Rowers from far and wide descended on St Neots at the weekend for the annual regatta

HUNDREDS of rowers from across the UK descended on Riverside Park at the weekend for St Neots Rowing Club's annual regatta on the River Great Ouse.

There were 205 races at three-minute intervals on Saturday, over a 1,000m course, and 263 races at two-minute intervals on Sunday (500m course), with over 550 crews competing across both days.

Regatta secretary Kendal Cooper said: "It was a fantastic weekend of racing, which was all made possible by the hard work of so many people.

"We especially want to thank all the volunteers who helped to run the regatta over the weekend - from the early morning setting out the course, manning the races, serving refreshments and clearing up afterwards."

Racing highlights of the weekend for St Neots included a win in the J16 coxless quad on Saturday for Bryce Taylor, Jack Jakivis, Nick Shorten and Ethan Page against first Newark - and then Nottingham.

There was also a win for the men's IM2 eight who, after leaving clear water between themselves and opposition from Huntingdon and London club Cygnet, then went on to race Bedford in a nail-biting final, with St Neots just stealing victory.

The mixed IM3 eight also had a tense race against Norwich, losing by just 12 inches over the 500m course.

On Sunday, six St Neots crews won pewter tankards, with the juniors really making an impact.

In the J13 double sculls and coxed quads, St Neots' girls dominated so much, that the events ended up being straight St Neots finals.

The final race between the two quads proved to be particularly close. Other wins included the J15 quadruple scull, masters C coxed fours and a hotly anticipated final race for the J18 double of Huw Jarman and Josh Dexter, who beat opposition from Star by two and a half boat lengths.

The regatta was also the first taste of racing for some of St Neots' newest recruits.

The novice four of Rachel Tackley, Louise Rushworth, Alison Young and Angela De Stefano put in a great performance to win their first heat against Lea, however were just beaten by Leeds in the semi-final.

This year's regatta also had an international element, with an invitational race for crews from St Petersburg University in Russia.