The Boat Race 2014: Live and Riverside

Eddie Millett 6 April 2014

7:07 BUT THAT'S NOT ALL. Head over to the TCS website in the next few hours for more in-depth analysis of what went wrong, some lovely HD photo action, and the chance to have your say in the comments. , and on Facebook too: 


6:59 We're coming to the end of our live coverage down here Thames-side. I have to say I've had a fantastic afternoon in the Dove Pub, educating hapless American exchange students on the finer points of Tab-bashing and GDB-O'ing, and covering an immense afternoon of sport.

As they used to say in the Times' 'The Game' footy supplement: Every kick, every pass, every blade of grass. 

Here are the team – no doubt as tired out as the Blues boys!

This is Eddie Millett, at Hammersmith Bridge, signing out. 

6:54 Well, there you have it. A clean sweep of the men's boat racing for Oxford, following a much closer win for the Women last week at Henley. Cambridge will have to pick themselves up from a devastating oar clash in the middle of the race and look ahead to next year. Lots of young talent and plenty of hope for things to come. 

In a bizarre and faintly unnerving tradition, 8 massive men throw one rather smaller individual into the freezing, polluted Thames.

‚Äč6:32 Have to say I'm rather a fan of Karl Hudspith's pink headband, as the Oxford crew head up to receive their medals and lift the cup. Jubilation, vindication, and Formula 1 champagne finish for the boys in Dark Blue. 

6:30 Steve Dudek, Cambridge captain, gives his reponse: "Very frustating for the team, a difficult way to lose but still a phenomenal group of men". 

6:28 Luke Juckett, who received  the clash, had his rigger broken by the impact. "We've just got to hold our heads high and move on". He looks absolutely desperate. 

6:24 Sportsmanlike behaviour from Karl Hudspith, 3 time Boat Race winner for Oxford: the team kept their celebrations very muted as they crossed the line, recognising that oar clashes are an unfortunate eventuality that they themeselves have suffered. 

6:22 The judge has deemed that Cam's oar was out of the water, and Oxford's WAS'NT, when the clash happened, excusing Oxford of responsibility for the clash. Heartbreaking. 11 lengths win by Oxford, the biggest since 1973 13-length-win by Cam. Oxfrd have won 10 of the last 15 races since the millenium. 

The Umpire sums it up: " The contact was slight, but the impact was great". 

6:18 PROTEST from Ian Middleton, Cambridge cox, as he puts his arm up as Cambridge cross the finish. They look absolutely finished.

6:16 coming up to the finish, massive margin. And to think I wore my Trinity Hall rowing tshirt for good luck (a short-lived escapade as my novice attempts were!). The Isis team looks on in gleeful anticipation (and a bit of jealousy of their A-team counterparts, I don't doubt).

6:14 It looks like Cam spirits are flagging. Cox urgently trying to persuade them to carry on the fight – sounding raw. But that distance looks too far to be overturned. Likelihood of a Cambridge protest might be hotting up, which would give a controversial finish. Watch this space even after they cross the line!

6:13 Let's have another look at that oar clash. Big contact between the oar of Oxford stroke and Cam number 2 – we shall see if Cambridge contest this. This could be a bigger margin than the 6 lengths distance in 2008.

6:08 We pass the point where Trenton Oldfield interrupted the race two years ago. This looks like a foregone conclusion. 

6:06 MASSIVE CRAB by the Cambridge Bow means that Oxford have pulled way way ahead. this could prove decisive.

6:02 Oxford are back in it, taking back as they go round Fulham.

6:01 Cambridge have responded very well here and pulled back from a powerful Oxford start, as we come past Craven Cottage. Matt Pinsent on the beeb is impressed by a very strong start from Cam. But can they keep it up, having burnt a lot of coal in the early stages to keep abreast. 

6:00 It might be time to throw all pretensions of journalistic neutrality to the winds and cheer on the lads in light blue : COME ON ROW ROW ROW !!!!!!!


5:58 The boats are on the start line, just waiting to begin. All that training, 35 hours a week, comes down to the next 18 minutes. 

5:51 Worth mentioning that only THREE rowers in each boat are Brits. Reminds me of Arsenal…

5:50 Back to the boats: Oxford have their 3 Olympians, including Constantine Louloudis, who is racing in his THIRD boat race, having missed the ill-fated 2012 race for the Olympics. He gets a mention because he's a Classicist. Represent. 

5:47 Claire Balding races unopposed in the…um…speedboat race. 

5:44 Oxford absolutely devastate Cam in the reserve race here. Uncountable number of lengths ahead. Once again, Isis win the reserve race, bringing their total to 6 out of the last 7 wins. 

5:43 Oxford still leading in the Isis/Goldie race, convincing margin here.

5:39 In fact, today's young hero Ivo Dawkins' FATHER was a member of that sinking boat in '78! Let's hope for a vindication of that today with a big win for the Light Blues!

5:36 BBC are playing Bob Dylan's 'The Times they are a changing'. Let's hope this is not a poor omen for a repeat of the historic Cambridge sinking in 1978 – 'you better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone'. Uh oh. 

5:34 As the reserve race continues, TCS hear from Melissa Wilson, six-seat of the women's blue boat who raced last week at Henley. She said: "it's been great training alongside the men this year" and that they "seem to have formed a very solid unit". She can't wait to join them on the Tideway next year, when the women's race will be put on the same platform as the Men's, in a great success for women's rowing. About sodding time!

5:29 Oxford are already over a length ahead, in spite of losing the toss. 

5:27 And they're off. The reserve race is underway. Meanwhile Claire Balding is interviewing nine year olds on BBC sport. Scintillating stuff. 

5:24 In the run-up to this 160th Boat Race, both crews have had a decent run of form behind them. Both crews recently raced Leander and Molesey crews stacked with Olympians and world champions.While Oxford smashed Leander and were even with Molesey; Cambridge were even with Leander and smashed by Molesey. #evenstevens , it seems

5:22 The Isis and Goldie crews are lining up.

5:15 Ok, let's have a look at some rower profiles. One story particularly worth mentioning the astropheric rise of 20 year old Ivo Dawkins, at number three in the Blue boat. He first started rowing at Caius last April and was in the second boat last summer. Incredible.

5:06 The picture says it all.

5:04 That's a third win in a row for the Light Blues, for the first time since 1998. Big Win.



5:00 Missed penalty by Oxford. Advantage Cambridge: GAME ON!!

4:57 In other exciting news, the TCS nerve centre, temporarily in The Dove pub by Hammersmith bridge, has been graced by the delivery of hot salty chips. Manna from heaven.

4:56 FULL TIME. The goalless result belies the excitement of this game, especially the last ten minutes of utter siege attack by the Dark Blues. 

4:52 Clarification on the times for the rest of this afternoon's sport. 

16:37 Goldie depart boathouse
16:42 Isis depart boathouse
17:03 Oxford and Cambridge Boats leave boathouse
17:25 Isis/Goldie Race Start
17:55 The BNY Mellon Boat Race Start


4:46 Cambridge are suddenly ramping up the pressure as we enter the last five minutes at Fulham. So close with the header from the light blues! Head to @TCSnewspaper on twitter for blow by blow updates. Nailbiting. 

4:32 CELEB SPOT: Katie Grainger, a golden girl of London 2012, is also hanging around. Let's hope her co-champion Anna Watkins turns up to rep Newnham (and natscis everywhere).

4:28 Still 0-0 at Craven Cottage, but the larger Oxford crowds are getting agitated and the holders Cambridge continue to struggle for real openings. "Oxford smell blood" say CamFM reporters, as big boos ring around the stadium for a brutal foul. 

Attendance today is over 3000, which is a vast improvement on last year's 800. Good stuff!

4:17 CELEB SPOT: Matthew Pinsent, the scion of GB rowing, is lurking riverside. During his rowing career, he won 10 world championship gold medals and four consecutive Olympic gold medals, of which three were with Sir Steve Redgrave. What a man.

Has he spied the sun behind those lowering London clouds? Let's hope so. 

4:12 Oxford have won the toss for the main race, and also chosen the Surrey side. A bad omen? Let's hope not.

4:09 Gabrielle, one of our reporters at the Toss, has some more information on the difference each side of the river makes. "One side may be better for the stream – usually they pick the deeper side so it's not as affected. It it's paticularly windy they may want to stay closer to the walk. It determines who has the advantage on the racing line."

4:06 Goldie won the toss and have chosen the Surrey station. 


3:56 Some history on the Reserves race. Started in 1965, Oxford's second boat, Isis, trail 19 wins to Cambridge's Goldie boat on 29. However, Cambridge have lost 4 of 5 times in the last 5 years: last year's race was edged by a 1/3 length by Oxford. 

And for those of you who like your mythology, Isis is the friend of slaves, sinners, artisans and the downtrodden, but she also listened to the prayers of the wealthy, maidens, aristocrats and rulers. Thus spake wikipedia. 

The Isis is also a part of the Thames river in Oxford.

3:53 Toss for the Goldie/Isis race coming up. This is to decide which side of the river will by taken by each boat, which can make a big difference in terms of racing line. Unlike most racing these teams do, the Tideway course is a sinuous, snaky nightmare. With wind. And waves. Which should silence anyone questioning the role coxes play.

3:46 half time at Fulham. Oxford have just squandered a glorious chance inside the 6 yard box. Boo hoo. 

3:38 Head over to to LISTEN LIVE to the footy at Fulham. Currently all square, although Oxford have just had penalty appeal dismissed.

"I think Cambridge need to start pressing triangle here", says one of the Cam FM commentators. If only it were that easy…

3:33 TCS are all over the Thames today, talking to rowers, punters, and die-hard fans, while I'm sat, comfortably, at our temporary HQ in The Dove pub by Hammersmith Bridge. Guaranteed a great view of the race later! 

Our reporter Gabrielle had a word with Florian Herbst, rowing at 3 in the Goldie Boat: "swaps are not the biggest sacrifice when it comes to rowing in the blues squad". I suppose that depends on what your point of view is on the Bangkok sex-dungeon decor of Sesame, one of Cambridge's prime swap-dinner hotspots.

3:27 Our man in Craven Cottage, Joe Whitwell, caught a few words with the Ref just before kick-off. "Its looking to be a very competitive game. In terms of enthusiasm, dedication and passion its looking exactly the same as a premier league game!"

3:21 Don't they look smart. #seriousstash Very competitive  in terms of enthusiasm, dedication and passion its looking exactly the same as a premier league game. 

This is the Goldie Boat arriving!

3:18 Sage words from a Craven Cottage marshal: 'Yeah this Cambridge team look good, better than Oxford'. 

3:10 Let's have some footy chat. This is much more comfortable ground for me, at least! Cambridge won last year's match 3-2 in a tense one at Selhurst Park, and will look to stay on top with a big win today. It's always been a closely fought match, with 205 goals to Ox and 204 to Cam in the 129 years of the Varsity match. And if you can bear to tear yourselves away from Oxbridge sporting matters, there's a big battle for fourth in the Prem as Everton lead Arsenal 3-0 at home. That plus a double Cam win today would be the cherry on top for a bitter Spurs fan…

3:00 Over at Craven Cottage, the Football has just kicked off. If Cambridge win today, they'll be level with Oxford's 50 wins. #comeonyoublues

2:58 The light blues arrive…I have to admit I have been covertly coveting a pair of those wellie boots for a long while now #perksofbeingaboatie

2:49 The boaties down at the Sons of the Thames Rowing Club, next to Hammersmith Bridge, really getting into the festive mood down here as they get ready to Morris Dance. Morris Dancing, Rowing: an obvious connection, of course…

2:44 Later on, we will be having a look at the two men's crews side-by-side, but in the meantime, here's something for you to mull over. Oxford are slightly lighter than their Cambridge counterparts, but are slightly more experienced with an average age of 26 compared to the Light Blues’ 24. While the heavier crew has won 9 of the last 12 races, there's no amount of carb-loading and genetic conditioning that can compete with experience: 3 of Oxford's crew have competed at Olympic level at London 2012, and successfully, winning bronze for GB. 

It looks like today's race is going to come down to physiology vs experience, muscles vs mindset, beef vs brains. Exciting. 

2:24 Those of you who are keen boaties will no doubt have followed the action last weekend at Henley. For those who didn't, it was heartbreak for the Cambridge Women, as Oxford won by four lengths. 

Caroline Reid, Bow seat of the Cambridge Light Blue Boat, said she knew it would not be easy.

“We’ve come from very different backgrounds. The Cambridge girls are largely college based, so our coaches are competing with getting everything to work, with trying to get us to learn to row, and then trying to get us to row together. The Oxford girls are already international so they already know the basis of rowing – the basis of training hard – and they’re just taught to row together,” she said. 

2:19 Don't forget to tweet us! @TCSnewspaper 

Any burning questions you might have – what's all the fuss about with this boat thing anyway?

2:15 Ok let's start with the basics. This is the 160th edition of the Varsity Boat Race, which first took place in 1829 at Henley. To date, Cambridge lead Oxford 81-77 in wins, with one dead heat in 1877.  

2:03 We have lots of exciting things coming up in the next couple of hours: the footy kicks off at 3pm downriver at Craven Cottage. Then the Men's Varsity Boat race is at 5.55pm, preceded by the Isis/Goldie reserve race just after 5pm. 

There also seems to be a Goat Race happening this afternoon in Spitalfields…more to follow on that

2:00 HERE. WE. GO.

It's 2 o'clock, and we are live in South London! Stay tuned for cutting edge race analysis, lots of crowd participation, and plenty of idle speculation! 

The Cambridge Student will be reporting LIVE from Thames-side and inside Fulham FC to cover all the action in today's Varsity double-header. 

Live updates to follow from 2pm GMT. 

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