Saturday, 21 October 2017

Metropolitan success for Leander and Upper Thames

LEANDER’S elite men’s quad dominated the competition at the Metropolitan Regatta at the weekend while there was also success for

LEANDER’S elite men’s quad dominated the competition at the Metropolitan Regatta at the weekend while there was also success for Upper Thames.

Leander notched up eight wins, including another first place for their junior quad.

The Met, staged on the Olympic regatta course at Eton Dorney, is regarded as a key stepping stone event for crews in preparation for Henley.

Leander’s double win will have put the crew in good heart as they prepare to defend their title in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup, the event in which the club’s athletes completed a hat-trick of wins in 2012.

As Kieren Emery, James Johnston, Stewart Innes and Jack Beaumont crossed the line on Saturday, Agecroft took second place more than a second adrift.

It was a similar result on Sunday when Leander extended their winning margin to more than five seconds ahead of the field.

All four Leander athletes raced again in the elite double sculls where Innes and Beaumont took first place ahead of Emery and Johnston in second.

There was also a stand-out performance by Leander’s junior quad who are preparing for the Fawley Challenge Cup at Henley. Seb Devereux, fresh from his National Schools singles victory the previous week, raced at three in the crew which also included Oli Fedrick-Lees, Oli Collinson and Sam Mottram.

Despite winning their heat in a time three seconds slower than the other heat winners from Walton, the Leander quad led from start to finish in the final, crossing the line more than five seconds clear.

Leander captain Debbie Flood recorded another win in the women’s singles on Saturday but had to settle for second place the following day after being bettered by Olympic champion lightweight Kat Copeland.

There were other wins at Dorney for Leander’s development athletes, competing as Star and Arrow, who won Intermediate 1 quad sculls on Saturday, while Ben Board and Chris Friend then went on to win the Intermediate 1 doubles event.

The Upper Thames coxed four of Jake Davidson, Graham Hall, Luke Wootton and Sam Barnes teamed up with cox Bea Searle to dominate the elite race, beating Thames RC by four lengths.

The crew later beat Molesey BC by a comfortable margin in the final of the senior event.

The victories topped off a promising weekend for the club, with a stand-out performance in elite eights on Saturday when they pushed Oxford Brookes to half a length, clocking a very fast five minutes 44 seconds.

This was two-and-a-half lengths faster than their nearest Thames Cup rivals, Thames Rowing Club, who beat them in the semi-finals at Henley last year.

Club captain Justin Sutherland said: “I was impressed by how our lads rose to the challenge when it mattered. This year is our half-centenary and we are pulling out all the stops to do well next month at Henley. Our coxed four is undefeated and it looks like we may have a fast eight as well, so it’s essential to keep up the pressure now.”

The squad also finished strongly in senior coxless fours, intermediate 1 fours, intermediate 2 fours, intermediate 2 eights and won the intermediate 1 fours on Sunday only to be disqualified for irregular paperwork.

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