The Boat Race 2023: ‘Spur-of-the-moment’ Cambridge coxing brilliance completes revenge crusade

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Not one of the eight Cambridge rowers knew cox Jasper Parish was going to throw the coxing curveball just seconds into the race.

It was 'spur-of-the-moment' brilliance from Cambridge University cox Jasper Parish that proved clinical as the light blue boat defeated Oxford University in The Boat Race 2023.

It was one of the most thrilling encounters in recent history as the two arch-rivals hurtled down The Thames in London to hundreds of thousands of spectators on the bank.

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This year's clash was billed as a revenge crusade for Cambridge, who lost last year for the first time since 2017.

On a day with choppy water and nasty winds, when Oxford won the coin toss earlier in the day it looked like the light blue men had an almighty mission ahead of them to bring the trophy home.

Nonetheless, Oliver Parish seemed a cool customer in Putney as he accepted that coin toss loss, acknowledging the chance for a quick start from the Middlesex station as an advantage - crews in that berth gain the advantage of a shorter first corner whereas the Surrey start point tends to favour crews later on in the race.

Oliver Parish may have hinted at a quick start but neither him nor any of the other seven Cambridge rowers, could predict what ran through cox Jasper Parish's brain early doors.

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The brother of Oliver, Jasper elected to move out of the fast water in the middle of The Thames to hug the bank near Fulham in hope of calmer water in what proved a moment of genius and some of the most exciting Boat Race tactics for years.

Speaking at the end of the race, Cambridge University rower Tom Lynch admitted that the trophy-winning decision was one that hadn't been discussed in advance.

Cambridge University reclaimed The Boat Race title in a thrilling clash (Image: Getty Images)Cambridge University reclaimed The Boat Race title in a thrilling clash (Image: Getty Images)
Cambridge University reclaimed The Boat Race title in a thrilling clash (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

He said: "It was quite the race. Fantastic. We raced exactly how we wanted to do, we were relaxed and dealt with the water around the first bend.

"There was some fantastic steering from Jasper. It was spur-of-the-moment. We all stayed relaxed and didn't panic to keep our rhythm."

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Oxford University were by no means down and out after the coxing curveball, following on Cambridge’s tail right through the race and mounting a ferocious last minute charge just before the finish line.

Both Cambridge crews were victors in the 2023 event (Image: Getty Images)Both Cambridge crews were victors in the 2023 event (Image: Getty Images)
Both Cambridge crews were victors in the 2023 event (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

However, it was too little too late for the dark blue boat, who will go away disappointed with the rest of their crews tonight after a Cambridge double.

Meanwhile, an emotional Oliver Parish lauded his brother when speaking to NationalWorld shortly after lobbing him into The Thames, as per tradition.

He said: "I'm absolutely stunned, I'm so happy. Winning on the Tideway where I learnt to row with my brother, absolutely amazing. Highlight of my life so far.

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"What a decisive call [from Jasper]. We hadn't talked about it before, he came up with it on the fly and it was absolutely the right decision.Decisive at the right moment and won us the race."

Jasper Parish stole the show in the Cambridge coxing seat (Image: Getty Images)Jasper Parish stole the show in the Cambridge coxing seat (Image: Getty Images)
Jasper Parish stole the show in the Cambridge coxing seat (Image: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

As to what the atmosphere in the Parish household will be in the coming weeks, Oliver cracks a smile just thinking about it.

He replied: "Party city! Couple of exams to do at the end of April but we'll enjoy this for a few days at least."

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