The prospects for a big final in Friday's men's pair took a big step forward today when Eric Murray and Tyson Williams made note of their intentions with a winning performance in their semi final.
More notably, Hamish Bond and Jade Uru, going for a fourth straight title together (and Bond's fifth) were involved in a close race against other squad combinations in pairs and despite being pushed a lot harder in their race than Murray and Williams could only clock a time some five seconds slower.
Murray and Bond's places in the NZ pair are safe, but the BankLink New Zealand Championships offer a unique chance for them to get one over the other and secure serious bragging rights as well as a national title. Murray is very keen to put four years of second places behind him and take the gold medal.
Also facing off against each other on Friday will be Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan - the pacesetters for the last two years internationally in the double scull. Cohen races with old crew mate Matt Trott and Sullivan with Robbie Manson in a revival of two crews that themselves have national and world titles between them. In the heat for lanes, both crews put in performances that would have almost certainly qualified them for a world final, and a breathtaking re-match is definitely in prospect. The men's fours as well, should be a fierce battle.
Premier women are also in action on Friday, and will include world champions Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh representing their respective regions, as well as Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer, world bronze medallists in the double and about the only squad crew that remains together as a regional crew, such is the geographical spread of the top rowers.
Finals are all day and there should be plenty of action in the Senior, Club and Novice categories, as well as in the Under 21 and Under 19 events, where the stars of the future lurk.
Latest results: http://www.rowingnz.com/Events/RP7Results/RP7Results.aspx?ID=3645