BBC TV commentator Jonathan Legard, who grew up in Chester, says the boat race protester wrecked what was gearing up to be one of the closest ever clashes.
Mr Legard, who watched his beloved Chester FC win the league on Monday, called his first boat race for BBC Radio Five Live in 2011 and stepped up to the TV team this year.
He told the Chronicle: “Last year it was a runaway for Oxford really. It wasn’t a contest. But this one was building up to be one of the closest ever until it was ruined by the protester.”
Mr Legard said the umpire was right to allow the race to continue after the clash of oars following the restart, which saw the Oxford crew lose a blade and with it any hope of victory.
He had laid down the rules earlier in the week that the boats must keep at least four metres apart at all times due to the unprecedented amount of driftwood.
Mr Legard understood why the Oxford coxswain was upset but it was ‘as a result of not heeding the warnings’.
Like everyone else, he was relieved Oxford bowman Dr Alex Woods, who ironically is training to be a surgeon, appears to have made a full recovery after collapsing at the end of the race.
There had been early reports his heart had stopped beating, echoing the case of Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba, but it later turned out he had suffered from exhaustion and oxygen deficit.
Mr Legard said of the 2012 race: “It will never be forgotten.”