OXFORD juniors were in superb form at the South of England Indoor Championships, writes John Wiggins.

More than 600 rowers, aged from eight to 18, competed on rowing machines at Abingdon’s White Horse Leisure & Tennis Centre in an event run by Hinksey Sculling School.

Winners included record-breakers Toby Pridmore (J13) and Martin Benfeghoul (J18), both members of Oxford’s Falcon RC.

The hosts, Hinksey, also produced a record time from their J17+ relay team, while a world record attempt by Helena Purves (J12) missed by 0.7secs – but she did take 14 seconds off the UK record.

City of Oxford had an individual success, with Benjamin Sherwood winning the J11 category.

The runner-up in the J14 category, Robert McRae, was a key member of City’s gold medal-winning relay team along with Gaby Reynolds, Alvaro Daza and Alex Saveljev

All the medals were presented by Oxford University rowers, including Olympian Ollie Cook.

l Abingdon School’s head coach Rory Copus was delighted to see his J16 eight take victory in the senior novice event at the Wycliffe Big Head on the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal.

Racing in cold, wet weather over a gruelling 4.5km course, the Abingdon schoolboys held their form to finish comfortably ahead in 15mins 30secs – a time that would also have won them the main J16 event later in the day.

Their winning crew was Charles Engwell, Ben Boneham, Luc Jersing, James Coode, Charlie Betts, Joe McConnell, Matthew Bell, Tom Symington and cox Noah Walker.

Radley College, with eight crews racing in mixed ability combinations, were in close contention in four events.

Their top combinations raced in both the J18 and open senior events and finished a close second in each.

This bodes well for the future when they produce a genuine first and second crew.

St Edward’s School, Oxford, meanwhile, took their crews to the Hampton Head where conditions were equally testing.

Their first crew took much encouragement from finishing as runners-up, only two seconds behind in a competitive field of school eights.