ROWING : Grey turns to true blue for Cambridge women

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The Independent Online
Cambridge yesterday won the 50th Women's Boat Race after grasping an early lead and holding on over the blustery grey water of the Henley Regatta course, rowed in reverse and downstream, to finish one and a third lengths up in a record time of 6min 02sec.

On known form, the Oxford crew had the edge after finishing 2.5sec ahead at the Women's Head of the River, but at Henley they looked less drilled and for the middle 1,000 metres were out of the stream.

Cambridge also took the men's lightweight race after a fierce struggle over the last 500m when the Dark Blues came back from a one and a quarter length deficit to lose by a third of length.

The lightweight women's race did go Oxford's way, by two lengths, after 10 defeats in 11 years. However, the umpire, and the Swiss president of the International Rowing Federation, Deni Oswald, brought some criticism from the Cambridge coach, Rooer Silk, for warning Oxford about their steering on three occasions "for the last time" but not disqualifying them.

Cambridge retain their dominance of this event which has swelled to become the biggest private match in the calendar after the men's race from Putney to Mortlake on Saturday at 2.30pm.

WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY BOAT RACE (Henley): Cambridge bt Oxford by 11/3 lengths in 6min 02sec (record). Lightweight women: Oxford bt Cambridge by 2 lengths. Lightweight men: Cambridge bt Oxford by 1/3 length in 5:29 (record). Women's reserves: Cambridge bt Oxford by 1 length.