BEIJING medal hope Peter Reed put a brave face on his worst ever result after the GB flagship rowing crew failed to make the medal final in Switzerland - the worst result by a British four in 22 years.

Having lost strokeman Andy Hodge just before the World Cup regatta, they could finish only eighth after losing out on a medal race slot to world champions New Zealand by just 0.2 seconds in a blanket semi-final finish.

Reed said: "It's a really painful result, but I don't regret coming here with two subs on board. We'll be back with a vengeance."

The glorious gold medal which the ex-Cirencester Deer Park student took with Hodge, Olympic champion Steve Williams and Tom Lucy last month in Munich, seemed a distant memory as they struggled to match the finishing surge of their rivals in Lucerne.

Reed refused to blame world pairs medal replacement Colin Smith. "It would be too easy to be one-dimensional and look at our gold with Hodgey in Munich and blame Colin in Lucerne," said Reed.

"That's not how it works. It's so difficult to jump into the stroke seat of another crew and it's a difficult seat to start messing around with crew-wise.

"Not having Hodgey in front of me stroking the boat for the first time in four years was a big challenge. Colin came in last week and in the short time available, we had to try and row differently to fit in behind him.

"The semi-final was really our final, with possibly five crews in there of Olympic final class."

The last time GB failed to make an A final was the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

To find the last time a GB four finished as low as eighth in a major regatta, you have to go back to the 1986 world championships in Nottingham.

"This is a big motivation for the next few weeks before the Poland World Cup," said Reed. "The racing has shown here there are only small crucial margins between eighth and first, but I'm backing us to find them."

It was not all doom and gloom for British rowers at the second of the three major events that lead up to the Beijing Olympics.

The exceptional performances of the weekend, from a GB perspective, came from Mark Hunter and Tewkesbury's Zac Purchase, who took gold in the Siemens-backed lightweight men's double scull, and Matt Wells and Steve Rowbotham, who took silver in the open men's double scull.

Meanwhile, Hartpury's Natasha Page raced well in the women's eight to finish sixth.