Stourport, Oxford and Warwick Wins for Stratford

The last two weekends have been busy ones for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club with the J13 and J14 squads travelling to some of our local West Midlands rivals for Stourport’s annual two day regatta. Stourport Boat Club had very kindly leant Stratford boats enabling the crews to compete and all of the Stratford upon Avon athletes had two great days racing.

On the Saturday Stratford claimed two wins. First up the J14 double of Will Clarke and Conar Aitchison had a very close exciting race against a double from Burton Leander. It came right down to the wire and despite an appeal from the opposition the result stood and the Stratford boys were awarded the win by just two feet.

The WJ14 single sculler, Sophie Elstone, stormed through her round against a strong sculler from Evesham gaining a verdict of easily and her place in the final. Here she met another strong sculler, this time from Loughborough Boat Club who had also beaten her opposition in her heat with an ‘easily’ verdict. Sophie kept a cool head and did exactly what she needed to in order to get in front fast and stay in front. Sophie pushed away from the Loughborough sculler and won the event with a very impressive verdict of four lengths. 

The J13 quad of Lucy Browne, Anne Mynors, Honour Keil, Will Beattie and cox Conar Aitchison raced in the open category and came up against a strong crew from Derwent comprising of three boys and one girl. They put up a good fight and gave the Derwent crew their best race of the weekend. Unfortunately, the Stratford crew weren’t quite strong enough and Derwent went on to take the win. 

On the Sunday held over the 600m course Stratford had a number of athletes competing in singles for the first time. Lucy Browne, Anne Mynors and Will Beattie all competed in their respective J13 single events. They all raced hard and showed how all of their hard work on technique this year had paid off. 

Lucy and Will then teamed up to race in a J13 double again against Derwent. This was against two boys and the Stratford crew showed great determination however, the Derwent boys had the better of them and won by and a half lengths.

Meanwhile, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club continued its summer regatta campaign last weekend at Oxford City Royal Regatta. Held over 1000m on the River Thames in Oxford, the club fielded crews from across the age ranges with Junior, Senior and Masters’ squads in action.

First to go was the Mixed Double Scull of Ed Lewry and Imogen North, a pairing likely to cause trouble for any opposition and the competition from Oxford and Fulham Reach clubs felt the might of their combination as they collected the first club victory for the day.

Next up the Men’s Double Scull of Ed Lewry and Tom Coles, another fearsome duo who dispatched Putney Town and Christchurch clubs in the heats and semi-final. It wasn’t to be their day however as Gloucester Rowing Club ruined the party just piping Lewry and Coles to take the win in the final.

Moving on and the action continued with the Men’s Coxless Quadruple Scull of Oliver Smith, Tim Henry and Finn Sprackling and Max Marcus taking to the water and beating London Otters to reach the final. The Stratford men continued their domination of the event as Globe Rowing club disappeared from view and Stratford racked up their second win of the day.

The Junior section was represented in the Women’s J16 double sculls with Katie Wellstead and Emily Browne. Keen to repeat their win from last year’s event they made short work of a home club double in the semi-final. Turning the heat up further in the final, Wellstead and Browne took the victory comfortably to retain their crown.  Said Stratford’s Captain of Boats, Oli Smith, “More performances like this and Oxford will be naming a stretch of the Thames after the duo!”

Then things got spicy in the Women’s Masters single sculls as Christine Goodwin picked up the Stratford standard and stepped forward. Gladiatorial in nature, single sculls events always promise a spectacle for the assembled crowd and Christine delivered in bucket loads with a win in the first round. The Thames, still simmering from Christine’s semi-final, reached boiling point in the last race of the day as she took an early lead in the final. The crowd took to their feet in support as with each stroke she propelled her boat forward with increasing vigour. In a final frenzy, her opposition from Cambridge 99’s fought back but Christine remained in control and stretched out to take the win, her first regatta victory but with her fine sculling on display most certainly not the last!

Whilst their colleagues were at City of Oxford regatta, the J13 squad had another great day in the beautifully set Warwick Regatta. With the start being overlooked by Warwick Castle, this is one of the most picturesque settings for a regatta. Racing was held over 500m in a round robin format for J14 and under, giving all of the crews a minimum of two races.

First up was the J13 singles. Harry Trueman competed for the first time in a single and despite some steering issues kept his head up and completed the course.  Will Beattie also competed in the singles and put in two really strong performances in his rounds. He was joint second on results so had to take part in a race off. He fought hard against a strong sculler from Derwent but unfortunately Will couldn’t quite beat him.

Next up was the WJ13 singles. This was an all Stratford affair with Harriet Holmes and Lucy Browne fighting it out to decide who took home the win. They raced each other twice and although it was close on both occasions Harriet took the win each time and the overall title.

Then Beattie teamed up with Toby Sartain to compete in the J13 doubles. Holmes and Browne also joined up to compete in the same event. Both crews raced against another crew from Derwent and against each other. All of the Stratford athletes showed huge amounts of determination but it was Holmes and Browne that made it into the final to face Derwent for the second time. The girls put in another strong performance, unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough to overhaul the two boys from Derwent this time.

The J14 events began again with an all Stratford affair in the girls’ doubles. All three crews racing each other with good close racing, ultimately Amelie Sartain and Elisabeth Edwards claimed victory after a good finals race against Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings with Emma Harrison and Julia Zampronio Gurden only just missing out by a point.

Coach Trevor Tiller commented, “Despite the ‘all Stratford’ crew races during the day, there is a saying; “If two people compete, their destinies remain intertwined, they’ll remain a part of each other’s life no matter what.” These races will no doubt enhance both squads’ bonding as we go into the new rowing season.”

In the J15/14 girls double, Mary Walton and Emma Harrison performed brilliantly against a strong Derwent crew unfortunately to be beaten by just a couple of lengths. This was Mary’s first competitive race as a sculler and with such a performance we look forward for more to come.

The days racing concluded with Amelie Sartain racing up an age group in the J15 single event and winning her heat by eight lengths saw her into the final. After four previous races she was up against a fresh Derwent sculler and after a neck to neck race was pipped at the post by a mere three quarters of a length, an outstanding performance in an older age group.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer back page and online and Stratford herald online

Stratford Test Their Mettle at Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club arrived at Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta with three untested Senior Men’s’ crews. However they had every confidence that they could get good results

The first race was the eights. The lack of preparation showed early and Stratford were left behind at the start by a strong Vesta crew. Coxed by Amie Jones, the Stratford crew picked up the rate as they came towards the finish line and managed to save the race and force a re-row. The result was better on the second race and Stratford set up an exciting final against local rivals Warwick. The extra race had cost Stratford dear and they were easily beaten by a well-practiced Warwick crew

Next up was the Senior Men’s quad. The crew comprised of Alastair Collier, Max Marcus, Tom Marshall and Edward Press. The race was close run and the Stratford crew fought hard to finish second: again, the crew was happy with the result as this was their first race together

The final race was the coxed fours. The crew was stroked by Mike Hourigan, followed by Ben Twiney, Patrick Hourigan and Oli Smith. After a scrappy start, the crew found themselves in contention but soon after a technical issue caused the crew to lose ground. Another second place finish was all they could manage. The squad now look forward to racing at City of Oxford Rowing Club Regatta and will be better prepared next time out

Meanwhile, back on the course, the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Squad picked up the baton with Mya Kenny and Nixie Brunt racing in the J15 single scull event. Nixie put on a superb show remaining level with her opposition from Maidenhead Rowing Club until the halfway point when a major push from the Maidenhead sculler edged her ahead to victory. Mya also sculled well making a strong start but energy reserves already depleted from a week long training camp on the Tideway ran short and her opposition took the win and the event trophy. Stratford’s WJ four was also in action

Stratford Boat Club is looking forward to another couple of busy weeks with the third of their Junior Summer Camps. Said Junior Co-ordinator Steve Wellstead, “We have now had sixty juniors through our massively popular summer camps and the potential that we have seen has been amazing: this bodes well for our new junior intake in September”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and back page and Stratford Herald page 14

Stratford take Silver Medal at Junior National Rowing Championships

The junior rowing season culminates each year in the British Rowing Junior National Championships held on the 2000m purpose built lake at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham.  The event held over three days represents the last opportunity for junior athletes to compete on the national stage after a year of training hard.

Day One saw the Stratford J14 squad competing in the Omnium event, a test of their skills and boatmanship. The day began with an initial time trial over 1000m in coxed quadruple sculls to determine placings for the finals later in the day. This was then followed by the Omnium in single and double sculls. In the individual event, Amelie Sartain secured right place from ninety one competitors followed by Elisabeth Edwards. Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings took twenty seventh place in the doubles event, closely followed by the pairings of Harriet Hodgson and Sophie Elstone and Abbey Meggeson and Emma Harrison. The morning time trails resulted in the coxed quadruple scull of Amelie Sartain, Harriet Hodgson, Sienna Rawlings, Sophie Elstone and Mary Walton (coxswain) being placed in the C final whilst the crew of Abbey Meggeson, Elisabeth Edwards, Emma Harrison, Martha Usselmann and Rebecca Parkin (coxswain, on loan from Evesham Rowing Club) unfortunately missed a finals place by only 0.7 of a second, approximately 25cm over a distance of 1000m. After a long, hot, tiring, yet very enjoyable day, the races resulted in an overall position nationally of eighteenth place for the finals squad.

Days Two and Day Three followed the more usual regatta format where J15 and upwards crews raced side by side over the full 2000m course. First to go where the J15 coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock, Maiya James and Naomi Sergeant (coxswain) recording twenty third in the time trial of over forty crews competing and twenty fourth overall at the close of the regatta. Next up was Fred Tyler in the J15 single scull with a strong showing in the time trial finishing sixteenth. In the regatta format competition Tyler went on to improve his ranking to fourteenth overall from the forty scullers competing, a great performance and one that shows promise for next season. The final J15 crew competing was the women’s double scull of Mya Kenny and Alice Baines. Highly motivated from training the pairing opened well with eighth in the time trial with a time sufficient to put them in the top three at J16. Then on to the regatta format finishing the day second in the B Final and eighth overall. A highly creditable result.

Last but by no means least, the Stratford J16 squad took to the water. The recently formed coxless quadruple scull of Jessica Wiesheu, Autumn Keil, Emma Little and Talei Dunn put in an exemplary performance in the time trial. The crew’s aggressive racing style in an exciting and demanding semi-final earned them a place in the final of six crews. Still exhausted from their previous race, the crew sculled well but could not get amongst the medals. Joe Hodson (King Edward The Sixth Grammar School rowing captain) was one of thirty eight single scullers contesting the J16 event. He finished twenty fifth in the time trial and after racing strongly over 2000 metres was less than nine seconds from making the top twelve who qualify for the semi-finals. His day ended with a superlative piece of sculling to give him third place in the minor final. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “The crowning moment for the club then came with the crew of Katie Wellstead, Emily Browne, Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift coxed magnificently by Mimi Hill taking to the water in the coxed four ev

Photo : Angus Thomas (

ent. After coming second in the time trial, first in the semi-final the crew raced superbly and skillfully in a most exciting final to finish just behind one of this season’s main adversary, Lea Rowing Club. As a result the girls took the Silver Medal in the event and a just reward for ten months of very hard work in the gym and on the water whilst studying for and completing GCSE examinations.  2019 promises to be another exciting rowing year for them all.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online at

Another Colourful Fun Regatta!

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Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Fun Regatta took place on Saturday amidst good humoured rivalry. While crowds from Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield came in great numbers, the weather was hot and thus the demand for the barbecue was diminished and many move to the tea tent and bar for sustenance! Cheers from crew supporters and visitors spurred on some seventeen crews to their fleeting place in history – winning, surviving, completing the course or being the best well dressed crew on the river!

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Said Wallace Brown, Stratford Boat Club’s Fun Regatta Secretary, “This year’s Fun Regatta, our sixteenth, was another great one in terms of number of local crews from companies and organisations. This year we also had several crews from parents of our young rowers: fierce competition – Mums against Dads!”

Wallace added, “The ingenuity and effort put into the fancy dress was

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amazing – Boat Full of Sunshine, Row Britannia and Lightning Vikings – brought a smile to everybody’s face! Already we’ve seen several competitors sign up for Stratford Boat Club’s autumn Learn to Row courses for those wanting to try rowing even more seriously or just for recreational exercise.”

“We enjoyed hosting so many visitors and local residents at the Fun Regatta,” said Paul Stanton, the Club’s President. “This year we were so

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pleased to have Deeley Group sponsor the Fun Regatta: this was only the third time we have had the Fun Regatta sponsored and it proved a great success to have local companies support us in this very exciting year when we have done so well in local and national regattas and Henley Royal Regatta. The Fun Regatta helps us to show that rowing isn’t just about serious competition and that there is also the fun and recreational aspect to our sport. We are a community club and Deeley Group’s support will help us to pay for our increase in facilities and has increased our ability to provide sport for all especially those looking for weekday recreation and exercise.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page 15 and Stratford Observer online For more great photographs, see

Epic Finish for Stratford at Henley Royal Regatta!

Henley Royal Regatta is always the most prestigious regatta of the whole rowing season. It takes place on a beautiful stretch of the Thames, with the races starting at Temple Island and finishing in the heart of the pretty town of Henley on Thames.  Olympians, international squad crews, the world’s best universities as well as club crews from all over the globe come to compete at Henley at the start of July to try to get their hands on the little red box handed out to winners.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club were seeking to qualify two boats for Henley this year. The coxless four of Mike Hourigan, Patrick Hourigan, Alistair Collier and Ed Press qualified in the Wyfold Cup after some strong performances in some early season regattas.

The coxed four of Eleanor Willetts, Chris Thomas, Tom Coles, Ed Lewry and Ben Twiney had to attend a Qualifiers’ Regatta the Friday before Henley to attempt to get into the Britannia Cup at the regatta proper. They needed to finish in the top five crews, but unfortunately finished sixth, as ended as the fastest non qualifier.

After a weekend of training on the course, which is lined with wooden booms all the way along, the coxless four, only one of whom had ever rowed at Henley before, learnt they were drawn against Swan River Rowing Club from Perth in Australia. The crew from Perth were State Champions and had recently finished third in the Australian championships. They had also been selected by the Stewards of the regatta as one of the favourites for the race – so the Stratford crew knew they had their work cut out!

The race itself, on Wednesday morning, was full of incident. It began with the Swan River crew veering over from the start and drawing a small clash of blades with the Stratford boys before getting back onto their side of the river. They then edged away to a one length lead.  But the Stratford crew began to row long and powerfully and slowly started to edge back into the race. At halfway down the course they had reduced the Swan River lead to half a length when the Australian crew veered over the course again taking the Stratford crew with them and forcing them to scrape their blades on the unforgiving wooden booms. Luckily Stratford were able to keep going and moved back into the race whilst the umpire was busy shouting at Swan River to get back on course.

As they moved into the enclosures with 500 metres to go, Stratford started to move through Swan River and looked like a win was within their grasp before two small crabs cost them half a length at a critical time, meaning Swan edged over the line a third of a length up. The drama hadn’t ended though.

The umpire then held up his red flag meaning he wasn’t satisfied that it was a fair race, due to the clashes along the course and asked the coaches of both crews to join him in the Stewards Enclosure whilst he conferred with the Chairman of the Regatta – Sir Steven Redgrave, over what to do.

The solution put forward was to do it all over again – ninety minutes later! Both Stratford’s coach Bill Sullivan and his crew thought that an eminently fair solution as nobody wanted to see a crew, who had travelled half way around the world to race, be disqualified.

The second race was another humdinger. This time Stratford got off to a length lead after Swan River took their turn to scrape the booms. But slowly and surely the younger legs of the Swan crew started to assert and they moved into a half-length lead with 500 metres to go. Stratford hadn’t given up though and Mike Hourigan in the Stratford stroke seat asked his crew for one last effort as the cheers for the Stratford boys rang down from the packed enclosures. They edged back closer and closer on Swan as the line approached, but it wasn’t to be with Swan prevailing by just three feet, the closest finish of the whole day.

They were two terrific and memorable races and can be seen on the Henley highlights package posted which is on YouTube. After an exhausted Swan River crew were knocked out later in the week the two crews spent a lot of time in each other’s company reliving the race and drinking jug after jug of Pimms.

Coach Bill Sullivan said, “It was a remarkable performance by a new Stratford crew, composed of four guys who only came together in May, against such powerful opposition. It bodes well for the future of the Club that we can achieve these results. On behalf of the boys in the crew I’d like to thank everyone in the Club for all their huge support on Wednesday, as well as all their logistical help with boats and trailers over the season. We know it’s a Club effort and hopefully the boys have made them proud.”

Commenting, Club President Paul Stanton, “Not only is it great credit that the men did so well but it highlights the efforts of Bill Sullivan, their coach, who skillfully managed to get two crew into great condition for Henley. Well done Bill!”

For media coverage see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald online

Medals Keep Coming at Peterborough and Ironbridge!

The regatta season continued with the Peterborough Junior Championships held over 1000m on the purpose built Cambridgeshire lake. Always a competitive event this year did not break the mould with clubs travelling from around the United Kingdom stretching from Teeside to Kent and many in between.  Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s junior 14 and junior 15 squads made trip to Fenland to taste the competition.

The J14 event began with Elisabeth Edwards missing out on a semi-final place in the single sculls by just one foot. Another competing for the first time in a single scull was Sophie Elstone who after getting through her heat fought hard in her semifinal just missing a finals place. For their first time racing in a single both girls showed promise for the future. Staying with the girls’ singles, Amelie Sartain paced herself well in the heats leading up to her final and came home to win Silver medal place, a great achievement over the blustery 1000m course. William Clarke in his single, faced both strong competition and the windy conditions missing out by only six seconds for a semifinal place. The girls’ double of Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings sculled well on their way into the semifinal, but after a closely contested race were pipped at the post for the remaining final positions. The coxed quadruple scull of Mary Walton (cox), Abbey Meggeson, Emma Harrison, Harriet Hodgson and Julia Zampronio-Gurden confidently won their first heat, however during the semifinal unfortunately suffered an equipment breakage. While positioned nicely ready for the final push, one of the gates holding an oar gave way slowing the boat and ending their race.

Meanwhile in the J15 events, the action was also red hot. In the girls’ single sculls event Alice Baines, Mya Kenny and Maiya James were relieved to be drawn in separate heats. The strong headwinds caused issues for all with Alice progressing to the semifinal stage then missing a place in the final by just two seconds. In the girls’ coxed quadruple sculls the crew of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock, Alice Baines and Naomi Sergeant (coxswain) exited the competition early against strong crews from Northwich and Bedford Modern School in the toughest of the three heats. Onwards to the girls’ double sculls where both Stratford crews of Mili Wilcock and Jasmine Mountney plus Mya Kenny and Maiya James won their heats convincingly.  Ecstasy turned to agony however in the semi-finals where the journey ended for both boats. Not to be outdone, the junior 15 boys’ squad stepped up with the double scull of Dan Cox and Fred Tyler swept aside their competition in the heats only to be undone in the final. Last but by no means least, in the J15 single sculls Fred Tyler rowed a tactical first heat conserving energy. After waltzing through the repechage to book his place in the final things got spicy with a superb row in the final delivering the second silver medal of the day.

Meanwhile at Ironbridge set amongst a fantastic wooded hillside which means that even on the hottest sunniest days, competitors and spectators alike can enjoy the refreshing shade and gentle breeze rustling the trees all around the boating area. Ironbridge is also traditionally a happy hunting ground for Stratford crews and this year was no exception!

Kjersti Rogneflaten led the way with pots in both the Women’s Masters E double with her rowing partner from Derwent with a very big margin over Evesham in the final. Kjersti then followed up with winning Women’s Masters E in the afternoon with what ended up being a straight final, ideal for avoiding what had been scheduled as a very late finish! Two pots in one day!

Christine Goodwin and Tim Lunel had a first race entry more in preparation for the head season than ambitions for winning an open mixed competition. They surprised themselves by how hard they pushed the eventual winners Oxford City despite an interesting start provided by the starts in cross wind conditions. Goodwin and Lunel kept pushing back showing that Masters rowing can provide the stamina the younger competitors lack at times: they eventually finishing just a couple of length down over the line.

In the afternoon, Tim teamed up with coach and mentor Chris Straw to see if they could go one better than their final place of last year. A really good row in the semi-final saw them taking an early lead which they sat on for the length of the race and winning by a comfortable three length margin. This lead to a final against their well-known Stourport opposition who beat them last year in two finals by half a length and a canvas respectively. Unfortunately that was not to be and now having one of their best rows, the Stourport crew maintained their winning streak. Said Tim Lunel, “So a clear goal for next regatta season then – a few more training sessions to ensure a win in 2019!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online at

Rosconn Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Another Great Success!

© Iain Duck, Stratford Herald

A memorable day! Excellent racing: great participation from crews as far afield as Abingdon Rowing Club, Cardiff & Vale Schools Rowing Association, Evesham Rowing Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester, Warwick Boat Club, Monmouth Comprehensive School Boat Club, Northwich and sister club King Edward The Sixth School Boat Club as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club itself. The regatta this year had three divisions, thirty five events and one hundred and thirty five separate races starting at 08.00 and running all day through until a prompt close at 17.30hrs!

© Iain Duck, Stratford Herald

Stephen Rose, Stratford Boat Club’s Regatta Secretary said, “This year we were so pleased to have Mencap Heart of England and St Basil’s as our nominated charities: Stratford Boat Club have an outreach in teaching customers of Mencap and other adaptive athletes how to scull and this was a natural extension for this outreach. We were very heartened by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public. A massive thanks to all our sponsors especially the Rosconn Group, hard working Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and especially the public for supporting the event.”

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Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President commented. “It was a long day’s racing from 08.30 to 18.30hrs: 550 beefburgers, 45lbs of sausages, 25lbs of bacon, 20kg of sliced onions and 650 buns all from local suppliers were consumed as well as dozens of cakes and snacks: what a magnificent day topped by great racing! Based on our success last couple of years, we decided to stay with the shortened 650 metre course to ensure the safety of all the competitors

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and river users. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

Said Paul Hazelwood, the Club’s Treasurer, “Stratford Boat Club’s next event is the Fun Regatta on Saturday14 July: this is a much more ‘relaxed’ event with scratch teams from local Stratford, Warwickshire and area companies and organisations. We give them three hours coaching, a boat and cox and organise a regatta for them! There are

© Iain Duck, Stratford Herald

bound to be thrills and spills! Come and see the ‘other side’ of rowing!”

Whilst Stratford crews were competing hard at their own regatta, last weekend saw Senior crews go to 2018 British Rowing Masters’ Championship with Christine Goodwin winning silver in her category whilst the Men’s Senior Squad continued their training for Henley Royal Regatta

Also at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham for the British Rowing Masters’ Championship was Stratford’s Kjersti Rogneflåten Woolley. The British Rowing Masters Championship is raced over a 1000m multi lane course and attracts the best crews from around the country

Kjersti was entered in Mixed Masters D/E 4x in a composite crew with Derwent Rowing Club. After a good start, they were in the lead at 500m and kept this up until the end. They finished at a very good time of 04.03.95, beating Champion of the Thames (Cambridge) by 3.03 seconds

Said Kjersti, “It was great to win with the Derwent composite crew especially as we had only raced together once before the Masters’ Championships. I am also very grateful to my coach, Andrew Roe, who has taken me through a tough training programme this winter. Next year, we hope to bring more crews from Stratford Boat Club

For great pictures from the regatta, please see and buy David Phillips’ ( magnificent professional pictures: the photos are now available at

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 15 and online at and also Stratford Observer back page and online at

Stratford J13’s Battle of Blenheim

On Saturday 9th June, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J13 squad travelled to Blenheim Palace to take part in their regatta organised by Hinksey Sculling School. The event which takes place over 500m uses three lanes for racing and is for athletes aged fourteen and under only so always has good competition.

First up for Stratford was the double of William Beattie and Harry Trueman: they managed to win their heat despite the poor steering from their opposition which nearly resulted in a crash. They headed back up the lake for their final where they met two crews with very tall boys in them. Beattie and Trueman raced well but the other two crews muscled their way down the course leaving the Stratford duo to pick up the bronze medal.

Next was the turn of the girls’ quad which due to sickness had a last minute substitution: the crew comprised of Harriet Holmes, Lucy Browne, Honour Keil, Freya Watts and cox Fleur Griffiths. The girls put in a massive effort in their heat to lose to a strong Headington School crew by less than a foot. This put them into the repechage where they faced another Headington crew. This time the Stratford girls were even more determined and lead from the start to ensure their place in the final. The quad made their way straight back to the start only to find the third crew into the final was yet another Headington crew. The Stratford crew had no chance for a rest and raced back, to be beaten by a boat length by the crew they had raced in the heat but Stratford picked up the silver medal.

The boys’ singles raced next with both Toby Sartain and Tomi Wilcock in action. Both had just one opponent in their heats. Sartain went first and raced down neck and neck most of the way with his opposition. As he reached the crowd that were all shouting, he put in a push to see his boat go into the lead to take his spot in the final. Wilcock was unfortunately not so lucky with his opposition: he came up against a very neat sculler who led from start to finish to knock out Wilcock.

Sartain went into the final to race the boy who had beaten Wilcock and another even taller boy. As they came down the course, Sartain did all he could but it was not enough and finished up with a well-deserved bronze medal.

Keil and Griffiths fresh from the success in the quad now went on to race in the double. They sailed through their heat to book their spot in the final. Again racing two crews from Headington School, the Stratford girls knew the race would be tough. With 100m left to go, they put in a massive push to take them from third to second and were moving closer to the first place crew. They didn’t quite manage to get there and the girls were elated to receive their silver medals.

Finally it was the time for Anne Mynors in the girls’ singles race. She raced another girl from Headington in her heat which was really close until her opposition had a problem with her boat and subsequently capsized, meaning Mynors had her place in the final. She rowed straight back to the start and raced back down the course fighting her way into second place and finishing Stratford’s day with another silver to add to the total.

Said Abi Terry, J13 coach, “A great day’s racing in the beautiful surroundings of Blenheim Palace. A very good start to some promising careers in rowing.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald online and page 20

Felix Awards Presentations at AGM

At Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Annual General Meeting, the Club recognised the great contribution that some of their members made to the Club by awarding the special Felix Awards, a legacy from the Club’s past President Felix Badcock who gave so much to the club: the tankard trophies were won by Felix Badcock during his long career rowing and over engraved with the winner’s name and award. There were awards for the Junior and the Senior Personality of the Year

The Senior Felix Award went to Colin Bell who has put in hours and hours of unpaid time for the Club coaching both Juniors and Masters squads, launch driving and general maintenance around the Club

The Junior Felix Award went to Katie Welstead for her all round contribution on and off the water: Katie was put forward for the award because of her cheerfulness and help that she gives to all at the Club

The awards were presented by Dawson Curnock, the Club’s Chairman

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald p15 and Stratford Observer p39


Stratford upon Avon Boat Club had a very busy Bank Holiday weekend at home and also at local away regattas

Continuing the 2018 regatta season, the action moved to Evesham where the traditional Bank Holiday weekend two day event took place over 1000m of the Avon on Saturday and 500m on Sunday. The sun shone on the event for both days however heavy rainfall earlier in the week made conditions tricky with a strong stream on the river against the racing crews.

The Stratford Masters coxed four crew of Richard Field, Richard Anderson, Graham Cann and Dave Edwards opened proceedings with a win over the host club to put them through to the semi-final. In what turned out to be one of the most memorable events of the day, the Masters lined up against a schoolboy crew some forty years their junior from Royal Grammar School Worcester. Battling hard the Stratford crew lost out by just one length with their years of experience eclipsed by the exuberance of youth!

Next up was the Junior 15 double sculls events where the boys’ crew of Fred Tyler and Max Griffiths met their match early on losing out to the eventual winners City of Oxford by just half a length. The girls’ crew of Mya Kenny and Alice Baines then stepped up to win their first heat easily but then went out in the semi-final to a strong Stourport crew, again by half a length.

The women’s Junior 14 coxed quadruple sculls event saw Sienna Rawlings, Martha Usselmann, Abbey Meggeson, Elisabeth Edwards and Mary Walton on the water. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was against them as they went out in the first round to the eventual winners Stourport.

The men’s Junior 14 double sculls action continued the flow with the crew of Will Clarke and Conar Aitchison spoiling the day of two Pangbourne College boats on their way to the final. A great battle in the final saw them eventually succumb to City of Oxford.

Then came the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock, Maiya James and Naomi Sergeant. The drama unfolded with a straightforward dispatch of Abingdon in the first round and then Stourport in the semi-final. Onwards to the final and the previous races took their toll and the crew eventually lost out to Evesham.

The women’s Junior 18 double scull event proved another crowd pleaser with the crew of Issy Marsden and Issy Clarke making short work of Royal Grammar School Worcester in the semi-final. The fairy tale ending eluded them in the final when the Evesham crew pipped them to the post by just one boat length.

Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “One of the joys of regional regattas is both senior and junior crews competing at the same event. The senior squad was represented by Victoria Ward and Sian Maher in the double scull, Oliver Smith in the single scull and also a Stratford coxless pair of Harry Tarrant and Stuart Lyons. All rowed hard but lost out in the semi-finals of their respective events, no doubt taking an extra lift from the assembled club supporters on the bank.”

Closing the days racing was the women’s junior 14 double scull event with Sophie Elstone and Harriet Hodgson flying the flag for Stratford. The pair put on a dominant show winning their heats easily and then the final giving Stratford a win to round the day off with another display of superb sculling!

Stratford’s WJ14.1x (Amelie Sartain) missed out on a final place by one length and Stratford’s WJ14.8x+ had a great time with some good racing and lost out by only one and a half lengths behind City of Oxford J15 boys boat and had  two wins out of three races.

The J13 squad had a great day on Sunday at Evesham Regatta in their first ever river race. They competed in various crews in all of the boat types available to them – Octuple, Quads and Doubles.

In the Octuple, the J13 squad were beaten by the Stratford’s WJ14 squad by just two lengths and Evesham WJ14’s squads by only one and a half lengths which were fantastic results given that the J13 squad are a year younger.

Said Stratford’s J13 coach Abi Terry, “We are very proud of the way the J13 squad raced and showed immense maturity in the way they conducted themselves both on and off the river”

Meanwhile at Wallingford Regatta, Stratford’s Senior Men’s 4- had a good row and finished fourteenth quickest out of about thirty six crews but missed out on the semi-finals. Stratford’s 4+ also competed at Wallingford. Sadly the regatta at Marlow scheduled for Bank Holiday Monday had to be cancelled due to flooded car parks.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page 15 and Stratford Observer online

For more great pictures of Evesham Regatta, please see Stuart Baines’ selection at!AgY7EiDB2lCOgppjjrEB4868Z8WPMw