Oxford were the bookies’ favourites going into this year’s Battle of the BluesTom Bullivant

Cambridge bitterly fell to defeat on the Championship Course earlier this afternoon (3/4) in the 167th Men’s Boat Race, as Oxford earned their first win since 2017.

This year’s race returned to the Tideway after a three-year hiatus due to Covid restrictions, which saw the 2020 clash cancelled and Cambridge’s 2021 victory take place on the River Great Ouse.

Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) President Charlie Marcus won the traditional coin toss, electing to row the Middlesex side in a decision that raised a few eyebrows.

With umpire Matthew Pinsent happy to get proceedings underway, the Light Blue boat got away cleanly from the start, but Oxford sailed inches ahead.

Umpire Pinsent was called into action a few times early on, warning the two boats to separate. Meanwhile, Oxford held a 0.25-length lead approaching the opening Middlesex bend.

The men struggled with a stronger headwind than the women faced in their race beforehand, which arguably favoured the shorter, aggressive rowing style of the Oxford crew, who were able to blast through and extend their lead before passing under Hammersmith Bridge.

Open water emerged between the two boats on the other side of Hammersmith, as the pair’s contrasting styles came to the fore, with Oxford’s aggression bettering Cambridge’s longer, gliding strokes.

Cambridge fell away from the Oxford boat shortly after Hammersmith BridgePeter Hogan/@peterhoganmedia

Approaching Chiswick Pier, it was do or die for the Light Blue boat, who found themselves trailing 3.3 seconds to a comfortable-looking Oxford crew.

As the boats passed Barnes Bridge, however, the deficit proved near impossible for Cambridge to overcome, as they fell to 6.7 seconds behind their opposition.

Storming over the finish line in a time of 16 minutes and 47 seconds,  the Oxford crew raised their arms and oars in celebration, as they crowned themselves victors of the 167th Men’s Boat Race. In the stroke seat, Oxford’s Tobias Schröder burst into tears of joy and relief.

Meanwhile, in the Cambridge boat, bow Luca Ferraro had his head in hands, as the Light Blue rowers endured a tough moment of contemplation on the river.

In response to Oxford’s textbook performance and dominant rhythm, Cambridge six-seat Tom George expressed his disappointment: “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result, but I’m proud of what we did out there and how we performed as a group: not just us nine, but as a team.”


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Dismissing concerns surrounding Cambridge’s choice to row from the Middlesex station, George said “it was the right decision and we’re really happy with that aspect of it.

“We knew it was going to be a war from start to finish. Oxford slipped away from us in the middle which is frustrating, but [choosing Middlesex] was the right decision.”

George briefly touched on what was going through his mind near the end of the battle: “Obviously it hurts a lot, but it hurts even more when you’re losing, and you just look forward to it finishing at that point.”

This year’s defeat also marks the first time since 2017 that Cambridge were unable to do the double over Oxford in the Openweight ties, but the Light Blues will take some consolation from the men’s record remaining at 85-81 in their favour.

Earlier in the afternoon, Cambridge rowed to a record-breaking victory in the 76th Women’s Boat Race.