Honours even in 2005 University Boat Race

The Rowing Service

Northumbria Water University Boat Race, Tyneside, Sunday 8th May 2005

Press release from organisers

Photographs are available from North News and Pictures on 0191 233 0223.

Newcastle University's rowers snatched an historic victory in the Men's Senior VIIIs race this afternoon, claiming honours for the first time since the event began in 1996.

The Senior Men's VIII pulled off a momentous victory against their Durham counterparts when they won the headline race in the 2005 Northumbrian Water University Boat Race by a mere 6 inches, in a nailbiting climax to the afternoon's events.

The Senior Men's event was the second victory of the afternoon for Newcastle, who also won the Novice Women's VIIIs, making the overall event a tie, also for the first time in its history.

In the first University race of the afternoon, Newcastle's novice women's crew were leading when the Durham boat's rudder broke as the race reached the Tyne Bridge.

The Men's novice race which followed provided one of the closest finishes of the afternoon, with Durham being awarded the victory by a mere quarter of a length. Newcastle were subsequently disqualified for erratic steering near the Swing Bridge.

The most convincing win of the afternoon belonged to Durham's Senior Women, who stormed to victory by a good 12 lengths over Newcastle.

The Senior Men's VIIIs race got off to a dramatic start, when the Durham boat struck debris and began sinking by the stern, forcing a restart in their second boat. With the race finally underway, it was neck and neck from the start. As the crews crossed the line, there was virtually nothing between them. A photo-finish, followed by a stewards enquiry, handed a fantastic first victory to Newcastle, to the delight of the thousands of spectators lining the banks of the Tyne.

Chairman of the Boat Race Executive Committee, Graham Rayner, said: 'This has undoubtedly been the best boat race yet. The diversity of the event is increasing with each successive year, with the inclusion this year of the competitive canoe polo match, and the dinghy sailing competition adding a new dimension. 'My congratulations to all the rowers for taking part. It was a really exciting set of races, and it is especially good to see the Newcastle rowers' hard work finally paying off'.

The final results were:
School's VIIIs: Durham St Leonard's school won by four lengths
Novice Women's VIII (The Taylor Trophy): Newcastle University (Durham retired with a broken rudder)
Novice Men's VIII (The Renforth Trophy): Durham University won by quarter of a length (Newcastle later disqualified)
Women's VIII (The Chambers Trophy): Durham University won by 12 lengths
Men's VIII (The Clasper Trophy): Newcastle won after a photo finish

In the other competitive events of the afternoon, Newcastle University Sailing Club won the dinghy sailing event and the canoe polo competition, in which the teams were competing for the Byzak trophy, was a tie, one game all.

For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:

Graham Rayner, Chair of the Boat Race organising committee on 07970 522274, Alistair Baker, Director of Communications, Northumbrian Water, on 07711 793 493, Henry Pelly, President of Newcastle University Boat Club, on 07808 919 238, Melanie Reed, Newcastle University Press Office on 07816 750551

© Copyright Rachel Quarrell and the Rowing Service 2005