Cambridge double up as River Great Ouse provides superb Boat Race show

Cambridge University celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race

Cambridge University celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport. - Credit: JOE GIDDENS/PA

Cambridge continued their recent stranglehold on the Boat Race with two narrow victories over Oxford in both the men's and women's events.

The Cambridge crew celebrate winning the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport

The Cambridge crew celebrate winning the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport. - Credit: NAOMI BAKER/PA

The two races, held under sunlit Easter Sunday skies, were raced over a three-mile course of the River Great Ouse between Ely and Littleport.

Spectators on the river bank cheer on the Oxford and Cambridge crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race

Spectators on the river bank cheer on the Oxford and Cambridge crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely. - Credit: JULIAN FINNEY/PA

The decision to switch the race from it's traditional course on the Thames, because of problems with Hammersmith Bridge, removed battles with tides, bends and bridges and yet fears that would cause a downturn in quality were quickly dismissed as both races saw the closest winning margin in just under 10 years.

Cambridge celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridge

Cambridge celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport - Credit: JULIAN FINNEY/PA

Less than a length separated the crews as the narrow course, and some external hazards, kept watchers on the edge of their seat.

Cambridge lead Oxford during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse

Cambridge lead Oxford during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport. - Credit: NEIL HALL/PA

Sarah Winckless, the first female to umpire the men's race in the 166th edition, repeatedly warned Cambridge cox Charlie Marcus to alter his crew's line as they drifted in from the right of the river bank to the centre.

The Oxford and Cambridge (bottom) crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse

The Oxford and Cambridge (bottom) crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely. - Credit: BEN STANSALL/PA

It was a bold strategy from Cambridge, racing over familiar waters, who nevertheless avoided a clash of oars as they hit the front early on.

And while Oxford stayed hot on their heels of their great rivals, they were never able to reel them in.

The Oxford and Cambridge (right) crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely.

The Oxford and Cambridge (right) crews during the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely. - Credit: BEN STANSALL/PA

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"I had to be as far over as I could. I never fouled them, so that's what I had to do," Marcus said speaking to the BBC. "About three strokes before the finish was when I thought we had this won."

There was a moment of minor concern when Winckless warned of reeds in the middle of the river but the crews passed them without incident.

Cambridge celebrate winning the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport

Cambridge celebrate winning the 166th Men's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport. - Credit: JULIAN FINNEY/PA

It was Cambridge's third win in a row and fourth in the last five.

"You dream of this moment," Cambridge rower Theo Weinberger said. "I don't know what to say, it's two years' worth of training and hard work, it just means so much and I don't think there's anything you can quite compare it to."

Spectators cheer on from the river bank as Cambridge lead Oxford in the 75th Women's Boat Race

Spectators cheer on from the river bank as Cambridge lead Oxford in the 75th Women's Boat Race. - Credit: JULIAN FINNEY/PA

It was more of a see-saw affair in the women's race but the light Blues were left celebrating a fourth successive victory.

The Oxford (top) and Cambridge University crews set off in the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River G

The Oxford (top) and Cambridge University crews set off in the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely. - Credit: IAN WALTON/PA

Oxford were repeatedly warned by the umpire for encroaching on their rivals' line but Cambridge held their nerve, establishing a slender lead after halfway and holding it all the way to the finish, just before the Victoria Street bridge in Littleport.

Cambridge celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse near Ely

Cambridge celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport. - Credit: PAUL CHILDS/PA

Dylan Whitaker, the winning cox, was full of praise for his opposite number Costi Levy.

Cambridge celebrate winning as the Oxford crew appear dejected after the 75th Women's Boat Race

The conflicting emotions crews at the end of the 75th Women's Boat Race on the River Great Ouse at Littleport, the winners Cambridge at the top and Oxford at the bottom. - Credit: PAUL CHILDS/PA

He said: "Massive, massive props to Costi because she steered like an absolute champ. That was close but we knew what our plan was, we kept it calm and loose and it worked."

The Cambridge crew celebrate by jumping into the water after winning the 75th Women's Boat Race

The Cambridge crew celebrate by jumping into the water after winning the 75th Women's Boat Race and the 166th Men's Boat Race. - Credit: NAOMI BAKER/PA

The Cambridge crew celebrate by throwing their cox Dylan Whittaker into the Great River Ouse

The Cambridge crew celebrate by throwing their cox Dylan Whittaker into the water after winning the 75th Women's Boat Race. - Credit: NAOMI BAKER


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