WELLS rower Natasha Morrice enjoyed a superb senior debut as Britain won silver in the women’s eight at the European Championships, writes Tom Harle, Sportsbeat.

Morrice combined with Emily Ford, Lauren Irwin, Karen Bennett, Esme Booth, Sam Redgrave, Hattie Taylor, Annie Campbell-Orde and cox Henry Fieldman to reach the podium.

It marked a successful start for the Somerset star’s step up from the junior circuit as she earned her senior spurs at Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Redgrave said: “It’s always great to come away with a medal.

"We were going for that gold so there’s a bit of disappointment there, but we’ve got a long season ahead of us and a strong group of women who didn’t race who were supporting us.

“We’ve got the energy, determination and talent to keep pushing for that gold medal.

“We’ve got a lot of strong and knowledgeable people in the crew as well so I’m excited about where we can go.”

The British crew led the field through the first 500m but their Romanian rivals had too much in the remainder of the 2km course.

Britain crossed the line more than seven seconds behind the gold medallists and held off Italy as they finished in 6minutes 8.01seconds.

It was a repeat of the result at the 2022 European Championships with Redgrave, Booth, Ford and Irwin returning from the crew in Munich.

The crew's next focus is September's World Championships in Belgrade, where they can qualify the boat for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Europeans marked a return to international rowing for 2016 Olympic silver medalist Karen Bennett, her first race since finishing fourth at the Tokyo Olympics.

She said: “It’s just refreshing my memory and getting everything back on track.

"It feels great to be back and it’s about getting back into the swing of things.

“It was a good start, although we’re really disappointed not to have got the gold medal. It’s the start of the season so there’s still a lot of racing to come up. Hopefully we can step on.”

British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the team, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/