The final afternoon at the 2011 BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships produced some fantastic racing - with the main events of the afternoon, the Premier eights for men and women - being won by Southern RPC.
The women's crew all claimed their first premier national titles and defeated a very experienced and quick eight from Central RPC stroked by world champion Rebecca Scown with a smooth and powerful row.
In the men's premier eights, Southern RPC stroked by Hamish Bond and containing several lightweights, shot out of the start catching the much fancied Central RPC somewhat napping. Waikato stayed in touch with Central and Auckland were not too far behind either, but it was Southern RPC who powered into a one length lead that they were never to lose.
A long tradition at the New Zealand national rowing championships, the winning premier coxed four receives the Boss Rooster trophy and has to paint the tin rooster, which was created in 1897, within an hour of the race or forfeit a keg of beer to their opposition. No paint was required this year however, as Wairau RC retained the trophy they retook after a long absence last year. Rowers Ian Seymour, Hamish Burson, Sean O'Neill and Warwick Wright were dominant.
There was more success for the Central RPC in the premier quad sculls, where the winning crew included Joseph Sullivan, Duncan Grant and Robbie Manson. These two alone have six world titles between them, yet neither had won a Red Coat (awarded to the winners of an open heavyweight event at the national championships) until today. In a close race with Southern RPC, Sullivan displayed his world class stroking once again to drive his crew to an early lead which they slowly but surely built on. Southern were never more than a length away, but there was a fraction more urgency in the Central boat and it never truly looked like being caught.
There was some consolation after a difficult week for the Waikato RPC squad with a win in the Under 21 men's eight to back up the win they took yesterday in the four. They also won the men's Under 21 quad, the women's premier quad scull and the men's Under 21 pair. Alyce Pulford and Julia Edward also scored a win for them in the women's lightweight double scull but by it was once again a day brimming with success for crews from the South Island and Christchurch in particular. Avon won the women's club eight, the women's novice four, the men's novice four and the men's novice eight with Southern RPC winning the women's Under 21 eight with Canterbury winning the women's Under 19 double scull. On a brilliant day for South Island rowing, Otago University won the men's club eight event, whilst Waihopai also won the women's senior double scull.