Rowing: Bridge and Parish defy the doubters

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The Independent Online
Henley repaid the faithful with a series of great contests to grace the sunshine and fast tailwind conditions which transformed yesterday's racing after the grim and grey opening two days.

The pretenders to Stephen Redgrave's crown are crowding into the Silver Goblet event for coxless pairs, which he has vacated after seven wins. Peter Bridge and Matthew Parish who finished extended careers in the British Eight in Atlanta, were thought to be vulnerable to a lack of training. They were led by the Queen's Tower pair of the two Jeremys, Hepworth and Purnell, for the entire course until a sustained attack up the enclosures provoked poor steering from Queen's Tower, allowing Bridge and Parish to sneak through on the last stroke to win by one foot.

The Queen Mother Cup for the quadruple sculls produced a thriller when the British under-23 national crew faced their senior counterparts. The seniors, racing as Kingston and Tideway Scullers, led throughout, but not by much. With both crews warned for wandering out of their lanes, it came to a final sprint won by the juniors only three strokes from the line.

The strongest challenge in the other half of the draw comes from the Augusta sculling camp. The only medal for the American men in Atlanta came in this event and Augusta now has the pick of the available talent. Stroked by the silver medallist Brian Jamieson, they swept aside Melbourne University, led by the 1992 Olympic champion, Peter Anthony.

In the Diamond sculls, The American, Jamie Koven, made light work of his quarter-final with Steve Tucker, while Greg Searle his rival today was made to work hard by the Dutchman, Ardi Middag. Searle took the early lead, which was eroded in the mid-race before he pushed clear at the three-quarter mile.

In the women's sculls, Guin Batten faced her biggest domestic rival, the 6ft 4in, 13st Sarah Winkless, who allowed her inexperience to show when she stopped after a clash shortly after the start, giving Batten enough room to win as she pleased.

Results, Digest, page 28