IT may have come as little consolation, but a silver medal for Wallingford’s Zac Purchase and Leander’s Mark Hunter completed Britain’s most successful rowing Olympics.

The duo were visibly distraught after being pipped by Denmark in the lightweight men’s double sculls final after entering London 2012 as defending champions.

However, their efforts gave Britain a tally of four golds, two silvers and three bronze medals – beating the previous benchmark of eight set in 1908.

The final was one of the most dramatic races of the London 2012 regatta at Eton Dorney.

Purchase and Hunter led the Danes by one second at the 1,500-metre mark before a titanic battle ensued.

Both crews had their noses in front briefly before Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist surged to inch home in 6mins 37.17secs to Britain’s 6.37.78.

All this had come after the race had to be restarted because Purchase’s seat had broken inside the first 100m.

Afterwards Purchase and Hunter were physically and emotionally spent and had to be helped from their boat in tears.

“To lose an Olympic title hurts tremendously,” said Hunter.

“There has been so much support, but we feel we let everybody down by not winning.

“We raced our hearts out, but it wasn’t good enough today.”

The silver medal represented a significant recovery from their last outing at the Munich World Cup regatta in June where they finished sixth and last in the final.

“It has been a pretty hard season for us,” said Purchase.

“We have had our ups and downs.

“Fair play to the guys who have won. They had an awesome race. We did our best.”