Oxford University Challenge Cambridge University to the Henley Boat Races

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Oxford University Lightweights, male and female, issued the traditional challenge to their counterparts from Cambridge University, yesterday, at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

The challenge ‘to an eight-oared race over 2000m on the Henley Reach’, represents the latest step in a campaign that started almost a year ago, the day after Henley Boat Races 2015 ended. For some, Oxford President, Alec Trigger and Cambridge President, Charlie Cullen included, next Saturday’s race will be the second time they have contested the historic waters of the Henley Reach. For them, the commitment to the forty-two year rivalry that makes the ‘varsity’ lightweight races so compelling and exciting, extends over at least two years.

Cambridge are a predominantly British outfit this year, contrasting with the more international line-up for Oxford, who include Mexican, Australian and Anglo-American athletes.

In the women’s event Cambridge Captain, Patricia Smith, accepted the Challenge offered by Oxford’s President Lucy Roberts, and will be hoping that her crew repeat the victory achieved by the narrowest of margins last year. As master of ceremonies, Robert Treharne-Jones, commented, the combined distance that separated both the men’s and women’s crews in 2015 was a mere seven feet. The prospect of more close and intense racing this year is a mouth-watering prospect for the supporters that will line the riverbank to cheer on their favoured blue – dark or light. Unusually, both women’s crews have non-rowing leaders this year, although Roberts will race in the reserve pairs race that is included in the race programme.

Racing starts at 1:00pm with the 2016 Lightweight Women’s Boat Race at 3:00pm and the Lightweight Men’s Boat Race at 3:30pm. Visitors to the top-path will find a warm welcome with live music, a children’s entertainer, refreshments and toilet facilities all located at Temple Island meadow to complement an exciting afternoon of racing

For the details of the full race programme and activity on the river bank on Saturday 19th March see www.henleyboatraces.com