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15 October 2006, 12:33 pm
RICHARD And WILLIAMS To Meet For Gold Cup
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King Edward VII Gold Cup 2006
Hamilton, Bermuda

Blythe WALKER (BER) and Eric MONNIN (SUI) pulled stunning upsets in the quarter-final round of the ISAF Grade WC King Edward VII Gold Cup, but their lucky hand ran out in the semi-finals, meaning Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) will face Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) to decide the winner of stage four of the 2006-2007 World Match Racing Tour.
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Both RICHARD and WILLIAMS won their semi-final matches by scores of 3-0, over WALKER and MONNIN, respectively, to set up a showdown of young guns for the championship of the $50,000 event, which awards $25,000 to first.

'We're very happy,' said RICHARD, 30, who has advanced to his second final of a World Tour event. 'We also made the final in Croatia, but were disappointed to lose that one. I think we sailed very well today.'

WILLIAMS, 29, survived a five race quarterfinal match against Bjorn HANSEN (SWE) to make the semis, and then rolled in three straight. 'Today, the guys who timed the starts better won,' said WILLIAMS. 'In the light wind it was easy to get caught out in the starts.'

Quarter-Final Drama

The semi-finals were anticlimactic to the quarter-finals, where three matches went the full five races and WALKER thrilled the hometown crowd with a huge upset. Bermuda's former Olympic sailor, ranked number 251 in the world, took down Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), who finished third overall in the World Championship last season, 3-2.

WALKER has not done much match racing in the past few years. He said that this year he has sailed the least amount since he returned to Bermuda five years ago. But he won the Bermuda nationals to gain entry and, based on how he fares in today's petite-final, stands to equal Peter BROMBY's (BER) third place finish from 2002, the best finish by a Bermudian since Gordon LUCAS (BER) won in 1986.

'It's a matter of having a good team,' said WALKER. 'We have a good crew that came together in the end. Today it came down to the starts, and I didn't do well in the semis.'

MONNIN Downs SPITHILL

MONNIN posted the other shocking upset of the day. MONNIN defeated the reigning event champion, James SPITHILL (AUS), 3-2. MONNIN rallied from a 2-1 deficit to pull the upset.

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Mathieu RICHARD, left, covers
Blythe WALKER upwind
shortly after the start of their
third and final semi-final race
© Gold Cup/Charles ANDERSON
'I feel quite good, there were so many emotions today,' said MONNIN, 31. 'I think James is one of the best match racers in the world. This is the biggest win of my life.'

MONNIN, however, ran out of steam in his semi-final match against WILLIAMS.

'We were so excited about beating James,' he said, 'but it cost us a lot of energy, in our minds and emotions.'

'It was a tough loss,' said SPITHILL, helmsman for the Luna Rossa Challenge from Italy. 'It was very light and one boat won every race. But there are no excuses. I give full credit to Eric. He deserved to be in the semis.'

In consolation racing SPITHILL went on to win fifth place, followed by HANSEN, LINDBERG in seventh and Chris LAW (GBR).

RICHARD On Song

RICHARD enters the final as the hottest skipper in town. He has a 12-1 record, which includes a 3-0 whitewash of LAW in the quarter-finals.

'We are very close. We sail each other so much on the Tour,' said RICHARD. 'They are very consistent. We can be a bit more up and down, but we know we can beat him and we'll be very disappointed if we don't.'

WILLIAMS enters the final with a 10-5 record and a four race winning streak. 'I've been sailing against Mathieu for nine or ten years. I've probably sailed against him more than anyone else in the world,' said WILLIAMS. 'I think we sail each other so much that we end up with similar styles, which leads to close races. I suspect it'll be five races.'

King Edward VII Gold Cup Results

Semi-Finals

Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Eric MONNIN (SUI), 3-0
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) d. Blythe WALKER (BER), 3-0

Quarter-Finals

Eric MONNIN (SUI) d. James SPITHILL (AUS), 3-2
Ian WILLIAMS (GBR) d. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), 3-2
Blythe WALKER (BER) d. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), 3-2
Mathieu RICHARD (FRA) d. Chris LAW (GBR), 3-0

Round Robin Standings

Group A

1. James SPITHILL (AUS), Luna Rossa Challenge, 6-1
2. Staffan LINDBERG (FIN), Alandia Sailing Team, 5-2
3. Bjorn HANSEN (SWE), Team Apport.net, 5-2
4. Chris LAW (GBR), The Outlaws, 5-2
5. Brian ANGEL (USA), King Harbor Match Race, 3-4
6. Scott DICKSON (USA), Dickson Racing Team, 2-5
7. Sandy HAYES (USA), 1-6
8. Jon SINGSEN (USA), 1-6

Group B

1. Mathieu RICHARD (FRA), Saba Sailing Team, 6-1
2. Ian WILLIAMS (GBR), Williams Sail Racing, 4-3
3. Blythe WALKER (BER), 4-3
4. Eric MONNIN (SUI), Team Monnin, 4-3, 3.5 points
5. Torvar MIRSKY (AUS), 3-4
6. Alvaro MARINHO (POR), 3-4
7. Paula LEWIN (BER), 2-5
8. Jes GRAM-HANSEN (DEN), Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia, 2-5

For all the news on the King Edward VII Gold Cup CLICK HERE.

World Match Racing Tour Leaderboard
(After Stage Three)
Pos Skipper Nation ISAF World
Match Race
Ranking
Team Pts
1 Sébastien COL FRA 1 Areva Challenge 29
2 Jes GRAM-HANSEN DEN 16 Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia 27
3 Paolo CIAN ITA 2 Team Viano Mercedes Benz 25
3 Chris DICKSON NZL 4 BMW ORACLE Racing 25
5 Ed BAIRD USA 10 Alinghi 20
5 Jesper BANK DEN 56 United Internet Team Germany 20
5 Magnus HOLMBERG SWE 41 Victory Challenge 20
8 Staffan LINDBERG FIN 11 Alandia Sailing Team 16

World Match Racing Tour Schedule
(2006-2007 Season)

Stage Event Venue Date
Stage 1 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal 18-23 July 2006
Stage 2 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 9-13 August 2006
Stage 3 St. Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland 15-20 August 2006
Stage 4 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 10-15 October 2006
Stage 5 Allianz Cup San Francisco, USA 24-29 October
Stage 6 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 28 November-3 December 2006
Stage 7 Match Race Germany Langenargen, Germany 23-28 May 2007
Stage 8 Portugal Match Cup Cascais, Portugal 01/07/2007
Stage 9 Danish Open Copenhagen, Denmark 01/08/2007
Stage 10 St. Moritz Match Race St. Moritz, Switzerland 01/08/2007
Stage 11 ACI Adris Match Race Cup Rovinj, Croatia 01/09/2007
Stage 12 Locman Cup - Elba Island Porto Azzurro, Elba Island, Italy 01/09/2007
Stage 13 Brasil Sailing Cup Angra dos Reis, Brazil 01/10/2007
Stage 14 Bermuda Gold Cup Hamilton, Bermuda 01/10/2007
Stage 15 Monsoon Cup Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia 20 November-2 December 2007

The World Match Racing Tour is an ISAF Special Event. Skippers earn points towards the World Championship at the nine events of the World Tour and the highest scoring skipper at the end of the season is the ISAF Match Racing World Champion.

The World Tour Partner and Official Car is BMW AG (Munich, Germany). World Tour sponsors include Sebago (Rockford, USA), the Official Footwear Supplier, Travel Places (West Sussex, Great Britain), the Official Travel Partner and Wedgwood (Cheshire, Great Britain) the Official Trophy Supplier.

For more information on the World Match Racing Tour, its competitors and events, visit the official World Tour website - www.WorldMatchRacingTour.com. World Match Racing Tour television programmes may be viewed on demand by clicking on the television icon on the home page of the website.

For all the news on the World Match Racing Tour CLICK HERE.

Sean MCNEILL (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Swiss skipper Eric MONNIN raises both fists in exultation after defeating James SPITHILL in the quarter-finals:© Gold Cup/Charles ANDERSON
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