What An Oardeal: Defeat in Women’s Boat Race

Brutal Oardeal as Women Rowers crash to boat race defeat, reports ADAM CRAFTON.

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In the searing sunshine at Henley, the Cambridge crews wilted, falling to a sixth defeat in seven years in the Women’s Boat Race.

This was a historic day as the final year before next year’s iconic switch from Henley-on-Thames to the Tideway.

After last year, where Oxford secure four out of four victories, Cambridge had much to prove.

Unfortunately, the Light Blues did not manage to rise to the occasion. This is the famous fixture that stirs the blood of these young women more than any other but for all their dedication, for all their courage, the record books will recall a Cambridge crew that simply could not compete with Oxford.

For its speed and brutality, this was one of the more damaging blows to the Cambridge crew. The unpalatable truth is that Cambridge were never in the race.

From 2015, the women rowers will battle on the same 4.25 mile stretch as their male counterparts and in front of an international television audience for the first time next Spring, it must be more competitive.

The BBC will be hoping for a spectacle that can grip the nation for something approaching twenty minutes and Cambridge have serious work to do if they are to radically change the narrative of recent times and reaffirm their number one status.

If this was a day of glorious affirmation for Oxford, then it offered a strong pill of perspective for Cambridge. The Light Blues were not just beaten here by a margin.

Oxford led from start to finish, opening up a half-length lead within a minute and a performance of discipline, decorated by beautiful coordination and technique, extended the lead still further. By the end, there was a twelve second gap between the two crews reaching the finish line, estimated by the experts to be a four length difference in a time of 5 minutes 50, just shy of the record.

It seemed Oxford were a class apart. It was always going to be hard up against a crew with an array of international rowers and to their credit, Cambridge resisted manfully. But dogged determination was no match for the Dark Blues’ driven assurance and this afternoon offered a brutal reckoning.

Results were reversed for the lightweight men’s crew. They won by an outstanding margin of three and a half lengths, only 12 seconds off the record. While Downing College can reflect with pride after emerging triumphant in the intercollegiate battle.

The Blondie women’s reserve crew and the lightweights women’s both lost. However, the reserve crew, against the Oxford Osiris boat, put up a much closer fight, only losing out by half a length. The lightweights women’s started strongly to be leading for the first half but the Dark Blues came through to clinch the title.

We can take solace, also, that the Cambridge superiority remains emphatically in tact, with an overall lead of 41-28 in the Women’s Boat Race.

The one successful Light Blue crew of the day:

However, all in all, the fact remains that Cambridge lost three out of four contests. The Women’s Boat Race was lost for the sixth time in seven years. This is no reflection on the time and effort put in but, it is the here and now that truly matters, though, and Sunday provided a worrying glimpse into the future. Cambridge simply must improve.

Hopefully, this is not a foretaste of the men’s Boat Race on April 6th. Follow all the action LIVE with The Tab’s live blog from CUBC’s very own boathouse on the Tideway.

For the April 6th Boat Race after party at DNA in Clapham, get your tickets here and for more information click here.