Campbell shrugs off accident to win GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment

Alan Campbell shrugged off a recent cycling accident in training to win the GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment single scull final at Eton-Dorney today.

The accident was severe enough to put the Coleraine man in hospital for a few days but he showed his mettle in holding off Beijing Olympic double scull medallist Matthew Wells in the final 300m of the race today with Matthew Langridge in third.

“I’m really excited about the depth of the GB Rowing sculling squad”, said Campbell, of Tideway Scullers, afterwards.  “There are so many guys getting under seven minutes these days.  It really hurts to do it and I had to really push it today”.

His win was mirrored in the B final of the same event when Molesey’s Greg Searle, rowing’s current comeback king and 1992 Olympic gold medallist, held onto an early race lead to defeat a strong second-half challenge from Brendan Crean, a product of the GB Rowing Team’s lottery-funded Start programme, sponsored by Siemens, to take a win and book his place on the GB Rowing Team squad at Heathrow tomorrow morning for a training camp in Portugal.

“It’s always satisfying to win races but it needed fighting spirit today”, said Searle.  “It was the first time in ten years that I’ve really had to dig deep and perform”.

Katherine Grainger, three times an Olympic silver medallist, is perennially strong at domestic level and today was no exception. The St Andrew Boat Club rower led the field in the final of the women’s single scull with Anna Watkins (nee Bebington) of Leander Club, in second place and Gloucester’s Beth Rodford a strong third. This weekend marked the return to racing of Olympic medallist Debbie Flood, who placed sixth today, after a year out in 2009.

Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed, as expected, won the men’s pair but the Molesey-Leander club combination were pushed by their team-mates Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory, of Leander and Reading Uni, with the latter duo keeping an overlap until the final few hundred metres.

Hodge said:  “It’s kind of satisfying to have raced on the 2012 course for the first time in this Olympiad.  We had a good race today.  Alex and Alex [Partirdge and Gregory] had a strong race but we felt good”.

Olympic gold medallist Zac Purchase, of Marlow Rowing Club, won the final of the lightweight single scull. He is back to full training and was racing this weekend for the first time in 12 months.  Richard Chambers, also back from an injury-dictated year away, was his main challenger from the halfway point onwards whilst Adam Freeman-Pask was third.  Chambers’ younger brother Peter was fourth auguring well for a potential family “double” in this year’s senior squad.

“Yesterday’s semi-final was harder than today”, said Purchase afterwards. “It was all about getting back to racing for the first time.  I wouldn’t describe today as “comfortable” but it was good to get a win. Now it’s a question of getting faster and faster”.

Mark Hunter, Paul Mattick and Rob Williams were all missing from this weekend’s trial through injury. Competition within this section of the men’s squad –  as well as within the lightweight women’s training group –  remains tight for the top six places for the  men and top two seats for the women in Olympic-class boats.

Andrea Dennis took line honours in today’s final after a good semi-final win yesterday.  The Reading University sculler will be aware, though, that the field was missing both of last year’s medal-winning lightweight women’s double scullers, Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell.  Dennis took advantage in today’s final to lead throughout with Strathclyde Park’s Kelly Limond in second.

The degree of strength in depth across both squads will make for interesting racing in April when the GB Rowing Team Senior Trials take place in Belgium on April 11th and 12th 2010.

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(A finals only.  All other results will appear
on in the Trials section)



Single scull

1.  Katherine Grainger (St Andrew)  7:39.58
2.  Anna Watkins (Leander)  7:42.38
3.  Beth Rodford (Gloucester) 7:47.70
4.  Louisa Reeve (Leander) 7:49.45
5.  Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft) 7:51.49
6.  Debbie Flood (Leander) 7:56.58



1.  Andrew Triggs Hodge/Pete Reed (Molesey/Leander) 6:33.47
2.  Alex Gregory/Alex Partridge (Reading Uni/Leander) 6:35.67
3.  Richard Egington/Tom Wilkinson (Leander) 6:42.89
4.  James Clarke/Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell (London/Uni of London) 6:43.49
5.  Tom Solesbury/Tom James (Molesey) 6:43.69
6.  James Foad/Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey) 6:54.12

Single scull

1.  Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:02.17
2.  Matthew Wells (Leander) 7:03.86
3.  Matthew Langridge (Leander) 7:05.05
4.  Marcus Bateman (Leander) 7:05.30
5.  Charles Cousins (Reading Uni) 7:06.26
6.  Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 7:10.30



Single scull

1.  Andrea Dennis (Reading Uni)  7:54.47
2.  Kelly Limond (Strathclyde Park) 8:08.92
3.  Elaine Johnstone (Tideway Scullers) 8:10.22
4.  Stephanie Cullen (London) 8:10.88
5.  Katherine Copeland (London) 8:11.31


Single scull

1.  Zac Purchase (Marlow) 7:08.07
2.  Richard Chambers (Leander) 7:09.76
3.  Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College) 7:11.37
4.  Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes) 7:12.46
5.  Ben Rowe (Tees) 7:16.65
6.  Chris Boddy (Leander) 7:17.04