Oxford beat Cambridge to win the 2017 Varsity Boat Race

Declan Warrington

Oxford have beaten Cambridge to win the 163rd edition of the men's Boat Race and their fourth in the past five years.

Victory, which follows last year's defeat, was also Oxford's seventh from 10, and reduces their overall deficit to 82-80.

The pre-race favourites had won the toss, and chose to start on the same Surrey station on the south side of the River Thames as Cambridge's women, who had earlier won the women's edition of the race.

Oxford finished the Tideway course in a time of 16 minutes and 59 seconds, four seconds and one and a quarter lengths ahead of their resilient rivals.

They swiftly built a quarter-length lead after their more convincing start.

Cambridge's attempts to recover eventually cost them shortly after Mile Post, when they fought for the favoured narrow water approaching Hammersmith Bridge and the two boats' blades almost collided.

BOAT RACE TIMES

Men's Race: Oxford beat Cambridge by 1 1/4 lengths in 16mins 59secs

Women's Race: Cambridge beat Oxford by 11 lengths in 18mins 33secs

The risky manoeuvre then left them a length behind and at a significant disadvantage heading into a crucial stage of the course.

Between there and Barnes Bridge, and again heading into the final stretch, Cambridge again threatened to catch their rivals.

Oxford, however, reclaimed the momentum heading into the race's final quarter, eventually securing a comfortable victory.

Among the winners' crew was William Warr, who became only the third man to compete for both universities having previously studied at Cambridge, and the Cook brothers Jamie and Oliver, the latter a reigning world champion.

Cambridge had earlier set a new record in the 72nd edition of the women's race - another win posted largely thanks to making the stronger start.

Oxford had won the past four but made an unconvincing, stuttering start to allow Cambridge to build a significant early advantage which they did not relinquish.

Victory, which extended their overall lead to 42-30, had begun to appear a formality long before they reached Barnes Bridge and effectively the final straight.

In the third successive year the women's race was staged in London, they secured the triumph in 18 minutes, 33 seconds and with an 11-length lead. Oxford finished in 19 minutes, five seconds.

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