ROWING: Smith justifies coach's faith

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The Independent Online
HENLEY BURST into bloom in the sunshine yesterday with a series of cracking races. The Princess Elizabeth Cup for school eights continued the cull of selected crews when St Peter's College, Adelaide put paid to St Joseph's Prep, of the US, by 21/4 lengths in the morning, after Abingdon, the only remaining seeds, had earlier hung on to beat their compatriots Southport, of Queensland, by a bare 1/3 of a length.

In the race of the afternoon St Edward's, Oxford took on their selected neighbours Radley, who pulled into the lead off the start. At one length ahead they looked to have control but St Edwards simply held them while the stream favoured Radley and then, as the advantage came back their way in the last quarter of a mile, mounted a now characteristic challenge.

The coach, John Wiggins, was relying on his stroke man, Chris Smith, to avoid panic in the younger men behind him when they were down and then sacrifice everything in the last 400 yards when they pulled back to win by three feet.

In the Diamond Sculls, Aquil Abdullah, of Potomac Boat Club broke the foot stretcher in his Resolute sculling boat after three strokes of his race against Richard Briscoe. He stopped and Briscoe sportingly offered to race again. The second time the equipment failed, Briscoe sculled over for the chance to meet the 1998 winner, Jamie Koven, of the United States.

In the other half of the draw, Greg Searle broke a "shoulder" in his Ayling single sculler on Thursday. Yesterday he appeared in an Empacher boat and beat Australia's Marcus Free.

In the Princess Royal Cup for woman scullers, Maria Brandin, of Sweden, and Katrin Rut-schow, of Germany, the two selected scullers were easy winners after two decent starts by their British opponents.

Today's Stewards Cup will give the first outing for the British world champion coxless four, James Cracknell and Ed Coode teaming up with Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.

Henley results, page 31

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