Oxford storm to victory in boat race

Oxford storm to victory in both Boat Races

Heavy favourites Oxford comprehensively won both races today by margins of victory not seen in 40 years. Cambridge were defeated by 11 lengths in the 160th Boat Race following a major error early on. The Oxford reserve crew won by an even greater margin, 13 lengths, in an a race where they appeared unchallengeable.

Oxford Joy

Oxford won the toss and chose the potentially faster Surrey side. An assured start saw Oxford take a small lead, barely 1/2 a length. However a fight back from Cambridge, assisted by the favourable Fulham bend, saw them surge forward to take the lead.  This would be the last time Cambridge were ahead.  As both crews passed the milepost a clash looked imminent, with the umpire warning both crews, Cambridge all the time a couple of feet ahead.

Isotonic recovery drinks

Rounding the bend towards the Harrods depository was where the race was ultimately won and lost. Oxford, enjoying the advantage of the bend, had a lead just under a length, with Cambridge’s bow bouncing the in the wash of Oxford. Cambridge cox Ian Middleton took a very aggressive line, having squeezed Oxford wide round Fulham earlier on he moved the light blue crew tight in behind Oxford.

Hugs for all

Umpire Richard Phelps warned the Cambridge crew but saw Cambridge’s bow lunge towards Oxford. The briefest of clashes between  the blades of Cambridge two seat Luke Juckett and Oxford seven seat Sam O’Connor  saw Juckett’s blade dig into the water flicking him out of seat. Called “catching a crab” the sensation is just that, the blade stops dead in the water and cannot be removed cleanly. The impact was so severe that Juckett was forced underwater breaking his rigger in the process. Speaking after the race Umpire Phelps said “I saw Cambridge’s bows twitch towards Oxford, so I warned Cambridge. Just after…I saw that extreme crab. I was relieved the Cambridge man was not badly injured and could continue”

Karl Hudspith standing proud showing off his huge trophy

For six strokes the three members of Cambridge’s bow found themselves unable to row. When Cambridge finally refound their rhythm Oxford were doing everything in their power to capitalise. Oxford were two and a half lengths up before Hammersmith Bridge having laid down a massive push, and continued to pull away. For Cambridge, unable to see or even hear Oxford the race was already over. Suffering a massive physiological blow there was little they could do.

Both victorious coxes get wet


Rounding the Hammersmith Bend going past St Pauls School the wind and waves picked up. Predictions of sinkings proved unfounded but the deteriorating conditions heaped more misery on an already dispirited Cambridge Boat. A more experienced crew could perhaps have found the mental reserve to fight but by Chiswick Eyot Cambridge looked dejected and defeated.

Oxford celebrate their 78th win

Oxford were up by 8 lengths passing the brewery and still rating higher, effortlessly extending their lead. By the time they crossed the line their lead had stretched to 11 lengths. Cambridge immediately appealed the result, claiming the Oxford had crosses into their water. However the bend was Oxford’s and the umpire had repeatedly warned Cambridge that they were out of their water. Appeal rejected, the result was Oxford’s in a time of 18:36

Oxford Triumphant

The reserve boat race saw an even more dominant performance from Oxford in a clean race without incident. Leading from two lengths by Craven Cottage Oxford strode out to a five length lead by Chiswick Eyot. Cambridge never looked a threat and couldn’t match the power of Oxford. By Chiswick Bridge the lead had swelled to 13 lengths with Oxford finishing in a time of 18:39, their third win in three years.

Isis, the Oxford reserve boat, crosses the line having broken Cambridge early on

Oxford’s triumph continued off the water. The Oxford Cambridge Goat Race saw an upset with the Oxford Goat powering to a surprise win. Oxford’s footballers however were less successful, having held off Cambridge for 90 minutes the nil nil game went to penalties, with Cambridge winning 4 -2 as Oxford had one saved and another wide.