Dunn and Garbett provide a bit of cheer

British hopes of more crews qualifying for the weekend's finals were dashed yesterday when the men's quadruple scullers and the lightweight double scullers Helen Casey and Tracy Langlands failed to reach the top three places in their semi-finals.

British hopes of more crews qualifying for the weekend's finals were dashed yesterday when the men's quadruple scullers and the lightweight double scullers Helen Casey and Tracy Langlands failed to reach the top three places in their semi-finals.

Casey and Langlands were in the hunt in fourth place with 500 metres gone, but then dropped to fifth as the Dutch crew went from fifth to second to qualify with Romania and Germany. Simon Cottle, Alan Cambell, Pete Gardner and Pete Wells never got into the hunt in their quad, finishing sixth. These crews move to B finals tomorrow, along with the men's eight.

In the B finals for Olympic rankings 7-12, the coxless pair and double scullers won their events, and the sculler Ian Lawson came a creditable fourth.

In the pairs, Toby Garbett and Rick Dunn were in a photo-finish with the Italians Giuseppe de Vita and Dario Lari. Garbett and Dunn are a class act who were unlucky to have missed the A final, and they turned yesterday's race, in a following breeze which poppled the water on the Schinias basin, into a characteristic cliffhanger. The Italians were well clear at halfway and the Brits were lying third when the call was made. Dunn raised the rate for a relentless, grinding attack that gained on the Italians inch by inch.

The Canadian pair, excluded from the A final because of interference with South Africa in the semi-final, did not show because they were awaiting the verdict of their appeal to the court of arbitration for sport. The appeal was turned down.

Matt Wells and Matt Langridge, another exciting crew to watch, won the double sculls spectacularly, in their case being well down on the leaders in fourth place at halfway. They were fastest from 500 to 1,500m, which took them past the Cubans, Germans and Hungarians to the front for the last 600m. A ranking of seventh is an excellent result for this young crew.

Ian Lawson gets a ranking of 10th after finishing fourth in a race headed by the German Marcel Hacker, the bronze medallist from Sydney 2000 and this year's Diamonds winner at Henley, who surprisingly failed to put his boat where his mouth usually is in the semi-final. Lawson, who had to qualify for the Olympics in June, has had a challenging and excellent regatta in an event packed with major talent.

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