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Golden girl Georgia claims a Championship double

Rowers make a big splash at Holme Pierrepont

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Golden girl Georgia claims a Championship double

GEORGIA Francis claimed a superb double as she won gold in two events at the British Rowing Senior Championships in Nottingham at the weekend.

The 21-year old from Donnington was the best of the bunch of four West Berkshire rowers who all tasted success at the championships held at the Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre.

Francis, who won a silver medal for GB at the World under-23 Championship last year, again paired up with Reading University student and fellow GB rower Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne to win the double sculls title on Saturday ahead of former World Cup lightweight winners Brianna Stubbs and Ellie Piggott from Wallingford. The Leander club duo of Katie Greves and Polly Swann were third.

She followed up that success on Sunday in an impressive Imperial College crew in the women’s eight as they dominated the event from start to finish with the fastest time-trial of the day in 6 minutes 15.2 seconds, moving through the semi-final and into the final with relative ease to win the gold by nearly four seconds from Cambridge University with Oxford Brookes A a further second adrift.

The Rossiter brothers also continued to taste success with Matthew, another former World under-23 silver medallist, and younger brother George in the stroke seat claiming the silver in the Open eight.

Rowing for Henley's Leander Club, they started the day well by recording the fastest time-trial in 5:28.8 to finish ahead of Oxford Brookes in 5:30.5 with University of London a tenth of a second behind.

They then cruised through the semi-final to set up a thrilling final clash, but were out-foxed by a resurgent Brookes team who had eased off to finish second behind London in their semi but then had enough to take the race out from the off in the final.

In one of the day's most exciting races, Leander were still in contention all the way until Brookes made a decisive move at 250m to go as they claimed the gold ahead of the Berkshire boys' boat.

All three locals however, will have done their chances of being on the plane to Rio no harm with these results and another young rower hoping to follow on in their footsteps a little further down the line is Katie Metalli who was competing for Oxford Brookes for the first time.

Despite spraining her ankle two weeks ago and being told she would be out for 12 weeks, the 19-year old fought back to claim a seat in the B boat and helped them claim victory in the B final. That also meant they were third university in the pennant despite starting the day with a lowly 10th place after the time-trial.

In the final they came from last place after the start to put in a dramatic surge over the last 100 metres to edge the win over Tideway Scullers by just 0.3 seconds with Cambridge University a further 0.97 seconds behind.

Former Downe House School pupil Louisa Reeve also had a good championship when featuring in the gold-medal winning coxless fours boat for Leander A.

The team of Reeves, Lucinda Gooderham, Rosamund Bradbury and Katherine Douglas stormed to victory in the showpiece in 6:48.95 to finish almost four seconds ahead of their nearest rivals.

The next challenge for the 23-year old will be at the opening British trials to be held at Boston in Lincolnshire in two weeks’ time.

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