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Universities to hit the Harbourside for boat race battle

Press release issued: 10 May 2012

Hundreds of spectators are expected to pack the Harbourside on Saturday [12 May] as the University of Bristol goes head-to-head with UWE Bristol in the annual boat race. Competition looks set to be fierce as both teams take to the water, with UWE defending their title from last year.

Competition looks set to be fierce as both teams take to the water, with UWE defending their title from last year.

Spectators are invited to watch the action from Prince’s Wharf, between M Shed and The Olive Shed restaurant. There will be refreshments and entertainment from midday.

A total of 10 races will take place to decide which university is crowned the overall winner of the 19th annual Varsity Boat Race. Prizes will be presented to the winning teams by the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

It’s always the highlight of both universities’ sporting calendars, with an exhilarating mix of tradition, rivalry and fun for both competitors and spectators.

Since its inaugural race in 1995, the event has taken on a prestige of its own. Both UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol are now two of the biggest rowing universities in Britain.

The races begin at 1pm and take place over 1.3km, starting at the Cumberland Basin on the waterfront, passing SS Great Britain, the Maritime Heritage Museum and the Amphitheatre.

Adam Moss, Club Captain of the University of Bristol Boat Club, said: "All of our crews have been training relentlessly over the winter months for this race and it will be fantastic to see this being put into practice over this challenging course.

“Being able to raise the blade - the prize awarded to the winning university - is something the whole club aspires towards all year. We look forward to seeing Bristol turn out in force to support and cheer on our crews from the Harbourside.”

This year’s Varsity Series began in March with teams competing in 14 different sports from football and rugby, to lacrosse and trampolineing.

This year the Varsity Series is fundraising for the L’Dub Charity, a BMX club based in Lawrence Weston. L’Dub provides opportunities for young disadvantaged people to get involved in sport. As well as developing and maintaining the BMX track, the club offers equipment loans, coaching and safety advice.

Kelly Howard, Sports Administrator at the University of Bristol’s Student Union [UBU], said: “The Boat Race is shaping up to be another closely fought contest for the Varsity Blade to see if Bristol University can avenge last year’s defeat by UWE.”

The final event of the 2012 Varsity Series will be Cricket, set for Sunday 20 May.  For the first time, the matches will be held at The County Ground, home of the Gloucestershire Cricket Club.