Saturday, April 07, 2012

Cambridge wins drama packed boat race

It's fair to say that I've never seen a boat race like that one - actually I don't think anyone's ever seen a boat race like that one.

It started off as a thrilling battle between two evenly matched boats and ended up like something out of those wacky races.

The start was clearly won by Oxford (boo) who passed Putney Embankment maybe a third of a boat length ahead.

But Cambridge (on the Surrey side) hung in there and pulled back so that by the time of the long Surrey side bend was inching ahead.

At this point they were out of sight so I was relying on the commentator (below) who's voice suddenly changed and he turned to the crowd below to announce "there's someone in the water!"

Then we learnt that the race had been stopped and for a moment there was chaos as no one knew what was happening, as officials and crews battled to get the boats back up river a bit, both lined up and pointing the right direction.

At one one point the police boat stormed by and there was some speculation the swimmer - much cursed by all - was on board, about to be detained at her majesty's pleasure.

After quite a wait the race was suddenly on again with Oxford again starting well but Cambridge fighting to catchup until another shock - their oars clashed and then Oxford broke an oar.

That was pretty much it and Cambridge's eight overpowered Oxford's seven to go on to win, despite protest calls from Oxford. Just as it seemed the drama of the day was over one of the Oxford crew collapsed!

It all took a lot longer than expected by the end the TV crews were marooned by the incoming tide upon their camera platform:
I look forward to hearing what Anna of Something about rowing makes of what was one of the most dramatic boat races ever.

Updated: watch the highlights on the BBC web site here. I've just seen the oar clash incident and you can hear the umpire telling Oxford to keep clear just before it occurred. I do feel sorry for the Oxford cox but she was aggressive all the way. Fortunately the Oxford crew member is conscious and thought to be ok

Update 2: as reported by the Telegraph, Guardian and Independent


Baydog said...

So who won the race, Queen's College, or Queens' College?

JP said...

St. Catharine's beat St. Catherines.

O Docker said...

Buff certainly picked a fine day to go for a swim.

Tillerman said...

Queens' beat Queen's (although there didn't appear to be any Queensmen from either university in yesterday's Boat Race.)

Sadly, Queens' College Boat Club has never returned to the days of its former glory when they were Head of the RIver in the May Bumps in 1968, the year in which I rowed for the club.

A lot of other thing have gone downhill since 1968 too.

JP said...

Woo hoo Tillerman!

Alas my college wasn't as successful as that when I was there but no doubt it has gone downhill in other ways.