It was a golden week for Oxfordshire competitors at the World Chsampionships in New Zealand, where four of them captured gold medals.

Wheatley’s Frances Houghton, Richard Chambers, from Henley, plus Paul Mattick and Zac Purchase from Wallingford all came up trumps in tournament which saw Great Britain top the medal table.

Houghton’s success came in the women’s quad, Chambers and Mattick shone in the men’s lightweight four, while Purchase’s success came in the lighweight double sculls.

Houghton (pictured), who had a year off after winning Olympic silvers in Athens and Beijing was ecstatic.

She said: “I love the sport even more now I’m back. I’ve had a brilliant worlds, especially after having had a difficult year.”

Injury and a hip operation meant that Houghton was not sure of her selection until August.

“The opportunity was there and I just had to grab it,” she added.

In the final, in very rough water, the GB quad remained calm in second place to halfway before overtaking the Ukraine for gold with something to spare.

Chambers and Mattick, world champions in 2007 and World Cup winners this year, were involved in a fantastic final.

Half a second covered four crews at the line, Britain edging Australia and China for the win by 0.07 and 0.08secs respectively.

The crew had been practising sprint finishes and they needed one to move from bronzed to gold.

“It was a good sprint after a hard race” said Mattick. “I looked over with 250 metres to go and then tried not to. If you look over three times then you will lose”.

World and Olympic champion Purchase relished his success with partner Mark Hunter in the lightweight double sculls.

Hunter took a year off after the Olympics and Purchase had a bad 2009 season due to illness.

He proved he was back in good form when he won the lightweight singles at the British Trials last April and he and Hunter have clearly gelled again after a slight hiccup in form in mid-summer.

“It was good to open the account for Britain’s Olympic boats here,” said Purchase.“You can’t get better than that.

“We knew we were good, and just had to go out and do it.”

Three other locals, Lindsey Maguire, of Wallingford and Caro-line O’Connor of Oxford Brookes in the women’s eight, and Oxford-born Andrea Dennis in the lightweight quad, finished in the heartbreaking fourth places.

The eight just crept into the bronze position ahead of Romania at 1500 metres, a point where coxswain O’Connor had hoped to have “something up my sleeve to say.”

The quad were fourth all the way, but produced a sprint at the end which saw them finish just 0.3 of a second behind China for the bronze.

Two scullers, Peter Chambers, Richard Chambers’s younger brother, and Katie Solesbury finished sixth and ninth respectively in the light and heavy sculls.