Campbell lays down a big marker at Trials

Alan Campbell is relishing the games in Rio. Picture by British Rowing
Alan Campbell is relishing the games in Rio. Picture by British Rowing

Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell recorded his ninth win in 12 years at the GB Rowing trials at Caversham.

The 32-year-old Northern Irishman held off Graeme Thomas and Angus Groom in the single scull to move within one of the record held by Katherine Grainger.

The men’s single scull final promised to be a cracker and so it proved as Campbell claimed his first Trials win since 2012, the year he won Olympic bronze.

He laid out his intentions from the outset, starting quickest and building a lead which he maintained throughout.

“I’m very happy with that,” Campbell said. “This is now my ninth win, dating back to my first Trials in 2003, and I’m hugely relieved. It’s a hard, tough race, probably the hardest of the year, and it feels like a collective weight has been lifted.

“Now we can get on with forming crews and doing what has to be done this summer. I know where I want to be and I have put myself in a good strong position but it’s a decision that has to be made.”

The lightweight men’s pair final was closely contested all the way down the course but in the last quarter, Sam Scrimgeour and Jonno Clegg kept their length and cool to overhaul Coleraine duo Joel Cassells and Peter Chambers.

Chambers and Cassells had registered their intent early on with a blistering first quarter that gave them a second’s lead. By the 1000m mark, the Oxford Brookes oarsmen were flying and had edged out to over a length’s lead. Chris Bartley and Mark Aldred were not far off the pace in third place.

As the third quarter unfolded, Scrimgeour and Clegg began to reel in the high rating pair from Brookes. With 500m to go, the distance was now just half a length between the crews. Clegg began his charge for the line early. With 350m to go, the pairs were level and Clegg began to draw away.

Clegg and Scrimgeour won in a time of 6:46.02, just under a length in front of Cassells and Chambers. Bartley and Aldred were third.

The results will help decide the crews for May’s European Championships.

The event in Germany will also help determine which rower is in which boat for the Olympic Games, which take place in Rio in August.