TWENTY five Gwent rowers head for Ireland to represent Wales this weekend after a haul of gold, silver and bronze at the British championships.

The River Wye may have been flooding back home, but local pullers were surfing a wave of success at the man-made National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham.

Monmouth School's Huw Richards, James Wragg-Smith and cox Harry Davies stormed to gold in the U18 fours event, while former pupil Ben Curtis took silver in the men's coxless fours.

Richards also teamed up with schoolmates Rodrigo Pearse, Lewis Richards and Alex Berry from Chester to take bronze in the U18 coxless event, and Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls U16s also landed third in the U18 girls' eights.

With Winchester's Robin Jones and Kingston's Ben Myers also on board their Wales squad coxed four, the Monmouth boys thought a bronze was their best chance after squeezing through the time-trial into the six-boat final.

But after lying fourth off the start, they powered through the field into the blistering headwind to grab gold by two lengths.

They went through 500m neck-and-neck with Bedford for second, where top Thames outfit Hampton were out in front by clear water.

Yet by halfway, the Welsh outfit had hit the front to lead Hampton by half a length and they were home and hosed with a seven second lead with 500m to race, leading home Bedford in silver with RGS Worcester in bronze and Hampton completely rowed out.

"We thought we had a chance before the time-trial, but thought we might be struggling a bit after a shocker against the clock. But once we got going in the final, we just sailed through the field," said delighted cox Davies, who is hoping to add the Home Countries title in the same crew in Cork on Saturday.

World junior and students finalist Ben Curtis celebrated his Wales call-up in the men's pair and eight by taking revenge on the London RC outfit who beat his Molesey crew in the semi-final at Henley Royal Regatta.

Curtis, 23, who finished fourth in the four at the World University Championships in Lithuania last year, also did it the hard way though, trailing at the back of the six-boat field at 500m.

Moving through Grosvenor and Broxbourne in the second quarter, Curtis' crew were still clearwater down at halfway on London B and a canvas down on the capital club's A crew with Reading University two lengths up in pole position.

But with the Old Monmothian strokeman driving his crew on, they powered through to second in the third quarter, going through 1500m feet up on London A.

And with the rate building to the line, they got an overlap on leaders Reading and just ran out of water, coming back with every stroke but finishing two-thirds of a length back in silver with London B in bronze a length and a half down.

And he will be looking to add more medals to his collection in Ireland on Saturday when he races the Wales pair with Dingestow world U23 medallist Rob Hollis as well as the eight.

The junior coxless four were fourth at half-way in their championship final, half a length down on Hampton with Tyne and Bedford Modern heading the field.

And they inched through the Thames crew to head them by six feet at 1500m, finally winning a titanic tussle for the bronze by the same margin as Tyne took gold.

With no U16s event, Haberdashers were forced to race the U18 eights event, but also battled their way to bronze.

The Welsh team now heads for Ireland today, where no less than 24 local rowers have been selected, with very high hopes.

Old Monmothians Curtis and Hollis are the two men's seniors on board in the pair and eight, while Monmouth Rc's Hannah Glasson coxes the women's eight.

As well as doing the junior coxed four with Huw Richards and cox Harry Davies, Monmouth School gold medallist Wragg-Smith doubles up in the junior pair with Robin Jones.