The Oxford and Cambridge Cup 2017 - won for the 39th time by Sydney University
Few trophies in Australian sport combine the history, provenance, the beauty and the scale of the Oxford and Cambridge Cup.
This magnificently crafted trophy was donated in 1893 by Old Blues of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge for competition between the men's eights of Australian Universities. The cup has been "back awarded" to 1888 -the year in which the intervarsity competition changed from men's fours to eights.
The original university boat race was conducted over a "Thames Putney Mortlake" equivalent course, which varied between 2 miles and 3½ miles depending on location and conditions. This was changed in 1969 to the standard internationl distance of 2,000 metres.
The trophy was organised by Dr Edmond Warre, Headmaster of Eton College and former President of the Oxford University Boat Club. He suggested to the Old Blues of Oxford and Cambridge that a trophy be donated for Inter-University Eight competition in order to foster a continuing interest in the young competition. In an 1890 letter to Frederick Halcomb (Captain of the Adelaide University Boat Club0 he states that “the idea was accepted by them with alacrity” and that they were “proud of the opportunity afforded them of showing their brotherhood, goodwill and interest in the welfare of their kinsmen in the antipodes”. The cup was sent out to Australia in time for the 1893 competition, where it was competed for and won by Melbourne.
The cup features scenes in bas-relief of Oxford and Cambridge crews on one side and relief of colleges of Oxford and Cambridge on the other together with the floral emblems of the countries of England, Scotland and Wales. The Angel on the top is pictured in the traditional pose of the Toast to Rowing. This long-standing and traditional toast is afforded the winners of the Grand Challenge Cup.
The trophy with base is on a grand scale - over a metre in height.
Since 1888 the race has been run every year except during WWI and WWII and in 1965.
There has been one dead heat - between Sydney and Melbourne in 1951 on the Huon River in Tasmania.
Melbourne and Sydney lead the number of wins with Melbourne on 41 and a half and Sydney on 39 and a half. In recent years since 2000 Sydney has cut Melbourne's lead in the "number of wins" from 7 to 2 with Sydney having won 8 races of the 18 races since ( an including ) 2000.
University Wins Runner Up First Win Last Win
Melbourne 41.5 34 1888 2011
Sydney 39.5 37 1890 2017
Adelaide 18 24 1889 2016
Queensland 8 8 1922 2008
Western Aus 6 5 1927 1998
Monash 6 4 1971 1989
Tasmania 5 4 1925 1994
Uni Tech Syd 3 1 1996 2003