Rowing: Cracknell and Pinsent on cruise control

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The Independent Online

Leander's James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent began their run in the Goblets with an embarrassingly easy win over Matt McQuillan and Angus Macpherson of London yesterday.

McQuillan and Macpherson gave up the chase after two minutes, leaving the world champions to cruise up the course while reducing their rate of strokes per minute from a paltry 25 at halfway to 18 at the enclosure before livening up for a finishing flourish at 19.

Cracknell and Pinsent were still way ahead, and their time of 7min 54sec was only a second slower than a bruising contest between pairs from Cambridge and Oxford Brookes which Cambridge won by two-thirds of a length. It is not the way either crew wanted to win or lose a race, but it's difficult to know how such superstars or also-rans in a lopsided contest should behave. Watching paint dry has its attractions after all.

The Americans Jason Read and Brian Volpenheim had a similar experience against Peter Evans and Mark Somers of Reading, who took such a scenic route that they may have had difficulty remembering which station they started out on. The Americans were the fastest pair in the US trials by 10 seconds. They survived their first race here unscathed, and should reach a semi-final tomorrow against the Skelin brothers of Croatia, who beat Philip Cooper and Richard Moody of Leicester by four and a half lengths.

The South Africans Ramon Di Clemente and Donovan Cech, the 2001 world silver medallists, were harried by Molesey's Dave Beckley and Olly Keech in their first round, winning by a length and three-quarters. They are in the same half of the draw as Cracknell and Pinsent.

A good day for the Irish in the Thames Cup yesterday turns into a derby today when Lady Elizabeth of Dublin meet Lady Victoria of Belfast. These are the old boys' clubs of Trinity College and Queen's University respectively

The Dubliners defeated the holders, Leander, in a glorious race which ended in a verdict of two-thirds of a length. Lady Victoria beat Curlew by three lengths.

London A had a close encounter with their own club's C crew in this event, the A crew being warned three times by the umpire to "get back on station" along the enclosures before winning by half a length.

Several selections fell yesterday, notably Potomac to the Army and Hamburg to Mulheim in the Wyfold, Radley to St Paul's in the Princess Elizabeth, Nottingham and Union to University College Dublin and Bantam US to Isis in the Britannia, and Mainz and Essen to Nottingham and Union in the Men's Quadruple Sculls.

The closest verdict was the two feet dividing Tiffin and Walton, rowing a boat called Get Out of the Wey, and George Watson's College in the Fawley for junior quads.

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