Nine golds for GB Rowing Team at opening world cup

The “Red Express” of Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman, charged down Lake Bled in Slovenia to win world cup men’s double scull gold ahead of their compatriots Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas in a first one-two for Britain in men’s sculling since the rowing world cup began in the nineties.

“We’re both red-heads so it’s a fiery combination and to be part of such a great British success was an emotional moment for me”, said Wells already a three-times Olympian.

The two medals were part of a nine-gold, six-silver and one-bronze medal haul for the GB Rowing Team.

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins were also stand-out winners taking double gold with victories in the women’s double and quadruple scull just over an hour apart – beating the reigning world champions from the Ukraine in the latter event.

A further victory came from the British men’s four, stroked by Matt Langridge, who underlined their continuing pedigree as
reigning world champions.

Both British eights took gold in a strong finale to the racing programme here.   The women fought doggedly to keep the Dutch at bay whilst the men raced with  Pete Reed as a substitute after a last-minute injury sidelined Tom Wilkinson.  The crew including 1992 Olympic champion Greg Searle who is returning to the  sport after a ten-year break, aged 38, were always confident of victory despite strong Dutch and Polish opposition.

Olympic men’s four champion Pete Reed had just over two hours to recover from his earlier men’s pair final in which he and Andy Triggs Hodge won silver but in their closest challenge yet to the New Zealand world champions in seven attempts so far.

Britain’s other silvers came from Alan Campbell in the men’s single scull, the men’s double, the lightweight women’s double and the lightweight men’s four.

Britain also took the overall world cup trophy.  “The one-two in the men’s double scull was the most exciting moment of the day, undoubtedly”, said GB Rowing Team Performance Director David Tanner.  “That just shows the strength of the programme that we can bring new people up through it with three of the four rowers having come through our”Start” talent identification and development programme.

“Overall it’s been a very pleasing weekend and shows the depth of the squad and our consistency.  Although there was a good field here we know that there are still big nations like Germany and Australia to enter the fray”.

In yesterday’s finals sessions Britain also won gold in the lightweight men’s single scull through Zac Purchase, a bronze from the lightweight men’s pair plus two golds and a silver from the adaptive races – for boats aiming to compete at the
Paralympic Games.

The next rowing world cup takes place in Munich, Germany, from June 18-20 before a strong predicted Henley Royal Regatta entry in early July and then the world cup finals in July in Lucerne.  After that, the rowers will take a mid-season break before training towards the World Championships which take place in early November in New Zealand.

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Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells bemoaned their poor semi-final start in qualifying for today’s final. They made amends today and were leading through the first two  markers at 500m and 1000m.  Behind them Sam Towsend and Bill Lucas moved up into third with Switzerland splitting the difference at 1500m.

In a fabulous finish Wells and Bateman battled to hold on and the second British duo timed their approach to the line perfectly to take an historic gold-silver.   Estonia’s surge was not enough but they took bronze ahead of Norway and Switzerland.

“We knew what we had to do”, said Wells. “We’ve trained for it. This is massive for us a new combination”.

“We’ve all come from the world class start programme”, said Bateman.  “We’ve come from the same place and we had the same dreams. So it’s awesome to come out and dominate at this level”.

“We wanted to make sure we produced a good race today”, added Townsend. “We thought we had enough at the end to go for it and although we are disappointed not to win it bodes well for the future of the squad”.

Lucas said: “We tried to get out cleanly and would have liked to have held on but we couldn’t quite catch them at the end”.

Matt Langridge, Alex Gregory, Ric Egington and Alex Partridge are the reigning world men’s four champions.  They wanted to stamp their authority onto this morning’s final and made their move just before 500m and had a second lead over Serbia.  Looking smooth they began to try and stretch that lead to over two seconds.

It was not over, though.  Serbia began to claw back as they moved ahead of Canada. As the race moved past the grandstands, and the strong British element in the crowd, the British quartet dug deep, moved up a gear and held onto win with Serbia second and Canada third.

“We did what we needed to do to win”, said Partridge.  “It was difficult to get a good, sweet rhythm as the conditions on the lake are a bit ‘washy’ but it feels good to win”.

Langridge said:  “We still want to get to  where we were last year and I don’t think we’re quite there yet. But this was a good step”.

“Our coach, Mark Banks, is injured and could not be here this weekend but having a coach like Jurgen Grobler, one of the best in the world, was not a bad stand-in”, he added wryly.

Gregory added:  “It’s a good start to the season. We are not at the standard we were at the end of last year but we can make lots of improvements”.

Egington said:  “It’s a beautiful venue but the conditions on the water are difficult.  We haven’t been in the boat very much yet this season and we did enough to win today”.

The new-look British men’s eight were well placed as today’s final moved into its second half with the Dutch as race leaders.  They had moved up from fifth at 500m to be on the shoulders of the leaders, having been fourth at 1000m.

As the crew, minus an injured Tom Wilkinson and carrying Pete Reed as a last-minute substitute, reached the final 500m they
picked up the pace and gave everyone the sense that they would close the gap on the Dutch.  They did more than close the gap, they overhauled the Dutch and took gold with Poland in bronze.

The victory was a great step onwards for this new line-up.

“I’ve never stroked an eight before and to do that with two Olympic champions sitting behind me was a great experience”, said Dan Ritchie.

“I’m exhausted”, said Reed, “but such credit must go to this crew.  There a lot of young guys who are not experienced and they have an exciting future ahead and were strong and committed today. It was great rowing with them”.

“We knew what we were doing from the start, we knew we could win”, said Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell.

“It’s a massive difference to last year”, said Moe Sbihi.  “There is an ability to control what we are doing. We’re older and more mature and we’re more internally driven”.

James Foad added:  “I got a bit of experience from last year and took that away and worked on what I thought were the mistakes. As a crew we have come together well”.

“We had a very clear plan and the difference this year is that we have been able to execute it”, said James Clarke.

“We always felt in control and stuck to our race plan”, said James Orme. “We always thought we were going to catch the Dutch”.

Cox Phelan Hill added:  “The Dutch were never going to get away from us and we stepped up a lot from the heat”.

Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed started today’s final of the men’s pair in Bled, Slovenia, 0-6 down on recent encounters with the New Zealand world champion pairing of Hamish Bond  and Eric Murray.  These two crews were tipped for the top two slots.

So it was somewhat surprising to see the two  Greek pairs in the final reach the 500m mark first.  Not fazed, the New Zealand crew suddenly surged forward and tried to drop the British.  At halfway the Antipodeans had a half length over Hodge and Reed – the latter being Olympic champions in the men’s four from Beijing.

Approaching the island of St Martin’s church the British must have got that familiar feeling. They were now a length down.  Was it all over? Perhaps not.  A superb final sprint from the British brought them tantalising close.  In the end it went to New Zealand but this time by just a canvas and they had to work hard for their victory.   The second-ranked Greek crew were third just ahead of their compatriots.

“Our time will come”, said Reed afterwards. “We need to go away and work on our technique in rough water but we made a big step up today”.

Hodge added: “We will go away and work on every stroke.  These guys are very strong so we need to work every day to  improve”.
Alan Campbell started today’s final of the men’s single scull as the favourite on paper. Yesterday he beat Olympic silver medallist Ondrej Synek to reach the final but knew that the Czech  racer, along with Marcel Hacker of Germany, could be the main threats today.

Synek proved his pedigree by leading early and holding on. At 1500m he had a big gap over Campbell and the Frenchman Julien Bahain with Hacker in fourth.

As the long sprint started for the line Synek dug in, Campbell pushed and pushed and Bahain proved his staying power as Hacker stormed back into contention.

On the line clear victory went to Synek and Hacker’s dying charge was just not enough to snatch silver from Campbell with France in

“It was a good result but one I can step on from”, said Campbell afterwards.  “All credit to Synek he raced well. I know I’ve got to go away and improve now”.

Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger, although experienced Olympic medallists in their own  right, are a new-look GB Rowing Team double scull at this world cup.  They took early advantage in today’s final and had 2.27 seconds over China at the 500m timing point.

At a 1000m the British were over five seconds ahead of their nearest rivals, the USA.  They held that advantage as the race moved into its final phase.  Despite a new challenge from China and a final push from the USA the British held onto win in 7:06.14 from China in second and the USA in third.

Watkins and Grainger later returned to action for GB in the women’s quadruple scull alongside Beth Rodford and Annabel Vernon.  They led through to halfway but the margins were miniscule –  between 0.02 and 0.07 of a second over Ukraine, the 2009 world champions.

In the third 500m the British made their move and pushed ahead by a length over Ukraine with Switzerland in third.  As the finish line approached the British quartet powered on and in a strong finish won smoothly in 6:26.65 to give Grainger and Watkins their second golds of the day and their compatriots a taste of precious metal for the first time this season.

“I’m really proud of this medal”, said Watkins. “I think we earned it. We knew we had to make improvements over the weekend to get it and we did. There was real commitment and drive in the crew especially at the 500m mark when we knew everyone was much of a muchness”.

The task for Watkins was made all the harder when she was chosen for a drugs test straight after the women’s double final. She needed to draw on the negotiating skill of GB team doctor Ann Redgrave in order to have sufficient time to prepare properly for the second of her two finals.

“I’m really pleased with that”, said Vernon. “I’ve had a rubbish season so far and I knew that I had to get it right today, banish the demons and just blast it”.

“That was so much fun”, said Rodford.  “We knew the Ukraine would be tough as they are the world champions, so we had to step up from our heat”.

Grainger added: “There was no time to relax between our double scull and our quadruple scull final.  But we always knew it would be tight and we used every possible minute to prepare.  I loved the single [scull] last year but I missed being part of a crew and I’ve really enjoyed both races today”.

Canada moved out to a length lead by the 500m mark in the women’s pair final.  Olivia Whitlam and Louisa Reeve were in contention behind them alongside the American reigning world champions.

As the race moved towards halfway, the USA established themselves in second and Whitlam and Reeve dropped back to fourth with  Jess Eddie and Alison Knowles, GB’s second-ranked crew beside and behind them.

Canada went onto win with the USA and  China caught in a photo-finish for second and third. Germany just squeezed past  the leading British crew on the line with Eddie and Knowles sixth.

Eddie, Knowles, Whitlam and Reeve later joined their team-mates Jo Cook, Lindsey Maguire, Vicky Thornley and Natasha Page
to line up in a women’s eight for the final coxed by Caroline O’Connor a teacher at the Oxford Academy who juggles lesson preparation and delivery with world class sport.

The combination appeared to gel immediately with Britain leading narrowly at 500m from the Dutch at 500m.  At 1000m they were still in front with  China now threatening in third. 

Rating slightly higher than the Netherlands as the business end of the race approached, GB clung to its small lead as China again surged and the Netherlands tired to fight back.  With  200m to go the fight was really on and O’Connor’s
eight were up to the task. They took victory by just under half a length over Holland and China in that order.

“We just wanted to race our own race today in the eight”, said Reeve.  “After the disappointment of the pair it feels good to win. We’ve done some good ‘500ms’ and “1ks” in training so it was good to put them together”.

“If you only race the eight at a regatta you  don’t tend to get enough racing”, added Whitlam. “Since the trials we have known that we have a fast eight. There is a buzz about it”.

“Our coach Miles Forbes Thomas said we would have to work for it”, said cox O’Connor. “He said we would need to get a good rhythm and row a good length to win. It was a good test for our new crew especially as some people had already raced the pairs and were coming into the final with tired legs”.

“We knew we were potentially fast but you don’t really know until you race”, said a clearly delighted Vicky Thornley who has come into rowing via UK Sport’s sporting giants and has been nurtured for the past two years by the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme sponsored by Siemens and backed by lottery funding.

Cook added: “We had loads of confidence in our crew as we have done a lot of good training but this is a beginning and we have a long way to go”.

Eddie said:  “I was pretty angry after the pairs final but the eight is the boat to focus on today and this was great”.

Knowles added: “The race went really well.  We went out to nail our rhythm from the first stroke and it felt
 ike we really worked well together.

In the lightweight women’s double final the USA and Greece showed early to lead the final.  Hester Goodsell and Sophie Hosking, world bronze medallists last year, were in third but pushed through to second behind the USA at halfway.  Andrea Dennis and  Steph Cullen, the second-ranked GB crew, were in sixth. 

The Americans extended their lead and looked unbeatable at the 1500m mark and that’s how it ended, with GB in second behind the USA whilst Cullen and Dennis moved back up into fifth.

“We know there are things we need to address and our aim is be within stepping distance as no crew is untouchable”, said Goodsell.

“We haven’t been to any regatta when we haven’t been on the podium”, said Hosking.  “Obviously there is one step on that podium which is better than the others and that’s were we aim to be in New Zealand later this year.  That’s the long term goal.

In the lightweight men’s four final, 2009 world championships silver medallists, were the early leaders but by the 1500m mark GB had moved into the lead momentarily but neither crew was able to prise open a big gap on the chasing pack.

As the tempo picked up for the surge to the line Denmark proved the pacier of the crews and took victory in 6:02.49 – just over a second ahead of Richard Chambers, Rob Williams, Paul Mattick and Chris Bartley. Italy were third and Switzerland.

“It’s great to be back in the medals”, said Rob Williams. “We knew we needed a decent buffer over the Danes going into the final 500m and we didn’t have it today but we’ve only been in this crew for two and a half weeks”.

Chris Bartley added:  “We had aimed to get a good lead over the Danes as we  knew they had a good sprint but we didn’t
quite make it today.  It’s great to be here and great to win a medal, though. I haven’t had much out of the sport for the last two years so I’m really pleased to be back in there”.

Mattick said:  “In the grand plan we now know where we are relative to the others”.

Chambers said:  “It’s good have a lightweight men’s four back in the medals. We train to win gold and when you don’t it’s disappointing but this is a good start for us as a crew”.
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(GB Boats only. Full results at:




1.  Krista Guloein/Ashley Brzozowicz (Canada) 7:20.60
2.  Li Meng/Li Tong (China) 7:22.81
3.  Francia Zsuzsanna/Erin Cafaro (USA) 7:22.81
4.  Kerstin Hartmann/Marlene Sinnig (Germany) 7:26.74
5.  Olivia Whitlam/Louisa Reeve (GREAT BRITAIN 1) 7:28.28
6.  Jess Eddie/Alison Knowles (GREAT BRITAIN 2) 7:34.26


1. Jo Cook/Louisa Reeve/Natasha Page/Vicky Thornley/Jess
    Eddie/Lindsey Maguire/Olivia Whitlam/Alison Knowles/
     Caroline O’Connor (cox)  6:17.98
2.  Netherlands 6:19.14
3.  China 6:20.65
4.  Russia 6:25.53
5.  Poland 6:25.67

Double scull

1.  Katherine Grainger/Anna Watkins (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:06.14
2.  Tian Liang/Zhang Yangyang (China) 7:07.20
3.  Stesha Carle/Kathleen Bertko (USA) 7:09.44
4.  Jitka/Lenka Antosova (Czech Republic) 7:11.91
5.  Jin Ziwei/Jingli Duan (China 2) 7:20.65
6.  Vanessa Grandpierre/Caroline Delas (France) 7:31.62

Quadruple scull

1.  Annabel Vernon/Beth Rodford/Anna Watkins/Katherine Grainger
     (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:26.65
2.  Ukraine  6:29.43
3.  Switzerland 6:34.36
4.  China 6:34.62
5.  Netherlands 6:38.05
6.  Italy 6:44.04



1.  Eric Murray/Hamsih Bond (New Zealand) 6:33.30
2.  Andrew Triggs Hodge/Pete Reed (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:34.52
3.  Ioannis Tsilis/Georgios Tziallas (Greece 1) 6:41.06
4.  Nikolaos & Apostolos Gkountoulas (Greece 2) 6:43.44
5.  Kristof Wilke/Richard Schmidt (Germany) 6:47.06
6.  Jacob Cornelius/Charles Cole (USA) 6:55.41 


1.  Alex Partridge/Ric Egington/Alex Gregory/Matt Langridge
     (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:06.44
2.  Serbia 6:08.18
3.  Canada 6:09.04
4.  Italy 6:10.10
5.  Czech Republic 6:10.18
6.  Poland 6:14.81


1.  Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/James Clarke/James Orme/James
    Foad/Mohamed Sbihi/Greg Searle/Peter Reed/Daniel Ritchie/
    Phelan Hill (cox) (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:36.61
2.  Netherlands 5:37.74
3.  Poland 5:38.94
4.  China 5:39.35
5.  Ukraine 5:46.21
6.  Italy 5:49.65

Single scull

1.  Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic) 6:49.58
2.  Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:53.76
3.  Marcel Hacker (Germany) 6:54.27
4.  Julien Bahain (France 1) 6:54.58
5.  Lassi Karonen (Sweden) 7:04.04
6.  Ioannis Christou (Greece) 7:08.34

Double scull

1.  Matt Wells/Marcus Bateman (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:26.66
2.  Bill Lucas/Sam Townsend (GREAT BRITAIN) 6;27.37
3.  Allar Raja/Kaspar Taimsoo (Estonia 1) 6:28.18
4.  Olaf Tufte/Iztok Cop (Norway) 6:28.45
4.  Andre Vonarburg/Florian Stofer (Switzerland) 6:29.02
6.  Jean Smerghetto/Leopoldo Sansone (Italy 1) 6:41.85



Double scull

1.  Abelyn Broughton/Ursula Grobler (USA) 7:07.85
2.  Hester Goodsell/Sophie Hosking (GREAT BRITAIN) 7;13.11
3.  Trantafyllia Kalampoka/Christina Giazizidou (Greece) 7:17.09
4.  Rianne Sigmond/Maaike Head (Netherlands) 7:20.40
5.  Steph Cullen/Andrea Dennis (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:20.40
6.  Claire Lambe/Siobhan McCrohan (Ireland) 7:22.99



1. Denmark 6:02.49
2.  Richard Chambers/Paul Mattick/Rob Williams/Chris Bartley
     (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:03.96
3.  Italy 6:05.01
4.  Switzerland 6:05.11
5.  Netherlands 6:05.39
6.  Germany 6:07.01




Single scull

1.  Agata Gramatyka (Poland) 7:41.81
2.  Natalia Madaj (Poland 2) 7:42.14
3.  Debbie Flood (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:48.52
4.  Melanie Wilson (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:52.62
5.  Sara Silva Rebelo (Portugal) 8:01.87



1. China 6:34.52
2.  Cameron Nichol/Brendan Crean (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:35.52
3.  Serbia 6:36.21
4.  France 2 6:36.39
5.  Spain 6:40.68
6.  Netherlands 6:45.03



Double scull

1.  USA 6;30.85
2.  Austria 6:34.67
3.  Slovenia 6:35.85
4.  Greece 6:35.97
5.  China 2 6:37.66
6.  Ben Rowe/Peter Chambers (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:37.77

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2010 Rowing World Cup, Bled, Slovenia (28-30 May)
(listed bow to stroke plus cox)



Pairs – three boats

Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Louisa Reeve (LeanderClub/London/16.05.84)

Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/

Helen Glover (Reading Uni BC/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)


Jo Cook (Leander Club/Sunbury-on-Thames/22.03.84)/
Louisa Reeve (LeanderClub/London/16.05.84)/
Natasha Page (Reading Uni BC/Hartpury/30.04.85)/
Victoria Thornley (Minerva Bath/Wrexham/30.11.87)/
Jessica Eddie (Uni of London BC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford RC/Edinburgh/15.01.82)/
Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft RC/Warrington/16.09.85)/
Alison Knowles (Thames RC/Bournemouth/27.03.82)/
Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes Uni BC/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)

Single scull – two boats

Melanie Wilson (Molesey BC/London/25.6.84)

Debbie Flood (Leander Club/Guiseley/27.02.80)/

Double scull – two boats

Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)/
Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)

Quadruple scull

Annabel Vernon (London RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC/Gloucester/28.12.82)/
Anna Watkins (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.02.83)/
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)



Pair – two boats

Peter Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andrew Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden, N.Yorks/03.03.79)

Cameron Nichol (Molesey/Glastonbury/26.6.87)/
Tom Burton (Leander Club/Barton-le-Clay, Beds/24.05.80)


Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/
Richard Egington (Leander Club/Knutsford/26.02.79)/
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)/
Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/


Tom Wilkinson (Leander Club/Reading/04.07.85)/
James Clarke (London RC/London/31.12.84)/
James Orme (Leander Club/Colchester/01.04.84)/
James Foad (Molesey BC/Southampton/20.03.87)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
Greg Searle (Molesey BC/Marlow/20.03.72)/
Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell (Uni of London/Durham/13.04.88)/
Daniel Ritchie (Herne Bay RC/Herne Bay/06.01.87)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)

Single scull – two boats

Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/09.05.83)

Brendan Crean (Agecroft/Lewes/07.02.85)

Double scull – two boats

Matthew Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.04.79)
Marcus Bateman (Leander Club/Torquay/16.09.82)/

Bill Lucas (Reading Uni BC/Kingswear/13.09.87)/
Sam Townsend (Reading Uni BC/Reading/26.11.85)



Double scull – two boats

Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni BC/London/27.06.84)/
Sophie Hosking (London RC/Wimbledon/25.01.86)

Stephanie Cullen (London RC/Putney, London/27.11.80)/
Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni BC/Oxford/03.01.82)




Chris Boddy (Leander Club/Stockton-on-Tees/16.11.87)/
Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC/Windsor/19.06.85)


Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)/
Paul Mattick (Leander Club/Frome, Somerset/25.04.78)/
Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.85)/
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)

Single scull
Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury/02.05.86)

Double scull

Ben Rowe (Tees RC/Middlesbrough/05.11.88)/
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Uni RC/Coleraine/14.03.90)


Mixed adaptive coxed four

Kelsie Gibson (Maidstone Invicta RC)/
James Roe (Reading Uni BC//Stratford-upon-Avon/28.03.88)/
Ryan Chamberlain (King’s College London BC/London/03.04.86)/
Naomi Riches (Leander/Harrow, London 15.06.83)/
Rhiannon Jones (Reading Uni BC/Hereford/16.09.87) (cox)

ASM1x – two boats

Tom Aggar (Royal Docks RC/Barnet, London/24.05.84)
Andy Houghton (Maidenhead RC/Newbury/06.04..81)