Barely had they time to recover from rowing the Thames in the London Great River Race, than teams from three Welsh Celtic Rowing Clubs jetted off to Italy to take part in the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships.

Teams from Wiseman's Bridge and Llanion Warriors (made up of rowers from the Pembroke and Pembroke Dock area), Porthmadog, Ynys Môn (Anglesey) represented Welsh coastal rowing at Reno on Lake Maggiore, Italy on October 11 and 12th.

The regatta was for three different classes of boats all with four rowers and a cox over a 750 meter sprint course on a knockout basis.

The rowers were met at the airport by members of the local Reno Sports Club, whose generous hospitality and organisation was second to none for the whole weekend.

Being the first time for any of the 48 Welsh rowers had entered this event, the Friday was spent getting to know the unfamiliar boats and receiving intensive coaching sessions from the Italians.

By the end of the day rivalry between the teams was getting increasingly competitive, even extending to an impromptu rendition of 'Sosban Fach' at the evening reception.

Racing started on the Saturday with the knockout stages to decide which teams progressed to the A, B or C finals, with a good showing by the Welsh crews all making either the A or B finals.

Competition from the strong, experienced but younger Italian crews saw the top positions being taken by the home crews.

The Porthmadog Men finished a highly respectable fourth in the 'A' final to be the first international team home, with both Wiseman's Bridge coming in fifth and Ynys Môn sixth close on their stern, and barely a boat length separating the three.

The Porthmadog Ladies managed to hold off a well-fancied Spanish crew from Alicante to also come in fourth overall and claim the top international spot.

Fantastic hospitality and organisation from the Ferase and Arolo clubs made for a memorable weekend of intense activity and enjoyment.

Plans are already being made to attend the championships next year plus return visits by the Italians to Wales in the near future.