Commercial show true grit at Henley Royal Regatta
Irish champions record impressive comeback win over Lyon in Thames Cup
Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan: got their first Henley campaign off to a winning start. Photograph: Detlev Seyb/Inpho
Three wins in quick succession set up a promising weekend for Ireland at Henley Royal Regatta.
The most remarkable performance came in the Thames Cup for club eights. Not many crews come from behind and take the honours. Lyon led Commercial by over half a length in the middle of the course. The Irish champions clawed the lead back seat by seat and by the time the French drove back with intent the race was gone.
UCD and opponents Dusseldorf/Crefeld were locked together well into their race. But the young men in blue and saffron, while much lighter than the Germans, then showed their class, sprinting away to win well.
Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll had started the good run as they got their first Henley campaign off to a winning start. As a seeded crew in the Silver Goblets, the Skibbereen pair entered the regatta in the second round. Their English opponents, Hugo Elworthy and Harry Hogan, had one win under their belts, but the Irish started fast, with high rating, took the lead and controlled the race from there.
Sadhbh O’Connor and Natalie Long took on the outstanding pair in the world, New Zealand’s Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, who looked impressive as they gracefully moved clear and won their round of the Hambleden Pairs by two and a quarter lengths.
Nathan Hull of Queen’s and his partner, Olly Dix of Leander, bowed out in the Double Sculls, beaten by John Collins and Graeme Thomas, the Britain pair.