Rowing: Notts plunder prizes

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The Independent Online
STRATHCLYDE PARK lightened on the final day of the National Rowing Championships after two days of wind and rain. The course, which is often rough, is never accused of being unfair and yesterday served up close racing in near perfect conditions.

The men's eights, in theory the blue riband event although the proliferation of sculling and weight divisions has obscured that, was won by the Notts County crew which won the Thames Cup at Henley two weeks ago. The Notts eight has improved since then and may be encouraged to train through the winter to represent England in the Commonwealth Championships in Victoria next year.

With three golds and two silvers in the men's events and two golds in the women's, Notts County won more than any other club. Others may point out that as a rowing association drawing from a variety of sources it hardly counts as a club, yet Thames Rowing, which had a big share in the crew sculling events, is a club but has similarly begun to recruit proven winners to its sculling group.

Thames Rowing took all the medals in the women's quadruple sculls and at least a share in the men's and the lightweight men's quads. Leon Fletcher, a Thames stalwart since becoming an under-23 world champion in 1986, won the men's single sculls. Fletcher has at last begun to show what might have been but has some way to go before he wins a place in the British quad.

Guin Batten, of Notts County, a shot-putter three years ago who began to scull only last winter, was a winner in both the single and double sculls. Unluckily, in the singles at Henley, she was drawn against Elisabeta Lipa, the Olympic champion, and lost. Yet her motivation is such that she has given up a job in Hampshire to continue training in Nottingham this winter. When her power is matched by ingrained smooth movement there should be no limit to her achievement. Yesterday she chased Kim Thomas of Weybridge to a standstill.

Peter Haining, the lightweight sculler who won at the Lucerne Regatta last week racing for Scotland, appeared here in the London Rowing club lightweight double scull with Andy Booth who had lost his normal partner on Thursday. They duly won with six seconds to spare after taking the lead before half-way. 'This was supposed to be a week off before the last cycle of preparation before the World Championships in Prague, but I didn't want Andy to miss his chance,' Haining said.