Coleraine rower Joel Cassells was ‘over the moon’ on Sunday as he was part of the Oxford Brookes eight which won the Temple Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Cassells crew won the student eights by beating Brown University from the United States in a thrilling final day at Henley completing the 175th anniversary of the event in style.
It was an authoritative row which put them a full length up on Brown’s freshmen before the first marker.
The time of six minutes 29 seconds was fast – bettered only in the Temple this year by Brookes’s time in the semi-final when they beat Cornell University by half a length.
Cassells took to Facebook to thank everyone for their support.
“Just won Henley Temple Challenge Cup,” said the 20-year-old.
“Absolutely over the moon, hasn’t sunk in yet. Thank you everyone for all your support over the last 10 months.”
Cassells has competed for Ireland at the World Junior Championships and, in a pair with fellow Bann clubman Chris Black, won gold twice at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2011.
There was disappointment though for fellow Bann Rowing Club member Alan Campbel who was defeated at the semi final stage at Henley.
Campbell got his usual flying start to pull clear-water ahead of Roel Braas by the quarter-mile marker, but then the Dutchman started grinding his way inexorably back through to win by three lengths.
“I felt all right before the race but once I got in I just didn’t have the beans,” said Campbell, before heading off to Lucerne for the World Cup.