STAGING Watkins in eye-catching win over Grainger at GB Rowing Team Assessment - British Rowing

Watkins in eye-catching win over Grainger at GB Rowing Team Assessment

Anna Watkins celebrated her 28th birthday in style today by taking an unexpected single scull victory over Katherine Grainger on the 2012 Olympic course in the GB Rowing Team Winter Assessment trials.

Grainger, five times world champion, three times Olympic silver medallist and nine times GB Rowing Team Trials winner, is rarely beaten on home water over the 2000m Olympic distance.


Watkins, from Leek in Staffordshire, says she learnt a lot from rowing with Scotland’s Grainger to a world championship and three world cup golds in the double scull in 2010.

“Sitting behind Katherine in the boat last year taught me a lot”, said Watkins.  “I felt today that even if I could be in touch at halfway, then I would have a chance”.

But Watkins was quick to play down the victory.  “I’m not taking anything for granted for the final [GB Rowing Team]  trials which come up in April.  We’ve only just come back  from training camp and haven’t done many race pace sessions. So I haven’t beaten Katherine at her best”.

Gloucester’s Beth Rodford and Katie Solesbury were third and fourth in today’s final with Wrexham’s Vicky Thornley – who only took up rowing three years ago and has been part of the GB Rowing Team’s Siemens-backed and Lottery-funded Start Programme – not far behind. Scot Kirsty Myles, a former world junior bronze medallist who recently qualified as a physiotherapist, stepped up well today to take a place at the starting line for the main final.

The equivalent men’s event was won by Coleraine’s Alan Campbell –  the reigning world bronze medallist – after an early-race tussle with Beijing Olympic bronze medallist Matt Wells.

Reading’s Sam Townsend, also a graduate of the Start Programme, came through strongly in the final 250m of this race to take third place ahead of Somerset’s Steve Rowbotham and a fading Marcus Bateman, from Devon, who had been a contender in the first two-thirds of the race.

Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed continued to stamp their authority on the men’s pair at domestic level. The Yorkshire-Gloucestershire combination, who took world silver in 2009 and 2010 after winning Olympic gold in the men’s four in 2008, looked comfortable in victory today.

Alex Partridge and Alex Gregory, 2009 world champions in the men’s four, attacked the final with aggression to sit on the leading duo’s shoulders throughout and take second place.

Their 2009 world champion crew-mates, Cheshire’s Ric Egington and Matt Langridge, were third having repelled an assault from Mohamed Sbihi and James Foad in the first half of the race. 

Londoner Sbihi and Foad, of Southampton, will have been pleased with their performance today in a strong showing from many of last year’s world silver medal-winning men’s eight.

Debbie Flood, from Leeds, and Cornwall’s Annabel Vernon, both world champions in the women’s quadruple scull last November, failed to make the top twelve in the time trial and thus missed the main semi-finals.

1992 Olympic gold medallist Greg Searle, who made a comeback into the senior squad in 2010 after a nine-year retirement, was nudged out of a place in the final when he finished fourth with Tom Broadway in the men’s pair semi-finals.

Today’s single scull events featured a mixture of lightweight and open-weight scullers.  Brothers Richard and Peter Chambers, Stephen Feeney, Adam Freeman-Pask and Sophie Hosking were amongst the lightweights that overhauled their openweight counterparts to seize places in the semi-finals.

Feeney, of London Rowing Club, progressed from there to the main final of the men’s single scull, before finishing sixth.

The racing timetable at this Assessment was compressed at the last moment into a single day.

Organisers from the GB Rowing Team decided in the morning to move the finals from tomorrow morning into this afternoon because optimum race conditions had been predicted today but not tomorrow.

“We met and consulted very early today and decided we wanted to give the rowers the chance –  at an event when they would want to put down a marker to achieve an invitation to the GB Rowing Senior Trials in April – to race in the best possible conditions”, said GB Rowing Performance Director David Tanner.

He and his team were proved right with sunshine and flat-water providing the perfect stage for the races this afternoon.

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Sunday 13 February


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(Name of rower and club in brackets. Full biogs at:




Single scull

1.  Anna Watkins (Leander) 7:46.47
2.  Katherine Grainger (St Andrew) 7:50.59
3.  Beth Rodford (Gloucester) 7:55.63
4.  Katie Solesbury (Leander) 7:59.41
5.  Vicky Thornley (Leander) 8:02.92
6.  Kirsty Myles (Leander) 8:10.56




1.  Andrew Triggs Hodge/Peter Reed (Molesey/Leander) 6:35.37
2.  Alex Gregory/Alex Partridge (Leander) 6:38.93
3.  Ric Egington/Matt Langridge (Leander) 6:40.28
4.  James Foad/Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey) 6:47.22
5.  Dan Ritchie/Cameron Nichol (Leander/Molesey) 6:48.56
6.  Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Tom Ransley (Uni of London/York City)

Single scull

1.  Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:00.94
2.  Matt Wells (Leander) 7:02.85
3.  Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 7:11.72
4.  Steve Rowbotham (Leander) 7:12.30
5.  Marcus Bateman (Leander) 7:14.12
6.  Stephen Feeney (London) 7:27.20



Singe scull

1.  Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford) 7:56.69
2.  Natasha Page (Reading Uni) 7:58.52
3.  Mel Wilson (Imperial College) 8:01.47
4.  Helen Glover (Reading Uni) 8:03.17
5.  Sophie Hosking (London) 8:03.39
6.  Emily Taylor (Leander) 8:11.98



1.  Constantine Louloudis/Karl Hudspith (Isis) 6:47.43
2.  Greg Searle/Tom Broadway (Molesey/Leander) 6:49.93
3.  Fred Gill/Ben Smith (Molesey) 6:52.86
4. Scott & Mason Durant (Oxford Brookes) 6:53.87
5.  George Nash/Dan Ouseley (Molesey/Cambridge Uni) 6:53.87
6.  Tom Burton/James Orme (Leander) DNS


1.  Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College) 7:15.28
2.  Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes) 7:16.70
3.  Richard Chambers (Leander) 7:17.77
4.  Paul Mattick (Leander) 7:23.18
5.  Nicholas Fearnhead (Leander) 7:23.34
6.  Jonathan Walton (Loughborough) 7:28.39



Single scull

Semi-final 1

1.  Anna Watkins (Leander) 7:50.47
2.  Katie Solesbury (Leander) 7:52.76
3.  Kirsty Myles (Leander) 7:52.98
4.  Mel Wilson (Imperial College) 7:56.89
5.  Emily Taylor (Leander) 7:56.99
6.  Helen Glover (Reading Uni) 8:06.26

Semi-final 2

1.  Katherine Grainger (St Andrew) 7:49.35
2.  Beth Rodford (Gloucester) 7:50.59
3.  Vicky Thornley (Leander) 7:51.17
4.  Natasha Page (Reading Uni) 7:54.99
5.  Sophie Hosking (London) 7:58.12
6.  Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford) 8:14.22



Semi-final 1

1.  Ric Egington/Matthew Langridge (Leander) 6:37.08
2.  Alex Gregory/Alex Partridge (Leander) 6:37.62
3.  Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Tom Tansley (Uni of London/York City)
4.  Constantine Louloudis/Karl Hudspith (Isis) 6:40.66
5.  Fred Gill/Ben Smith (Molesey) 6:48.69
6.  Tom Burton/James Orme (Leander) 6:49.37

Semi-final 2

1.  Andrew Triggs Hodge/Peter Reed (Molesey/Leander) 6:38.60
2.  James Foad/Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey) 6:40.86
3.  Dan Ritchie/Cameron Nichol (Leander/Molesey) 6:42.89
4.  Greg Searle/Tom Broadway (Molesey/Leander) 6:45.56
5.  Daniel Ouseley/George Nash (Molesey/Cambridge Uni) 6:59.14
6.  Scott & Mason Durant (Oxford Brookes) 7:07.76

Single scull

Semi-final 1

1.  Matt Wells (Leander) 7:06.27
2.  Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 7:11.44
3.  Stephen Feeney (London) 7:13.90
4.  Paul Mattick (Leander) 7:14.65
5.  Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial College) 7:18.65
6.  Nick Fearnhead (Leander) 7:26.58

Semi-final 2

1.  Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 7:08.69
2.  Steve Rowbotham (Leander) 7:14.12
3.  Marcus Bateman (Leander) 7:16.00
4.  Richard Chambers (Leander) 7:19.94
5.  Jonathan Wells (Loughborough Students) 7:34.70
6.  Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes) 7:43.78


(top 12 only in each event. For full
results visit: and click on Trials

Men’s pair

1.    Ric Egington/Matt Langridge (Leander) 6:11.72
2.    Andrew Triggs Hodge/Peter Reed (Molesey/Leander) 6:11.78
3.    James Foad/Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey) 6:13.37
4.    Alex Gregory/Alex Partridge (Leander) 6:15.33
5.    Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell/Tom Ransley (Uni or London/York City)
6.    Greg Searle/Tom Burton (Molesey/Leander) 6:20.29
7.    Dan Ritchie/Cameron Nichol (Leander/Molesey) 6:20.54
8.    Constantine Louloudis/Karl Hudspith (Isis) 6:20.89
9.    Fred Gill/Ben Smith (Molesey) 6:21.42
10.  Dan Ouseley/George Nash (Molesey/Cambridg Uni) 6:21.46
11.  Scott & Mason Durant (Oxford Brookes) 6:22.37
12.  Tom Burton/James Orme (Leander) 6:25.02

Men’s single

(NB – top twelve only. Full results at:
and click on Trials)

1.    Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers) 6:32.82
2.    Matthew Wells (Leander) 6:35.08
3.    Sam Townsend (Reading Uni) 6:41.54
4.    Steve Rowbotham (Leander) 6:42.85
5.    Marcus Bateman (Leander) 6:43.94
6.    Stephen Feeney (London RC) 6:45.79
7.    Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial Coll) 6:46.13
8.    Jonathan Walton (Loughborough Students) 6:46.29
9.    Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes) 6:46.84
10.  Paul Mattick (Leander) 6:47.04
11.  Nick Fearnhead (Leander) 6:48.02
12.  Richard Chambers (Leander) 6:48.65

Women’s single

(NB – top 12 only. For full results visit
and select Trials. Category includes lightweight and openweight

1.    Anna Watkins (Leander) 7:12.83
2.    Beth Rodford (Gloucester) 7:15.31
3.    Lindsey Maguire (Wallingford) 7:15.99
4.    Emily Taylor (Leander) 7:16.62
5.    Mel Wilson (Imperial Coll) 7:17.41
6.    Katherine Grainger (St Andrew) 7:18.73
7.    Natasha Page (Reading Uni) 7:18.92
8.    Katie Solesbury (Leander) 7:18.99
9.    Kirsty Myles (Leander) 7:19.90
10.  Sophie Hosking (London) 7:20.92
11.  Vicky Thornley (Leander) 7:21.54
12.  Helen Glover (Reading Uni) 7:21.30

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