A crew from St Neots Rowing Club came within a whisker of success at the largest female event in the world.

The St Neots crew of Louise Shorten, Olivia Hooper, Tash Holdaway, Jade Hellett, Jaione Echeveste, Mia Hartwell, Kat Harris, Ali Young and Martine Kushner (cox) competed in the Women’s Head of the River Race, on the Thames in London - an event which attracted 2,880 rowers in 320 boats.

They completed the famous four-and-a-quarter-mile Boat Race course, from Mortlake to Putney, in 22 mins and 29 secs. That placed them 173rd overall – 54 places higher than the club’s previous best in the event - and fifth in their intermediate category.

But they felt they could have won that class but for being caught in a freak storm.

“Unfortunately we were in the wrong place on the river at the wrong time,” said captain Echeveste. “It was bright and sunny at the start, but we hit a wall of wind, waves and hailstones half-way down the course.

“It only lasted a few minutes but it added several valuable seconds to our time.

“We finished just 43 seconds behind our category winners, but it would have been a lot closer if we hadn’t been hit by the storm.”