In perfect conditions at Henley-on-Thames, Cambridge beat Oxford over 2km in the 2012 Newton Women's Boat Race. Cambridge started at a higher rate, taking an early lead. Oxford were warned by umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent, and had to steer sharply to get clear. With Cambridge looking the more skilled crew, 1 1/2 lengths ahead, Oxford made several pushes to attempt to gain ground, but to little avail. Commentator Robert Treharne-Jones, describing the light blues as 'imperious', was cut short with 300m to go. Caroline Reid, in the Cambridge 2 seat, caught a crab that stopped the light blues dead. Oxford pulled level, but after a hurried restart Cambridge once again found their stride. Oxford fought to the line but it was too little too late. The Newton Women's Boat Race: Cambridge beat Oxford by 1/4 length in 6:38.
Umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent said: "It was very close racing, and a very busy afternoon with one thing and another. Pretty straightforward, then Cambridge decided to make it exciting in the last 400m. "
In the Lightweight Men's Boat Race, Sir Matt was also kept busy. Cambridge took a marginal lead off the start. Oxford closed in aggressively, with their opponents warned for their steering. The light blues responded, rating 39 compared to 35 for the dark blues, and squeezed out a lead of half a length by the halfway mark. The Oxford men continued to attack, throwing push after push, but the Cambridge cox held a dead straight course. Both coxes were warned by Sir Matt as they fought for every advantage in the stream approaching the finish, but Cambridge held on to their lead. Rating 39, Cambridge crossed the line 3/4 length ahead. Men's lightweights: Cambridge beat Oxford by 3/4 length in 6:00.
In the only race of the day without blade clashes, the Oxford Lightweight Women took an early lead against their Cambridge counterparts. Both crews showed crisp technique, and rated over 40 in the opening stages. Oxford broke contact 600m in, while Cambridge steered in behind Oxford. Rowing in the churned water left by their opposition made their task harder, and Oxford continued to extend their lead. They crossed the line over a length ahead. Women's lightweights: Oxford beat Cambridge by 1 1/3 lengths in 6:48.
In the Women's Reserves Boat Race, there was nearly a repeat of last year's disqualification debacle. Blondie (Cambridge) took a narrow lead over Osiris (Oxford) out of the blocks as both crews were warned for their aggressive steering by umpire Sir Matt. Although Blondie demonstrated the better technique, Osiris' power helped them overtake their opponents to lead by 1/3 length halfway. After more warnings from Sir Matt, Blondie caught a crab 500m from the line, allowing Osiris to take an unassailable lead. Women's reserves: Oxford beat Cambridge by 3 1/2 lengths in 6:57.
Cambridge took home the victor ludorum, the Francombe Cup, presented by Robin Bourne-Taylor CGC and Newton CEO Helena Morrissey. All of the fixtures will take place again on the Henley reach next year, and in 2015 the Newton Women's Boat Race will join the heavyweight men's race on the tideway.
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