Rowing: Hunter the new king of Britain's oldest event

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The Independent Online

Ross Hunter of Leander ran away with the 292nd Doggett's Coat and Badge from London Bridge to Chelsea yesterday. He took command of Great Britain's oldest sporting event from the first stroke, leading Lance Yeysi substantially when passing through the first of 14 bridges on the course of four miles and seven furlongs.

Neither were threatened by Billy Ruler who was labouring at the oars after three strokes, nor by the Ryan Sandall, who never claimed his boat from the dock.

This was Yeysi's second attempt at this severe test of watermanship on the flood tide through the City and Westminster, but he was no match for the lightweight international, Hunter.

Hunter soon had a nautical mile of water between himself and Yeysi, finishing in 25 minutes, 27 seconds, and Ruler, to his credit, completed the course in a time given charitably as 29 minutes, in reality considerably over half an hour.

Doggett's was originally for watermen in their first year of freedom from apprenticeship. Having failed to win, Yeysi and Ruler are eligible to have another go next year.

Doggett's Coat and Badge (London Bridge to Chelsea) 1 R Hunter (Leander) 25min 27sec; 2 L Yeysi (Poplar Blackwall & District) 26:56; 3 W Ruler (Globe) 29.