Boat Race 2013: Oxford v Cambridge

Oxford beat Cambridge to win the 159th edition of the Boat Race.

31 March 2013 Last updated at 20:58

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As it happened

  1. 1715: 

    Oxford cox Oskar Zorilla is about due his customary dip in the Thames, it will not dampen his enthusiasm in the slightest.

    Cambridge will start plotting their revenge tomorrow while Oxford, with a collective foggy head, will turn their attention to their defence.

    Thanks for your company today, see you in 12 months to do it all again.

  2. 1709: 

    Katherine Grainger, London 2012 gold medal winner alongside Anna Watkins in the double sculls, dishes out the medals to the victorious Oxford crew. President Alex Davidson lifts the trophy, before the champagne starts flying.


    Alex Woods, 2012 Oxford bowman who collapsed during last year's Boat Race but returned to win with Isis this year, told BBC Sport: "I am always really proud to see Oxford lads do well. To see the Blue Boat win was really proud for me. It is hard to put into words what the Boat Race means to me and I am proud of myself coming back and trying again."


    Cambridge president George Nash: "Oxford put together a really fantastic race. Eventually they put in one too many moves, they asked too many questions and we were just unable to come up with the goods. It is something that will replay in my head for the rest of my life. I am proud of the guys and what they have committed to over the last year. This is my final boat race."

  5. 1700: 

    After the scenes of jubilation in the Oxford camp, there is the contrast of the Cambridge crew who collect in a huddle just yards away to privately mourn the end of six months of hard work.


    Oxford cox Oskar Zorrilla: "It was fun, tough but that was what we expected. We had a plan and we stuck to it ruthlessly."


    Oxford president Alex Davidson: "All credit to Cambridge it was a great race and they pushed us all the way."

    James Cracknell, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "Cambridge knew that they had to get a quick start to stand any chance. That was a pressure moment and they were not as relaxed at the start as they needed to be."

  9. 1658: 

    That victory for Oxford reduces their deficit in the overall tally to 81 wins to 77 wins. Just four races difference in 184 years of racing.


    Oxford's Constantine Louloudis: "It was a heck of a race. We fancied our chances but Cambridge made it very difficult for us, we had to push hard."

    Tom James, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "I rowed in four Boat Races. Competing in the Boat Race is very special. It defines you. You will never again have the clarity of goal that you are working towards. The race is coming to the end of a second century and it has always been in the British psyche.

    "None of the guys today could have done any more."


    Yannis Mameletzis: "That was a great race! Good job Oxford boys.......freakin' beauty!"

    Natalie Rin Wood: "Congratulations to Oxford! Very good race, no mishaps this year."

  13. 1653: 

    Big meaty hugs for his crew from Oxford president Alex Davidson as the Dark Blue celebrations start on the gravel.

    Martin Cross, Former Olympic champion and BBC Sport pundit

    "I was overwhelmed by how well the Oxford crew rowed. They didn't do anything fancy but they refused to be cowed by any of Cambridge's moves."

    Dan Topolski, Former Oxford coach and BBC Sport commentator

    "That was a great race. There was a fantastic battle from Cambridge but Oxford made their move just at the right moment."

  16. 1648: 

    Oxford slip through the central span of Chiswick Bridge to confirm a polished victory. They get their breath back just in time to respond to Oskar Zorrilla demands for three cheers for Cambridge.

    James Cracknell, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "Oxford are going to unleash hell in the final 90 seconds. They are the fastest eight in the world right now."

  18. 1648: 

    "Two minutes," calls Oskar Zorrilla. "Ruthless!" he adds and his Oxford crew do not look like they are going to let it slip and they continue to shove the water backwards.

    Tom James, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "I have a heavy heart. Oxford look very strong now, they are in control. Cambridge are trying as hard as they can but they are in dirty water now and it will be very tough for them from here."

  20. 1646: 

    Oxford go under Barnes Bridge with almost two lengths lead. Cambridge are attempting to dig in and claw back the lead, but they are making little inroads. Three minutes to turn it around for the Light Blues.

  21. 1645: 

    "That's it Stan!" shouts Oskar Zorrilla to Contantine Louloudis in the seven seat as Oxford surge a length clear and move into clear water. The race looks like theirs to lose from now.

    Dan Topolski, Former Oxford coach and BBC Sport commentator

    "Cambridge are moving very well here. Oxford are stuck at two thirds of a length and Cambridge are in a good position."

    Tom James, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "Oxford have put in a burst but they have not shook Cambridge off yet. This is turning into a brilliant race. If Cambridge can hang on for a few more minutes they will have a chance."

  24. 1643: 

    Oxford's Oskar Zorilla calls for one final push to crush Cambridge, but so far his crew cannot shift their pursuers.

    Andrew Cotter, Commentator, BBC Sport

    "They are still just about hanging on in there Cambridge. This is hard, hard effort by them to keep in touch."

  26. 1641: 

    Cambridge have put a big effort in to keep on the tail of Oxford and prevent them moving across to neutralise the advantage that will turn back the Light Blue way. It will be a tremendous rearguard action if Cambridge pluck victory from here though. A lot of effort has been expended keeping tabs on Oxford though this section.

    Martin Cross, Former Olympic champion and BBC Sport pundit

    "This is the killer bit of the race. Have Cambridge got the guts to hang on?"


    Yannis Mameletzis: "Cambridge hanging in there, the big turn is coming! I am so envious of my mates in London right now on the Thames banks."

  29. 1638: 

    The two crews are approaching Hammersmith Bridge - the start of the Surrey Bend which will favour Oxford who already have almost a length lead.

    Andrew Cotter, Commentator, BBC Sport

    "Cambridge are hanging on in there at the moment and they really have to do just that as this race could get away from them. They cannot let Oxford get too far ahead because Cambridge's advantage comes in the latter stages of the race."

    Tom James, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "The margin is only half a length but we are coming up to the part of the river which favours Oxford."

  32. 1636: 

    Cambridge have defended their position manfully to hold their place in the race. It is a straight section now up to the mile marker and Oxford are continuing to ask questions though. The Surrey bend, in Oxford's favour, is coming next.

    Dan Topolski, Former Oxford coach and BBC Sport commentator

    "They are very close together now, it was very difficult on the corners, they are always overlapping but very close together and Oxford were warned and they had to move out just then."

    Martin Cross, Former Olympic champion and BBC Sport pundit

    "It looks like it's race over already from where I am sitting. Cambridge have got to make a big effort to stay in this race."

  35. 1634: 

    The two crews are coming together, just a foot or so between the blades as Oxford attempt to get across the racing line and close off Cambridge's way back into the race.

    James Cracknell, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "Oxford give it some hoof and horn from the start. This is where they can dominate the race. They can give Cambridge a lot of pain for a lot of time if they start like this."

  37. 1632: 

    Oxford have nibbled their way back in after getting caught a little cold off the startline and have a lead of almost half a length.

    Dan Topolski, Former Oxford coach and BBC Sport commentator

    "It looked like Cambridge got the better start, they got off very quickly."

  39. 1631: 

    We are off!

    Andrew Cotter, Commentator, BBC Sport

    "The buzz from the helicopter overhead the chatter and cries from the crowd either side. Still we wait, but we are just about ready."

  41. 1630: 

    Oxford's Oskar Zorilla and Cambridge's Henry Fieldman, their crew's respective coxes, both have their hands thrust skywards like the class swot to indicate that they are not quite ready just yet.

  42. 1628: 

    There are three London 2012 medallists lined up for the start, in just a couple of minutes time; Cambridge president George Nash, Oxford's Constantine Louloudis and his crew-mate Malcolm Howard, who claimed silver for Canada in the eight.


    BBC Radio 5 live commentator John Murray opposite the finishing line: "We have had snow this afternoon but it's dry at the moment."

  44. 1624: 

    It may feel a world away from the sunny days of London 2012 down by the Thames this afternoon, but the connnetion between the Boat Race and Great Britian's Eton Dorney dominance is strong.

    Last summer's Games saw 13 current or former Blues compete. For Great Britain: Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed (Oxford) joined Tom James (Cambridge) to win gold in the four, Constantine Louloudis (Oxford) and Tom Ransley (Cambridge) won bronze in the eight and George Nash (Cambridge) won bronze in the pair.

    James Cracknell, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "Oxford start as heavy favourites. They have a better pedigree and motivation to make up for last year. There will be a lot of focus in that boat."


    John Garret, Boat Race 2012 umpire, on Matthew Pinsent, who is umpire for today's race: "Matthew has a natural authority from his great experience in the rowing world. He saw last year what can happen in a race but hopefully we will have a good, clean race today. He will have to keep his wits about him and be prepared to expect anything."

  47. 1622: 

    The heavier crew has won eight out of the last 13 races and the bookmakers have Oxford as favourites to continue that tradition.

    The Dark Blues beat a German crew featuring the core of the eight who won Olympic gold last summer earlier this month to send some significant ripples through the Varsity world.


    Sean Swift: "Looking forward to the Boat Race 2013. Should be oar-some!!"

    Matt Watts: "I've just noticed I'm wearing a Cambridge blue jumper. I guess that decides who I'm supporting then!"


    Alex Nash, mother of Cambridge team president George Nash, speaking on BBC One: "What we want is a fair and uninterrupted race. There will be one crew who win and I am sure there will be modesty in the winners and graciousness in the losers."

  50. 1615: 

    There is also some painful recent history that is being remembered in today's race. The Oxford boat has been named after Acer Nethercott, who coxed them to victory in the 2003 and 2005 races and died in January at the age of 35 from a form of brain cancer.

    Nethercott also coxed the Great Britain men's eight to a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics of 2008.

  51. 1610: 

    There was no rummaging around in a back pocket looking for a rusty 50p piece to do the honours on the coin toss either. A gold sovereign from 1829, the year of the first race, was flipped to decide the stations.

    Coin toss for the Boat Race
  52. 1607: 

    Oxford have won the toss and plumped for the south side, the Surrey Station, however.

    That starting position gives them a better line into the big Surrey bend around halfway through the course. Expect to see the Dark Blue crew try and break Cambridge at that point.

    The stats stand at 75 wins for the crew starting from Middlesex with 73, including the last two, from Surrey.

  53. 1603: 

    One of Pinsent's first duties today to oversee the coin toss to decide which crew will start from which side of the river.

    The north side of the river, or Middlesex Station, gives a crew the inside line at the first bend. Some see that as the preferable side, giving a crew a first chance to move over and take position in the middle of the river where the tide is strongest.

    That advantage can be worth half a boat length and minute, or eight lengths across the whole distance of the race.

    Clare Balding, Presenter, BBC Sport

    "It is not picnic weather today but there are still plenty of people are enjoying the building energy around the place as we await the start of Boat Race 2013."

  55. 1600: 

    Matthew Pinsent was assistant umpire at last year's race, spotting Oldfield in the water and waving the red flag to bring the action to a halt.

    The four-time Olympic champion is hoping for a quieter day at the office this time around, but admitted to BBC Sport that, when he rowed for Oxford in the big race, "I would always be disappointed if the cox didn't push right up to the very edge of the laws."

    One heck of a poacher to turn gamekeeper.

  56. 1556: 

    The Metropolitan Police have got in contact with Oldfield to see if they can help him with a less disruptive protest this year with the Royal Marines on hand to help keep the course clear of any copycats. Oldfield had told the Spectator that he is heading to the Cotswolds for a slightly quieter Easter weekend.

  57. 1553: 

    The record for covering the distance between Putney and Mortlake is Cambridge's victorious time of 16 minutes and 19 seconds in 1998.

    Forty-eight minutes 11 seconds separated the start from the Light Blue finish-line celebrations last year though after Trenton Oldfield donned his wetsuit and paddled into pub quiz trivia.

    His protest against government cuts and elitism, staged around Chiswick Steps, forced the race to be restarted. Oldfield served seven weeks of a six-month sentence after being jailed for causing a public nuisance.

    Trenton Oldfield in the water at the 2012 Boat Race
    Wayne Pommen, Former Cambridge president & BBC Sport pundit

    "It is an easterly wind which means that it is with the tide. That is good news. It is when the wind is against you get the choppy water and the sinking conditions."


    Callum J: "Rejected from Oxford in January so will be shouting for the blue of Cambridge this year."

    Philip Siu: "Oxford have 3 oarsmen from Christ Church, one from Trinity and one from St. Peters colleges ... it's Easter Sunday #CouldItBe?"

  60. 1543: 

    If you are planning to find a vantage point in a riverside pub, you better have a mate already in place with some decent negotiating skills to save you a seat.

    Some of the country's finest young brains are pickling their copious grey matter ahead of the off.

    The water is a little choppy, but the atmosphere is bubbling.

    Cake sale at the Boat Race
  61. 1540: 

    The two crews have just carried their respective boats out to the water's edge, both as grim-faced as pall bearers despite the crowd's cheers to greet them. They have retreated back inside for their last-minute instructions and to shed the last bits of excess kit before getting on board.


    BBC Sport's Karthi Gnanasegaram on Twitter: "It's the Boat Race. This is wrong, very wrong #bloominfreezing."

  63. 1536: 

    It has been unseasonably cold in the run-up to this year's race, and there has been no let-up for the big day itself. Biting cold, with a brisk wind, both crews were swaddled in layers of waterproofs and fleeces when they arrived at their respective boathouses.

    There have even been a few snow flurries earlier today.

  64. 1532: 

    More on them and the rest of the protagonists later. First though, who will you be supporting and why? Having been to either university is exactly the type of straightforward motivation we can ignore today.

    A deep-seated hatred of Oxford's one-way system? Catching David Bowie once at the Cambridge Corn Exchange? Particularly strong feelings on different shades of blue? These are the sort of things that feed real fanaticism.

    Tweets to #bbcboatrace or texts to 81111 from UK mobiles is the way to get in touch.

    BBC Radio 5 liveBBC COVERAGE

    There is live coverage of this year's race all over the BBC. In addition to this live text commentary, there is live television coverage on BBC One, presented by Clare Balding, and live radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. You can get at both direct and fresh from this page.

    Tom James, Two-time Olympic champion & BBC Sport pundit

    "The binary nature of the race, it is just win or lose, is a real training ground for rowers. It has been a race that has always produced Olympians and that continues today."


    Olympic champion and 2005 Oxford Blue Andrew Triggs-Hodge on BBC One: "This is the core of the great sport of rowing. It is one of the toughest races you can be in, you come together and find spirit and heart representing your university. It is a tremendous tradition and I am proud to be part of it."

  68. 1524: 

    There is nothing light-hearted about the commitment that the two crews have put into today's race though.

    A total of 1,200 hours of training, spread over six months, equates to approximately two hours of preparation for every stroke taken during the race.

    Who'd sign up for such drudgery alongside some of the hardest academic study going?

    Well, three London 2012 medallists are among the world-class athletes lined up on the startline at 1630 BST.

  69. 1519: 

    Oxford against Cambridge along 6.8 kilometres of the twisting and turning River Thames, with sinkings, crashes, mutinies, unscheduled swimmers and clashing oars all part of the fun, as the two crews jostle for position and, ultimately, supremacy.

    Until F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone approves Red Bull's controversial oil slick switch, this is as close as sport comes to Wacky Races.

    Welcome to episode 159.

  70. 1515: 

    Olympic regattas, with crews lined up on a two-kilometre arrow-straight course and conditions pretty much neutralised, are the rowing equivalent of a dragster race. A toe-to-toe, scientific test of speed.

    The Boat Race is rather different.

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