THE new generation of Royal Chester Rowing Club juniors started their season in style - by claiming a national title.
Racing in the women's junior 14 octuple class (a sculling boat for eight crew members), the Royal Chester girls were victorious at the National Junior Sculls Head at Eton.
They finished almost three seconds ahead of Bedford High School, winners for the past two years, as well as coming home ahead of the leading rowing schools and clubs in the country.
The crew of Lizzie Fletcher, Jen Cumiskey, Hannah Evans, Sophie Donald, Lucy Burgess, Steph Gorman, Sophie de Winter and Alex Churchill was coxed and coached by Laura Whiteley, herself still a junior, and Dale Ellis, a former junior at the club.
The win had a real family flavour as Jen, who sculled at number two, is Laura's cousin, and the boat they raced in, launched last year, is named after their grandfather, Dr Austen Elliott.
Also racing at Eton were Royal Chester's junior quad of Ollie Cocklin, Finlay Carson, Jack Lowrie and David Pickering, who finished a creditable 13th in class, and two junior 15 coxed quads coached by another former club junior, James Carew.
With half of this squad only having started in the sport this year, they did well to finish 16th and 30th in cate gory.
Royal Chester's seniors made a late but spectacular start to their season at the Runcorn Head of the River race on the Weaver.
The hard winter training of the newly formed senior four crew provided them with the stamina to win their class over the 6000m course.
They overtook several crews to come third overall.
The club's veterans were not to be outdone and both the veteran D crew, stroked by John Boothman, and the vet
eran G crew, stroked by Nigel Hunt, collected medals for wins in their class. n Grosvenor Rowing Club's women excelled at the Head of the River Race in London on Saturday.
The eight consisting of Virginia Allan, Fiona Claymore, Lucy Benbow, Laura Magee, Emma Davison, Liz Jervis, Hayley Pearce and Grace Neal, coxed by Alex Newton, overtook four crews in the first half of the race and did well to cope with the strong crosswinds in the second half.
They completed the tough four-and-a-quarter-mile course from Mortlake to Putney on the River Thames in 19 minutes and 58 seconds and, despite having five novice rowers, finished ahead of many higher status crews, including several elite eights.