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Page last updated at 11:08 GMT, Sunday, 20 June 2010 12:08 UK

Zac Purchase & Mark Hunter win one of five GB golds

International Rowing 2010
World Cup - Munich 18-20 June; Watch highlights on BBC Two 1710-1800 BST and afterwards on iPlayer
World Cup - Lucerne 9-11 July, World Championships - New Zealand 31 Oct-7 Nov

Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase

Purchase and Hunter storm to World Cup gold

Olympic champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter won their first event since Beijing - one of five gold medals for Britain at the Munich World Cup.

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins won gold in the double and silver in the quadruple sculls.

GB swept the lightweight events as the women's double and men's four won, as did the men's openweight double.

GB men's pair took silver but the men's four and the men's eight only managed third. Sculler Alan Campbell was fifth.

Purchase and Hunter showed few signs of rustiness as they withstood a fast start from Germany and defeated New Zealand's world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor by half a boat length.

Purchase missed last season through illness, while Hunter took a year off to coach in the United States, then missed the series opener with a back injury.

Purchase and Hunter delighted with return to form

"It's exciting and even a bit of a shock," reflected 31 year-old Hunter. "We had to dig deep to find that.

"Three weeks ago I was injured and training on a bicycle. I can't believe it.

"We have grown in confidence over the whole weekend and this is a great starting point for us for 2012.

"We have got a lot more to come and the confidence has started already. Beware everyone out there."

Great Britain's gold haul was down on the six from the World Cup opener in Bled, Slovenia three weeks ago, with several top nations only joining the series at the second event.

Of 15 GB crews who qualified for finals in 13 of the 14 Olympic-class events, men's pair Peter Reed and Andy Hodge improved on their last showing, although they again took silver behind New Zealand, and the GB women's eight took silver too.

Grainger and Watkins failed to match their double-gold from Bled but still managed two medals in the space of 90 minutes.

In the double scull, they were a length clear by the half-way mark and cruised through the second half to win by 2.36 seconds.

In the quad, with Beth Rodford and Annabel Vernon, they trailed an experienced German crew by a length for much of the race but managed to halve that in the final push and again beat world champions Ukraine.

Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell were clear of the field in the lightweight doubles, in the absence of the US crew that dominated in Bled. Second crew Andrea Dennis and Steph Cullen were fourth.

Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins

Grainger and Watkins cruise to doubles gold

Chris Bartley stood up from the stroke seat of the men's lightweight four and took a precarious bow after leading Richard Chambers, Paul Mattick and Rob Williams past Czech Republic and world silver medallists Denmark, who pipped them to the line in Bled.

The openweight double of redheads Matt Wells and Marcus Bateman - who have been dubbed the "Hogwarts Express" by team-mates in reference to the Weasley brothers - held off a big challenge from last year's world silver medallists from France to win by a length.

But Great Britain's world champion four of Matthew Langridge, Alex Gregory, Richard Egington and Alex Partridge finished a disappointing third, although Partridge has been suffering back trouble recently which has disrupted training.

Australia's second four won the event, also upsetting their older squad-mates, who took Olympic silver in Beijing and world silver last year behind the Brits, with a fast start that gave them a lead they never surrendered. The United States snuck in late for silver.

The result means head coach Jurgen Grobler will continue to face selection questions before the final World Cup event in Lucerne in three weeks' time, although there is still space to change line-ups before the World Championships in New Zealand in late October.

Pair Reed and Hodge suffered their eighth successive defeat to New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond but put far more pressure on the Kiwis than they have in many of those defeats.

The two crews were never further apart than the half-length, 0.79 sec, final verdict, with New Zealand having to withstand a ferocious push from GB in the final 500m.

"This was the first time that we have been side by side for such a long time in a race. The good thing is that we can be proud of our performance and we are getting closer to them," said Reed.

606: DEBATE

Great Britain's second crew of Cameron Nichol and Tom Burton were surprise finalists and beat South African Olympic finalists Ramon Di Clemente and Shaun Keeling to finish fifth.

The GB women's eight never looked like matching 2009 world silver medallists Romania but did well to move past Germany in the later stages to secure silver, within three seconds of the winners.

There was a bronze medal for GB's new-look men's quadruple scull, with Olympic bronze medallist Steve Rowbotham in the bow seat and a length off the pace from the Czech winners.

And the men's eight, again featuring 1992 Olympic champion Greg Searle, finished behind world champions Germany and an improved China and they will hope several key men are back from injury for Henley Royal Regatta in two weeks' time.

Great Britan only missed medals in two events, and sculler Campbell will be the more disappointed as he appeared to still be troubled by recent injury, finishing 13 seconds behind Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic.

Youngsters Helen Glover and Heather Stanning were fifth in the women's pairs, part of the trailing pack behind New Zealand duo Juliette Haigh with Rebecca Scown, who took gold by a dominating 5.87 sec.



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see also
Bateman and Lucas retain GB spots
16 Jun 10 |  Rowing
Beijing champions return for GB
08 Jun 10 |  Rowing
Searle leads British gold charge
30 May 10 |  Rowing
Purchase wants second gold in 2012
01 Sep 09 |  Rowing


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