STAGING Cambridge claim Francombe Cup after fierce racing at Henley - British Rowing

Cambridge claim Francombe Cup after fierce racing at Henley

Cambridge made the most of the near-perfect conditions in Henley-on-Thames on Sunday, claiming their first Women’s Boat Race victory in five years over Oxford.

The light blue boat started the 67th annual race in imperious fashion, cruising to a one-and-a-half-length lead over the struggling Oxford crew.


Several pushes from the dark blues failed to make any ground up on the leaders, until the Cambridge two seat Caroline Reid caught a crab with just 300m to go.

The slip allowed Oxford back into the race, but the reprieve proved brief as Cambridge quickly refound their rhythm to pip the dark blue boat at the finish line with a time of six minutes and 38 seconds.

“It was very close racing, and a very busy afternoon,” said umpire and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Matthew Pinsent. “Pretty straightforward, then Cambridge decided to make it exciting in the last 400m.”

Cambridge also claimed a victory in the Lightweight Men’s Boat Race, finishing three quarters of a length clear of Oxford after a fierce, combative and aggressive race.

Oxford’s Lightweight Women enjoyed a comprehensive victory against their fierce varsity rivals – leading from the start and finishing over a length in front – while the Osiris crew came out on top after a fiercely-fought battle with Cambridge’s Blondie in the Women’s Reserves.

The results were an exact reversal of 2011’s across the four events, but the Francombe Cup for the Victor Ludorum – and accompanying bragging rights  headed back to Cambridge.

The Women’s Boat Race will return to Henley reach next year and in 2014, before joining the openweight men’s race on the Thames tideway in 2015.

The 2012 Boat Race will be held on April 7th.