ONE of the main reasons for an entire winter's training was ruined by freak weather for three North-wich eights at the weekend.
They were on the Thames among 400 crews to cover the four-and-a-half mile Putney-Mortlake Boat Race course at the London Head and at the start conditions were calm.
But of the first 50 boats off only 29 staggered to the finish line as a combination of an ebbing tide and sudden headwinds made conditions dangerous.
Boats struggled back to their boathouses in frightening and horrific conditions with many being swamped by high waves and some even sinking.
All Northwich crews made it back safely.
However, Northwich's Olympic hero Matthew Langridge was at bow in the Leander first eight who finished second, narrowly beaten by the Cambridge University Boat crew who completed the distance in 18 mins 29 secs, using this race as a practice run for their race against Oxford at the weekend.
Other ex-Northwich men in action were Will Laughton in the Imperial College boat in fourth, and elder brother George, rowing for Newcastle University First.
Conditions improved for the Vesta Veteran Head on Sunday and Northwich completed the course and were pleased with their performance.
* Three Grange School crews will represent the North West at the regions' championships at Nottingham later this month.
WJ14 quad Alice Dewhirst, Flo Pickup, Kat Heine, Camilla Gaskell, cox Sarah Hickson; WJ16 quad Lara Pointon, Dewhirst, Sarah Hewitt and Harriet Tindale and MJ14 double Rupert Wilshire and Tom Ford, all won their events at the trials staged by Northwich on the River Weaver.
The Grange were also successful in non-trial events. Ed Ford won the open sculls; John and Ed Ford won the open doubles and then teamed up with younger squadmates Josh Robinson and Will Frisk to win the open junior quad event.
The Grange also sent eight crews to the National Scullers' Head at Dorney Lake, Windsor, the rowing and kayaking 2012 Olympics venue.
Competing against 320 of the best crews in the country, the rowers, all aged between 13 and 17, achieved more than was expected with all finishing above halfway in their races and two crews finishing in the top eight. Some 1650 juniors from all over the country were racing.