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Oxford beats old foe Cambridge in wind and rain

Difficult conditions on the River Thames rocked the boats as Oxford claimed victory in the slowest race since 1947, though Cambridge still leads overall with 79 wins to Oxford's 74.

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Favourites Oxford won the 154th University Boat Race against Cambridge in difficult conditions on the River Thames on Saturday.


Oxford, the older and heavier crew, took the lead at halfway and eventually won by six lengths. Strong wind and rain meant the winning time of 20 minutes 53 seconds was the slowest since 1947.


Last year's winners Cambridge, who three days before the race lost stroke Shane O'Mara due to illness, were more than 20 seconds adrift.


"I'm over the moon," Oxford cox Nicholas Brodie told reporters.


"There were definitely some tense moments when we weren't rowing very well," added Brodie, dripping with water after his crew had thrown him into the Thames to celebrate victory in traditional style.


"We were slightly concerned because we weren't expecting them to be that fast for quite so long. We managed to stick to what we were doing and started getting through round about halfway."


Sean Bowden, Oxford's coach for 11 years, was pleased as his team lifted the trophy and sprayed each other with champagne.


"I'm extremely proud of the guys," he said. "We did a really good job. Tactically we played it well."


Oxford's Australian rower Toby Medaris, the heaviest oarsman in the contest at 102.6-kg, said he did not pay much attention to the race.


"I was just watching the guy in front of me and pulling as hard as I could," he said.


Cambridge lead the series 79-74, with one dead heat in 1877.
 

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