THERE were tears and hugs on the finishing line for Dorset’s Match Race Girls who lost out to their Russian rivals in yesterday’s quarter final races.

Poole trio Lucy and Kate Macgregor and Annie Lush put on a dominant display on home waters but their dreams of making it to the podium were dashed by the Russian team of Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova.

The Team GB Elliott 6m keelboat contenders, all born and bred in the county, were spurred on by the thousands of spectators on the Nothe to ‘raise their game’ – but were ‘absolutely gutted’ to so narrowly get beaten in the ‘best of five’ one-on-one duels.

Speaking immediately after crossing the finishing line, a tearful Lucy Macgregor, 25, said: “We really raised our game in the quarter finals. I think we’ll be proud of that in a few days to come.”

Crewmate Lush, 32, said: “Unfortunately match racing is win or lose.

“I can’t really believe we lost. It felt like we sailed well the last two days.

“We were pretty unlucky in the end to lose that – we dominated all the areas we wanted and sailed really well.

“I’m really proud of how well we sailed these past few days.”

Once ashore the Team GB trio lodged a protest against their Russian rivals as video evidence seemed to show them winning the fourth race, which had a photo finish.

However the protest room officials found in favour of the Russians, saying the camera angle was deceptive and the ‘race committee made no error’.

It means that Team Mac-Lush will go on to race the French team led by helm Claire Leroy in today’s fifth to eighth place sail-offs.

The races will be held on the Portland Harbour course from noon, then the Nothe spectator course from 2.30pm.

The Russian team will go on to compete in tomorrow’s semi-finals.

Helm Macgregor said: “We sailed well over the last three days. We’re pleased with how we picked up our game – not that we had any doubt that we would do that.

“We put on a really good fight – as did the Russians. We thought we’d won that fourth race, hence why we protested. We wouldn’t have done otherwise.

“The race committee officer unfortunately didn’t take our evidence so the results stand and the Russians advance through to the semis and unfortunately that’s our medal hopes over.”

Lush added: “No one ever wants to be in the five to eights – that’s the honest truth.

“But we’re with some good company – the number one, two and three in the world are in the five to eight – and it probably shows the level of competition here and how tight it is.

“We said it would come down to who shows up on the day, we definitely showed up today.

“I’m pretty disappointed with the result, I feel pretty strongly that we did win that fourth race.

“Unfortunately that's not what's been ruled.”