Stratford Happy To Be On The Water and Racing Again!

After many frustrating weeks of not being able to get out onto the river because of unsafe conditions, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force to Wycliffe Small Boats Head on Saturday with their sister club King Edward The Sixth School.

First up for Stratford Boat Club was the WJ14 4x+ squad of Amalia Richardson, Millie Hodgson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall coxed by Imogen Hill who after settling nerves about getting through the low bridge produced an admirable demonstration of power and precision sculling over the course of 2500m to beat crews from City of Bristol, City of Oxford and Monmouth Comprehensive School in a time of 11:33.6.

Next up in the afternoon division was the OJ14 4x+ of Louie Beason, Uche Nwachukwa, Grace Beason, Charles Happel coxed by Emily Stobart. The weather conditions had changed from the morning sessions providing a strong distinctly cold wind down the course. However this did not deter the crew and with Emily providing all the encouragement possible from the cox seat did battle with the all boys’ crews from Monmouth and two boats from Winchester College in a time of 11:26.4 missing out on a medal place by only nine seconds. Commenting, Steve Marsden, J14 Coach, said, “Great racing and they did gain bragging rights by beating their peers’ crew by seven seconds!”

Stratford’s J15 squad had a very successful day, finishing up with two golds, one silver and one bronze medal. The first gold came from the boys’ double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie, who despite being forced to stop by a girls’ quad that refused to move out of their way, finished over twenty seconds ahead of their nearest rivals from Falcon Rowing Club, in a time of ten minutes and twenty three seconds. Said Abi Terry, J15 Coach, “With this time, the double would have also won the J16 event!”

Tomi and Will were both in action again in the J15 singles event. Here Wilcock dominated in a time of eleven minutes and thirty five seconds, twenty six seconds ahead of a sculler from Hereford. Beattie also put in a good performance to finish in the bronze medal position in a time of twelve minutes and seven seconds. The silver medal came from Harriet Holmes and Freya Watts in the WJ15 double event. This was Watts’ third event of the day and despite no practice together, the girls rowed brilliantly to finish with a time of eleven minutes and thirty three seconds.

The WJ15 4x+ of Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Lucy Browne, Harriet Holmes and cox Toby Sartain, finished in fourth place just 1.4 seconds behind third place in a time of ten minutes and fifty four seconds. Griffiths, Watts and Holmes also competed in the WJ15 singles event, finishing in sixth, seventh and ninth place respectively.

The Club’s J16 squad was represented by Elisabeth Edwards who won a bronze medal in the WJ 16 1x single sculls class.

Wycliffe Small Boats Head presented a long awaited opportunity for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews to engaging in some racing over 2,500 metres on the Sharpness canal. The ladies in the J17/18 squad fielded four crew combinations and collected gold, silver and bronze medals in both Junior and Senior coxed four events. It was a particularly fruitful day for Amelie Sartain, the Club’s talented fifteen year old sculler who collected two silver medals, one in the women’s junior 16 single sculls and the other in Senior Women’s double sculls partnered by Alice Baines.

Stratford’s sister club from King Edward The Sixth School was also out in force and this weekend saw the first of this year’s head races for them and after many months of training, the squad was eager to put their strength to the test. At this year’s annual Wycliffe head, KES fielded two coxed fours and a double scull. The novice J17 four consisting of Cameron Dalrymple- Baker, Fred Alanson, Sam Thornton and Tobias Bretschneider with cox Jamie Mitchell competed in the first division of the day, comfortably achieving first place in a race that could only be described as an uncontested victory. The second division of the day witnessed a fantastic display of racing elegance by Cameron and Fred (this time competing in a double) who managed to beat five other crews, racing up an age group before narrowly losing out to older opposition. As the day drew on, the J18 four consisting of Joe Hodson, Felix Crabtree, Adam Baylis, Sam Thornton and once again cox Jamie Mitchell prepared for their race. Their first challenge of the day was soon evident as we battled the rough waters of the Gloucestershire canal on our way up to the start. Cox Jamie Mitchell ensured his crew stayed calm and they stuck to their race plan and executed it perfectly. After a minor collision with a Victorian transport barge due to another crew coming along side us, the KES crew powered on to finish in a very competitive time of nine minutes and fifty four seconds. This secured them fourth place, one minute and twenty seconds ahead of the fifth crew and only thirty seconds behind the first crew from Radley College that contained a boy from last year’s junior GB squad. Said crew captain Joe Hodson, “We are very pleased with this set of results especially as this was Tobias and Jamie’s first time racing! We are all looking forward to racing again in the New Year!”

Also rowing in the MAS4+ category at Wycliffe Small Boats Head was Stratford Masters’ Men’s four of Richard Aitchinson, Sean Kim, Enrico Calore and David Edwards coxed by Elisabeth Edwards. This was a great success as three of the crew members came through the Club’s Learn to Row course only three months ago!

Meanwhile, off the water at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Velodrome in London, Adaptive Squad Coach Trevor Tiller flew the flag at the British Rowing Indoor Championships in the Open Men’s 2000m event. A good steady race saw Trevor finish just outside a personal best time and seventieth out of eighty seven entries of all ages.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/104227-welcome-return-racing-water-stratford-rowers.html and page seventeen

For more great pictures of Wycliffe Small Boats Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection at https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9jcR06xHLqjFZ6vGIiA?e=OGq4TK

We Will Remember Them

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out of their training on Sunday morning to honour those who fell in the World Wars and other conflicts and observe a two minutes’ silence on Remembrance Sunday. The Club’s thoughts were led by the Club’s President, Paul Stanton

Wreaths were laid at the memorial in the Club grounds by the Club’s youngest member Freya Dawe and Peter Wyatt, the Club’s oldest member: seventy seven years separate their rowing experience! Peter was also one the Club’s 2012 Olympic Torch Relay runners together with the Club’s Camilla Hadland

All the crews and rowers came from their indoor training during a busy Remembrance Sunday to attend the act of remembrance. Said Abi Terry, Stratford Boat Club’s J15 coach, “The memorial is at the heart of the Club and our sporting life goes on around it: this was an opportunity to stop, reflect and remember those Stratford Boat Club members who had died so that we can live in peace and enjoy our sport.”

This year there was the added poignancy of marking of the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Amongst other members of the Club who died because of WW2, George Ball and John Dunlop Lambert had served in the Canadian armed forces: the Club was honoured to have visiting rower Dr Martyn Judson from London Rowing Club, Ontario lay a wreath at the Club’s memorial to commemorate the two members. Dr Judson also gave a short history of George Ball’s and John Dunlop Lambert’s life and achievements from extensive research by the Club’s Archivist and Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page twenty three and Stratford Observer picture mention https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/remembering-those-who-served-15818

Masters’ Training Pays Off for Stratford!

On a day that saw most of the rivers in Warwickshire bursting their banks and club rowing sessions throughout the region cancelled, a number of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews were able to escape indoor training for a day’s racing on the Gloucester to Sharpness canal in the City of Gloucester.

In glorious sunny conditions contrasting the torrential rain of the day before, crews from all over the Midlands and South West of England enjoyed some competitive racing across two divisions for a full day’s racing finishing only as dusk settled over the 5km course.

On a course renowned for being fairly choppy due to its reinforced banks, conditions were made further challenging as flood water alleviation, saw the canal conditions become even rougher for the smaller single and doubles crews with boats being bounced around on the water leading to some interesting racing.

The course, although providing some long straight line racing, also threw in some challenging bends, narrow bridges and large motorised river traffic to keep crews on their toes from start to finish.

Racing in the afternoon division, Stratford had two crews in division events, first off being Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty racing in a combined masters’ double sculls event comprising three mixed (male /female) crews and six men’s crews from clubs as far afield as Dart Totness, Taunton, Worcester, Stourport and Upton on Seven.

A steady start in the choppy conditions saw Stratford settle into as much of a rhythm as the conditions would allow. Leading off the other eight crews, Stratford were able to push away from the crews immediately behind them to open up a gap and chase down two junior women’s coxed fours ahead of them from Worcester Rowing Club.

Racing towards a narrow bridge on the course saw Stratford overtake the first of the Worcester coxed fours boats to squeeze ahead through the bridge. By this time the field in their doubles event had began to sort itself out and Stratford began to come under pressure from the top quality Upton mixed crew containing Steve Redgrave’s ex rowing partner Julian Scrivener. Stratford working hard, held Upton, the eventual event winner, off until the 4km mark.

Having negotiated the last major bend, saw Stratford close right behind another Worcester women’s coxed four crew whilst in turn being chased down by the impressive men’s crew from Stourport. A neck by neck side by side race between the two crews over the last 500 m saw both crews cross the finish line level.

The final race result saw Stratford’s mixed crew finish fourth out of nine entries beating four men’s and one mixed crew, losing only to two men’s and one mixed crew from Upton.

The plaudits for the day’s racing however have to go to Kjersti Rogneflaten racing in a single scull which, in the choppy conditions, saw many competitors throughout the event struggle to complete the course in what are normally quite unstable boats.

Racing in a field of four women’s masters scullers against strong opposition, some of whom had beaten Kjersti in earlier races, made for very challenging racing. Using her experience of racing on rough water courses, Kjersti was able to maintain a very good consistent race pace to finish in a very respectable time of twenty seven minutes and twenty seconds which saw her gain a deserved victory in the event.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “A great days racing was topped off by seeing Kjersti gain a very well deserved win, a suitable reward for all her hard training, on what was a very challenging stretch of water in such an unstable boat as a single scull.”

Kjersti has had a busy season already this year having competed in The World’s Masters Regatta in Hungary in September: now that the head race season has started, Kjersti has to get used to racing in kilometres rather than sprinting over metres!

“The World’s Master’s Regatta was a great experience,” said Kjersti.”Racing was in eight lanes over 1000m. At the start block, hearing neither my name nor my club, but ‘in lane four: Great Britain’ – and that was me! Saying I was out of my comfort zone is an understatement! But I survived and managed to do a Personal Best even though I was far away from a medal.”

Last weekend saw Kjersti race at the Weybridge Silver Sculls which is on a non-tidal reach of the Thames. The Silver Sculls is a trophy that many famous scullers have won including Sir Steve Redgrave.

After some discussions about the conditions earlier in the week, it was decided to shorten the course to 3km.  The race is upstream from Walton to Weybridge.  Kjersti’s immediate challenge was to manoeuvre down to start in the strong current amongst cruisers and competing crews coming up stream crossing in to the marshalling channel. During the race Kjersti managed to overtake a younger woman but with the strong current it felt like Kjersti was racing against the tide!

Kjersti’s was up against nine women in her event. Unfortunately the two Kjersti was hoping to beat scratched before the race but Kjersti still ended up number five out of seven, being beaten by women from Tideway Scullers, Henley, Mortlake and Christchurch

Commenting, Kjersti said, “At both events I met some amazing masters’ women: there is a passion about what we are doing, so ‘if it’s there, it has to be done’. So we will continue to meet at various events and at training camps!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/103188-masters-training-pays-off-stratford-bc.html and page fourteen and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/masters-training-pays-off-for-stratford

Felix’s Presence Is Still with The Club!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out on Sunday morning to welcome the Badcock family back to the Club and name the Club’s new launch after Felix Badcock, the Club’s former President

In 1972, life and work brought Felix, Jane his wife and their three children to Welford on Avon where they went on to farm for over thirty years. In 1977, he became local Scout Leader, then Group Scout Leader and finally Stratford District Commissioner, a position he held for many years.

Felix had a long and successful career with Thames Rowing Club in Putney, London, rowing in the Thames Eight in the ‘Grand’ at Henley Royal Regatta for seven years and sometimes doubling up in the Stewards’ Cup. In 1958 his crew won a Bronze for England at the Commonwealth Games in Wales. He remained active in the world of rowing, becoming an International Selector in the 1960’s, Captain of Thames and later Vice President.

Felix’s involvement with Stratford upon Avon Boat Club started in 1980, first coaching his daughter and her school friends and from there countless more junior and adult members. Felix’s women’s coxed four of 2008/9 won both at Henley and at the National Championships. He is fondly remembered by the Club and his crew as dedicated, passionate and deeply committed to every aspect of the training. His love for the sport was infectious, and the time spent with this crew led to some very great rowing and life-long friendships with both Felix and his beloved wife Jane.

In 2010, Felix was awarded the British Rowing Volunteer of the Year Award, immediately nominating another Stratford volunteer for the same award the following year, a gesture typical of his selflessness, and in the London 2012 Olympics was a Games Maker at the rowing centre at Dorney Lake.

Felix is still remembered by Stratford upon Avon Boat Club as a gentle ‘Father’ of the Club. He was much loved and respected, and his tact and diplomacy meant he was always able to see both sides of any discussion. His wisdom, knowledge and experience were called upon on numerous occasions!

Said Paul Stanton, the Club’s President, “What an honour to have so many of the Badcock family with us on what was a very special day naming our new launch after Felix: it was an unanimous decision to continue Felix’s presence with us both off and especially on the water.”

The naming ceremony was carried out by Felix’s three rowing granddaughters – Phoebe Bridges (University of Sussex and Thames Tideway), Helen Craven (Lancaster University) and Frances Badcock (King’s College, University of Cambridge): the new launch was ‘christened’ with a bottle of Fuller’s London Pride, reputed to be Felix’s ‘tipple of choice’ during his rowing days!

Commenting, Dr Graham Collier, J17/18 coach and former Club Captain, said, “The Club is most grateful to all who have contributed to the cost of the new launch which is essential for the safety and training of all our athletes and will replace equipment in our aging launch fleet. We are especially grateful to Warwickshire County Council who gave the Club a grant to towards the purchase and we were please to see Councillor Jenny Fradgley with us at the ceremony so that we could thank Warwickshire County Council face to face: their involvement in assisting with sport and recreation in the county is much appreciated.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/103016-clubs-new-launch-named-memory-much-loved-former-president.html and page sixteen and also Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/felixs-presence-is-still-with-stratford-boat-club

Stratford Masters’ Double Impresses at Pairs’ Head

Sunday saw the annual running of the national Pairs Head of the River Race in London.

The event, organised by Barnes Bridge Ladies’ Rowing Club, brings together the best two person double sculls (two blades each) and pairs (single blade each) crews from all over the country for a spectacular time trial event on the River Thames with over four hundred and sixty entries racing over the majority of the Boat Race Course, a distance of 4.5km.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was represented in the Mixed Masters D Double Sculls category (average crew group age 50 to 55) by Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty.

On a day that forecast heavy rain and bad weather, the competitors were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by sunshine and a moderate wind to provide unusually reasonable calm conditions, most unlike a normal Tideway events.

Starting in the one hundred and ninety fifth position gave Stratford a chance to watch the race spectacle unfold with some of the country’s top national rowers competing for honours and leading off the field.

Stratford Boat Club, up against a good Ardingly crew and surrounded by other boats containing ex- internationals, were in for a tough race but made a good start and, although in a heavy boat, held off some quality crews from Bewel Bridge and Upton for the majority of the course.

Stratford were able to close on Bristol, their direct competitors, and a close battle ensured for the majority of the course with less than a length separating both crews for the last two kilometres. With Hammersmith Bridge fast approaching and the finish in sight, a final push saw Stratford just pip Bristol over the finish line to complete the event in fifteen minutes and fifty one seconds to beating Bristol overall by nineteen seconds. Unfortunately this was not enough to win their category with Ardingly finishing twenty three seconds ahead which saw Stratford settle for second place.

As with most major Thames races, a degree of steering was required to avoid both slower crews and charging faster boats leading to some very close encounters. With conditions being reasonably favourable, all crews were set on fast times and aiming to take advantage of the stream, leading to close side by side racing for much of the course.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “This was Heather’s first visit to a major Tideway event and only her third ever head race: it was great to see her put in a big performance against some very good opposition!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/102714-stratford-masters-double-impress-pairs-head-race.html and page fifteen and also Stratford Observer https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-masters-double-impresses-at-pairs-head

Good Start for Stratford Juniors First Head

Last weekend saw the opening head race of the new season on the Thames in Oxfordshire. Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, held over 4.25km, attracts top level scullers from around the region with Stratford fielding crews across the age range. Stratford’s J15 squad were represented in the coxed quadruple sculls event by Freya Watts, Lucy Browne, Fleur Griffiths, Honour Keil and Harriet Holmes (coxswain). Their row was sufficient to rank them fifth just ten seconds behind Headington School. In the shorter course event (1.5km), the J15 single scullers of Harriet Holmes and Owen Perkins ranked sixth and third respectively.  In the double sculls, the J15 crew of Ruby Howells and Bella Chappelhow delivered a solid row to achieve tenth amongst a strong field. This left the double scull of Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock last to compete in the J15 event. The powerhouse pair dominated their event taking the win by more than twenty seconds. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “A superb result for the season opener.”

Yet again the two quad boats of the J14s did not disappoint, providing very spirited demonstrations of their sculling skills over a 1500m course. The WJ14X+ quad of Amalia Richardson, Grace Beason, Uchenna Nwachukwa, Millie Hodgson expertly coxed by Imogen Hill provided a battling sculling performance to finish a very creditable fourth place behind boats from Headington and Maidenhead but beating two other boats from Headington and Maidenhead. The J4 4X+ quad boat of Charles Happel, Madison Hall, Louie Beason, Harriet Noyes superbly coxed by Emily Stobart were racing to record a time, having no other competing crews for their category. However the time they recorded of 8 minutes and 49.4 seconds beat the girls’ quad by 2.5 seconds. Said Steve Marsden, J14 coach, “Perhaps they grabbed the bragging rights for the J14’s on this occasion. A final note that the times recorded were 2.3 and 4.8 seconds, respectively, faster than the J15 race and would have finished fourth in that race too.”

The J17/18 juniors started the new season by competing on Wallingford’s challenging course over 4,500 metres with some not insignificant bends to test the bow steered coxless boats. The event was attended by over six hundred high quality crews competing across three divisions. Boating first for Stratford in the Open Junior 18 sculls was Joe Hodson competing against a large field of sixty one competitors achieving a creditable result of thirty four out of sixty one.

Next up to the challenge was the crew of Emily Browne, Maiya James, Nixie Brunt and Matilda Watts competing in the Junior 18 women’s coxless quad which resulted in achieving twelfth place in their category.

In the afternoon division, the crew of Alice Baines and Katie Wellstead competed against a plethora of London based schools in the women’s Junior 18 double sculls achieving eleventh place, a promising start given this was their second outing together.

Finally the crew of Mili Wilcock, Molly Gill-Swift, Hermione Hill and Jasmine Mountney took to the water. Due to the high number of entries in the Junior 18 category the girls had to step up to the Women’s coxless quad event which resulted in achieving sixth place.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page sixteen and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/102511-stratford-juniors-impress-first-head-race-season.html

For more great pictures from Wallingford Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection http://www.stratford-herald.com/102511-stratford-juniors-impress-first-head-race-season.html

Kitchens by Dexter Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Great Success!

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

A marvellous late summer day with the weather ideal for racing! Great participation from crews local and further afield from Stourport Boat Club, Evesham Rowing Club, Derwent Rowing Club, Bridgenorth Rowing Club, Warwick Boat Club, A B Severn Boat Club, Hereford Rowing Club as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and sister club King Edward V1 School Boat Club. The regatta this year had three divisions, twenty nine events and eighty one separate races starting at 09.30 and running all day through until a prompt close

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

at 16.30hrs! Stratford Boat Club managed over fifteen wins during the day.

Dawson Curnock, Stratford Boat Club’s Chairman and Regatta Secretary said, “This year we were very heartened by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public who also had the bonus of having the Stratford Town Food Festival closeby. A massive thanks to all our sponsors especially Kitchens by Dexter, hard working Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and especially the public for supporting the event. We were especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Councillor Kate Rolfe and her consort and Councillor Christopher Kettle, Chairman of Stratford on Avon District Council attend the regatta.”

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s Treasurer commented. “It was a long day’s racing: 175 beefburgers, 12kg of sausages, 4kg of bacon, 20kg of sliced onions and 300 buns all from local suppliers were consumed as well as dozens of cakes and snacks: what a magnificent day topped by great racing! We decided to stay with the shortened 650 metre course to ensure the safety of all the competitors and river users. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald pages sixteen and fifteen and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/102326-rescheduled-stratford-regatta-hailed-roaring-success.html and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/regatta-is-hailed-a-great-success

For more great photographs of the 2019 regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9jbFR30p-Fy1vZSQlRw?e=bofV9V

Dinner Surprise for Stratford’s Adaptive Coach!

At Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s formal dinner on Saturday, the Club’s Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney got a surprise when he was awarded the James Roe Award for outstanding services to the Club and rowing in the area

In the citation given by Oliver Smith, Captain of Boats, considerable mention was made of Mark Dewdney’s tireless efforts to establish and expand adaptive rowing at Stratford and throughout the region. Said Oliver Smith, “Mark’s hard work and determination are an example to us all: the standard of coaching that Mark and his fellow coaches and supporters have given to Stratford’s adaptive squad is a beacon of excellence which we hope will be copied throughout the region and gain the support that adaptive rowing deserves.”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “The James Roe Award was named after and first awarded to the Club’s 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner, James Roe MBE to commemorate James’ great achievement and the kudos and lift it gave to the Club and rowing at Stratford. The cup has only been awarded to a very few club members since 2012 and Mark’s presentation was richly deserved.”

The guest of honour at the Club dinner was Richard Phelps, 1992 Olympian in the Great Britain Men’s Eight in Spain, competitor at the World Championships in 1993 and 1994, a member of the winning Cambridge crew in three University Boat Races in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and many other sporting successes. Richard is a member of the Leander Club, Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club, Chiswick Boat Club, Cambridge University Boat Club and Kingston Rowing Club. Richard was also the University Boat Race umpire for the women’s race in 2019 and the men’s race in 2014. In his speech, Richard enthralled the audience with his many rowing anecdotes on and off the water!

The weekend’s duties were not over for Richard Phelps as he was out early on the Sunday morning as guest coach for the Club’s J17/18 squad with Stratford coaches Dr Graham Collier and Colin Bell. Said Dr Graham Collier, “Richard certainly didn’t give the crews an easy time and pushed and encouraged them using his considerable experience as a coach and competitor: our young athletes gained much from the outing and we are so grateful to Richard for the time he spent with us.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/news/stalwart-stratford-boat-club-coach-honoured-for-outstanding-service and Midweek Herald page twenty eight

Stratford’s Adaptive Squad Scores at Worcester

At the weekend, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Senior Men’s sculler Harvey Mole travelled to Worcester Regatta and had a first round victory in the Band Two Open Single Sculls event beating Crane from local club Warwick. In the final, Harvey was against a rower from City of Bristol: whilst Harvey started well, he lost the middle part of the race giving away two and a half lengths at the halfway mark. Although Harvey took back a length, he left himself too much to do in the final sprint.

The mixed Masters double sculls event featured Stratford rowers Heather Hayton and Thomas Doherty against a younger Minerva Bath crew in a straight final. After a fast start, the Stratford crew racing with a slight handicap advantage rating a lively 38 strokes per minute off the start eased out into a significant lead by the halfway stage.
A big push saw the Stratford crew consolidate the race easing through to the finish rating 35 strokes per minute for a comprehensive win to round off a successful days racing.

Following their recent success at Oxford, Stratford Boat Club’s Adaptive squad was equally triumphant at the weekend’s Worcester Autumn regatta. Pride of place must go to Hattie Throssell. All season she has been getting closer and closer to that debut win: it finally came on Saturday. In the final, Hattie competed against an all male crew, again from Stratford. It was a clear win for Hattie and her support rower Paul Beason. The whole squad was ecstatic for her; even her well beaten colleagues.

Other wins included Mark Brookes, another athlete succeeding for the first time, again with Paul Beason. In the final of the adaptive pairs they

narrowly overcame their young opponents Dan Godefroy and Jake Blatcher in yet another all Stratford final, only nudging into the lead in the last one hundred metres of the race.

Mark Sanders and Jake Blatcher, in better form than at Oxford, had a comfortable win over Maidenhead in a supported doubles event and also Mark was beaten by a mere six feet in the semi final of the adaptive singles event.

The remainder of the Club spent the weekend settling into their new squads and learning new skills and techniques such as how to go through the very narrow spans of Clopton Bridge. Last minute jobs were being completed ready for the Club’s rescheduled regatta on Saturday 21 September.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald http://www.stratford-herald.com/101914-stratfords-adaptive-squad-scores-worcester-regatta.html and page fourteen and Stratford Observer https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-squad-shines-at-worcester.

Three Day Weekend of Glorious Rowing!

Over the weekend, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force to the Ross regatta. The Ross regatta setting is perhaps one of the best in Stratford’s event calendar and it was further enhanced by the weather being very sunny and very hot.

The J13 crews raced in the morning and first on the course was the 2x double of Louis Beason and Charles Happel who had progressed through to the semi final race courtesy of a bye. They provided a first class demonstration of sculling and steering, the course bend proved to be the downfall of many during the day, winning against Queen Park High school easily.

Their final saw them up against Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, Louie and Charles got off to a great start but were pegged back by the power of the Nottingham crew who registered the win – easily.

The next up for Stratford was Grace Beason again rowing against Nottingham & Union Rowing Club in the WJ13 1x. The race proved not to be Grace’s best unfortunately capsizing shortly after the start.

Stratford’s  WJ13 4X+ Crew of Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Uche Nwachukwa, Grace Beason and Emily Stobart (cox) were up against Ross Rowing Club. The ladies competed very well after losing ground at the start, picking up in middle of the course to be on the tail of Ross before running out of steam at the sprint finish missing out by only one length – a great effort by the ladies. Said Steve Marsden, J13 coach, “A great day and great experience for our young crews.”

On Sunday, the J14’s were out in force again. The J14 double of Toby Sartain and Owen Perkins were first up racing against a strong duo from the home club, Ross. The Stratford boys pushed hard but on this occasion it wasn’t to be and it was the Ross crew that progressed to the next round. The other double of Bella Chappelhow and Will Beattie also completed in the same event and were drawn up against a very strong boys’ crew from City of Bristol and despite a battle all of the way down the course, the Bristol crew were victorious by just two lengths.

Next it was the time of the J14 girls’ singles. Ruby Howells competed in only her second event in a single against a very neat sculler from Exeter Rowing Club. Ruby sculled beautifully down the course but the Exeter sculler was just too strong to be beaten.

Fleur Griffiths and Freya Watts both took to the water to race their first rounds against scullers from Queens Park High School. The Stratford pair were comfortable winners in this round and progress to the semi-finals. Here Griffiths met Harriet Holmes and in a very close race and it was Griffiths who took the spot in the final by just half a length over Holmes. Watts then took on another sculler from Queens Park High School which again was dominated by the Stratford sculler. Watts then took on Griffiths in the final and in another close race in which Stratford was guaranteed a win. On this occasion it was Watts that was victorious and picked up the tankard.

Beattie was up next in the J14 singles where he faced an extremely big sculler from Warrington. Beattie came down in the lead and took the win in the heat, his first in a single. Next he faced one of the boys from the Bristol double from earlier in the day. Unfortunately it was the Bristol sculler who took the place in the final.

The J14 girls doubles of Griffiths and Honour Keil and Howells and Chappelhow were both dealt challenging draws in their first rounds and despite pushing hard they were defeated. Holmes and Watts made it through the first round with a comprehensive win but unfortunately they were beaten in the semi-final by Exeter.

On Monday, it was Chapplehow’s turn to race in a single for the first time and despite a sterling effort, she was unable to overcome her opponent from Bristol. The WJ14 coxed quad of Keil, Howells, Griffiths, Watts and cox Toby Sartain powered to a five length victory against Ross in the semi final. Then in the final, they raced Bristol and with some expert coxing from Toby taking the fastest water, they finished two lengths ahead of their opposition.

The doubles of Griffiths and Watts and Howells and Keil again came up against crews that they couldn’t quite overcome as did Perkins in the J14s single. Said Abi Terry, J14 coach, “The squad now look forward to the new season as they move up to be J15’s.”

Bringing the season to a close, the J15 squad’s winning weekend began on Sunday morning with finals places for Amélie Sartain in the singles event and also in the doubles event with Abbey Meggeson later that afternoon.

The heats were aptly named as the sun beat down making for some demanding racing with both girls fighting through deservedly winning their finals places. In both the single and doubles events, the finals went right down to the line with victory escaping by only by the shortest of margins on both occasions.

Monday saw the course increase in length for the main regatta. Sartain, again in the single faced a local Ross girl for the heat and after a fast start comfortably won by four lengths for a place in the semi final. A tougher semi final race against Evesham, winning by less than a boat length had Sartain against Queens Park High School in the final. An inspired row from both saw the girls side by side as they passed the cheering crowds yet it was Sartain that dug deepest to take the win by two and a half boat lengths.

The afternoon doubles event saw Meggeson and Sartain back together to face a Wycliffe crew. Despite Sartain having raced eight previous races during the weekend and Meggeson three, the race was extremely close and hard fought all the way, coming a very commendable second by only three quarters of a length (eight metres). This demonstrated the sheer determination and drive of the girls throughout this race and the whole weekend

Commenting, Trevor Tiller, J15 coach said, “A wonderful conclusion to a successful season for the J15 squad: the determination and passion shown by the squad throughout the season, during both training and racing, has made for some great times and as a byproduct, great results.”

As the regatta continued into its second day and the temperatures continued to soar, Stratford’s J16 girls took to the water. Just two athletes took a break from summer holidays to light up the Wye in their single sculls. On opposite sides of the draw, the competition began with both Jasmine Mountney and Alice Baines sailing through the first round each with a win against Dart Totnes and Evesham respectively. In the semi finals Alice again took a win against City of Bristol however unfortunately Jasmine met her match and was edged out on the line. Alice went on to the final and duly avenged Stratford’s semi final defeat vanquishing Nottingham Union thus taking her second win is successive years in this event. Said Steve Wellstead, J16 coach and Junior Co-ordinator, “Top sculling by both ladies and a fitting end to the day’s racing!”

Also on day two of the regatta, Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift racing in the Senior Women’s double sculling event proceeded through the heats in magnificent style to reach the final and race against Upton Rowing Club. An amazing final: the first attempt ended in a dead heat with the two crews returning without rest to the start to do it all over again. Despite a combative performance, Upton just took the event.

Katie Wellstead sculling vigorously in a single in the Women’s Junior event was overhauled by less than ten feet at the finish by an Exeter sculler. The afternoon saw Mimi Hill, normally a coxswain, join the three girls (all only 17 years old) to take on the Senior Women’s quadruple sculls. More top class sculling by the girls enabled them to destroy the ladies from Ross and then Worcester Rowing Clubs. The final against an Evesham crew composed from university students was a brutal affair in which Evesham finished less than two lengths ahead of Stratford.

A composite Stratford/Derwent Master Women squad also travelled to Ross and showed endurance over the weekend. They were entered in a Women Master F single, Women Master E double, Women Master D Pair and Women’s Master E and Women’s Senior Coxed Four. Altogether they were on the river nine times over the weekend, where they won five races and lost two by small margins.

Commenting, Kjersti Rogneflaten, Stratford’s Masters sculler, “In my Women’s Masters F single, I won my semi-final and lost by a quarter of a length in the final, where I had to give my opponent five seconds head start over the course of 600m.  We also had a win in Women’s Masters D Pair and also in our Women’s Masters E coxed four. We were pleased to have got through one heat in the Women’s Senior coxed Four beating young women from City of Bristol Rowing Club.”

The composite Stratford/Derwent crew are grateful for being able to use Stratford Boat Club’s four and the help and support during the days at Ross. Now the composite Stratford/Derwent squad are looking forward to the World’s Masters Regatta in Hungary in September.

As the school term starts, all the squads move up one division. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator,”There has been no ‘fall out’ this year again with all the squad members continuing rowing in the next category. We will be joined in September by a new J13 squad who have come through the August summer camps which saw nearly one hundred young athletes learn rowing as a sport: we would love to have taken many more on the new J13 intake but space, equipment and coaching availability are all at a premium at Stratford.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page fifteen and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/101701-three-days-glorious-rowing-stratfords-crews.html and also Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/ross-trip-brings-decent-reward

For more great pictures of Ross Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9japp4IR8hhRWg3RN-w?e=ouWvWN