HBR 2018 - Race Reports,
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Strong winds and arctic temperatures made challenging conditions at Eton Dorney for the relocated Henley Boat Races. After some exceptionally tight racing, Cambridge University Lightweights won both Varsity races and the men's reserves race to retain the Francombe cup as the most successful university on the day for a fourth year in a row.

Men’s Lightweights

In the men’s Lightweight Varsity race, Oxford, with four returning half-blues on board and coached by Samuel Wells, made an impressive, aggressive start, emerging with a slight lead. Cambridge, with a stern pair of Sam Philpott and Ben Mackworth, both three times Boat Race winners, began a sustained attack during which they ground down the Oxford advantage.

Cambridge, holding their length in the water, moved out to a 3/4 length lead through the middle stages of the race. Oxford, stroked by Dan Bowen, bravely kept attacking, never letting Cambridge get open water, and closed the gap to 1/2 a length with 500m to go. However, Cambridge, a well drilled, dynamic unit, were resilient and crossed the line 1/3 a length ahead in a time of 6mins 26 seconds, now having accrued 5 consecutive wins under the coaching of Dan Janes and Steve Harris.

Women’s Lightweights

Oxford emerged with a canvas lead after an impressive start, looking to reverse their 2017 defeat. Oxford, coached by Chris O'Hara, settled into a 1/2 length lead, but Cambridge, stroked relentlessly by Naomi Pygott, maintained a robust 37 stokes a minute. Cambridge's efforts were rewarded as they showed maturity to draw level with Oxford around the 750m mark, and moved out to a 3/4 length lead by 1250m. Oxford, stroked by Grace Joel, courageously attacked, raising the rate considerably and moved back to within 1/4 of a length with 250m to go. Cambridge, responded aggressively to hold off the charge and crossed the line with a 1/2 length lead in a time of 7mins 24 seconds, securing Cambridge's first back-to-back win in the Lightweight Boat Races for 21 years, and a double win for the Cambridge coaching team of Dan Janes and Steve Harris, in their first year coaching both the men's and the women's lightweight Blue Boats.

Men's Reserves

The men's reserves was a highly competitive coxed four race. After a clean, even start, Cambridge, stroked by Tom Roe and coached by Matthew Holland, maintained a high rate and snuck a slight advantage. Cambridge moved out to a 1 length lead before Oxford, stroked by their President George Spill pushed back. Cambridge held their advantage, despite a valiant push in the final 250m to win by 3/4 of a length in a time of 7mins 24 seconds, reversing the result of 2017.

Women's Reserves

For the first time the women's reserves race took place on the same day as the Lightweight Boat Races in coxed fours. Oxford, stroked by Emily Hinson and coached by Jill Betts, secured a definitive victory for the dark blues. After a clean start Cambridge had a canvas lead, but stuttered as they clipped buoys in challenging conditions. Oxford looking neat and tidy, powered away to a decisive lead in the first 750m. Despite Cambridge settling into a strong race pace, they were unable to gain on the impressive Oxford crew who won "Easily" in a time of 8 mins 15 seconds.

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