Rowing: Leander on pole

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THE Tideway Head of the River Race from Chiswick to Putney today is likely to be dominated by Leander Club, the home of most of the leading men's group in the British National team.

Leander I has the World Championship coxless four of James Cracknell, Steve Redgrave, Tim Foster and Matthew Pinsent at its core and will lead off in front of University of London and two predominantly lightweight crews, one from London and the other from Notts County at three and four.

Oxford Brookes University, now one of the strongest clubs, will start sixth in front of the leading overseas crew, SC Zurich, from Switzerland.

The Tideway Scullers' School has a crew of genuine scullers, including the triple world lightweight champion Peter Haining at stroke, backed up by Guy Pooley, Wade Hall Craggs and Boris Mavra.

Molesey, with a crew of Olympic medallists, including the Searle brothers and Richard Stanhope, have been wallowing in the wake of first the Oxford and then the Cambridge Boat Race crews in practice but should move up from 20th.

The perfect weather conditions forecast, combined with a good flow of land water, will make for a fast time and Leander will have no inhibitions in proving the value of the first winter when the entire national team has been properly funded for full-time training. The gap between the full- timers and the rest is expected to increase sharply.