BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Other Sports: Boat Race 2002  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
Statistics
US Sport
Horse Racing
Snooker
Sailing
Cycling
Skiing
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 17:03 GMT
Dark Blue delight
The Oxford crew throw cox Peter Hackworth into the Thames after their win
The jubilant Oxford crew give their cox a ducking
  Click here to watch the race  

Oxford President Ben Burch has described the victory his crew enjoyed in the 148th University Boat Race as "unbelievable".

The Dark Blues were down for the majority of the race, but managed to pull through in a sprint for the line as the the pre-race favourites Cambridge tired in the closing stages.

In taking victory, in a time of 16 minutes 54 seconds, Oxford became only the third crew to win having trailed at Barnes Bridge.

It is 50 years since the last instance, which Oxford won as well, with the first comeback coming in 1886.

  Great comebacks
1886: Cambridge won by two-thirds of a length
1952: Oxford won by a canvas
2002: Oxford won by three-quarters of a length

"They said it was going to be a close race but that was as close as I would want it - I'm not quite sure what happened," Burch conceded.

"When we started the last Barnes bend we knew it would be a tough one.

"We kept hanging in and our chance came a minute from the end - it was incredible."

The architects of the victory, stroke Matt Smith and cox Peter Hackworth, were equally dumbfounded by their achievement.

"What we just did takes my breath away - it was the hardest race ever," Smith said.

Tom Stallard sits inconsolable in the Cambridge boat after the defeat
Cambridge's Tom Stallard reflects on the defeat
"They were getting away from us but we just got back on them and then Ben shouted 'We can win this'. It was relentlesss."

"It was neck-and-neck all the way but I had absolute belief we could do it," Hackworth added.

"It's a situation you don't want to be in but we had tremendous belief and came through."

Burch's opposite number, Cambridge President Tom Stallard, was desolate in defeat but defended his decision to take the Middlesex station after winning the toss.

"Everyone did really well, it's a fantastic Cambridge crew, we were going flat out but that's all we had.

"We knew it would be close and chose Middlesex so we would have the last bend.


We had a phenomenal row up to the bandstand but I don't know what happened
Cambridge's Rick Dunn
"We had to fight hard round the long Surrey bend, and as the race panned out we didn't have that much left so struck for home early, but the wheels didn't quite stay on," he said.

Cambridge stroke Rick Dunn, who won gold at last year's world championships, was at a loss as to why his crew tailed off in the closing stages and admitted he would not be able to figure it out until he had seen a replay.

"I felt okay and had more to give. We had a really strong rhythm and pace and there was never a doubt in my mind that we were going to win," Dunn said.

"We wanted to be half a length up going into Surrey and we had two thirds of a length going in and two thirds of a length coming out.

"We had a phenomenal row up to the bandstand but I don't know what happened.

"It's just one of those things, but to lose by that much is nothing."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Oxford President Ben Burch
"It's just incredible"
Cambridge President Tom Stallard
"The wheels didn't quite stay on"
BBC Sport Online's University Boat Race site

Boat Race in-depth

Video links

Sports Talk

Internet link
Links to more Boat Race 2002 stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Boat Race 2002 stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales