15
May
2007
|
02:00
Europe/London

Manchester wins Two Cities Boat Race - but only just!

The University of Manchester is celebrating after beating Salford in a nail biting end to this year's Two Cities Boat Race.

Manchester came from behind to win 4 - 3 in the seven-race regatta, which took place over a 500-metre course at Salford Quays, finishing under the landmark Lowry Bridge.

Although slightly down on last year's record crowds, hundreds of spectators, including deputy Labour leadership challenger Hazel Blears, lined the banks of the Quays to watch the seven races.

The dragon boat racing, which took place earlier in the day, was also well-supported as 22 crews of local companies, university staff and students raced the 40-foot vessels. The dragon boat champions were a team of Manchester Architecture students called The Architecture Boys, dressed in bright pink!

Last year Manchester won comfortably 6 - 1, but this time it went right down to the wire with the Men's Eight finally clinching victory over Salford in the last race of the day. Hazel Blears then handed out the trophies to the winning rowers.

The University of Manchester's Sales & Marketing Manager Richard Handscombe said: "This year's Two Cities Boat Race was one of the most exciting regattas ever. It demonstrated Manchester's rowing superiority and provided the spectators with some fantastic racing and heart-stopping action... it was a great day out."

The University of Salford's Michelle Bryant said: "The event was truly nail-biting until the very last race. Our team had worked hard and, with Manchester behind at one stage, we were definitely up for the challenge.  Hopefully next year we'll get our revenge."

The Two Cities Boat Race - which has been running since 1972 - is now an established highlight in the sporting and social calendar of many staff and students as well as local people in Manchester and planning has already started for the 2008 event.

The event is also significant for the amount of work put in by volunteers from both universities, to help with stewarding, programme selling and event set-up. This year's event raised money for SPARKS, a charity which supports medical research for children.

ITV Granada and the Manchester Evening News were the official media partners of the 2007 Two Cities Boat Race.