Wingfield Sculls – a tough race on a choppy Tideway

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Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell and Olympian Beth Rodford are the 2012 Wingfield Champions after contesting the 172nd race on a choppy Tideway on Thursday.

Representing Tideway Scullers, Campbell found himself the sole remaining sculler in the men’s race when Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale and defending Wingfield champion Adam Freeman-Pask were forced to pull out because of sickness.

Campbell, 29, completed a lonely race in 24 minutes, to add a fourth Wingfield title to his wins in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
Back in the warmth of the Tideway Scullers’ boathouse, he said, “This is the championship of Britain and I’m very proud of that. I represented Britain as the top Olympic sculler this summer and I was very proud to be on the podium.
“When you look at some of the champions who have won the Wingfields – Jack Beresford , Ken Dwan – it’s quite an honour to be amongst them.”

Disappointed to be the only sculler in the men’s race, he added, “I know what’s it like – last year I suffered from an injury and it’s not a race you can take lightly. Physically it’s very tough.

“Maybe we can get some more entries next year. The competition is high – but we do have plenty of people who are good enough.”

In contrast all four entrants in the women’s race competed in a contest that proved close with Gloucester’s Beth Rodford winning by 11 seconds over Leander’s Debbie Flood. Both were in the women’s quadruple scull at the London Olympics, finishing sixth at Eton Dorney. London’s Imogen Walsh, a bronze medallist at the 2012 European Rowing Championships, was just behind with Olympian Jess Eddie, representing ULWBC, in fourth.

Afterwards Rodford, 29, tweeted: Well, the Thames wasn’t nice to us racing the Wingfield Sculls today! Wind & wash = survival rowing! Good race though.

Wade Hall-Craggs, Honorary Secretary of the Wingfield Sculls, said, “We had all kinds of weather in one day. We had everything thrown at us. The women’s race was jolly tough and people had to be very robust.

“All of the scullers deserve credit for finishing a truly tough trial by the Thames.”

Times are as follows:

Men’s race
Alan Campbell (TSS) – winner
Time – 24:00
Mahe Drysdale (TSS) and Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial) – withdrew through sickness

Women’s race
1.Beth Rodford (Gloucester) – winner
Time – 23:32
2. Debbie Flood (Leander)
Time – 23:43
3.Imogen Walsh (London)
Time – 24:02
4. Jess Eddie (ULWBC)
Time – 25:30

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