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Oxford won the 'varsity boat race with Cambridge Saturday by two and a quarter lengths. It was the fifty-second contest between the universities and was rowed over the regular course, from Putney to Mortlake, four and a half miles. There was the usual immense crowd along the Thames to see the race, and the river was crowded with all kinds of craft, but the arrangements for keeping the course clear were perfect.
The weather was cold and raw, with squalls of drizzling rain. There was also a changeable southwest wind, which put the water in pretty bad condition.
As the pistol was fired by Mr. Willan at 4.08 both crews got well away. Opposite the boathouse Oxford had already got the canvas bow of their boat in front of the Cambridge boat. For the first minute Oxford rowed thirty-eight strokes and Cambridge thirty-six. Oxford was drawing ahead rapidly and at Bishop's Creek the Oxonians were leading by half a length.
Favored by the shelter afforded by the Surrey shore, which the Oxfords selected after winning the toss, their boat was rapidly increasing its lead over the Cambridge shell, and they were rowing easily. At Craven Cottage Oxford was a length ahead. Cambridge was spurting, but could not gain against Oxford's long, sweeping stroke. Shooting Hammersmith Bridge, Oxford was still a length ahead. Cambridge made another spurt, with the same result as before.
At Thorneycroft's the rough water bothered both crews and Cambridge had a shade the best of it, Oxford being barely a length ahead at this point. This was more than two-thirds of the distance, but the Cambridge partisans had not given up hope. From this point, however, Cambridge fell behind, and at Barnes's Bridge Oxford was three lengths ahead. From Barnes's Bridge to the ship Oxford maintained the lead, and won easily.
The time was 20 min. 50 sec., which, despite the adverse conditions, is 49 seconds faster than the time in which the Oxonians won last year's race, when they finished three and a half lengths ahead.
Oxford has now won twenty-nine and Cambridge twenty-two races since the series began, the contest in 1877 resulting in a dead heat.
The make-up and weights were as follows:
Colton, 128, Bow, Hope, 141
Plinkington, 173 2 Stewart, 169
Phillips, 173 3 Game, 173
Stretch, 176 4 Adie, 187
Stewart, 193 5 Duncanson, 186
Burnell, 184 6 Bonsey, 177
Crum, 172 7 Bell, 163
Pitman, 169 Stroke, Wauchope, 166
Serscold, 113 Cox. Beggs, 122
Average weights: Oxford, 171; Cambridge, 171.
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