Oxford win the 155th University Boat Race

It's that time of year again for one of the oldest sporting fixtures in the British sporting calendar.

Today was the 155th University Boat Race between the dark blues of Oxford and the light blues of Cambridge, and it was watched by a crowd of over 250,000.

It was Oxford who were the victors for the second year in succession, winning by three and a half lengths.

The race has been held since 1829 (annually since 1856), but was not held during the two World Wars.

Oxford crossed over the finishing line at Mortlake in 17 minutes exactly.

The course is 4 miles, 374yds along the River Thames in London, from Putney to Mortlake, passing landmarks such as Craven Cottage (Fulham's FC's stadium), the Harrods depository, the Crabtree Tavern and Fuller's Brewery, passing under Hammersmith Bridge and Barnes Railway Bridge. The race starts at Putney Bridge and finishes at Chiswick bridge.

Since 1999, Cambridge have won the race four times (1999, 2001, 2004 and 2007) and Oxford have won it seven times (2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009), though Oxford's victory today means that Oxford have won it 75 times in total, Cambridge 79 times and there has been one dead heat (in 1877).

It is also tradition for the winning university's cox to be thrown into the Thames by his teammates at the end of the race. So that happened to Oxford's Colin Groshong.

For the first time, the winning crew got the chance to parade back along the Thames to Putney with their trophy.

Oxford triumph in 155th Boat Race

Oxford president Colin Smith celebrates with the Xchanging trophy

Oxford: Michal Plotkowiak, Colin Smith, Alex Hearne, Ben Harrison, Sjoerd Hamburger, Tom Solesbury, George Bridgewater, Ante Kusurin, cox: Colin Groshong

Cambridge: Rob Weitemeyer, Henry Pelly, Deaglan McEachern, Peter Marsland, Tom Ransley, Hardy Cubasch, Ryan Monaghan, Silas Stafford, cox: Rebecca Dowbiggin

Favourites Oxford stormed to victory over Cambridge in the 155th Boat Race, winning by three-and-a-half lengths.

Cambridge, on the Surrey side, recovered from a poor start to lead by half a length two miles into the race.

But they could not take advantage of the sweeping middle bend and, after a clash of blades, Oxford powered clear.

"It's a great, great feeling," said Oxford president Colin Smith, who won Olympic silver in Beijing. "It's been a long and special journey to be here."

Oxford, featuring five Olympians and the heaviest crew in the history of the race, built their advantage in the second half of the race against a broken Cambridge crew to record a time of 17 minutes exactly.

It was their fourth win in the last five years and their seventh in the last 10.

"We stuck to a strong and aggressive strategy but Cambridge certainly came pretty close to making it their day," Smith added.

"I wasn't concerned, I think Cambridge are a fantastic crew and there were a few hairy moments, but all the way along I knew we had good strength and it would take a lot to break us."

The clash of blades came as Cambridge were calling a push, looking for a length of clear water with the bend about to move back in Oxford's favour.

For Cambridge coach Chris Nilsson, that was the crucial point.

"I don't think our boat ever really recovered from that. We lost our rhythm, missed a couple of strokes," he said.

"Oxford countered it and when they pushed, their push was that much stronger than ours.

"At the end of the day, the stronger crew with the more power came through."

The Boat Race Course (click to enlarge)

Cambridge four man Peter Marsland, who will take part in Great Britain trials, did not believe he deserved a second defeat in his second and final race as a student.

"Our push was probably too big and it kind of killed us off at the same time as they found their race pace," he said.

"Last year the pressure was off but this year I thought we should have won it.

"For the rest of my life I'll think we should have won that race."

Cambridge cox Rebecca Dowbiggin confirmed that this was her last race as she has decided against pursuing a career as a professional with the Great Britain squad.

The first woman to cox three Boat Races, she has now lost two since her opening victory.

Like Marsland, she believed the Light Blues were still moving faster than Oxford when she put in a call to lift the rate, which had the reverse affect on their speed.

"The one thing I might have changed, was I might have called for that length a little later, given us a chance to move through them at a steady pace for a bit longer and then tried to kill it off," she told BBC Sport.

"But that's only a small change. If we were the faster crew, the difference of a few strokes shouldn't make all the difference. I can't say it would have caused a different result."

Coach Sean Bowden told BBC Sport this was one of the best crews he has turned out in his 10 years at Oxford.

"It's really a fantastic boat. Our speed in training was the best we've ever had," he said.

"They put in a polished performance and dealt with all the pressure and the hype."

Cambridge make up for a poor start at Putney by moving into the lead as the crews pass Fulham football ground

Cambridge lead at Hammersmith Bridge, a third of the way through the race, with a time of 6 minutes 29 seconds

Cambridge cox Rebecca Dowbiggin - in her third race - steers an impressive line at Hammersmith but her crew cannot take full advantage of the sweeping bend in their favour

Cambridge still have a lead nearing the half-way mark but Oxford produce a surge to take the advantage

Oxford are just too powerful, moving clear, and Cambridge have little left by the time the race approaches Barnes

Crowds on Chiswick Bridge crane for a view as Oxford power to victory

After six months of gruelling training, Oxford's elation contrasts with Cambridge despair once over the finish line

A triumphant Oxford emerge at Mortlake after clinching victory by three and a half lengths in 17 minutes exactly

Oxford president Colin Smith celebrates his University's seventh victory in the last 10 races

Cox Colin Groshong gets the traditional dunking in the Thames after directing Oxford's race plan

Cambridge cox Rebecca Dowbiggin, who has lost two races after winning her first, consoles members of the crew

For the first time, the winning crew get the chance to parade back to Putney with their trophy

This is always a very exciting event. I will look for it in youtube or BBC.

Henleys are also fun but that's in a couple of months. NCAA's crew matches are also very exciting. Great sport!
The 160th University Boat Race between Oxford University and Cambridge University is about to get underway on the Thames.

The dark blues of Oxford are targeting their fifth victory in seven years.

Watch it live here: The Boat Race - live - BBC Sport

The course is 4 miles and 374 yards (6.779 km) from Putney to Mortlake passing Hammersmith and Barnes; it is sometimes referred to as the Championship Course, and follows an S shape, east to west. The start and finish are marked by the University Boat Race Stones on the south bank. The clubs' presidents toss a coin (the 1829 sovereign) before the race for the right to choose which side of the river (station) they will row on: their decision is based on the day's weather conditions and how the various bends in the course might favour their crew's pace. The north station ('Middlesex') has the advantage of the first and last bends, and the south ('Surrey') station the longer middle bend.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 6th, 2014 at 11:12 AM..
Funny country, weird food and customs but you sure have some old-a s s history there dude. There's no doubt.
Race about to start.

We've had close races before - and this was not one of them.

After a clash of oars slowed Cambridge down, Oxford win by a huge distance.

Cambridge aren't happy and are protesting.
You can't win with a woman in the boat. The crew was continually distracted by her heavy breathing.
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Thanx for posting that Blackie - it was preempted in these parts but I got it on youtube.

Oxford Cambridge Boat Race 2014 - YouTube
[QUOTE=Blackleaf;1896683]Race about to start.

We've had close races before - and this was not one of them.

After a clash of oars slowed Cambridge down, Oxford win by a huge distance.

Cambridge aren't happy and are protesting.[/QUOTE
Good thing so many of those Oxford boys are from the colonies eh Blackleaf .
If I recall correctly, this happened last year as well - for some reason Cambridge's cox did not hold the proper line despite the warnings from official. Too bad as it could have been a far better race.