Central claim hotly-contested quad sculls title

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 16:08 20/02/2014

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Central won the battle of the star-studded crews to capture the men's premier quad sculls title at the national rowing championships today.

The Central Regional Performance Centre combination of stroke Joseph Sullivan, Karl Manson, Robbie Manson and James Hunter scored an excellent win over an Auckland RPC boat comprising Michael Arms, Mahe Drysdale, Giacomo Thomas and Peter Taylor on day one of finals at Lake Karapiro.

While the introduction of the RPCs almost a decade ago has taken some of the club rivalry gloss off the nationals, the competition at premier level is still intense among the country's elite.

"We definitely don't want the other RPCs to beat us - we're all pretty competitive," Robbie Manson said.

Central led throughout in tricky windy conditions to win the West End trophy in six minutes 00.27 seconds, with a comfortable buffer of more than five seconds from Auckland, with defending champs Southern (Hayden Cohen, Fergus Fauvel, Jade Uru and John Storey) third.

The win gave Central notable bragging rights from a race that saw each crew feature an Olympic champion (Sullivan and Drysdale), a member of NZ's 2013 double sculls crew (Robbie Manson and Arms), a member of the NZ lightweight four that won silver at last year's world champs (Hunter and Taylor) and a rower each from the NZ quad that won silver at last year's world under-23 champs.

The win ensured Karl Mason and Hunter gained their first red coat, awarded for winning a premier national title.

The premier women's quad title went to defending champions Waikato RPC, who turned in an impressive display to see off Central and Southern.

The crew of stroke Zoe Stevenson, Sarah Gray, Georgia Perry and birthday girl Julia Edward mastered tricky conditions to win the Milne Cup in 6:23.16, with Central pipping Southern for silver just over three seconds back. 

Victory also saw Perry gain her first red coat.

The closest finish of the day saw Auckland RPC stave off a late dash from Waikato RPC to capture the men's under-22 eights crown in a race which featured a number of the New Zealand crew that won gold at last year's world under-23 championships.

The women's title was won by Southern RPC, who headed home Auckland and North Shore.

The North Shore club captured the men's senior four title, with Nelson taking the women's event.

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- Fairfax Media

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