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Page last updated at 13:35 GMT, Sunday, 11 July 2010 14:35 UK

Grainger and Watkins claim World Cup double at Lucerne

International Rowing 2010
World Cup - Lucerne 9-11 July; watch highlights of Sunday's finals on BBC Two 1400-1500 BST Monday and afterwards on iPlayer
World Championships - New Zealand 31 Oct-7 Nov

Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger

Brits win double scull World Cup hat-trick

By Martin Gough

Brits Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins clinched a brace of World Cup titles, winning two finals in the third event of the season in Lucerne.

The duo won in the double scull then joined Beth Rodford and Annabel Vernon to win the quadruple scull event too.

The men's four and lightweight men's four also won and there were four silvers and three bronze medals for GB.

But lightweight Olympic champions Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase finished a surprise fifth behind New Zealand.

Men's pair Andy Hodge and Pete Reed suffered a 10th straight loss to New Zealand's Eric Murray and Hamish Bond but - for the first time - Great Britain won a medal in each of the six openweight men's events.

After winning six golds in the series opener in Slovenia and five in Munich, Great Britain clinched the World Cup title overall, although they have been the only major nation to field a full squad at all three events in the series.

Men's lightweight four

GB lightweight four clinch title in exciting finish

GB performance director David Tanner said: "This is our best World Cup season ever.

"All the world was here in Lucerne so to come away with so many medals has been an exceptional whole team performance."

The dual success is a fillip for Scot Grainger, 34, who has won silver in the last three Olympic Games and chose to continue to 2012 in the hope of gold. She was joined by Watkins at the start of this season.

In the double, they were pushed for the first time this year, by the new Australian combination of Kim Crow and Sally Kehoe, but prevailed in six minutes 50.53 seconds to clinch a hat-trick of 2010 World Cup series wins.

Brit coach Grobler proud of rowing success

Two-and-a-half hours later, they led the quads field home, beating world champions Ukraine by half a length and gaining revenge on Germany, who altered their line-up after beating GB on home water three weeks ago.

The squad must now decide, along with coach Paul Thompson, which event to prioritise in at the next international event, the World Championships in New Zealand in late October.

They must also consider Debbie Flood, who finished fifth in the single scull behind Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch of Belarus, in her first major final, after a year off working in the prison service.

606: DEBATE

Great Britain's men's double, Marcus Bateman and Matt Wells, could not clinch a hat-trick of their own, as they fell a length behind French duo Cedric Berrest and Julien Bahain in the third quarter of their final and were only able to close half the gap.

Bateman and Wells had won their first two World Cup events together but knew they would have their work cut out against the 2009 world silver medallists, who began the season late and beat them easily last weekend at Henley Royal Regatta - which is not part of this series.

The GB openweight four of Matt Langridge, Alex Gregory, Richard Egington and Alex Partridge suffered a shock defeat in Munich - down in part to injuries that hampered training.

Grainger delighted by double scull success

But they returned to form to dominate in Lucerne, taking a length lead over New Zealand at half way and holding it to the finish.

Their lightweight counterparts, Richard Chambers, Paul Mattick, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley, endured a closer finish but withstood a ferocious move from Denmark, who came from more than a length down to within 0.07 sec at the finish.

There will be work to do before the World Championships for lightweight double Hunter and Purchase, who won their first race together since Beijing, in Munich three weeks ago.

Their start to the season was delayed by illness and injury and they were never in the hunt against world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor here.

Men's pair Reed and Hodge had been getting closer to New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray early in the season, and looked more technically proficient here than they have in previous races.

But the Kiwis reasserted their dominance and their victory was never in doubt after the half-way mark, with a final verdict of just over a length, a gap of 2.56 seconds over GB.

However, GB men's head coach Jurgen Grobler promised to stick with the duo for the rest of the season.

"We will not give up. We think we can still do better. There's no point to hide away half-way through the Olympic campaign," Grobler told BBC Sport.

"We won six medals and I don't think anybody would understand us making changes now."

Despite finishing behind Australian duo Hannah Every-Hall - back after an eight-year retirement - and Alice McNamara in a tightly packed final, GB lightweight women Sophie Hosking and Hester Goodsell took the series title with their second silver, adding to gold in Munich.

Single sculler Alan Campbell also won his second silver of the year, overcoming a recent back injury worry to beat world champion Mahe Drysdale on the Kiwi's return from back trouble, although he again finished behind Czech Ondrej Synek

Both Great Britain eights won bronze medals, and their respective series titles.

The women's eight, coxed by schoolteacher Caroline O'Connor, were a length behind a new US crew and Canada, who were both making their series debuts.

And the men's eight, featuring 1992 Olympic champion Greg Searle, pushed past a new Canadian line-up to finish third behind world champions Germany and Australia.

There was a second successive bronze for the GB men's quad - with Olympic bronze medallist Stephen Rowbotham moving into the stroke seat ahead of youngsters Bill Lucas, Sam Townsend and Charles Cousins - as Croatia rowed through Germany for gold.

In the only event in which Great Britain failed to reach the final, New Zealanders Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh won the women's pairs for the second event in succession.

Men's double skull

French duo deny British hat-trick



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see also
Britain win five golds in Munich
20 Jun 10 |  Rowing
Watkins targets World Cup success
27 May 10 |  Rowing
Grainger likely to aim for 2012
23 Nov 08 |  Olympics
Rowing on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rowing


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