Waikato women power to victory on Waikato River
The University of Waikato women's eight took full advantage of a slight slip by Sydney to claim their fifth win in the last six years in the Bryan Gould Cup race.
The hosts had to keep their composure as Sydney grabbed the early advantage but pounced when given the opportunity to eventually score a comfortable victory, with the University of Queensland a distant third.
The Waikato crew of Alyce Pulford, Georgia Perry, Kayla Pratt, Zoe Stevenson, Linda Matthews, Briar Murphy, Claudia Hyde, Ashleigh Hodge and coxswain Caleb Shepherd led out from their favoured west bank starting position, but when they made the initial cross Sydney were close enough to force the hosts out into the middle of the river.
After tucking in behind, Waikato then took advantage soon after as Sydney moved slightly out from the bank and pushed through on the inside and were never headed.
"Sydney gave us a real good kick at the start there, which made the whole thing a lot more interesting," Stevenson admitted.
"We needed clear water to move in front of them and we didn't get that. So we had to pull back and pull in behind, and give them a bit of a push a bit later.
"We followed them for a bit, sitting in their wash, but I think they took a turn a bit too wide and we made our move and came up." Stevenson admitted the aggressive Sydney approach did cause them some problems early on in the race.
"We were a bit flustered. But after that we set a better rhythm and did it a bit smarter and started to get our boat going, she said."