Oxbridge – A Tale of Two Races (Literally)

A swimmer disrupts the Boat RaceThat was probably one of the most dramatic Oxbridge Boat Races I have ever seen. I had no inclination towards either university, so I had no favourite.  As the race was heading into the final bend, Oxford had the advantage, their oars stopped as did Cambridge’s.  A swimmer narrowly avoided the oar blades and could have easily got his head chopped off.  The umpire, John Garrett called a halt to the race to be restarted close to the point where the incident occurred.

As the current goes with the each boat during the race, it carries them some distance so both crews had to slow down their rhythm, turn around against the current, fight the wash made by the ‘pilot’ boats and work their way back to a restarting point. Garrett chose not to give Oxford the advantage they had, and which they deserved, going into the final bend rendering the previous race void. Honestly, my competitive mind now wanted Oxford to win.

Garrett restarted the race, Oxford quickly built up an advantage of 3/4 of a length, he warned Oxford about encroaching and asked them to create a gap between both boats.  Admittedly, I am not a rower (but secretly would love to be), but surely both teams should move apart rather than getting one to do all the work. Both boats oars collided, and one of the Oxford oars got cut off in the ensuing ‘fracas’ thus ensuing a certain victory for Cambridge which they duly took. I do feel that, in this case, that Cambridge won more by default rather than being the better team.

On a sad note, Alex Wood, an Oxford oarsman was taken to hospital after collapsing in the boat at the end of the race.  Hope he gets well soon.


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