Hammers hit Eton Dorney

West Ham United players and staff took to the water at London 2012 venue Eton Dorney on Thursday, under the watchful eye of multiple Olympic medallist Mark Hunter MBE.

Hunter, who won silver in the men's lightweight double sculls on Dorney Lake last summer to add to his gold in Beijing, led the Hammers through a rowing crash course, before getting down to serious racing business.


After acquainting themselves with the technical demands on the rowing machine, it was quickly onto the water in single sculls.

In the delicately balanced one-man boats, assistant manager Neil McDonald was the first to take the plunge, much to the delight of his colleagues.

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll tries his hand at the single sculls

But not to be outdone, Mark Noble was soon in the water himself, albeit with no shortage of assistance from those on dry land.

With the basics, in some cases, mastered, the group moved on to gig rowing, battling it out over 250 metres in three six-oared boats.

As it turned out, one crew dominated proceedings, with Jussi Jaaskelainen, Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble, Matt Taylor and James Collins romping home with plenty of clear water in both races.

Despite his success, skipper Nolan was less than hopeful of his prospects for Rio 2016, though he enjoyed his rowing debut all the same.

Eton Dorney

The entire first team squad took to the water

He told West Ham TV: "It's too hard for me, I must admit. It was an enjoyable day and I was delighted to be on the winning side, but it was really tough! It was great for the lads. It brought us all together and gave us a good laugh.

"Especially being in that one man boat, there were a few shaky moments. It looks easier than it is. I'm glad that I didn't go in, apart from being pushed in later on. We were all delighted that Macca was the first one in and then a few other lads followed."