Unbreakable Bond denies Drysdale again

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 10/02/2014

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He's getting closer, but Mahe Drysdale hasn't yet overcome the stiff challenge of Hamish Bond.

Bond scored his third successive victory over fellow 2012 London Olympic gold medalist Drysdale in Drysdale's specialist event at the North Island club champs yesterday.

In a thrilling duel, Bond pipped Drysdale by just 0.48 seconds to win the premier men's single scull final.

Bond and Drysdale had met twice this summer in the single scull finals at the same venue, with Bond winning both.

He headed home the defending men's single scull Olympic champion at the Christmas Regatta in December after leading throughout and then had to sprint home to beat Drysdale by 2.5 seconds in the Cambridge Town Cup event late last month.

Bond, part of the unbeatable New Zealand men's pair crew with Eric Murray, said after his last win over Drysdale that he had no plans to switch full-time to the single scull, with a second consecutive Olympic gold at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics the long-term goal for Bond and Murray, who was third yesterday.

Bond's winning time was six minutes 39.97 seconds, with Drysdale narrowing the gap from his past two defeats with a time of 6:40.45.

The two are again likely to clash for the last time this summer at the New Zealand champs starting at Lake Karapiro on February 18, before Bond and Murray team up again in the pair at the Rowing NZ trials at the start of March.

Emma Twigg made her first competitive appearance of the summer in the premier women's single scull and was pushed hard to win gold by Genevieve Armstrong (silver) and Lucy Strack (bronze).

Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt - bronze medal winners at last year's world champs - comfortably won the premier women's pairs title, heading home fellow NZ Summer Squad members Kelsey Bevan and Linda Matthews by over 13 seconds.

Peter Taylor and James Hunter, half of the NZ men's lightweight four that won silver at last year's world champs in Chungju, won the premier men's pairs crown, heading off young heavyweights Alex Kennedy and Shaun Kirkham by more than three seconds in 6:33.11, with James Lassche and Curtis Rapley - the other half of the lightweight four - third.

That quartet - Taylor, Hunter, Lassche and Rapley - then combined to win the premier men's heavyweight fours crown in 5:54.02, beating home Finn Howard, Kennedy, Kirkham and Tom Murray by almost five seconds.

Lucy Spoors and Grace Prendergast proved too strong for the lightweight combination of Julia Edward and Strack in the women's premier double sculls final and then were joined by Matthews and Erin-Monique O'Brien in winning the quad from fellow summer squad members Genevieve Armstrong, Georgia Perry, Eve MacFarlane and Bevan.

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- Waikato Times

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