St Andrews snatch first-ever Maadi victory

On a day when the sport paid tribute to former Olympic champion and large-than-life rowing personality Dudley Storey, the crews did not disappoint on a thrilling final day of action at the 2017 Aon Maadi Cup on Lake Karapiro.

Boys under-18

St Andrews College made history in a rip-roaring battle for the 2017 Maadi Cup by clinching their maiden victory in the iconic race.

Yesterday their “awesome foursome” crushed the opposition to land the Springbok Shield and with all five triumphant crew members returning to bolster the eights the “Scotsman of the South” delivered in the marquee event.

St Andrews held a third-of-a-length lead at 1000m but leading into the final quarter Christ’s College had inched ahead and the defending champions appeared poised for victory.

Yet somehow they responded to haul themselves past Christ’s College to pulled off an historic 0.98 second victory from Christ’s – the 11-time former champions – who on his occasion had to settle for silver.

Bronze went to Hamilton Boys High – the winners of the Star Trophy as most successful overall school in the regatta - in 6:04.41. Today, however, was all about St Andrews and their momentous success.

St Andrews coach Dale Maher was elated at their success and added of the winning crew: “We have a stern four (who won yesterday’s Springbok Shield) who are so strong and passionate and dare I say it, mongrels. Seven of them have been together since they were 15, they have a real bond and would do anything for each other. As a coach, all I need to do is gel them together.

“I started to falter a little bit at 1500m because with you can never underestimate a Christ’s crew. This is huge (for the school). It is the first time we’ve had an extremely competitive eight and the first time we’ve won Maadi. I don’t think the boys have quite realised yet what they have done.”

Surprisingly St Andrews were only a “third priority boat” as recently as January behind the four and the pair but after the crew “pulled out a blinder” at the South Island Secondary Schools Championships this changed the school’s thinking.

Elsewhere, Bradley Leydon added his name to its impressive roll call of past winners of the Charlie Stapp Cup to take the most prestigious single sculling prize in schoolboy rowing with a masterful display.

The John McGlashan College student bossed proceedings from the beginning and at 1250m had established a two-and-a-half length advantage from the highly-fancied Elliot Finn of Whakatane High School.

Finn bridged some of the that margin in the final 500m, but this was Leydon’s race and in a textbook display of sculling he stopped the clock in 7:11.49 to finish 3.88 second clear of Jenkins, the under-17 double sculls gold medallist. Manawa McLaughlin of New Plymouth Boys High took bronze in 7:19.13 to add to the silver medal he snared in yesterday’s under-17 single sculls final.

For Leydon, who had the honour of being presented the coveted Charlie Stapp Cup by Prime Minister, Bill English, it was rich reward after four years involved in the sport.

“I’ve waited a long time for this, so I’m happy,” said Leydon. “Last year I won bronze in the under-17 single and double and I’ve always been a step under (top spot). This year I’ve just put my mind to it and put in the mileage. Miles make champions.”

Elilot Jenkins returned to the water alongside his brother, Finn, to destroy the opposition in the double sculls. The powerhouse Whakatane College combination, who also stormed to victory in yesterday’s under-17 double sculls, were simply unstoppable as they covered the 2000m distance in 6:44.92. A distant second were St Peters School (6:52.88), who edged bronze medallists John McGlashan College, who contained Leyden, the single sculls champion.

Elliot, who enjoyed an outstanding regatta to win two golds and a silver medal said: “It is nice to finish this way. I’m stoked. I couldn’t get there in the single but Brad rowed well (in the single) and it was good to get the jump on in the double sculls.”

Christchurch Boys High School have proved the top dogs in novice boys rowing this week and they followed up victory in yesterday eights final with a comfortable win in the coxed fours.

The crew of Cody Dellaca, Sam Caldwell, Cameron Henderson, Austin Hewett and cox Henry Shaw appeared to up the pace just after 1000m and smashed the opposition to win in 7:12.57. Hamilton Boys placed a distant second for silver in 7:19.18 with St Pauls Collegiate wrapping up bronze in 7:23.32.

Boys under-17

Kings College capped a medal-laden regatta with gold in the under-17 quad sculls - the day after the same crew triumphed in the under-18 equivalent.

In one of the most predictable results of the week the Kings quintet – complete with bucket hats - of James Hall, Daniel Williamson, Sam Cummins, Matt Caro and cox Alex Sutcliffe proved far too strong to claim a comfortable win in 6:43.44.

Behind, Shirley Boys High produced a highly creditable performance to claim silver in 6:46.92 while in a desperate scrap for bronze a late surge by Cambridge High School left Roncalli College a heartbroken fourth – the crews separated by just 0.15.

It was a particularly sweet regatta for Hall and Williamson, who also landed gold in the under-18 pairs and under-18 quads, to both secure triple gold plus a bronze in the coxed four (see more below).

An elated Williamson summed up the regatta by saying: “This season we have put high expectations on us. We set out to win four golds, we got three but when you enter four events sometimes something had got to give. But three events from four - we have to be stoked with that.”

Candidate for race of the day came in the coxed four final as Christchurch Boys High School struck a blow for the South Island to hold on for gold by a foot from the pursuing Hamilton Boys High in a pulsating final.

The Christchurch crew of Matthew White, Will Gilbert, Tom Woelders, Sam Baker and cox Timothy Heritage – seized control of the race from early leaders Auckland Grammar in the second quarter and at 1500m held a half a length advantage from Hamilton with Kings College lurking in close order.

Every stroke of the final 500m Hamilton crept closer to the long-time leaders, but straining every sinew the South Island champions just held on to clinch a memorable gold medal by just 0.20 in 6:26.17. On this occasion Kings College grabbed bronze (6:30.16).

Boys under-16

Stroke William Thompson and Luke Taylor of Hamilton Boys High School once again proved the boys with the Midas touch as the dynamic duo landed their third gold medal of the regatta with a thrilling victory from St Peter’s School in the double sculls final.

Just half-a-length separated the first three boats at the 1000m mark as St Peter’s held a slight lead from Hamilton followed closely by Kings College. However, Thompson and Taylor stepped on the gas in the third quarter to establish control and ran out winners by 1.02 from St Peters in a time of 6:49.99. In a tight scrap for bronze, Timaru Boys High (6:52.10) held off a late challenge from John McGlashan College.

Thompson and Taylor landed a deluge of five gold medals at the 2016 Maadi Cup and this time targeted four gold medals. Coached by Don Baron and Bruce Holden the pair have focused most of their training in the eight and Thompson had a simple theory for their success. “We have a very good coach and we’ve been rowing together since we were under-15. We are good mates and that really helps with teamwork.”

Christ’s College rebuffed a searing late change from St Andrews College to clinch a thrilling victory in the boys eight final. Much of the pre-race attention was thrust on St Andrews and Hamilton Boys but it was Christ’s who took the race by the scruff of the neck and led by nearly a full length from Hamilton followed closely by St Andrews at 1500m.

St Andrews made a blistering late sprint for the line but Christ’s could not be caught, winning in a time of 6:03.53 – 0.86 clear of their South Island rivals. Hamilton made a renewed bid in the final stage but were 0.15 down on St Andrews in bronze (6:04:54).

Jason Nel of St Peters School resisted a blistering late sprint from Jack McLaughlin of John McGlashan College to bank the single sculls title in the concluding under-16 race on the programme.

Nel powered clear in the first 500m and lead by two lengths on the rest of the field at 1500m. However, McLaughlin dug deep in his reserves to launch a powerful final assault on gold only to run out of water as Nel triumphed by a margin of 1.32 in 7:40.05. Luke Shannon edged his Kings College team-mate Thomas Hall to grab bronze in 7:47.40.

Boys under-15

Auckland Grammar, who were beaten into gold by Hamilton Boys High School in yesterday’s eights final, reversed the finishing order in the coxed quad sculls.

Hamilton Boys A crew held an early advantage but by halfway the slick Auckland Grammar crew of stroke Jason Heath, Fergus Matla, Hugh Marshall, Miller Hawkesby and cox Henry Briggs established a clear hold and the race and in the second half of the race the boys in the golden boat powered to victory in 6:42.45 – some 5.14 clear of Hamilton Boys number one crew. John McGlashan maintained their positive regatta by taking out bronze in 6:49.66.

St Pauls Collegiate continued their outstanding regatta by proving the pick of the crews in the coxed four final. The Hamilton-based school powered by under-15 double sculls champions Isaac West and Sam Harcourt magnificently and supported by Seth Peake, Max McLean-Bluck and cox Gus Hanham romped to a crushing victory by more than six-and-a-half seconds in 7:07.84. The best of the rest were Hamilton Boys (7:14.42), who overpowered bronze medallists St Andrews College (7:16.96) in the latter stages.

It was fast and frenetic but just like last year Hamilton Boys High School were victorious in the boys octuple sculls. In the re-started race – after a seat in the Glendowie College boat malfunctioned – the Hamilton Boys A crew obliterated the field to romp home and collect the Dudley Storey Cup – named after the late, great New Zealand rowing legend – by a victory margin of 6.28secs in 6:28.30 to the Hamilton Boys B crew. Glendowie College made the most of their second chance by taking out bronze in 6:36.50.

Boys over-15 lightweights

St Johns College (Hamilton) earned a richly deserved success in the over-15 lightweight double sculls courtesy of a majestic display. Competing in lane three the crew of Benjamin Burgess and Dylan McLeod took the initiative in the second quarter from which point they dominated to complete the distance in a slick 6:49.69. In a barnstorming battle for the minor medals a blistering late charge from St Andrews College earned them a narrow silver medal in 6:52.34 – by just 0.22 from Sacred Heart College (Auckland).

Girls under-18

Diocesan School for Girls mounted a perfectly timed successful defence of the Levin Jubilee Cup with a performance forged in sheer class. The Auckland-based school trailed St Margarets by a canvas at the 1500m mark but a searing late push for the line delivered a momentous victory by a margin of exactly three seconds in a time of 6:55.09.

In a spellbinding final, early leaders St Paul’s Collegiate – winners of yesterday’s Dawn Cup – held on in lane eight by a brave bronze in 6.58.81. Yet today was once more all about Diocesan School for Girls who 12 months ago claimed their maiden Levin Jubilee Cup.

Triumphant Diocesan School for Girls head coach Rachel Williams was elated with the successful defence.

“I was excited for the girls because they just nailed that race. When we let them go in the boat park they were in the best head space I’d seen them all season and I knew they had it in the last 500m.

“Winning today was just as good (as last year). In 2016 we went the season undefeated, but this time we’ve only won three times - at North Islands, in the heats and today because all summer we’ve been struggling to find the right combination. I would say winning this year is equally as good it is just we have taken two different paths for the same result.”

Stupendous sculler Veronica Wall completed the “awesome foursome” today with victory in the under-18 single sculls and quadruple sculls earning her a magnificent four gold medal haul.

The Ashburton College student – who at the 2016 edition of the Maadi Cup – also banked four gold medals once more served notice of a superstar potential. After yesterday claiming wins in the under-18 double sculls and under-17 single sculls. She opened her quest today with an utterly dominant display in the under-18 single sculls final as she stopped the clock in an impressive 7:50.28. In the race for the minor medals, Sydney Johnson of St Peters School claimed silver in 8:02.35 with Ruby Leverington third in 8:06.84.

Later Wall showed her versatility in the quad sculls final to stroke the crew, which also contained Olivia Gibson, Grace Wilson, Mollie Gibson and cox Emma Jansen, to the gold medal. Taking the initiative in the second quarter the race victory then became a mere formality as Ashburton College crossed the line first in 7:10.26. Behind, Tauranga Girls College (7;14.67) earned silver with Nelson College for Girls out in lane eight picking up bronze in 7:16.62.

An elated Wall said of her efforts this week: “It’s awesome, there was definitely added pressure from last year. I’ve been around at Maadi for four years and it was definitely good to come here and finish it off. I’ve had some really good experiences at Maadi.”

Rangi Ruru Girls School followed up yesterday’s success in the novice eights to strike gold by a whisker in the novice coxed four final. For much of the race is seemed certain the Christchurch-based school would add yet another trophy to their bulging cabinet but Waikato Diocesan unleashed a desperate late sprint.

However, it proved not quite enough as Rangi Ruru hung on to win by just 0.18 in a time of 8:06.75. Diocesan School for Girls wrapped up bronze in 8:11.09.

Girls under-17 and over-15 lightweights

Sophie Egnot-Johnson enjoyed an unforgettable final day of the Maadi Cup to secure a magnificent golden treble. The Westlake Girls High School student, who triumphed in yesterday’s over-15 lightweight coxed four followed that up to win the over-15 lightweight double sculls and ended her regatta with a comprehensive victory in the under-17 double sculls.

Egnot-Johnson and Hannah Gray secured the lightweight double sculls crown with a flawless exhibition of sculling excellence. Refusing to panic after the Wentworth College combination of Rebecca Faletanoai and Sheena Donald took the early initiative the Westlake duo uncorked their winning move in the third quarter to record 7:40.37 – 4.05 clear of Craighead Diocesan. Wentworth were rewarded for their courageous performance to snag bronze in 7:46.36.

Later Egnot-Johnson sitting alongside stroke Andrea Fick in the under-17 double sculls were again content to play the waiting game as Hauraki Plains set the early pace. Nonetheless, once the pair launched their move down the middle 1000m the result was never in question as the duo flashed by the finish line in 7:56.53. Hauraki grabbed silver in 8:04.05 with Villa Maria College narrowly defeating Nelson College for Girls in the scrap for bronze.

Egnot-Johnson, who started rowing three years ago after originally discovering a passion for rowing her dinghy with baby dolls as a youngster, believed the success she has enjoyed this year was partly down to a disappointing outing at the 2016 Maadi Cup.

“In 2015 I won three medals but the last Maadi wasn’t so good because of sickness and injury,” she explains. “It was a real eye-opener and showed that success wasn’t easy but everyone in the team has come back wanting it that bit more.”

With St Peters School taking victory in the quad sculls and Rangi Ruru Girls School the coxed four the race for gold in the eights was always expected to be a duel in the sun between the two crews and so it proved. St Peters – comprising four of the gold medal winning crew from the quad sculls – took the early initiative and led Rangi Ruru by half a length at halfway. The margin remained static for the third quarter, but despite the best efforts of the Christchurch-based school St Peters would not be denied on their lake and accelerated clear in the final 250m to strike gold in 6:40.50 – some 4.42 seconds clear of Rangi Ruru, who had to be satisfied with silver. Columba College rowed strongly in the second 1000m to secure bronze in 6:47.68.

Girls under-16

Pre-race favourites St Peter’s School lived up to expectations to claim a comfortable victory from Glendowie College in the quad sculls final. St Peter’s – who lifted the President’s Scull as overall sculling champions – dominated from the outset and when Glendowie loomed to within half-a-length of the long-time leaders they upped their rate to secure the race win in 7:19.76. It was an impressive race from the crew of Clare Milne, Rebecca Leigh, Ruby Butler, Morgan Brown and cox Brooke Houston with Glendowie settling for second in 7:24.34 and fellow Auckland school Macleans College (7:28.56) shading a tight battle from Rangi Ruru Girls School to pinch bronze.

Milne and Leigh of St Peters School later returned to clinch a second gold medal today in the double sculls. The powerful duo were challenged strongly in the first half of the race by the Howick College crew before pulling rhythmically away in the second half of the race to claim victory in 7:50.73. Howick were rewarded with silver in 7:59.29 with Ashburton College banking bronze in 8:04.56.

Waikato Diocesan boast a proud record in the girls under-16 four and regained the title they last held in 2015 with an emphatic victory in 7:20.53. The crew of Olivia Fellows-Ford, Kate Monkley, Holly Mills, Rosanna Bedford and cox Meg Scrimgeour powered out to an early lead and in a completely commanding display eased to gold from Columba College (7:27.36) and Rangi Ruru Girls School (7:29.28).

Girls under-15

Epsom Girls Grammar followed up their triumph in yesterday’s under-16 eight by also snagging under-15 equivalent to end Rangi Ruru Girls School reign as holders of the Tauranga Girls’ College Cup.

Rowing from lane two - having only advanced to the final via the repechage - the Auckland-based school produced the row of their life to shade a breathtaking battle to defeat Rangi Ruru by just 0.55 in a time of 7:13.48. St Margarets College (7:18.94) completed the podium.

St Peters School enjoyed more sculling success with a comfortable triumph in the double. The combination of Rebecca Leigh and Ella Thomson were expected to dominate and duly delivered a masterclass performance to stop the clock in a swift 7:34.21. Behind, Tauranga Girls College (7:36.01) and Southland Girls High School (7:39.99) picked up second and third, places, respectively.

In the high-speed final of the coxed octuple sculls, pre-event favourites Dunstan High School crushed the opposition by more than eight seconds to become only the second school to ever snare this event to follow in the wake St Peters School – who triumphed in each of the two previous editions of the event. The Dunstan crew completed the 2000m distance in 7:16.81 with Tauranga Girls College in silver 7:24.86 and Otago-based St Hilda’s Collegiate grabbing bronze in 7:26.64.

Full results can be found at