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Early golds for New Zealand rowers in Lucerne

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 14/07/2014

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New Zealand's rowers have made a winning start to the final World Cup regattta of the season in Lucerne.

Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won yet another men's pair title - their 18th consecutive at Olympic, world championship and World Cup level to extend their world record for successive victories - in dominant fashion while the hugely promising women's pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast almost stole the spotlight.

The under-23 combination turned in a huge effort to win silver behind Olympic and world champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain.

The young duo were almost five seconds ahead of the elite New Zealand senior crew of Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt, who gained bronze but will still represent their country at the world championships while Gowler and Prendergast will head to the world under-23 champs in Italy later this month.

Julia Edward followed up her surprise victory at the second World Cup regatta in France last month by again romping to a win in the first A final of the night for NZ boats.

The Rotorua lightweight women's sculler raced out to an early lead and was never headed, with her winning time of 7min 55.03secs almost three seconds clear of Greece's Aikaterini Nikolaidou.

Edward will now focus her attention on the lightweight women's double sculls with new crewmate Sophie McKenzie, with the duo to contest that event at the world championships in Amsterdam late next month.

The New Zealand men's lightweight four crew of Curtis Rapley, Peter Taylor, James Lassche and James Hunter came from behind to pull away from fierce rivals Denmark to score back-to-back golds after winning gold in France.

Twelve Rowing NZ boats were to contest A finals as the team sought to improve on the five gold and a bronze won at Aiguebelette last month.

The men's quad have been big improvers since France - where they won the B final and were second in their semifinal to make the last six.

Karl and Robbie Manson took the last spot available in the men's double scull final while the women's crew of Zoe Stevenson and Fiona Bourke also qualified for their final.

Mahe Drysdale kept up his winning run with a semifinal triumph over Roel Braas (The Netherlands) and Norway's Olaf Tufte. They were joined in the final by Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic), Lithuania's Mindugas Griskonis and Germany's Marcel Hacker.

Emma Twigg, who has won both World Cup titles this year, recorded the fastest semifinal time of 7:30.37 in heading home Czech Mirka Knapkova and Great Britain's Victoria Thornley. Australian Kim Crow won the other semi in 7:31.74.

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The NZ women's quad advanced directly to their A final on Friday and were out to improve on their bronze they gained in France.

The NZ under-23 men's eight made the final with a second place in their repechage

■ For the latest coverage, go to Stuff.co.nz

ian.anderson@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

- Waikato Times

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