Established order sustained by women but tilted by the men

Whilst world champions and Olympic medallists Katherine Grainger and Debbie Flood – as well as world cup winner, Annie Vernon –  all impressed in winning their women’s single scull semi-finals at today’s GB Rowing Senior Trials in Hazewinkel, Belgium, there were some surprises in store from the leading men.
Camelot-backed world champions Peter Reed with Andy Hodge won their semi-final in style and Olympic champion Steve Williams with new partner Matt Langridge emerged from a tussle to take theirs, too, but Alex Partridge – the man who missed the Olympic men’s four of 2004 through injury –  continues to have a run of bad luck.

World champion Partridge, already dogged this winter by injury and missing out on rowing here with his preferred partner Richard Egington, who is ill, finished sixth and is now out of tomorrow’s final.

Emerging young talent, Tom Lucy, and Colin Smith probably surprised themselves by reaching the men’s pair final behind Reed and Hodge as did the new pairing of James Orme and Tom Stallard who pushed Williams and Langridge all the way to the line.

Zac Purchase, Britain’s charismatic lightweight men’s single scull world champion is through to the final as a winner today. He cruised down the course, keeping Richard Chambers of Oxford Brookes at bay.

Racing conditions today were hot, sunny but with a fickle breeze. Tomorrow’s finals start at 8.30am

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Katherine Grainger and Debbie Flood won two of the three semi-finals of the women’s single scull here in Belgium today but in contrasting styles.

Grainger, already a double Olympic silver medallist and three-times a trials winner, blasted away from the rest of her semi-final field, including world cup double scull winner, Anna Bebington, in the first 150m before cruising to her win. It almost seemed as if the "doyen" of the squad wanted to put down a psychological marker.

Flood made her move between the 500 and 750m marks to ease ahead of her only real rival, Olympic bronze medallist, Elise Laverick. From there she held on smoothly to win.

Annie Vernon, world cup medal winner in the Siemens-sponsored women’s double scull last year with Bebington, was probably a more  unexpected winner in the third semi-final. Whilst an established senior athlete she was up against world champion and Olympic silver medallist Fran Houghton. Vernon took the lead early in the race and held on smoothly for victory.

The men’s pair semi-finals were different races entirely.  Andy Hodge and Peter Reed always looked comfortable in their contest with a surprising challenge coming from Colin Smith and Tom Lucy with Cambridge pairing of Kieran West and Tom James in third.

Afterwards Hodge said: "It was harder than this time last year so that’s good because it means the whole men’s scene is moving forward".

Steve Williams and Matt Langridge, though, were tested throughout the race. By the 1750m mark there were still three pairs in close proximity before the Leander Club duo pressed on the gas and took victory.  James Orme and Tom Stallard, a newly-formed squad pairing, were impressive in the fight they put up and Josh West and Hugo Lee put in a determined row to take third.

Alan Campbell and Matt Wells, who both appeared in Siemens-sponsored sculling boats last year, gave each other a good race in their men’s single scull semi-final.  Wells took the early lead but Campbell came back at him between 1500-1750m and went on to take the verdict at the line. Sam Townsend of Reading University was third.

Stephen Rowbotham, who won world championships bronze in the men’s double scull last year with Wells, won the other semi-final. He held off seasoned international Ian Lawson by just under two seconds. Alex Gregory, a product of the ARA’s World Class Start programme, sponsored by Siemens, took third place, holding off a storming final 500m from Rob Roy’s Charles Cousins, and will now race in tomorrow’s six-boat final.

Paul Mattick just had the edge over Alistair Leighton-Crawford in the first of three semi-finals of the lightweight men’s single scull in a race where Adam Freeman-Pask of Imperial College made much of the early running before his tank ran dry.

Mark Hunter took an early lead in the second semi-final and was chased down the course by his Siemens-sponsored lightweight men’s double partner James Lindsay-Fynn. London RC’s James Clarke looked capable of challenging the established order but was beaten off in the final 500m.

Meanwhile world champion Zac Purchase never looked ruffled despite the emergence of a bobbling breeze by that stage of a hot afternoon’s racing.  He led most of the way in his semi-final with only Richard Chambers of Oxford Brookes mounting any kind of challenge.

Wallingford club-mates Andrea Dennis and Jen Goldsack did battle in the opening lightweight women’s single sculls semi-final with both feeling pressure from London RC’s Laura Ralston.  Eventually Dennis emerged to take the verdict.

Mathilde Pauls of Imperial College led throughout the second semi-final in this event. The newcomer to the British scene was just too quick for former world U23 champion Hester Goodsell.

Helen Casey, winner of the trials last year, won the third and final semi-final from Laura Greenhalgh of Rob Roy.  

Great Britain squad combinations, featuring many of the women who contested last year’s World Championships in the Siemens-backed women’s eight, dominated the women’s pair event here. Alison Knowles, with Natasha Howard, and Beth Rodford with Natasha Page as well as Katie Greves and Carla Ashford were all winners. Tomorrow’s title winner now looks likely to come from this trio of boats.
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Semi-final 1
1.  Beth Rodford (Thames RC)/Natasha Page (Reading
Uni) 7:43.40
2.  Georgina Meheneott (Mortlake Anglian & Alpha)/
Louisa Reeve (Leander Club) 7:46.09
3.  Heather Stanning (Uni of Bath)/Olivia Whitlam
(Agecroft RC) 7:50.30
4.  Roz Collings (Nottingham RC)/Vicky Bryant (Oxford
Brookes) 7:55.32
5.  Emily Taylor (Durham Uni)/Hannah Elsy (Durham Uni)

Semi-final 2
1.  Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers)/Alison Knowles
(Thames RC) 7:32.38
2.  Baz Moffat (Thames RC)/Jessica Eddie (Uni of London)
3.  Jo Cook (Leander Club)/Vicky Myers (Leander Club)
4.  Louisa Rowbotham (Leander Club)/Rachel Loveridge
(Leander Club) 7:56.10
5. Jo Lyons (Worcester RC)/Hilary Powell (Wallingford RC)

Semi-final 3
1.  Katie Greves (Uni of London)/Carla Ashford (Thames RC)
2.  Vicki Etiebet (Auriol Kensington)/Rebecca Rowe
(Rebecca) 7:38.07
3.  Alice Freeman (Wallingford RC0/Lindsey Maguire
(Birmingham Uni) 7:39.83
4.  Rachael Jefferies (Cambridge Uni)/Stephanie McDowall
(Aberdeen Uni) 7:53.81
5.  Lizzie Hodges (Uni of London)/Maria Larsen (Nottingham
RC)  8:01.03

Single scull

Semi-final 1
1.  Debbie Flood (Leander Club)  7:59.95
2.  Elise Laverick (Thames RC)  8:06.32
3.  Ruth Walczak (Hollingworth RC)  8:25.54
4.  Florence Temple (Thames RC)  8:40.38

Semi-final 2
1.  Katherine Grainger (St Andrew)  8:10.58
2.  Anna Bebington (Leander Club)  8:15.82
3.  Kirsty Myles (Oxford Brookes Uni)  8:28.59
4.  Lucy Walczak (Hollingworth Lake RC)  8:36.47
5.  Briony Cavell (Wallingford RC)  8:40.64

Semi-final 3
1. Annie Vernon (Thames RC)  8:21.86
2. Frances Houghton (Uni of London)  8:27.77
3.  Franki Jus-Burke (Nottingham RC0  8:33.51
4.  Lauren Fisher (Reading Uni)  8:34.37



Semi-final 1
1.  Peter Reed (Leander Club)/Andy Hodge (Molesey)
2.  Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes)/Colin Smith (Leander)
3.  Tom James (Cambridge Uni)/Kieran West (Cambridge Uni)
4.  Jonno Devlin (Oxford Brookes)/Marcus Bateman
(Leander Club) 6:59.26
5.  Tom Wilkinson (Leander Club)/Charles Burkitt (Leander
Club)  7:03.61
6. Tom Ransley (York City RC)/Colin Scott (Goldie BC) 7:17.49

Semi-final 2
1.  Matt Langridge (Leander Club)/Steve Williams (Leander Club)
2.  James Orme (Leander Club)/Tom Stallard (Leander Club)
3.  Josh West (Leander Club)/Hugo Lee (Oxford Brookes)
4.  Robin Bourne-Taylor (Army RC)/Alastair Heathcote
(Army RC) 6:59.61
5.  Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC)/Lewis Beech (Stourport)
6.  Alex Partridge (Leander Club)/Tom Solesbury (Molesey)

Single scull

Semi-final 1
1.  Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers)  7:19.39
2.  Matt Wells (Leander Club)  7:22.50
3.  Sam Townsend (Reading Uni)  7:26.66
4.  Simon Fieldhouse (Molesey BC) 7:29.37
5.  Bill Lucas (Reading Uni)  7:38.28
6.  Will Laughton (Imperial College)  7:53.12

Semi-final 2
1.  Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club) 7:25.66
2.  Ian Lawson (Leander Club)  7:27.48
3.  Alex Gregory (Reading Uni)  7:28.24
4.  Charles Cousins (Rob Roy)  7:29.31
5.  Charlie Palmer (Leander Club)  7:34.17
6.  Brendan Crean (Agecroft RC) 7:40.51.



Single scull

Semi-final 1
1.  Andrea Dennis (Wallingford RC)  8:18.34
2.  Jen Goldsack (Wallingford RC) 8:19.14
3.  Laura Ralston (London RC)  8:21.14
4.  Steph Mottram (Marlow RC) 8:28.21
5.  Sophie Bradshaw (Durham Uni)  8:53.54
6.  Jane Hall (DNS).

Semi-final 2
1.  Mathilde Pauls (Imperial College BC) 8:04.85
2.  Hester Goodsell (Rob Roy BC)  8:07.46
3.  Naomi Hoogesteger (Uni of London)  8:09.28
4.  Frances Fletcher (Durham Uni) 8:25.98
5.  Emma Steel (Durham Uni) 8:32.43

Semi-final 3
1.  Helen Casey (Wallingford RC)  8:04.55
2.  Laura Greenhalgh (Rob Roy BC) 8:06.39
3.  Sophie Hosking (Durham Uni) 8:09.99
4.  Steph Cullen (London RC) 8:17.65
5.  Helen Mason (London RC)  8:24.31


Single scull

Semi-final 1
1.  Paul Mattick (Wallingford RC) 7:24.36
2.  Alistair Leighton-Crawford (Tideway Scullers) 7:24.66
3.  Danny Harte (London RC)  7:24.77
4.  Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College) 7:34.30
5.  Simon Jones (Leander Club)  7:38.09
6.  Dave Currie (Leander Club) 7:39.25

Semi-final 2
1.  Mark Hunter (Leander Club) 7:19.39
2.  James Lindsay-Fynn (London RC)  7:23.08
3.  James Clarke (London RC)  7:27.39
4.  Ross Hunter (Leander RC)  7:29.76
5.  Chris Bartley (Wallingford RC)  7:38.37
6.  Nick English (Wallingford RC)  7:47.31

Semi-final 3
1.  Zac Purchase (Marlow RC)  7:27.42
2.  Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes BC) 7:29.34
3.  Rob Williams (London RC)  7:33.29
4.  Matt Beechey (Leander Club) 7:39.10
5.  Bob Hewitt (Tees RC)  7:44.79
6.  Matt Neame (Uni of London)  8:00.69

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More racing will take place as follows at the GB Rowing
Senior Trials:

Monday 16 April:
08.00 – 11.30 – Finals

PM – reserve period in case of weather postponement.