Mahé Drysdale won the Diamond Sculls for the second time today.
When the three-times world champion met Alan Campbell in 2007, Campbell won. Today’s epic race left the score between them equal after a thumping charge into a blustery headwind up the sun-dancing 1 mile and 550 yards of the Henley course.
The scullers were level at the end of the island despite Campbell’s whirlwind rating off the start. Drysdale was able to settle quickly into a long stroke and a lazy-looking rhythm. But there was nothing lazy about either’s performance. Drysdale squeezed out his advantage to half a length at the quarter mile, one and a half lengths at the Barrier and three lengths at the mile. Campbell over-rated him throughout. “It felt like I was sculling with Mahé on my shoulders,” he said.
Drysdale said the wind was troublesome, “but that’s to be expected”.
For him, the season is panning out well. He has beaten off a challenge from his fellow New Zealander, the 2000 Olympic champion Rob Waddell.
He has won the Holland Bekker trophy and the Diamonds, and goes to the final round of the world cup in Lucerne next week full of confidence.
Campbell, meanwhile, goes back to the British training base at Caversham, and will miss Lucerne. But he’s not downhearted. His semi-final on the previous day against Olympic champion Olaf Tufte could be cited as excuse, but Campbell would be the last to reach for it.
The British men’s and women’s eights won the Grand and the Remenham respectively, the former in a thrilling half-length verdict against an American combination, and the latter by three lengths against Yale.
Britain’s double scullers Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham lost the Double Sculls to the New Zealanders Matthew Trott and Nathan Cohen by a length. They were lucky not to engage more trouble from the umpire, finishing on their opponents’ station, with the umpire’s launch in it also. Eric Murray and Hamish Bond in the Goblets and Emma Twigg in the women’s sculls gave NZ two further trophies, while their men’s four and women’s quad lost finals to GB’s squad crews.
Eton’s outstanding performance trounced Abingdon in the Princess Elizabeth, and the Polish Olympic champions beat the young British crew in the Queen Mother for quadruple sculls.