ROYAL Chester Rowing Club Junior 16 coxless four of Mathew Davies, David Pickering, Chris Laidler and Simon Pougher brought their successful racing season to a fitting climax with a gold medal at the British National Championships.
The championships at Holme Pierrepoint forced the crew to extend their season but they showed no signs of fatigue as they romped home with a seven-second lead in the final.
A promising year at Junior 15 level last year saw medal success at the Schools Head of the River Race and the National Schools Regatta for the crew.
The winning streak continued into 2005 as they moved up into Junior 16 in both sculling and sweep oared boats.
At the Schools Head of the River Race, rowed over the University Boat Race Course on the Thames, the crew competed in coxed fours and won their category by a massive 32 seconds, beating the previous course record by 23 seconds.
At the Junior Inter Regional Championships a bronze medal was won, the crew finishing just behind St Leonards and Henley Rowing Club. As a result, they were invited to the British Junior 16 Trials in early July.
The crew recommenced serious training after their GCSEs with just two weeks to the GB trials.
Their opposition was again Shrewsbury School, Latymer Upper School and King's School Chester, together with Eton and Cranford.
The Royals dominated from the start of the race, with close rivals Shrewsbury in the next lane. After a closely fought contest, the Royals won and were selected for the GB Under 16 Team to race France.
This would normally have been the end of the season, however, the Royals crew still had the National Championships of Great Britain to contest. They qualified third in their semi-final, before rowing with good rhythm and maturity to storm to a convincing victory.