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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 08:51 GMT
Boat Race cox maintains innocence
By Martin Gough

Acer Nethercott and Pete Rudge
Coxes Nethercott and Rudge go head-to-head on Sunday
Oxford cox Acer Nethercott still says he was wronged in last year's clash, which saw Cambridge win the Boat Race.

Nethercott's complaints after the six-length verdict were turned down by umpire James Behrens, who said Oxford were responsible for the collision.

Preparing for Sunday's race, Nethercott said: "He had laid down to both coxes before the race that there was a way he wanted to conduct the race.

"And then he did something completely different in the race."

The two crews clashed four minutes into the contest, causing Oxford bow man Chris Kennelly to fall off his seat, while Cambridge took a lead they never looked like conceding.

If I was to go into the 2005 race thinking that I would somehow earn some form of revenge that would be very dangerous
Acer Nethercott

Umpire Behrens turned down the appeal on the basis that Oxford were out of their water at the time of the clash, a fact confirmed by television pictures.

But Nethercott said he had been told if one crew came over too hard in a close situation and crashed - which he claimed Cambridge did - it would be the one at fault.

"The umpire was very disingenuous with his post-race comments and I felt incredibly hard done-by both in terms of what had happened then and the way in which it was subsequently reported," he told BBC Sport this week.

"To have the audacity to claim that if anybody had been disqualified it would have been us just flew completely in the face of everything he'd briefed us on the day before."

Nethercott, the man responsible for steering the dark blue boat and telling the oarsmen what to do, is in his third Boat Race, with Oxford favourites to avenge last year's defeat.

Graphical guide to last year's clash

But with almost completely different crews this year, he claims the controversial events of last year have not figured in preparation.

"The only thing we've been interested in since 1 September with respect to last year is: What can we take from it to help us prepare better for this year?" he said.

"We've realised that umpires are only human and the Boat Race has a number of contingencies that straight-lane racing doesn't so you have to expect the unexpected.

"Beyond that we haven't really been interested in raking over the ashes of that particular fire. We've just drawn a line under that and moved on."

In fact, the philosophy postgraduate believes it would be a disadvantage to use last year as motivation going into this race.

"If I was to go into the 2005 race thinking that I would somehow earn some form of revenge or retribution for 2004, that would be a very dangerous way to approach it," he said.

"There's only one other returning member from the Oxford crew - Pete Reed in the three seat - and one returning member from Cambridge - Steffen Buschbacher.

"The 2004 race was between two crews and the 2005 race is between two other crews. I know that if I win this year its not going to change the fact that we didn't win last year."

Links to more Rowing stories





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