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Last Updated:  Sunday, 6 April, 2003, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
Mixed emotions for brothers
There were contrasting emotions for two sets of brothers after Oxford clinched victory over Cambridge by the closest winning margin in Boat Race history.

Oxford president Matt Smith celebrates
It feels fantastic and I think it will take a while to top this feeling
Oxford president Matt Smith
Victory in the battle of the brothers went to Oxford's Matt Smith and David Livingston over their Cambridge siblings Ben Smith and James Livingston.

James Livingston said: "It was the worst margin to lose by. I just wish I could stop losing these epic races.

"We were flying at the end but there just wasn't quite enough in the tank to pull it off."

Cambridge, almost a length down at Barnes Bridge, pulled back to within a gasp of victory, but it was not enough to overhaul a sprint finish from the dark blues.

David Livingstone admitted: "It wasn't until the last minute that I thought we would hold onto it. I had nothing left at the end but we just kept going. I knew this crew had the determination to win."

Oxford president and stroke Matt Smith, whose brother Ben was a last-minute Cambridge replacement after a training collision, said he had total belief in his crew.

"It feels fantastic and I think it will take a while to top this feeling," he added.

"We were giving away 7kg a man and we did the job. This is the culmination of seven months' of training and I just can't overstate how fantastic this crew are.

In the space of 20 seconds I went from the lowest I've felt in my life to unbridled ecstasy
Oxford cox Acer Nethercott
There were several agonising seconds to wait before the official verdict was announced.

"I just hoped we had got it," said Smith. "I thought we had but I wasn't totally confident."

Oxford cox Acer Nethercott admitted he thought Oxford had lost when the crews braced the finish line side-by-side.

"In the space of 20 seconds I went from the lowest I've felt in my life to unbridled ecstasy," he said.

"I was calling to the crew that we would win from the end of the Surrey bend.

"After that final bend I didn't think they would have anything left but I was praying for the finish to come."

Cambridge coach Robin Williams described the loss as a "blow to the heart".

But he refused to blame the late substitution of Ben Smith for injured Canadian Wayne Pommen for the result.

"It's got to count for something but I'm not one for making excuses," he said.

"They raced like crazy and it was finely balanced between the two crews.

"It's pretty hard to take in at the moment. I just wish it had been a foot the other way."





Links to more Boat Race 2003 stories


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
Oxford president Matt Smith
"The boys did the job today"


Cambridge coach Robin Williams
"It's a blow to the heart to lose by a foot"


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