Cambridge won the toss and chose the Middlesex station.
Oxford: Bow N Davies, 2 N Holland, 3 T Barry, 4 A Landon-Green, 5 M Andrews, 6 R Blanda, 7 A Wright, Str J Hutchinson, Cox N. Walter
Cambridge: Bow N West, 2 P Curle, 3 M Burbanks, 4 M Parrish, 5 P Jacobs , 6 L Hirst, 7 S Peel, Str S Gorvy, Cox R. Dowbiggin
Just 24 hours before the main event it was the turn of the university old boys to show their paces on the Tideway in the seventeenth Veteran’s Boat Race. Raced from the start at Putney to St. Paul’s School Boathouse, the crews consist of Old Blues, Isis and Goldie alumni, plus some squad members.
Cambridge have dominated the event this decade, this year however they were out to avenge their 2011 defeat by an impressive Dark Blue boat. Last year Oxford boasted both Matthew Pinsent and Jonnie Searle in the crew, but today their only Olympian was Roberto Blanda who competed for Italy in Atlanta and Barcelona while Matt Parish and Steve Peel in the Cambridge VIII raced for GB at Atlanta and Seoul respectively.
With the late replacement of 63 year old Jeremy Dale with the much younger Andrew Wright (35) in the 7 seat Oxford went into the race with a younger average age (42.5 compared to Cambridge at 45) and also had the weight advantage by over a stone.
Cambridge won the toss and chose the Middlesex station and in bouncy but bright conditions close to the top of the tide looked the better drilled of the two crews. But Oxford pushed them hard for the first third of the race, with the crews level all the way along Putney Embankment.
By Barn Elms with the bend in their favour Cambridge had taken a small lead. The light blues used a couple of warnings by Richard Phelps the Umpire for tomorrow’s reserve race as a spur to push away from the tiring Oxford veterans and by the Mile Post had pulled the length out to a lead.
Oxford tried hard to get back on terms, over-rating Cambridge by 2 strokes a minute but their cause was lost as the Light Blues continued to pull away to a 2 length advantage at Harrods, eventually going on to win by 3 lengths in a time of 7 minutes 47 seconds.