, and the professional sculler Ernest Barry. Tim also mentions one of his (and mine) rowing heroes, Wally Kinnear, as someone who might be on a ‘scullers’ list’ with Barry.

I also contacted some rowing historians to see whom they might like to have on their ‘Top Ten British Rowers List’. There I run into problems. You see, they do not ‘do’ lists. However, they were happy to drop some names. Peter Mallory, author of the four-volume, 2,500-page, The Sport of Rowing (2011), mentions: Stanley Muttlebury, Beresford Snr., and Ran Laurie. ‘Beresford Jr. could row lightweight for sure. And don’t forget Mark Hunter [who is featured in the current issue of Rowing & Regatta, May 2012]. I’m not too impressed with British professionals beyond Ernie and perhaps Bert Barry,’ Peter writes. He also mentions ‘the Old Crocks’, the Leander eight that took gold at the Olympic regatta in 1908.

Well-known rowing historian Tom Weil writes:

‘Two scullers of y’oar who merit very serious consideration are A.A. Casamajor and F.S. Kelly, each a giant of his era. By his death at 28 (3 days before the 1861 Wingfields), Casamajor had won the Diamonds in 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858 and 1861, and the Wingfields in 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, and 1860 (as well as the Goblets in 1855, 1856, 1858, and 1860, the Stewards in 1856, the Wyfolds in 1856, and the Grand in 1857 and 1859).  This records includes multiple Henley victories in each of the 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858 regattas.

‘Kelly (who was born in Australia, but spent his entire rowing career in England, starting with stroking Eton to the Ladies’ in 1899) won the Diamonds in 1902, 1903 (over Beresford Sr) and 1905, and the Wingfields in 1903 (as well as the Stewards in 1906, the Grand in 1903, 1904, and 1905, and gold in the UK eight in the 1908 Olympics [‘the Old Crocks’]). Kelly’s Diamonds time stood for 30+ years before beaten by Joe Burk. Kelly also died young, a casualty of WWI.’

Albert de Laud Long

Another HTBS colleague, Greg Denieffe, writes, ‘I’m no great fan of ‘listomania’ but that’s because I’m no good at them!’ However, Greg drops a name:

‘One person that I would put forward,’ Greg writes, ‘to be on an overall top 10 sweep list would be Albert de Laud Long. A Wingfield Sculls winner in 1869 and again in 1870 he won a staggering 18 trophies at Henley between 1868 and 1877. Five times a Grand winner, eight Stewards’ wins, four in the Goblets and a win in the Coxless fours of 1872. He was also in the London R.C. crew in the “1872 Anglo-American Boat-Race,” in which London R.C. beat Atalanta B.C. of New York from Mortlake to Putney.’

Tomorrow, HTBS will present David Brooks’s ‘all-time British rowing squad’, and some ‘rules’ for those of you who would like to contribute with your own ‘Top Ten British Rowers List’, or should I say ‘lists’ as there is going to be more than one.

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