New Zealand returned a mixed bag from their last two semi-finals at the world rowing championships today.

On a day dominated by finals, with the home team returning modest dividends of a silver and two bronzes from six finals contested, there was some good news for Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan in the men's double sculls.

The pair qualified for Sunday's final with a six minutes 44.77 seconds win, nearly two seconds clear of the Australian combination of Nick Hudson and Jared Bidwell. The time was useful, considering the challenging conditions, and Sullivan said the pair had to work hard to ensure their passage through to the next round.

"I always find the semifinal the hardest race to get through," he said. "In the finals it gets even harder but once you're in there you've got a chance. And as we've seen today, anything can happen in the finals. But you 've got to be in the race to make it happen."

However, that good news was negated by Duncan Grant's disappointment in the men's lightweight single sculls, when he faded badly over the last quarter of the 2000m race, and missed out on the A final for the first time in four years.

The three-times defending champion held a comfortable lead at the halfway mark, but paid the pricein the second half of the race for a quick 1min 44.28sec opening 500m. He eventually finished fourth, in a race won by the canny tactics of Denmark's Henrik Stephansen in 7min 20.46sec.

Grant afterwards described the race as the most disappointing of his career: "My best just wasn't good enough today."

He said the testing conditions and cross-wind didn't help, but he didn't handle the conditions as well as he could have.

"Not to be in the A final is gutting, but I have a B final to win on Sunday."

New Zealand finished last in the four-crew women's four final, and in the six-boat women's quad sculls while Lucy Strack and Julia Edward, who had punched above their weight all week in the lightweight double sculls, also finished sixth.

The only win of the day came in the men's quad sculls, where John Storey, Matthew Trott, Robert Manson and Nathan Twaddle won the B final. Their winning 6min 07.71sec showed just how much conditions had deteriorated by the time the Croatia took the gold medal in the A final four hours later in 6min 15.78sec.

- NZPA