I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Bl-Ouse*

One hundred years ago: The Cambridge (top) and Oxford (below) crews from 1921.

1 January 2021

By Tim Koch

After I wrote my piece on the recent Boat Race Trials, the Oxbridge boat clubs posted coverage of the races on social media (typical students, handing their work in late). Oxford posted on Twitter, @OxfordUniBC and @OUWBCsquad. Cambridge, now one club for men and for women, posted on Instagram, @cubc_squad.

Oxford Men. Picture by “Row360”.
Oxford Women. Pictures by “Row360”.
Cambridge Men. Drone footage by @milfordk_d can be viewed here.

The Cambridge Instagram posts also included race reports:

Moving the Boat Races to Ely is a major step for the Club, and the Openweight men’s crew names acknowledge the history of the town. “Henry I” famously died of a surfeit of eels (or “lampreys”) and was known to order “10,000 Eels” every year from Ely. 

“Henry I” started aggressively, quickly moving out to a half length lead in the second 500. Cox Charlie Marcus sought the centre of the river, incurring the first of several warnings from umpire Sarah Winckless. Responding to this the crews moved apart and “10,000 Eels” cox Ollie Boyne sought to take advantage and worked with stroke Drew Taylor to push back. Ollie Parish, stroking “Henry I”, responded and his crew moved to a 3/4 length lead just after the 1000m mark. The “Eels” responded seat by seat to move back to half, then a third of a length as the crews passed the Lark. The margin shifted constantly, but “Henry I”‘s men were able to maintain the lead to the finish, crossing just 1/3 a length ahead.

Cambridge Women. Drone footage by @milfordk_d can be viewed here.

CUBC’s women’s crews names were a nod to the Club’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Hakuna” and “Matata”, collectively meaning “no worries” in Swahili. “Matata”, coxed by Angela Harper and stroked by Sarah Portsmouth, attacked the start and took a half length lead by 500m into the race. It looked as if this lead would develop into a length that would not be relinquished. “Hakuna”, stroked by Sarah Tisdall and coxed by Dylan Whittaker, stabilised and pushed back to “Matata” and the bowballs were level a thousand metres into the race. “Hakuna” stepped on and capitalised on its advantage, drawing out to clear water by half way, and moving ahead seat by seat to take the win by some three lengths at the finish.

*Says Elton John

Addendum: The Boat Race company has just put full reports of the Trials on its website. The Oxford races are here and Cambridge’s are here.

The website also confirms the course:

The 2021 Boat Race course will start where the 1944 Men’s Boat Race finished, a point marked by a stone set in the grass along the footpath on the east bank. The course is straight with a gentle bend to the west as it travels from the Adelaide Bridge towards Sandhill, Littleport giving a course of 4,890 m.

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