Lightweights Leave It Late

The Cambridge Lightweight rowers left it late to beat Oxford in a dramatic finish at Henley on Sunday, while the women lost out.

blues rowing cul henley lightweight blues lightweights

The Cambridge Lightweight rowers left it late to beat Oxford in a dramatic finish at Henley on Sunday.

The crew had the spectators on the edge of their seats coming back from six seats down a quarter of the way into the race, to win by a mere 2 feet over the course on the Henley Reach.

Their margin of victory was so tight that the race was followed by an agonising wait before the on-shore officials confirmed the winning distance of 2 feet – meaning that there was less than one stroke in it.

The Lightweights celebrate a dramatic victory at Henley. All photos courtesy of

The lightweights (CULRC), whose crew has to average 70 kg or less and contain no rower over 72.5 kg, powered home in 05.24, a few seconds off the course record, which they would surely have smashed had they been on the station with the much faster stream (Oxford won the toss for all four races).

The Oxford cox received almost continuous warning from the umpire on the launch for pushing CULRC into the Bucks bank – a ploy she used to give her slower crew a fighting chance.

Lightweights cox and Jesus fresher Ruth Coverdale is thrown into the water.

CULRC demonstrated their strength and depth by rowing through in the slack water, gradually clawing back the inches.

Cox, Ruth Coverdale’s decision to avoid a serious blade clash allowed her crew to retain the momentum, confident they had the legs to overpower Oxford in the long run, which they did with aplomb.

The Cambridge women lost to Oxford by 4 lengths.

Previous to CUL’s race, Cambridge’s Lightweight Women rowed with guts and determination in the 65th women’s Boat Race but their most valiant efforts were not enough to deny Oxford, who again had the benefit of the very fast stream.

The lightweights went down the course faster than both the women’s Blue Boat and Blondie, who were also beaten comfortably by Oxford.

Blondie, the women’s reserve boat, went down to a heavy defeat at the hands of Osiris.



Bow: Constance Daggett – Girton. 2: Anya Rachel Jones – Fitz. 3: Carys Rowlands – Sidney. 4: Penny Thuesen  – Christ’s. 5: Beth Colman – King’s. 6: Anna Railton – Pembroke. 7: Sarah Allen – Peterhouse. Stroke: Hermione Mackay – John’s. Cox: Catherine Taylor , Trinity Hall


Bow: Christopher Kerr – St Catharine’s. 2: Matt Lawes – Fitz. 3: Christopher Bellamy – Homerton. 4: Iain Rist – Trinity Hall. 5: Charles Pitt Ford – Pembroke. 6: Tom Coker – Trinity. 7: Alistair Chappelle – Pembroke. Stroke: John Hale – Pembroke. Cox: Ruth Coverdale – Jesus.


Photos of the Henley races can be found at