THE county collectively held its breath yesterday as rowers from Oxfordshire battled for medals at the Olympics.

Oxford Brookes student Peter Chambers and brother Richard Chambers, a former Brookes student, took silver in the nailbiting final of the lightweight men’s four.

University pro vice-chancellor John Raftery said the pair were an inspiration to future students.

He said: “The whole team gave their all in that final - you could tell that from their faces at the end. We at Brookes are extremely proud of them. Their world beating efforts will be huge inspiration to future students at our club.”

There was disappointment elsewhere at Eton Dorney in the Women’s Eight, who came fifth out of six in their final.

They included Oxford Academy teacher and Oxford Mail columnist, cox Caroline O’Connor.

Her aunt Amanda Hopkins said: “I watched the whole thing through my fingers, it was so nervewracking. We feel incredibly proud. They are the only women’s eight team from Great Britain to have made the Olympic final and they’ve done that twice now.”

Wallingford Rowing Club captain Caroline Greves cheered on her sister Katie, also from Wallingford, and club member Lindsey Maguire.

She said: “We’re really proud of them, they did everything they could but for some reason they just weren’t on form.”

Elsewhere at Eton Dorney, the men’s four qualified for tomorrow’s final.

The team included Andy Triggs Hodge, 33, from Oxford, who said he wanted Australia to push Britain's men’s four all the way tomorrow after stroking GB to semi-final victory. Asked if he had a message for the Aussies, he said: “Have a good row guys. If I am going to beat them, I want to beat them at their best.

“I don’t want anything less.”