In Brief

Boat Race: Triumph and disaster strike for Oxford

Men's crew see off Cambridge, but women blow their chances with early mistake from Rebecca Esselstein

Oxford won the 163rd university men's Boat Race, holding off Cambridge in an exciting battle that capped a day of drama on the Thames.

It was a fourth win in five years for the dark blues, "but not for a moment across the 4.2 mile course did victory look assured, even for a crew who began the race as the favourites with the bookmakers", says the Daily Telegraph.

"This was a gruelling, relentless haul, with Cambridge showing extraordinary resilience as they refused to be cowed, refused whatever Oxford did to be thrown off their dogged pursuit, refused to give up. But stronger, cleaner, smoother in their execution, it was the Oxford crew who ultimately prevailed."

It meant victory for brothers Jamie and Ollie Cook and the divisive figure of William Warr, who was accused of treachery after moving to Oxford after rowing for Cambridge in 2015.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the banks of the Thames for what The Guardian calls "a sporting spectacle retains a curious appeal among millions with no particular interest in rowing or either university involved... 

"Not all of them bray annoyingly, wear red trousers or sit on the Tory front bench," adds the paper.

However, things did not go according to plan, with an unexploded World War II bomb discovered near Putney Bridge having to be removed before racing could get underway.

And although Oxford won the men's race, disaster struck the crew in the women's race as Rebecca Esselstein missed her stroke and almost lost her oar at the start.

"Seven months of pain and preparation evaporated in five embarrassing seconds at the start of the women's Boat Race when Oxford's hopes of a third consecutive victory since their race moved to the Tideway were blown to smithereens," says The Times

"At the finish, a disconsolate Esselstein slumped downwards, her hands gripping the side of her head and tears flowing. It was an unfortunate accident, one made more humiliating because it occurred in front of a television audience of several million."

Recommended

2021 Ryder Cup: players, tee times and TV coverage
The opening ceremony for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits
In Depth

2021 Ryder Cup: players, tee times and TV coverage

Saracens’ triumphant return to Premiership Rugby
Alex Lozowski’s kicking performance was ‘sensational’
In Focus

Saracens’ triumphant return to Premiership Rugby

‘Netflix of sport’ DAZN in advanced talks to buy BT Sport 
DAZN cameraman
In Focus

‘Netflix of sport’ DAZN in advanced talks to buy BT Sport 

Peloton checks in to hotels and health clubs for future growth 
Peloton exercise bikes
In Focus

Peloton checks in to hotels and health clubs for future growth 

Popular articles

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying
The feet of a person sleeping in a bed
Tall Tales

Doctor says we should not sleep naked because of flatulent spraying

Penguins ‘might be aliens’
Penguins
Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

The most extreme weather events in 2021
Wildfire in Greece
In pictures

The most extreme weather events in 2021

The Week Footer Banner