The Light Blues lark around after the race Benedict Tufnell

The Cambridge men’s Blue boat, buoyed by the victories of the women’s Blues and both reserve boats, showed real grit and determination to ensure a Cambridge clean sweep in this year’s Boat Races.

Crowds of spectators lined both sides of the river and an abundance of Oxbridge college puffer-wearing students flocked to the fan parks, gathering expectantly in front of the big screens for the final race of the day. The Oxford and Cambridge crews were evenly matched, and the race proved to be a thrilling contest.

Oxford won the toss, choosing Surrey and so placing Cambridge on the Middlesex side. Drama ensued just before the start, as the Cambridge boat had a rudder issue that needed some quick repair work, but the Cambridge rowers stayed calm and focused despite this pre-race disruption. Cambridge were powerful from the off, and cox Jasper Parish, who is not averse to aggressive coxing, almost immediately received several stern umpire warnings.

Encountering rough waves, Parish steered the boat towards the bank at Craven Cottage in search of calmer water. This was a daring and unorthodox decision since typically the aim is to keep the boat central where the deepest and fastest part of the river flows. What could have been a tactical blunder was, thankfully for Cambridge’s sake, a stroke of genius. They nudged in front, gaining a half-length lead which they then capitalised on. After the race Parish explained to The Guardian that he “saw the opportunity to make a decision and I thought: ‘why not, might as well go for it’”, saying: “I’m just over the moon that it paid off”.


Mountain View

Cambridge women continue Boat Race dominance

Approaching Hammersmith Bridge, with just a fraction of clear water between the two, Cambridge held the lead. 80% of crews in front at this stage of the race go on to be victorious. However, this was still the Boat Race. Oxford would not let Cambridge break away and continued to chase them down. While Oxford made an impressive last charge attempt, it was all in vain, as the race had hinged earlier on Parish’s skilful coxing that gave Cambridge the much-needed edge in this tightly-fought battle.

The Cambridge men erupted in cheers of delight as they crossed the finish line with Jasper clambering over stroke Luca Ferraro to hug his brother Ollie. Subsequent celebrations were understandably muted, out of concern for Oxford’s stroke Felix Drinkall who required medical attention and was taken to hospital for checks.

It was certainly a very good day to be a Light Blue. Perhaps the recent amalgamation of the clubs under the one umbrella of CUBC was the key to Cambridge domination. All crews now train together which has built a strong team dynamic, and was evident as all four teams celebrated on the podium together. With four wins of four on the Sunday, and victories in both lightweight races the previous week, this year will go down in history as one of the best performances that Cambridge University Boat Club has ever seen.