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Rowing: Welsh rowers secure national schools' title; Cardiff duo's golden glory.

TWO River Taff teenagers made a splash at Nottingham's National Water sports Centre by racing to gold at the British Schools' Championships.

Matthew Hnatiw and Tom James took the under-14 double sculls' title from a field of 14 boats, to land Cardiff City Rowing Clubtheir first national UK title.

The duo headed the opening 1,000m time-trial to decide semi-final qualification by just 0.38 seconds from Reading RC.

And the Cardiff Yacht Club-based boat won their six-boat semi by overhauling Royal Chester in the second half to win by half a length, with Nottinghamtaking the third qualifying slot another two lengths back.

They were three seconds faster than the second semi, and Cardiff lived upto their billing as favourites by coming from third at halfway to land gold, bursting past St Neots and Chester to win the Somerville Cup by three-quarters of a length from the River Dee duo, with Eveshamsqueezing out the Cambridgeshire double for bronze on the line.

One happy spectator watching Llandaff Cathedral School pupil Matthewand St Teilos rower Tom was the former's father Mike, who is the Welsh rowing team manager as well as the Cardiff Bay rowing officer.

Llandaff's under-14 quadruple scullers missed out by a fraction on making the podium, finishing fourth in their final. James Willets, Will Meads, Oscar Warner, Will Spiller and cox Jack Evans qualified sixth fastest in the 21-boat time-trial and then came fromfourthto take the third semi-final qualifying slot on the line by 0.3 secs from Dulwich College.

In the final, theywere fourth again at halfway, a length down on leaders Windsor Boys with Yarm second and Hinksey a third of a length up in third.

And that's how it stayed, Llandaff losing out byjust 0.9 secswithWindsor hanging on by six feet to beat Yarmto gold.

Clubmates Jack Thomas and Tom Brock made it through the time-trial, finishing 16th out of 31, to make the semi-final stage of the under-15 doubles, where they missed out on a place inthe final by only a lengthand a half placing fifth, in the 12th fastest time overall.

Hannah Patterson and Harriet Rudden went even closer to the final of their 30-boat under-15 girl doubles event after making the semis in the 12th-fastest qualifying time.

Needing a top-two finish in their six-boat qualifier to go through, they placed third just 0.7 secs down on London-based Tideway Scullers in a time that was ninth-quickest overall.

But the wind ruined the rest of the 900-boat regatta, with the event called off with a day and half's racing still to go, as crews started sinking in the white water conditions.

At least Llandaff's Zak Lee Green managed to race the time-trial in his under-18 singles event, justmaking the semi-final cut in the 18th and last qualifying slot in six mins 0.10 secs.

In one of the last races before the regatta was cancelled, Patterson and Rudden joined Sam Hamcock and Hollie Edwards in the under-15 girl quadruple sculls' time-trial, finishing 16th fastest out of 31 in 6.11.99.

In awful conditions, Ewan Williams and Jasper Warner also tried to race the under-18 doubles, but almost sank as water poured over the gunnels.


TAFFTASTIC: Matthew Hnatiw, left, and Tom James, right, show off their medals with Welsh team manager Mike Hnatiw
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 11, 2008
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