Rowing: Canadians storm to Grand Challenge Cup after deluge delay

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The Independent Online

The two crews visiting Henley on their way to the Beijing Olympics duly won their events yesterday. Elliot Hovey and Wesley Piermarina of California RC beat their compatriots Peter and Thomas Graves in the Double Sculls, and the South Africans Shaun Keeling and Ramon Di Clementé won the Goblets for pairs against the German lightweights Ole Rueckbrodt and Felix Otto.

The Great Britain lightweight women's quad, en route to the senior world championships and rowing as Wallingford and Reading University, beat Upper Thames easily in the Princess Grace.

The Grand Challenge Cup had all the best ingredients of Henley's top event, plus an unwelcome deluge with thunder and lightning which caused further racing to be delayed, such was its ferocity. Victoria City and Kingston, the Canadian under-23 crew, were admonished by the umpire in the first few strokes for veering towards the centre.

After quarter of a mile their University of Southern California opponents were leading by a foot, and at the Barrier by a canvas. At Remenham the Canadians were moving up while Gene Kininmonth, USC's coach, was wishing, sotto voce in the umpire's launch, that his cox would keep closer to the booms.

Canada struck at Remenham and took a canvas lead at the mile marker. After another eighth of a mile they had a length, and made it two by the finish. Doug White, their coach, was pleased with a crew formed only two and half weeks ago. But this was Kininmouth's last race. Most of USC's crew are Estonians on scholarships, and their Estonian coach Mihkel Leppin will take them to the world under-23 championships later this month.

University of Western Ontario chalked up Canada's second win when they beat the Americans from Trinity College, Hartford in the Temple Cup. Trinity crabbed early in the race and never really found their rhythm.

Then Shawnigan Lake made it three for Canada when they beat Eton by three-quarters of a length in the Princess Elizabeth for school eights.

The Thames Cup was a battle royal between Leander and Tideway Scullers, with Scullers losing by a canvas.

The Remenham Cup for women's eights was won by a Leander and Wallingford combination against Furnivall Sculling Club and Leander by three lengths.

California RC, a new club run by the Australian Tim McLaren, made its mark in small boats. Wesley Piermarini and Elliot Hovey won the double sculls. California also won the Prince of Wales Cup for club level quads.

The four-oared events largely stayed at home. Imperial College and Kingston, who crew included the 2000 Olympic gold medallist Kieran West, beat Martyrs and Christ Church in the Visitors' for coxless fours. Newcastle University beat the University of the West of England in the Prince Albert for student coxed fours. Tyne RC beat London RC for the Wyfold for coxless fours. Molesey BC won the Britannia against Ortner BC, the alumni of Reading University. Cambridge, Britain's under-23 crew, won the senior coxless fours event, beating a Greek combination.

Ian Lawson's name was on the Diamond Sculls this year, and the former international delivered an easy verdict – more than five lengths – against Sean Jacob of Old Collegians, Ireland. Catherine Ryan, though, gave Ireland a victory over Matilda Pauls of Imperial College in the women's singles.

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