The 157th annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race this weekend will be watched by up to 250,000 people on the banks of the Thames in London over the 4 miles and 374 yards of the course from Putney to Mortlake, and by tens of millions of television viewers worldwide. It’s perhaps the world’s best-known sporting rivalry between educational institutions: here’s our pick of the rest.
1. The Green Line Rivalry
Boston University and Boston College are prestigious ice hockey colleges. The clash between the two is known as the Battle of Boston or the Green Line Rivalry (after the trolley line linking the two colleges). The contest is played out over three games, each drawing more than 60,000 spectators. The University Terriers in white and scarlet challenge the College Eagles in gold and maroon in meetings dubbed “the greatest rivalry in all of sports” by Sports Illustrated magazine.
2. Eton v Harrow
The annual cricket match between Eton and Harrow public schools was first played at Lord’s in 1805, and is thought to be the oldest cricket fixture still played today. Famous players have included Lord Byron, who appeared for Harrow in 1818 but needed a runner because of his club foot; and the future prime minister (and excellent cricketer) Alec Douglas-Home (Eton) in 1921. Harrow has won the game for the past eight years.
3. Chulalongkorn v Thammasat
Bangkok’s most prestigious universities, Chulalongkorn and Thammasat, clash in a football match, dating back to 1934 and played by mixed teams of students and alumni. This is a spectacle as much as a sporting event, with lavishly-dressed and choreographed cheerleading squads and a satirical parade featuring effigies of Thai politicians.
4. Tolstoy Cup
This football match between the Peace Studies department at the University of Bradford and the War Studies department at King’s College, London, was first played in 1995. Last year, Peace Studies FC won 2-1, beaten War Studies FC for the first time. The Peace team wears shirts bearing the names of famous figures including D Lama, Gandhi and Suu Kyi. The “trophy” is a framed copy of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
5. Battle of the Maroons
First played in 1924, the Battle of the Maroons is an annual cricket match between two of Sri Lanka’s elite schools, Ananda and Nalanda, in Colombo. The 82nd match took place this month. Between them, these schools have produced many of the country’s leading players, such as Mahela Jayawardene, who played for Nalanda in 1994. In the run-up to this year’s match, which ended in a draw, Lanka Magazine, a Sri Lankan news website, described the school cricket contest as being of greater interest than the match-up between the national team and Australia in the cricket World Cup, which took place at the same time.
The boat race is broadcast live on BBC1 on March 26 from 3.45pm