Grainger and Watkins set scene for finals showdown

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins both won their women’s single scull semi-finals today at the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials to set up an enticing final tomorrow between the world double scull champions.

“I’m pleased with today. I’ve got two good races under my belt”, said Grainger who is world champion in the women’s double scull. “Of course, Anna and I are competitive but we also want each other to do well because that will make the boat go quicker when we come together in a boat”.

1992 Olympic gold medalist Greg Searle, who came back to the sport last year after a ten-year lay-off, booked his place in tomorrow’s final when he and Tom Ransley took second in their men’s pair repechage in a race won by Moe Sbihi and James Foad.

Graeme Thomas probably produced the giant-killing performance of the day when he won his men’s single scull repechage ahead of 2011 World Championships squad member Tom Solesbury with Charles Cousins winning the other repechage.

World lightweight men’s pair champion Peter Chambers proved his continuing development as a top performer by winning the lightweight men’s single scull semi-final with Adam Freeman-Pask taking line honours in semi-final two.

Imogen Walsh, Andrea Dennis, Laura Greenhalgh and Kathryn Twyman all booked a place in the equivalent women’s final.

“We’ve had some great racing today and it’s excellent to see the Olympic course in such an exceptional state – good conditions and fast racing. There have been some very tough calls to get boats into the A Finals but we know that tomorrow’s finals will almost certainly be the most competitive that we have ever had a GB Rowing Team Senior Trials”, said David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director.

If you have been inspired by the weekend’s rowing trials why not take a trial of your own. More information at www.nationontrial.org

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RACE REPORTS

Katherine Grainger led from start to finish in her women’s single scull semi-final on the Olympic course today to win in 7:37.38.

Behind the three-times Olympic silver medalist Vicky Thornley was the first to show.

She held second through to 600m gone but then seemed to shorten up and was rowed through by Beth Rodford and Mel Wilson from the 2011 women’s quadruple scull. Rodford and Wilson tussled for the final half of the course with Rodford winning that battle to take second. Thornley, Erica Bodman and Franki Sanjani will now all race tomorrow’s B Final.

Anna Watkins was always expected to win the second semi-final of this event today. She duly obliged, taking a “country mile” lead at the outset but, in a positive sign for GB’s Olympic prospects, Frances Houghton from the 2008 Olympic silver quad, stuck to the task and ate into Houghton’s lead in the second half of the race to take second ahead of Rachel Gamble-Flint who will have been pleased with her form today.

The women’s pair repechage was won by Olivia Whitlam and Emily Taylor who held off a feisty challenge from Alison Knowles and Monica Relph throughout the second half of the race.

Laura Greenhalgh was the early leader in the lightweight women’s single scull repecahge only to be overtaken by Imogen Walsh, the eventual winner, and Andrea Dennis in the latter stages. All three plus Kathryn Twyman will feature in tomorrow’s final.

James Foad and Moe Sbihi won a tense repechage in the men’s pair in 6:29.17 with Greg Searle and Tom Ransley a close second to seal a place in tomorrow’s final.

Searle and Ransley started strongest before Foad and Sbihi found their rhythm and led from just after the 500m mark to the finish. They were pursued in earnest though by 1992 Olympic gold medallist Searle and his bearded partner from the 2011 World silver medal winning men’s eight, Ransley, with notable vocal support from the bank.

Fellow members of the 2011 men’s eight squad from last season, Tom Broadway and Dan Ritchie, were close behind along with newcomer Will Satch and 2011 men’s four World Champion Matt Langridge – until the last 500m when the front two pairs broke free and cemented their places in the final.

Satch and Langridge claimed third ahead of Broadway and Ritchie in a compelling finish while Ben Smith and Daniel Ouseley finished fifth.

Charles Cousins showed his form in the first repechage of the men’s single scull, the Cambridgeshire rower leading from start to finish but never more than a length free of Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Steve Rowbotham who took the second place in Sunday’s final.

Sam Townsend who, along with Cousins, came through the GB Rowing Team’s START programme sponsored by Siemens, finished strongly just behind Rowbotham but has to settle for a place in the ‘B’ final.

Leander’s Alan Sinclair finished several lengths back in fourth ahead of London RC’s Henry Pelly.

In the second repechage Townsend’s Reading University Boat Club teammate and crewmate in the GB men’s quadruple scull last season, Bill Lucas, started well, leading until just before 500m before easing off at 1km and leaving the racing to newcomer Graeme Thomas and Beijing Olympian Tom Solesbury.

Thomas, currently based at the START centre at Agecroft Rowing Club in Manchester, seized the lead at halfway and held off Solesbury who cruised home in the final 100m once confident of the second place in Sunday’s final.

Loughborough student Jonathan Walton climbed to third as Lucas drifted backwards and Leander’s David Read also came through into fourth.

The lightweight men’s semi-finals saw a comfortable win for local Windsor rower Adam Freeman-Pask and a notable first place for Coleraine’s 2011 World U23 and Senior Champion in the lightweight men’s pair, Peter Chambers.

Freeman-Pask was four seconds up within 500m and led home Michael Mottram and Chris Boddy who each made Sunday’s final.

Manchester University student Zak Lee-Green from Cardiff kicked from halfway to finish fourth ahead of Alex Robertson and Ben Rowe but was just outside the ‘A’ final places.

In the second semi-final 2010 World Champion from the lightweight men’s four Paul Mattick and Imperial College rower Sam Scrimgeour claimed places in tomorrow’s final behind Chambers in a tight race.

Mattick set the early pace before Chambers took the lead shortly before halfway on the Olympic course at Eton Dorney and held half a length until the finish with Scrimgeour also in close pursuit ahead of Leander’s Jonathan Clegg and Mattick’s 2010 World Champion crewmate Chris Bartley who came home fifth in front of Hereford’s Jamie Coombes.

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RESULTS

WOMEN

Pair – Repechage (Top 4 to ‘A’ Final)

1. Emily Taylor (Leander)/Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft) 7:13.00
2. Monica Relph (Leander)/Alison Knowles (Thames RC) 7:14.25
3. Jo Cook (Leander)/Polly Swann (Leander) 7:14.58
4. Caragh McMurtry (Reading Univ BC)/Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC) 7:17.59
5. Leonora Kennedy (Sport Imperial BC)/Zoe Lee (Sport Imperial BC) 7:22.22

Single scull – Semi-finals (Top 3 to ‘A’ Final, rest to ‘B’ Final)

Semi 1

1. Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC) 7:37.38
2. Beth Rodford (Gloucester RC) 7:38.72
3. Mel Wilson (Imperial College BC) 7:41.32
4. Victoria Thornley (Leander) 7:48.94
5. Erica Bodman (Leander) 8:00.33
6. Franki Sanjana (Mortlake Anglian & Alpha BC) 8:07.93

Semi 2

1. Anna Watkins (Leander) 7:38.73
2. Frances Houghton (Leander) 7:43.39
3. Rachel Gamble-Flint (Leander) 7:46.31
4. Kristina Stiller (Leander) 7:51.57
5. Vicki Meyer-Laker (Leander) 8:04.23
6. Georgie Hazell (Reading Univ BC) 8:09.54

MEN

Pair – Repechage (Top 2 to ‘A’ Final, rest to ‘B’ final)

1. James Foad (Molesey BC)/Moe Sbihi (Molesey BC) 6:29.17
2. Greg Searle (Molesey BC)/Tom Ransley (York City) 6:32.85
3. Will Satch (Leander)/Matt Langridge (Leander) 6:37.07
4. Tom Broadway (Leander)/Dan Ritchie (Leander) 6:37.10
5. Ben Smith (Molesey BC)/Daniel Ouseley 6:51.95

Single scull – Repechage (Top 2 to ‘A’ Final, rest to ‘B’ Final)

Rep 1

1. Charles Cousins (Reading Univ BC) 6:57.39
2. Steve Rowbotham (Leander) 6:58.05
3. Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC) 7:00.22
4. Alan Sinclair (Leander) 7:19.93
5. Henry Pelly (London RC) 7:24.51

Rep 2

1. Graeme Thomas (Agecroft/Manchester Univ) 7:01.76
2. Tom Solesbury (Leander) 7:04.79
3. Jonathan Walton (Loughborough Students) 7:07.01
4. David Read (Leander) 7:12.97
5. Bill Lucas (London RC) 7:40.55

LIGHTWEIGHTS

WOMEN

Single scull – Repechage (Top 4 to ‘A’ Final)

1. Imogen Walsh (London RC) 7:44.70
2. Andrea Dennis (Sport Imperial BC) 7:45.35
3. Laura Greenhalgh (Sport Imperial BC) 7:46.35
4. Kathryn Twyman (Wallingford) 7:52.98
5. Ruth Walczak (Molesey BC) 7:56.82

MEN

Single scull – Semis (Top 3 to ‘A’ Final, rest to ‘B’ Final)

Semi 1

1. Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College BC) 7:05.10
2. Michael Mottram (Leander) 7:08.53
3. Chris Boddy (Leander) 7:11.58
4. Zak Lee-Green (Agecroft/Manchester Univ) 7:12.87
5. Alex Robertson (Leander) 7:18.75
6. Ben Rowe (Tees RC) 7:22.65

Semi 2

1. Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC) 7:08.59
2. Paul Mattick (Leander) 7:11.46
3. Sam Scrimgeour (Imperial College BC) 7:13.77
4. Jonathan Clegg (Leander) 7:22.50
5. Chris Bartley (Leander) 7:26.38
6. Jamie Coombes (Hereford RC) 7:28.10

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THE 2011 TRIALS WINNERS

M1x Alan Campbell
LM1x Zac Purchase
M2- Andy Triggs Hodge/Pete Reed

W1x Anna Watkins
LW1x Sophie Hosking
W2- Helen Glover/Heather Stanning

TIMETABLE AND NATURE OF RACING*

Racing takes place on a 2km course in six boat categories and all the top British names will be in action:

Open weight: men’s and women’s pairs; men’s and women’s single scull
Lightweight: men’s and women’s single sculls

Saturday March 10

Time trials and heats* 10.00 – 11.00
Semi-finals and repechages: 16.00 – 17.15

Sunday 11 March

FINALS – for all categories: 09.30 – 11.45

*NB 2 – Rowing is an outdoor sport. Please check the GB Rowing Team website, facebook and twitter sites before travelling to the venue where any changes to racing timetable, due to the weather or other circumstances, will be indicated.

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CONTACT DETAILS
For media enquiries about this event please contact:

Caroline Searle on (01225) 443998 or 07831 755351 or Andy Sloan on 07714 168391or e-mail us on press@matchtight.co.uk

GB Rowing Team website, including full rower biogs: www.gbrowingteam.org.uk

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gbrowingteam

and Twitter: @gbrowingteam

Pictures available for media editorial use via: press@matchtight.co.uk

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