Brookes vs Cambridge Men’s Fixture 2024

On Sunday the 25th Feb in Putney, Brookes and Cambridge took to the water along with multiple other crews all racing fixtures that afternoon, making for an extremely challenging race schedule and water conditions. With the huge amount of downstream flow working against the incoming tide, racing had been limited to one piece from Putney to Chiswick Steps.


Brookes 1 vs Cambridge

With Goldie breaking a backstay in the warm-up and having to delay their fixture by 15 minutes, Brookes 1 and Cambridge were first at the start with Brookes on the Surrey station. The aligner struggled to level the crews properly, and after repeated efforts by both crews to get level with the aligner still failing at the task, the umpire had to start.  Not a great experience for any of the athletes involved, who we are sure would all want to start level.  Our suggestion for all future fixtures would be that the ‘independent’ umpire align the crews for the fairness of all.

Cambridge swiftly built on their early lead stretching out to three-quarters of a length by Fulham.  Brookes, rowing poorly and looking a little ragged eventually settled around Harrods and then started to move back through to level in slightly less bouncy water.  As the crews went under Hammersmith, Brookes began to look the more dominant force as they started to stretch out to a lead.  Cambridge kept fighting hard and tried to do all they could to stick but Brookes continued to stretch out to further clear water by the middle of the Eyot and eventually pulled this out to just over half a length of clear by Chiswick Steps.  Some good racing and experience had by most.


Brookes 2 vs Goldie

Brookes on Middlesex this time and Goldie with their newly repaired backstay.  This was eventually a good race for both crews after again a similarly disappointing situation with the aligner at the start who must have done the same aligning course as his counterpart. This initial advantage for Cambridge did not help for long and Brookes fairly swiftly powered their way through by Harrods and moved well ahead to win by 2 and a half lengths clear at the finish.


Saturday 24th February


Cambridge 3 and Brookes 3 paired off to race as well as Brookes 4 and Cambridge Lightweights.  Due to the closure of the Thames Barrier on this day, the races were held in the HORR direction rather than the traditional boat race direction.  Two half courses, 1st from the Boat Race Finish to the Eyot and second from the Eyot to the Boat Race Start.


Brookes 3 vs Cambridge 3

This was a fairly mismatched affair and Brookes went out to an early lead despite good efforts by Cambridge to hold on to them, by the finish Brookes had continued to stretch out to a 3 to 4 length lead.

In the second piece, the intensity of the race waned early on after the crews separated and by the Boat Race finish Brookes had around a 200m win.


Brookes 4 vs Cambridge Lightweights

The first race the Light Blues were on the Middlesex station. The lightweights started brilliantly and steered extremely well in the initial stages stretching out to 3/4 of a length lead early on and looked extremely resilient.  Brookes had to rally and stick in there long enough to stop the Lightweights from breaking clear completely. Then they started to reel them back to level by halfway and then moved ahead by 3/4 length at the Eyot, a brilliant race, all credit to the lightweights for putting up such a monumental effort against some bigger stronger athletes.

The second piece was a simpler affair with Brookes leading out much earlier, building some clearwater by Hammersmith and continuing to increase this to a winning margin of 2-3 lengths.


We wish all the Cambridge Athletes the best of luck in their Boat Races.

Photos courtesy of AllMarkOne