Image of the 2014 Blue Boat by Tony Harris (Sidney Sussex 2012)
2014 Boat Races Round-up
I can never be more proud of the crew
<p>Steve Dudek (St Edmund's, Land Economy)<br />CUBC President</p>
The Boat Race
Sunday 6 April saw Cambridge’s Men’s crews on the tideway for the BNY Mellon Boat Race. Crowds lined the banks despite the overcast weather and alumni watched in various levels of comfort by the water, in venues along the route and at gatherings around the world from Canada to Zambia.
Although Cambridge’s crew were the taller and heavier, Oxford’s boasted significant experience, both in previous Boat Races and at international level, including three Olympic rowers. The Light Blue cox, Ian Middleton (Queens’, Geography) was the youngest member of both crews at 18 years old. Goldie, Cambridge’s Men’s Reserves, were defeated by Oxford’s Isis by 13 lengths despite achieving a higher stroke rate than the Oxford crew several times.
The weather continued to ensure choppy conditions for the Blue Boats’ race and a clash of blades early in the Race unseated Luke Juckett (St Edmund’s, Natural Sciences), Cambridge's number two, taking him out of action for five strokes and damaging his outrigger so that he was unable to row effectively over the rest of the course. Thereafter the dominant Oxford crew rowed away to victory by 11 lengths, the largest winning margin in the Boat Race since 1973, in 19 minutes 8 seconds. Cambridge appealed but umpire Richard Phelps (St Edmund’s 1992, Blue Boat 1993-95 inclusive) was firm in his decision that “Contact could only have been in neutral water or at the worst Cambridge were off their station.” The feelings of football fans were somewhat assuaged by a Light Blue victory in the Varsity Football match earlier in the afternoon, in which CUAFC won 4-2 on penalties at Craven Cottage, home of Fulham FC.
The 160th Boat Race had a number of historic angles in addition to its obvious sporting value. Official umpire for the first time this year, Cambridge alumnus and Olympic rower Richard Phelps is related to the only umpire of the race ever to call a dead heat – his great-great-great-great uncle ‘Honest John Phelps,’ whose view of the finish line was obscured in 1877. Umpiring remains an evolving part of the Boat Race’s rules, with a new panel introduced following the decision to stop and re-start the race after disruption by a protester in 2012.
In the centenary year of the outbreak of WWI, an exhibition at the Museum of London includes photographs of the 1914 Boat Race crews, many of whom died in action. The photographs – part of a collection of work by Britain's first female press photographer, Christina Broom – and the fates of the crew members can be found online in The Independent and on the Museum’s blog.
More recently, Cambridge’s Ivo Dawkins (Gonville and Caius, Engineering), rowing at number three, was preceded in the Blue Boat by his father, William Dawkins (Trinity 1975), a member of the crew that sank in 1978.
Henley Boat Races
An exciting weekend at Henley-on-Thames saw the last Newton Women’s Boat Race to take place on the 2km Henley course before moving to the tideway with the Men’s race in 2015. Cambridge’s lightweight men’s crew (CULRC) put in a determined effort and prevented Oxford from sweeping the board this year by crossing the finish line three and a half lengths ahead. The Women’s Reserve race saw several clashes of blades and was hotly contested until Osiris pulled half a length in front in the last quarter. The Henley Boat Races 2014 results:
- The Newton Women's Boat Race: Oxford won by four lengths in 5m 50s
- Men's lightweights: Cambridge won by three and a half lengths in 5m 30s
- Women's lightweights: Oxford won by three and a half lengths in 6m 8s
- Women's reserves: Oxford won by half a length in 6m 1.5s
- Wadham College, Oxford’s women’s crew won against First and Third Trinity Boat Club (Cambridge) by two and a half lengths
- The men’s crew from Downing College, Cambridge, won against Oriel College, Oxford, by half a length
This year also saw the full victorious 1984 Cambridge Women’s lightweight crew return in their original line up for a commemorative row past before the prize giving. The 1984 Women were the first crew to receive sponsorship, initially from British Sugar’s Silver Spoon brand, and the first crew to display sponsorship logos on their equipment. Oxford also fielded an anniversary crew of members of their 1980s lightweight squads. The Women’s reserves and both Men’s and Women’s Lightweights return to Henley next year, along with the collegiate crews, who race a shorter course (1,750m) for Head of the River.
Date for your diary
In 2015 the Newton Women’s Boat Race and BNY Mellon Men’s Boat Race both take place on the tideway on 11 April 2015.