EVESHAM rower Frances Russell's Newcastle coxed eight sealed a dramatic BUCS Regatta gold at the National Water Sports Centre.

The Blue Stars caused a surprise in the women’s championship as they held off an Edinburgh University boat featuring Rio Olympic silver medallist Polly Swann to come home in six minutes 51.76 seconds on the two-kilometre course in Nottingham.

“It’s very emotional,” Russell, 21, admitted. “Last year we got bronze and it was a close one.

"This year we were gunning for the gold and we didn’t know we were going to get it ­— the time trial was so close.

“We were down at the start and then through the kilometre mark we just kept moving and didn’t stop until we were winning.

“It’s my first gold in senior eights.

“A lot of hard work, long miles. Rowing in Newcastle is pretty brutal but it’s worth it for this kind of thing.”

BUCS Regatta, Europe's largest student regatta, returned to the National Water Sports Centre over the May Bank Holiday weekend. Read more at bucs.org.uk or follow @BUCSsport.