Victory for Cambridge Veterans

Oxford may have won Sunday’s Boat Race but the Veterans’ Boat Race, held the day before, didn’t go their way. With five Olympians on board, Cambridge won the 19th Veterans’ race by one and a quarter lengths, extending their overall lead to 13 in the series, with Oxford on six.

Held on a course from Putney to just beyond Hammersmith Bridge, this is the most informal of all the Oxford-Cambridge university boat races, and it is especially evident in the gentlemanly rule that any verdict within six feet shall be declared a dead heat.

The Oxford crew, including Olympians Roberto Blanda, Gerritjan Eggankamp and Barney Williams, went off the free start high and hard, perhaps a couple of pips higher than the opposition, and quickly forged a lead of a couple of seats.

Settling well, the Dark Blues increased this to about half a length by the time they passed the OUBC base at Westminster School boathouse.

Though Oxford received the first warning off the start, Cambridge had most of umpire Simon Harris’s attention after that. Some put this down to aggressive steering from cox Sarah Smart though, afterwards, she blamed (or maybe thanked) the cross wind. By the end of Putney Embankment there was only a slight overlap. 

Several clashes followed between the crews as they passed Fulham football ground and gradually Oxford seemed to lose pace. Cambridge kept their rhythm and by the Mile Post, they were only a few feet down.

The crews drew level just before Harrods and the Light Blues rapidly went a quarter of a length up. 

The Cambridge cox recalled, “Just before we were about to break clear we had stern four clashing and our bow four put in a massive push and got us clear. Once we were clear it was just clean rowing…… all the way.”

A final thought – with the women racing on the Tideway from 2015, how long before there is a veteran women’s boat race?

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The Milepost: Oxford 03:55 Cambridge 03:56
Hammersmith Bridge: Cambridge 06:59 Oxford 07:03
Finish: Cambridge 07:30 Oxford 07:35


Cambridge: (bow) Tom Middleton, Lukas Hirst, Paul Wright, Kieran West, Guy Pooley, Dave Gillard, Sebastian Schulte, Marc Weber and Sarah Smart (cox)

Oxford: (bow) Nick Holland, Donald Macdonald, Kingsley Poole, Andrew Landon-Green, Roberto Blanda, Toby Ayer, Gerritjan Eggenkamp, Barney Williams and Katie Apfelbaum (cox)

Report by Tim Koch