Boat Race 2014: Oxford emphatically beat Cambridge

By Marc HigginsonBBC Sport
Oar clash hands Oxford Boat Race win

Oxford powered to their fifth Boat Race victory in seven years against University rivals Cambridge on the River Thames on Sunday.

The Dark Blues, heavy favourites going into the 160th running of the race, pulled into an unassailable lead following a collision five minutes in.

A clash of oars saw Cambridge's Luke Juckett briefly fall from his number two seat and Oxford took advantage.

Oxford, who won by 11 lengths, trail 81-78 with one tie in the series.

The Light Blues immediately protested after the race but it was dismissed by umpire Richard Phelps.

American Juckett, 23, revealed the clash broke the rigger on his oar and, as his spirited team-mates fought to regain ground, it was Oxford who pulled clear to the biggest winning margin since 1973.

"Clashing is part of the race," Juckett told BBC Sport. "It happened and flipped my blade over, broke my rigger and that definitely didn't help things but you keep your head high and move on."

Oxford had three Olympians in their crew - Canada's Beijing 2008 gold medallist Malcolm Howard and London 2012 bronze medal winners Constantine Louloudis of Great Britain and New Zealand's Storm Uru - and they had an early advantage after winning the toss and choosing the Surrey station in choppy conditions.

They were pegged back early on though, and Cambridge led by one-third of a length as the boats passed Fulham's Craven Cottage football ground.

However, the favourites were ahead by Mile Post and were destined for victory the moment Juckett was nearly thrown from his seat.

The distance between the two crews grew bigger as the race progressed and Oxford crossed the line in 18 minutes, 36 seconds, to add to victories for their women's team and reserve crew.

"Any time you have a victory like that you have to be gracious," said Oxford president Howard. "You can't help but feel pain for the two seat of Cambridge - it's tough.

"However, I don't think that changes what we did. I'm really proud of the effort of the whole squad and I couldn't be happier."

Oxford have now won 10 of the 15 races since the turn of the century but Cambridge president, 25-year-old American Steve Dudek, was philosophical following another loss.

"You could clearly feel after the collision that something was wrong," said Dudek. "It's frustrating but, as a group of men, I couldn't be more proud of the way they handled the day.

"The only thing I would change is the result - they are a phenomenal group."