Christ's College provided a thrilling climax to the 2016 Aon Maadi Cup by smashing Hamilton Boys High School's recent stranglehold on the Maadi Cup with a resounding victory in the regatta's flagship event.
The Christchurch-based school produced an exemplary row to defeat their longstanding rivals by a near three-second margin to capture their first Maadi Cup title since 2012.
The 52 nd and concluding final across two days of exhilarating action at a sun bathed Lake Ruataniwha was eagerly awaited as Hamilton Boys, the champions for the previous three years, came up against a Christ's College crew desperate to claim top spot on the podium having finished second 12 months ago.
It was a formidable Christ's outfit who established control of the race and at halfway holding a half-a-length lead from Hamilton. Yet the anticipated charge from the defending champions did not materialise as Christ's pulled further ahead in the final 1000m to win the final by a near-three second margin in a time of 5:58.09. Hamilton Boys on this occasion had to settle for silver (6:00.93) with Christchurch Boys High 6:02.23 overhauling Auckland Grammar to take bronze.
For Christ's College head boy Angus Gray who was in the bow seat it was a moment of sheer jubilation.
“It is an amazing feeling, it has always been a dream of mine to win it is and amazing to do in so in my last year. It has been an awesome season with such a great group of boys. We have always worked closely as a unit we always knew we had each other's backs. When George (Gould) the cox called a move we always knew we'd do it together.”
Coach Malcolm McIntyre, himself a former Maadi Cup winning rower with Westlake Boys, was immensely proud of the efforts of his team.
“These are really young guys who have done a great service to themselves,” he says. “We went in there knowing we had a good chance of medal, but where they finished was purely up to the boys. We aimed to move at the 1km and the boys are strong and tough and held on.”
Earlier, Diocesan School for Girls claimed an historic first ever victory in the Levin Jubilee Cup with a gripping victory over defending champions St Margaret's which lived up to its pre-race billing as a potential classic encounter.
Sacred Heart Girls College (Hamilton) stole a march on the field to take a lead by a third of a length at 500m. However, by the halfway mark just two metres separated the top three boats at Sacred Heart held a slight advantage from St Margaret's and Diocesan.
With Sacred Heart the first to crack it was Diocesan – who yesterday had secured the under-18 coxed four title – that made what was to prove their winning move in the third quarter of the race. They passed the 1500m with a lead of around a third of a length and although St Margaret's clawed back some of that advantage, Diocesan held on by 0.95 to win a time of 6:46.63 to take the prestigious under-18 eight crown. Sacred Heart were rewarded with bronze following their outstanding row (6:52.59).
Victorious Diocesan rower Alice Grave said: “We just wanted to race a good race and I think we did that. It is pretty exciting and we are pretty proud of ourselves.”
Veronica Wall created Maadi Cup history by securing an unprecedented hat-trick of single sculls titles as well as a fourth title in the under-18 coxed quad final. Yesterday the gifted 15-year-old Ashburton College sculler cruised to victory in the under-16 and under-17 single sculls finals by a combined winning margin of more than 30 seconds. Today she faced a much tougher quest to land the under-18 crown, however she proved equal to it to create her own slice of history.
Brylie Gordon (Hauraki Plains), the gold medallist in yesterday's under-18 double sculls, made a brave bid for victory and held a half-a-length lead at the 1000m from Wall. Nonetheless, the eventual gold medallist made her winning push in the third quarter of the race to break the field and secure gold in 8:00.88.
Fraser High School's Claudia MacDonald mounted a strong challenge to Gordon in the latter stage but the Hauraki Plains College sculler was rewarded for her efforts with silver in 8:04.33 with MacDonald 0.94 further back in bronze.
Later today Wall then put the icing on the cake of an unforgettable regatta by starring in Ashburton College's triumphant under-18 coxed quad crew. Featuring alongside Grace Wilson, Fran Connelly-Whyte, Lara Biggs and cox Emma Jansen, Ashburton hit the front for the first time just after halfway to storm to victory by more than three-and-a-half seconds from Nelson College for Girls in a time of 7:13.14. Napier Girls grabbed bronze in 7:18.29.
An elated Wall said of her success
“This was definitely the big race and I was really nervous,” she admits. “it was just amazing to win, its surreal, I'm over the moon.
“Taking out all three was the goal, but I was going to be happy with whatever I came away with. It was then awesome to feature on a team and celebrate that success with others.”
Below is a round-up on the day's other action.
Boys under-18 events
Christchurch Boys High powered by the brilliance of rising star Jack Lopas completed a clean sweep of the boys under-18 sculling events. Lopas, who was a victorious member of their quad sculls crew yesterday, followed that up today with gold medals in both the single sculls and double sculls events at Lake Ruataniwha.
Lopas was an emphatic victor of the prestigious Charlie Stapp Cup with a dominant display. Trailing Whakatane High School's Lenny Jenkins at 500m he refused to panic and by halfway had established a clear lead. From this point on Lopas gave a demonstration of his outstanding quality as he flashed by the finish line in a slick 7:15.05. Jenkins produced a accomplished effort to take silver in 7:19.20 with Nathan Luff (Wanganui High School) earning bronze 7:27.77.
Later, Lopas alongside Angus Foster, landed the double sculls crown in similarly impressive fashion. Holding a marginal advantage from the Jenkins siblings – Elliot and Lenny – of Whakatane Boys at halfway the Christchurch Boys pairing simply powered ahead over the second half of the course to strike gold by a margin of exactly two seconds in a time of 6:40.76. Whakatane clinched a comfortable silver medal clear of Mt Aspiring College, who took bronze in 6:49.96.
Wanganui High School produced an eye-catching victory from lane one in an absorbing final of the lightweight double sculls. Trailing Glendowie College by half a canvas at halfway the gold medal winning duo of Matthew Wright and Nathan Luff swept to the front shortly after the 1000m and proved too strong for the rest striking gold in a time of 6:54.73. St Peters School unleashed a fantastic final quarter of the race to take silver in 6:57.21 – 0.95 clear of Glendowie, who narrowly held off Nelson College for bronze.
Wanganui Collegiate reversed the finishing positions on Sacred Heart College (Auckland) from yesterday's novice eights final to take victory in a gripping novice coxed four final. Wanganui held a slight advantage by a canvas at halfway from Sacred Heart only for that lead to be reduced by half a canvas at 1500m. In a titanic tussle in the final quarter, Wanganui opened up a half-a-length advantage to strike gold by a victory margin of 1.40 seconds from Sacred Heart. Auckland Grammar claimed bronze in 7:02.40.
Girls under-18 events
Avonside Girls High School claimed a memorable success in the lightweight double sculls final courtesy of devastating middle 1000m which powered them to a resounding victory. Stroke Ruby Norton and Arlia O'Sullivan trailed Wentworth College at 500m before establishing control of the final by the halfway mark. They further extended their advantage for the remainder of the race to run out gold medallists in a time of 7:54.99.
Dunstan High School held off a powerful burst over the final 500m from Wakatipu High School to grab silver in 8:02.12 – 1.42 clear of their Southland-based opposition.
St Peters School ended Waikato Diocesan's three-year reign at novice coxed four champion with an assured performance in today's final. The gold medal winning crew held a lead by nearly a length from Howick College at halfway and simply extended their advantage over the opposition in the second half of the race to win in a time of 7:36.81. St Paul's Collegiate finished strongly to grab a well earned silver in 7:40.31 - 0.81 clear of early leaders Howick who were rewarded with bronze.
Boys under-17 events
St Andrews College executed a majestic effort to destroy the opposition and claim a clear win in the coxed four final. The Canterbury-based school dominated from the start and were never challenged as they recorded a slick time of 6:41.34 on Lake Ruataniwha.
Behind, in a thrilling scrap for the minor medals, St Kentigern College, who held second for the majority of the race, just held on to silver by 0.10 in 6:44.90 ahead of the fast-finishing Westlake Boys High School. Wanganui Collegiate were also in the medal mix a further 0.55 down on the podium positions.
Wellington College produced a consummate display to deliver a magnificent victory from the front in a captivating coxed quad final. The gold medal winning crew held a half-a-length advantage from St Peters School at 1000m and their lead was reduced to just over a canvas by three-quarter distance from a determined St Peters team. However, Wellington College lifted their rate and would not be denied as they crossed the finish line in 6.30.77 with the fast finishing Nelson crew in silver (6:32.10). St Peters, having been positioned in second for the majority of the race, had to settle for bronze some 0.82 further back.
Girls under-17 events
St Margaret's College held off a late charge from Diocesan School for Girls to successfully defend their coxed eight title in a thrilling final. The South Islanders left the start with real intent and had opened up a one-length lead on the field after just 500m. Diocesan made a massive push in the final quarter but only hauled themselves within a third of a length as St Margaret's bagged gold by 1.47 in 6:53.12 from their Auckland-based rivals. Columba College grabbed bronze in 6:56.64.
St Peters School edged a pulsating battle from Tauranga Girls College in a memorable final of the double sculls. At halfway the St Peters' crew comprising Lily Butler and Jasmine Brake held a narrow advantage of around half-a-length only for Tauranga to slowly chip away at their advantage.
Entering the final 250m the two crews were matching each other stroke for stroke only for St Peters to respond and clinch a breathtaking victory in 7:40.86 by 0.48 from the Tauranga Girls College duo Rebeka Frood and Grace Holland. In an equally compelling race for bronze Nelson College for Girls edged Craighead Diocesan by just 0.11 in a time of 7:44.48.
Boys under-16 events
Christchurch Boys High School lived up to their billing as pre-event favourites to wrestle the coxed eight title from defending champions Hamilton Boys School with an imperious performance. Containing four of the team that secured gold in the coxed four final yesterday, Christchurch Boys took control of the race from halfway and did not relinquish their advantage to claim victory from Hamilton Boys by about a length in a time of 6:09.12. Christ's College were the remaining podium filler in 6:14.28.
The Jenkins siblings – Elliot and Finn – multiple medallists at the 2015 Maadi Cup added to their swag of gold medals in the prestigious event by crushing the opposition to strike gold in the double sculls final. The Whakatane High School duo led from the outset and serenely pulled away from the opposition with an outstanding demonstration of top quality sculling to stop the clock in 6:58.49.
In a competitive scrap for the silver medal a decisive push in the third 500m enabled St Peters School to secure silver in 7:06.36 – a little over two seconds clear of Kings College.
Xavier Wright has a hugely impressive winner of the single sculls title running out the champion by a victory margin of more than five-and-a-half seconds. The Verdon College student held a half-a-length advantage from Finn Jenkins at halfway before romping away from the opposition to decimate the field in the second half of the race, recording a time of 7:31.01. In a intriguing battle for silver Jack Gibbs (Roncalli College) just held off Jenkins by 0.22 recording 7:36.59.
Girls under-16 events
Hauraki Plains College enjoyed double success with victories in the quad sculls and double sculls, respectively. The Waikato-based school secured gold in former event, which which had been delayed following a gear breakage. Stroked by single sculls silver medallist Stella Clayton-Greene, the crew stopped the clock in 7:29.86 – to finish a fraction under two seconds clear of silver medallist Villa Maria College. In a terrific battle for bronze St Peters School edged Nelson College for Girls by just 0.05 recording a time of 7:32.11.
Later Hauraki Plains powered by Stella Clayton-Greene and Sophie Mischefski were triumphant in the double sculls event. The pair had established a clear lead from Villa Maria College at halfway and were unstoppable for the remainder of the final, recording 7:41.48 to finish 2.32 clear of Villa Maria. Onslow College earned the final podium position in a time of 7:45.04.
The coxed four final was always expected to be a two-way shoot out between St Peters School and Rangi Ruru Girls School and to it proved as these two proud rowing powerhouses served up a classic.
St Peters bossed much of the race by a solid one-length margin from Rangi Ruru and Wakatipu High School, who were also prominent. Yet Rangi Ruru produced a powerful late surge to challenge the long-time leaders only for St Peters to hold on by a little over a canvas in a time of 7:25.58. Wakatipu plugged gamely on to claim bronze in 7:31.92.
Boys under-15 events
Hamilton Boys High School secured the “Grand Slam” of all five titles in this age division with two of their crew members William Thompson and Luke Taylor securing the full quintet of titles available.
Following Hamilton's success in yesterday's double sculls and coxed eight finals the remarkable rowing production factory maintained their sequence of victories in the coxed quad sculls with a beautifully timed effort. Trailing Marlborough Boys College by a length-and-a-half at 1000m that gap remained at about a length by the three-quarter mark. However, the Hamilton number one boat unleashed a stunning final 500m to stop the clock in 6:50.46. Despite leading for a big chunk of the final Marlborough has to settle for silver (6:53.12) with Hamilton Boys number two boat earning bronze in 6:54.59 to further underline the school's enviable strength in depth.
In the coxed four final Hamilton trailed the St Andrews College boat by half-a-length at midway but kept their power dry to unleash a blistering final 1000m to earn them victory by more than two-and-a-half seconds in a time 7:08.16. St Andrews held on to second, 2.02 clear of the bronze medal crew Macleans College.
Hamilton Boys then completed the full complement of titles in this age division with a riveting victory over Christ's College in the octuplets final. Trailing Christ's College by three seats for much of the race they then unleashed a stunning final 500m to overhaul their rival and deliver victory of 0.92 in a time of 6:19.80 to succeed King's College as the inaugural winners of the title 12 months ago. On this occasion King's had to be satisfied with bronze in a time of 6:28.94.
Thompson said of his five-gold medal haul. “It was tough to cope with all the heats and semi-finals but I'm glad the hard work in training as paid off. I didn't really know how I would do because it is hard to compare North Island and South Island times.”
Girls under-15 events
Rangi Ruru Girls School gave yet another demonstration of their quality in eights rowing to successfully defend the Tauranga Girls College Cup in emphatic fashion. The South Island school – containing five students who featured in yesterday's triumphant under-18 novice eight crew – held a half a length lead from St Margaret's College at halfway only to then storm clear over the final 1000m to clinch victory by a margin of more than eight-and-a-half seconds in a time of 6:59.82. St Margaret;s held on for the silver with Epsom Girls Grammar snagging a place on the dais in third (7:11.54).
The Glendowie College duo of stroke Caitlin Brenton-Rule and Sara Everitt produced a technically accomplished display to cruise to a comprehensive victory in the double sculls final. The Auckland-based duo led from the outset and by the time the pair hit the finish line - in a time of 8:00.02 – they had opened up a gap of more than four-and-a-half seconds on the defending champions St Peters School, who took silver. Craighead Diocesan completed the podium positions in a time of 8:10.76.
St Peters School comfortably retained their octuplets crown courtesy of a commanding victory. The Waikato-based school, who won the inaugural final in this event 12 months ago, held a lead by around a length and a quarter from Glendowie College and St Margaret's College at halfway. The leaders then forged further ahead to cross the line in 7:08.41 – more than five seconds clear of Glendowie College who sealed silver from St Margaret's (7:14.50).