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The Boat Race 1984

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130th Boat Race
Date 18 March 1984 (1984-03-18)
Winner Oxford
Margin of victory 3 and 3/4 lengths
Winning time 16 minutes 45 seconds
Overall record
(Cambridge–Oxford)
68–61
Umpire Mike Sweeney
(Cambridge)
Other races
Reserve winner Goldie
Women's winner Cambridge

The 130th Boat Race took place on 18 March 1984. Held annually, the event is a side-by-side rowing race between crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge along the River Thames. The race was originally scheduled to take place the day before but the Cambridge boat struck a barge before the start and the race was postponed until the following day, making it the first Boat Race to be held on a Sunday. Oxford won by three-and-three-quarter lengths and both crews beat the existing course record.

Cambridge's Goldie won the reserve race, while Cambridge were victorious in the Women's Boat Race.

Background

The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing competition between the University of Oxford (sometimes referred to as the "Dark Blues")[1] and the University of Cambridge (sometimes referred to as the "Light Blues").[1] First held in 1829, the race takes place on the 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course on the River Thames in southwest London.[2] The rivalry is a major point of honour between the two universities and followed throughout the United Kingdom and broadcast worldwide.[3][4] Oxford went into the race as reigning champions, having beaten Cambridge by three-and-a-quarter lengths in the previous year's race. However Cambridge held the overall lead, with 68 victories to Oxford's 60 (excluding the "dead heat" of 1877).[5]

Originally scheduled to take place on Saturday 17 March, the Cambridge cox, Peter Hobson, steered their boat into a moored barge during the warmup, destroying the bow. The crew paddled to the side of the river where most were able to disembark, but some were forced to swim to safety. The race was postponed to the following day where Cambridge competed in a boat borrowed from the Amateur Rowing Association.[6] It was the first Boat Race to be held on a Sunday in the history of the competition.[7] The disagreement over the inclusion of Boris Rankov in Oxford's crew for the sixth time in the previous year's race had not been resolved. Rankov, however, had left the university after completing his studies so the dispute would have no impact on this year's race.[8]

The first Women's Boat Race took place in 1927, but did not become an annual fixture until the 1960s. Until 2014, the contest was conducted as part of the Henley Boat Races, but as of the 2015 race, it is held on the River Thames, on the same day as the men's main and reserve races.[9] The reserve race, contested between Oxford's Isis boat and Cambridge's Goldie boat has been held since 1965. It usually takes place on the Tideway, prior to the main Boat Race.[10]

Crews

Oxford were pre-race favourites and their crew were an average of 11 pounds (5.0 kg) heavier than their Cambridge opponents.[11] The race saw the return of five Blues for Oxford and four for Cambridge.[11] Oxford's crew contained two Canadian brothers (the Evans twins, Mark and Michael), two Australians and an American cox, while Cambridge's predominantly British crew was completed by a Canadian and an American.[11]

John Garrett (pictured in 2018) rowed at number 5 for Cambridge.
Seat Oxford
Oxford-University-Circlet.svg
Cambridge
University of Cambridge coat of arms.svg
Name Nationality College Weight Name Nationality College Weight
Bow R C Clay British New College 13 st 0 lb A H Reynolds British Pembroke 12 st 2 lb
2 C L B Long British Oriel 12 st 4 lb A R Knight British Clare 12 st 5 lb
3 J A G H Stewart British Pembroke 14 st 7 lb S W Berger (P) American Trinity 14 st 10.5 lb
4 D M Rose Australian Balliol 15 st 2.5 lb G A D Barnard Canadian Robinson 12 st 11 lb
5 J M Evans Canadian University 14 st 5 lb J L D Garrett British Lady Margaret Boat Club 14 st 4 lb
6 G R D Jones (P) Australian New College 14 st 0.5 lb J M Pritchard British Robinson 13 st 9 lb
7 W J Lang British Magdalen 14 st 0.5 lb E M O Pearson British Jesus 12 st 5 lb
Stroke J M Evans Canadian University 13 st 10 lb J D Kinsella British St Catharine's 12 st 11 lb
Cox S R Lesser American Magdalen 8 st 1 lb P M Hobson British Christ's 7 st 5 lb
Source:[11]
(P) – boat club president[8]

Race

The Championship Course along which the Boat Race is contested

Oxford started from the Surrey station and despite rating higher, were slightly behind Cambridge after a minute. Aggressive steering from Hobson resulted in warnings from umpire Mike Sweeney,[12] and by the mile post, Oxford held a two-second lead. A push by Oxford at Harrods saw them five seconds clear by Hammersmith Bridge and two lengths clear by Chiswick Steps. Nine seconds ahead by Barnes Bridge, Oxford passed the finishing post officially 12 seconds and three-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Cambridge, in a time of 16 minutes 45 seconds,[12] beating the previous best of 16 minutes 58 seconds recorded by Oxford in the 1976 race.[10] This was Oxford's ninth consecutive victory, and their tenth in eleven years, and took the overall record to 68–61 in favour of Cambridge.[10]

In the reserve race, Cambridge's Goldie beat Oxford's Isis by two-and-three-quarter lengths, while Cambridge won the 39th Women's Boat Race.[10]

Reaction

Cambridge cox Hobson reacted to the pre-race crash: "It was the worst nightmare in the world coming true."[13] Regarding the race, the Cambridge number 5, John Garrett stated "the borrowed boat was better than ours but we weren't used to it."[13] Oxford cox Seth Lesser said he was aware that his crew were setting a record-breaking pace: "I knew the record was on ... We made another burn at St Paul's School just to make sure."[12]

As a result of Saturday's collision and the associated publicity, Sunday's race was viewed on British television by more than 12 million people.[14]

References

  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  3. ^ "Former Winnipegger in winning Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race crew". CBC News. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  4. ^ "TV and radio". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Classic moments – the 1877 dead heat". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
  6. ^ "1984: Boat race halted before starting". BBC News. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  7. ^ Dodd, Christopher (5 April 2003). "Boat Race: Crash puts Cambridge crew plans in doubt". The Independent. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Toronto twins join Oxford in boat race with Cambridge". Ottawa Citizen. 16 March 1984. p. 45.
  9. ^ "A brief history of the Women's Boat Race". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d Railton, Jim (17 March 1984). "Oxford look for nine wins in a row". The Times (61784). p. 31.
  12. ^ a b c Railton, Jim (19 March 1984). "Oxford triumph as record is outstripped by both crews". The Times (61785). p. 24.
  13. ^ a b Barnes, Simon (19 March 1984). "Cox's valiant comeback fails to pip Dark Blues". The Times (61785). p. 1.
  14. ^ Miller, David (31 March 1990). "Time to pull in the same direction". The Times (63668). p. 47.

External links

  • Official website
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