Stratford impress at Schools’ Head of the River Race

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club entered two Girls Junior 16 year old crews in The Schools’ Head of the River Race on 12th March. The prestigious annual event is run over the Oxford and Cambridge boat races course in reverse from Mortlake to Putney with the stream.

This was the first experience of racing on the Tideway for both crews and it was particularly challenging for the coxswains steering the coxed four Mimi Hill and Talei Dunn steering the coxless quad from the bow seat. They both did a sterling job by staying in the stream and resisting challenges from other coxes trying to gain advantage by pushing them into slower water.

In the coxless quad regular J16 squad members Jess Weisheu, Autumn Keil and Talei Dunn were joined by J15 Alice Bains rowing up a year, who sculled with great skill and determination. The crew’s superb technique and powerful rhythm resulted in a highly creditable 7th place out of 18.

The coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Molly Gill-Swift, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne and coxswain Mimi Hill got off to a flying start overtaking the crew in front by Barnes Bridge. They dug in for the long haul to Hammersmith Bridge holding off a challenge from Kingston and Emanuel. The girls held their composure in a superb display of sweep rowing to a strong finish as Kingston just edged past in the final 500 meters to take the win on time ahead of Emanuel in second and Stratford in third place.

Said Stratford’s coach Sam Hill, “The Schools’ Head is the first national event of the 2018 season and both crews measured exceptionally well against strong opposition crews, many rowing on their home water. Clearly the long winter training is paying off and the J16 squad has the potential to perform very well in 2018.”

Stratford’s sister squad King Edward the Sixth Grammar School also took part with both girls’ and boys’ crews.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online at and Stratford Herald online at and p15.

For more great pictures of The Schools’ Head of the River Race, see Stuart Baines’ selection!AgY7EiDB2lCOgo9bT5xJEeDFGKNveQ

Juniors go the distance

Indoor training for Stratford Boat Club’s J14 squad reached a milestone with the presentation of Concept 2 100,000m Distance Awards.

During the winter months, the squad’s indoor training on the club’s Concept 2 ergometers (indoor rowing machines)increases as weekday land training complements the weekend water-based activities.

In the last six months, squad members have individually rowed in excess of 100,000m and the Distance Awards acknowledge the training they have undertaken.

J14 coach Trevor Tiller said: “Building up fitness and strength on the ergometer, whilst also perfecting their technique, ensures the squad is well prepared for the forthcoming regatta season.”

In addition to club training, the squad has successfully raced at events such as the British Rowing Indoor Championships at the Olympic velodrome and most recently the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships in Abingdon.

For media coverage please see Stratford Observer online at…/juniors-go-the-distance and Stratford Herald online at… and page 15

Capital gains for determined Stratford’s men’s eight

FOR the first time in many years Stratford Boat Club entered a men’s eight into the prestigious Head of the River race and the crew exceeded their pre-race target of a top 100 finish by clinching 70th place.

This annual event is rowed over four-and-a-half miles on the Tideway in London from Chiswick to Putney – effectively the reverse of the Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race.

Some 330 crews from all over the UK and Europe descend on the River Thames to finish the head racing season in style. Raced against the clock, each crew sets off in turn, being chased by the crew behind whilst trying to catch those in front, often leading to much blade-clashing and frank exchanges of views.

Stratford’s men’s eight have trained hard and gelled well over the last eight weeks and, after some decent performances at Worcester Head and Head of the Trent, the crew were hoping to break into the top 100 in the capital.

The squad, made up of cox El Willets, stroke man Alastair Collier, Tom Coles, Ben Twiney, Mike Hourigan, Ed Lewry, Ed Press, Edwyn Brighty and Stuart Lyons, bettered those expectations by finishing 70th.

Starting off number 131, the crew got off to a strong start and hit their racing rhythm soon after Barnes Bridge. By the time the crew had reached Hammersmith Bridge, they had caught up with three of the crews in front of them.

Cox Willets took a tight line on the inside of bend to sweep the Stratford men through the competition and then stroke Collier wound up the rate at Craven Cottage (Fulham FC) to bring the crew home in style.

Their coach Bill Sullivan said: “It’s a terrific performance by the whole crew. Breaking into the top 100 at the Head of The River is a key target for any serious rowing club and breaking into the top 70 exceeds expectations.

“At a small club like Stratford, we don’t always have the resources that others clubs are lucky enough to have, so this result is an indication of the commitment and focus of a group of full-time working men and women who are also exceptional part-time athletes.”

The squad now head off to the south of France for a training camp at the end of March before targeting some of the major summer regattas including Henley Royal Regatta.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online at…/capital-gains-for-determi… and Stratford Herald online… and page 15

The Battle of Worcester!

After five months of a grueling winter training programme (six days each week on and off the water), the WJ16 (15 going on 16 year olds) squad last Saturday raced over 6k at the Worcester Head of the River on the River Seven in difficult conditions. Their work rate and skill was impressive with the coxless quadruple sculling boat of Mimi Hill, Talei Dunn, Autumn Keil and Molly Gill-Swift finishing in second place in their age category and only twenty seconds behind the winner.

The coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Jessica Wiesheu, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne coxed by Matilda Watts competed in an adult category: they came out winners and on the day were the fastest ladies coxed four – an outstanding result for these young athletes.

Said J16 coach Dr Graham Collier, “After the upcoming West Midlands Junior Inter-regional Regatta trials, the crews head off to the Schools Head of The River Race which is over the Boat Race Course on the River Thames. The Worcester results have set them up nicely to compete strongly in this national event that attracts schools and clubs from all over the country.”

Stratford’s sister club from King Edward The Sixth Grammar School won in the IM3.4+ category and also competed in the W.IM2.4+ event.

The Senior Men’s Squad also had their first opportunity of the year to put all the hard work in training into practice. Said Senior Men’s coach Bill Sullivan, “The Senior Men’s Eight are targeting a top 80 finish in the prestigious Head of The River held on the Tideway in London in March. They kicked off the day at Worcester with a good second place in the Senior Eights with the potential to build a lot more speed over the coming weeks. They continue their build-up at The Head of the Trent in Nottingham this coming weekend. Meanwhile the IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks in Nottingham.”

The Senior Men’s coxed four raced well in the Elite 4+ category in the second division. They were engaged in a tight tussle with a good crew from Exeter Rowing Club all the way down the river. Unfortunately, a crash with a creaky Worcester Vets quad, who were unable to understand the simple premise that two boats don’t fit into one narrow arch, meant the four had to stop rowing and untangle themselves, costing them the win.

Meanwhile the Senior Men’s IM 4+ had an encouraging first race of the season and will build their competitiveness over the coming weeks.

Stratford’s Masters’ Squad had a win with a Bridgnorth Rowing Club composite Masters D.4+ and also competed in the C/D/E.4- and C/D/E.8+ categories.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald online and p14.

Stratford In and Outdoors!

The head racing season for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club continued with the young athletes of the Junior 15 squad competing in the Wycliffe Big Head. This event, held over 4500m on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, always proves a tough challenge with quality opposition from clubs and schools across the region and beyond. This year was no exception with crews including Radley College, Kings School Chester and Ross Rowing Club.

A damp and grey scene greeted the Stratford crews on arrival, however the two boats took to the water with eager anticipation of the race ahead. As the event got underway, the gathered spectators’ cheers lifted the performance of the athletes and both crews delivered a superb sculling display.

First across the course was the mixed coxed quadruple scull of Dan Cox, Mili Wilcock, Max Griffiths, Fred Tyler and coxswain Jasmine Mountney. Rowing their own race and well in control, they finished a creditable fourth in their event.

Next up was the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Maiya James, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny, Alice Baines and coxswain Naomi Sergeant. Their bows scythed through the water in pursuit of the crew ahead with a final push granting them fourth place in their event also.

In warmer conditions but nonetheless just as energetic were Stratford’s J13 and J14 squads competing in the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships arranged and run by Hinksey Sculling School in Abingdon. Said J13 coach Abi Terry, “All of Stratford’s J13’s achieved Personal Bests and said they would like to compete there again next year, having all had a great day!”

In total, Stratford had two Golds, two Silvers and one Bronze medals:

Honour Keil – WJ13B 3 minute 754m

Charlotte Syson – WJ13A 3 minute 717m



Harriet Hodgson – WJ14A 4 minute 998m

Sophie Elstone – WJ14B 4 minute 1001m



Amelie Sartain – WJ14A 4 minute 991m

Millie Hodgson WJ12 2 minute also managed to achieve a great Bronze medal for Stratford Girls School achieving 489m

Said J14 coach Trevor Tiller, “We achieved some great four minute improvements from the J14 squad, everyone with a new Personal Best: we now need that inner confidence to gently coax out some more success! We’re looking forward to a good season.”

Meanwhile back in cold and damp Stratford, the Senior squad continued their Henley Royal Regatta training and WJ15 squad had trials to select the best crew combination for the upcoming the Junior Sculling Regatta.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Observer p14 and Stratford Herald page 14

For more great pictures of Wycliffe Big Head, see Stuart Baines’ selection at

Shipston Rotary Dry Indoor Boat Race

Stratford upon Boat Club


Shipston on Stour Rotary Club


The Indoor Dry Land Boat Race

on Sunday 18 March 2018

at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club

from 14.00 to 17.00hrs


Competitive crews of four ‘rowers’ race

over a timed/distance course

on ergos on rails

to raise funds for Shipston Rotary charities


Entry £150 per crew of four


Please support the rowers or take part


For details and entry form, please contact

Stratford Come In From The Cold!

Competitors from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and King Edward The Sixth Grammar School braved miserable January weather conditions to enjoy a successful day at Northampton Head of the Nene raced over a 1.8 km course.

Stratford’s Junior squad came home with several winners’ pots and medals.

WJ18 rowers Theo Mordaunt, Claire Teakle and Sofia Ward came home with victories in both the coxless quad and coxed fours event. With fourth crew member Lauren Willis they recorded a ten second win over a strong Wallingford crew in the quad and went on to win the coxed four category with Isobel Marsden switching into the stroke seat and Charlie Waters steering an intelligent course against a strong stream.

Lauren Willis and Issy Clarke also secured a winners medal in the WJ18 double sculls despite suffering with the extremely cold conditions.

Boys J18 (Howard Gould-Yates and Dominic Furey) and J16 (Geoffrey Flambert and Joe Hodson) double sculling crews both put in strong performances. Despite an excellent time Geoffrey and Joe narrowly lost out by eight seconds to Wallingford.

Joe Hodson later went on to claim victory wearing King Edward The Sixth colours in the J16 single sculling event with an impressive time.

Stratford’s J14 squad had an excellent day achieving wins in the WJ14 coxed quad of Julia Zampronio Gurden, Martha Usselmann, Elisabeth Edwards and Sienna Rawlings with cox Mary Walton and the WJ14 double sculls, Sophie Elstone and Harriet Hodgson. Amelie Sartain and William Clarke teamed up to row in the J14 open double sculls category and produced an impressive row to win by fourteen seconds from the quickest of two all boys crews from Falcon Rowing Club.

Said Trevor Tiller, J14 coach, “All in all a very good day!”

Stratford Masters’ squad joined up with the Junior squads to add a wealth of experience to the Northampton Head of the Nene. The event is renowned for its cold character building weather conditions and lived up to expectations with steady continuous rainfall only alleviated by showers of sleet to test even the toughest competitor!

Stratford Masters lead the event off at the start of the day with the first two crews in division 1. Leading off from the start was the Masters D/E/F (age groups 50-60) mixed eight of Dave Edwards, Richard Field, Richard Anderson, Helen Helliwell, Linda Hansen, Hugo Happel, Dave Howe, Graham Cann and cox Elida Fidler, closely followed by the coxless Masters E (age 55-60) crew of Simon Beard, Gary Clay, Richard Nelson and Tom Doherty.

An inter-club battle ensued to determine who would be the first crew of the day over the finish line which was won by the coxless four in a time of six minutes an twenty seven with the eight finishing in a time of seven minutes and thirty three seconds.

Another early riser to compete in the morning division was Tim Lunel in the Masters C/D (age 50-55) single sculls: Lunel almost stole bragging rights over the eight completing the course in a time of seven minutes and thirty two seconds to finish a close third in his event.

A quiet second division saw only Kjersti Woolley racing in a composite crew with Derbyshire club Derwent in a quad scull finishing in a time of six minutes and forty seconds, a mere five seconds behind the winners from east of England club Oundle Town.

In worsening weather with heavy sleet now falling, Simon Beard and Richard Nelson braved the conditions to race their Masters E (age 50-55) coxless pair against old adversaries Milton Keynes. In a close fought race, they completed the course in seven minutes and twenty three seconds only to be pipped by six seconds from a win.

Division 4 saw an incident packed  stage with Stratford’s Masters D/E/F second eight of Richard Nelson, Simon Beard, Tim Lunel, Stephen Haighton, Neville Hand, Gary Clay, Tom Doherty, Wallace Brown and cox Elida Fidler scrambling around for a replacement boat following a collision in a previous race which left a large hull hole and their eight unusable. With local hosts Northampton coming to the rescue, the crew were able to race and despite being held up by a slow Milton Keynes eight, recorded the fourth fastest time of the day finishing in under six minutes and one second. However this was not enough to win with honours going to Oundle Town who completed the 1.8 km course in a wafer thin faster time of five minutes and fifty nine seconds!

With no wins to date for the Masters’ squad, it fell to Kjersti Woolley in her single scull to claim glory in her Women’s Masters E event with a well deserved win in a time of eight minutes and fifty one seconds.

The final events saw two women’s double sculls of Christine Goodwin and Naomi Macdonald and Becky Smith and Lucy Kelleher finish their respective events in times of nine mins and thirteen second and eight minutes and fifty seconds respectively to record creditable performances.

Said Tom Doherty Masters Men’s Vice Captain, “It was great to see competitors from across the club ranging in age and ability coming together to put in some creditable race performances.”

Meanwhile, back at Stratford and keeping no warmer were the remainder of the Club with the elite Senior Men undergoing ‘seat racing’ for their places in crews for Royal Henley Regatta. Said Senior squad coach Bill Sullivan, “Seat racing is a grueling process but it ensures the best selection of athletes in the ideal crew combinations. The following day’s circuit training rounded off a hard weekend!”

Whilst the J14 and J17/18 crews were battling it out at Northampton, the J15 crews went upstream with guest coach Camilla Hadland (2010 World Rowing Junior Championships Gold medal winner and Stratford Boat Club member) and Will Horrocks (former HSCT coach with Scottish Rowing). Said Junior Co-ordinator Steve Wellstead, “We welcome experienced guest coaches from other clubs as it often brings a different perspective to the coaching and sometimes highlights areas for improvement!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online at and for videos see, and

Perfect Conditions to Blow Away Christmas Excess!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s annual Scratch Regatta took place early on Boxing Day morning and over fifty members managed to leave their beds after the overindulgence of the Christmas festivities. The crews were supported by friends and relatives who came down to the river to watch the spectacle and cheer

“This year the scratch regatta had each crew racing in two races. The crews were selected from Junior, Senior and Masters squads to ensure close and exciting racing”, said coach Helen Smith, joint organiser. “All races were over a short sprint course from the Ferry to the Club grounds on the Town stretch of the River Avon”

The racing provided great interest to early morning sightseers and visitors watching from the Recreation Ground, The Royal Shakespeare Terrace, Bancroft Gardens and The Tramway Bridge. Said Dawson Curnock, Chairman for Stratford Boat Club, “The scratch regatta caught the imagination of all that came down to the river and gave us added impetus to move further ahead for fundraising in 2018 to achieve the funds to refurbish and replace our fleet and equipment”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club will be back on the river this week and after the New Year training hard for the 2018 head season, the Senior squad’s entry at Henley Royal Regatta and their own regatta in June

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online  and p14 and Stratford Observer online

For more excellent pictures of the Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ great selection!AiW2DAyn9tg9jItWian0uMO6VCC78Q

Stratford Triumph Indoors and at Walton!

Saturday 9th December saw Junior members of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club compete in the 2017 British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) at the Olympic Velodrome in Stratford, London. This year saw a record number of entries from both home and abroad with all spectator tickets sold out before the event.

Sophie Elstone, Harriet Hodgson and Will Clarke from the J14 squad and Nixie Brunt from the J15 squad competed in front of a crowd of well over a thousand cheering spectators, performing magnificently against such high calibre competition.

In the Year 9 500m events, Sophie Elstone came third in her heat to be placed finally in tenth position with a time of 1:50.4, with Harriet Hodgson in twenty first place with 1:54.8 out of a field of sixty eight competitors. In the boys 500m heat, Will Clarke fought hard for a well deserved twelfth place in a field of twenty four with a time of 1:42.1.

Nixie Brunt won a very well deserved Bronze medal in her Year 10 500m event alongside fifty two fellow competitors. With an amazing time of 1:40.9, Nixie narrowly missed Silver by less than half a second and was only 2.5 seconds behind the Gold medal position.

The afternoon saw the age group timed events, with the J14s competing over four minutes and the J15s five minutes. In the Y9 four minute races Sophie came thirteenth with a distance of 1008m with Harriet thirty seventh with 962m in a huge field of ninety two competitors. Will Clarke finished well, in nineteenth place rowing 1065m against fifty two competitors.

Nixie in the Y10 five minute race finished in tenth position with a field of seventy one, with an outstanding distance of 1305 metres.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Squad Coach Trevor Tiller competed in the Men’s Open 2000m event: this was against members of the Great Britain rowing squad along with newcomer to the sport Sir Bradley Wiggins. Clearly pleased with gaining a new personal best of 7:32.1, Trevor was also surprised to discover he was only seventy seconds behind Sir Bradley.

Further local entries included recent Stratford upon Avon Boat Club learner Millie Hodgson winning the Silver Medal in the Year 7 500m event with a time of 2:01.8 and just missing out on a Bronze in the Y7 two minute time event by a mere three metres!

Harriet and Millie’s father Ed Hodgson also raced in the Masters 40-49 age group, pushing fantastic times in both his 2000m and 500m events with times of 6:50.3 and 1:28.6 respectively.

Said Stratford’s coach Trevor Tiller, “The day’s events and results have shown what great progress our own members are making and how in parallel with the water based side of the sport, indoor rowing has developed to be so inclusive with Junior, Senior, Masters and Adaptive events and competitors ranging in age from eleven to those  well into their nineties! A successful, promising and enjoyable day for competitors, spectators and families alike … with training plans already in place for next year!”

Unfortunately, the Club’s attempts to compete on Sunday at Monmouth Christmas Head were thwarted by the weather as the event was cancelled

However, a cold but otherwise beautiful day saw the potential for throbbing frost bitten fingers as Walton on Thames Rowing Club held their major small boats head race on Saturday on a beautiful three kilometre stretch of the River Thames in London

The event one of the biggest of its kind in the country for singles and two person crew boats and attracted well over six hundred entries with a huge contingent from across all the London clubs ensuring a very high level of competition throughout the day with crews determined to squeeze one more competitive race in before the Christmas festivities begin

Racing was spread across three divisions with boats starting every ten seconds throughout the day providing an excellent spectacle to onlookers and lively competition on the water for crews. Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was represented at the event in three crew categories during the day

First off was the coxless Masters E age category crew of Richard Nelson and Simon Beard. A solid race rating thirty two stokes per minute saw them up against National Champions Tyrian Boat Club and although they were unable to overcome them, Stratford pushed them very hard to secure a well deserved second place in a time of twelve minutes and three seconds with less than a minute and a half separating all four crews in the event

Following close behind was Gary Clay and Tom Doherty in the double scull Masters E age group race. A field of nine crews containing National Championship medalists lead to some hard but very close racing with only one minute and nine seconds separating the entire field. National Medalists and home crew Walton put in an excellent performance to win the event in a fast time of eleven minutes and thirty eight seconds. Stratford finished in a very creditable mid table position in a time of eleven minutes and fifty nine seconds in a dead heat with Molesey Boat Club and beating Bentham Boat Club by a mere one second over the three kilometre course!

Women’s representation for Stratford Boat Club saw Christine Goodwin competing in Women’s Novice single sculls in a large field of twelve competitors. Racing towards the end of the day in rapidly dropping temperatures, Christine nevertheless put in a solid performance to finish in a very respectable time of fourteen minute and thirty eight seconds

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “It was a great experience to come to such a high quality event for the first time and see all of our crews put in some very competitive performances.” 

Those members who stayed Stratford based over the weekend were involved in the Club’s Clean Up Weekend. Said Laurie Flintoft, Committee Member responsible for Land and Buildings said, “A lot was achieved over the weekend with all squads working together to tidy and clean the premises.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald p20 and online

Stratford Successes at Hampton and Evesham

Last weekend saw the 2017 Hampton Small Boats Head which attracts the finest young athletes from rowing schools and clubs throughout the South East and further afield. This year was no exception with over 770 crews competing.

A frosty Saturday morning greeted Stratford upon Avon Boat Club athletes as they arrived at the Thames in Hampton: the white heat of Stratford junior sculling however soon thawed the ice as racing got underway!

The women’s junior 15 double sculls event saw an excellent performance earning ninth place from Nixie Brunt and Mili Wilcock with Mya Kenny and Maiya James also in the mix recording 19th of the 33 crews entered. In the women’s junior 16 double sculls, Molly Gill-Swift and Emily Browne were 12th fastest and an equally impressive combination of Mimi Hill and Talei Dunn arriving 16th across the line.  The latter performance being notable with Talei still in her early years of rowing and Mimi more usually seen in the coxswain’s seat.

The single sculls is often seen as the gladiatorial event at any sculling competition with athletes pitching their technical skill and physical fitness against one another. In the autumnal sun of East Molesey the battle raged. In the women’s junior 15 single sculls Alice Baines registered a superb 11th position biting at the heels of a good number of junior 16 scullers. In the junior 16 single sculls Khloe Curnock, Katie Wellstead and Jess Weisheu showed their class with 18th, 21st and 24th places respectively in a high quality 50 strong entry list.  Said Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator, “The result of the day however went to Emily Browne who once more opened the taps and unleashed her formidable power to take second place in the junior 16 single sculls. An extremely good result indeed!”

Meanwhile at nearby Avon Masters & Evesham Senior Head, Stratford’s Women’s Novice 4x+ had a pleasing win on a sunny, cold morning but otherwise perfect conditions for four kilometre course. Stratford’s opponents were Ross and Evesham.  Stratford finished two minutes ahead of the Ross ladies and a satisfying four minutes ahead of Evesham on their own home water. Stratford’s crew were Alfie Nash cox, Clare Nash, Helen Helliwell, Rona Fitzpatrick and Rosie Stone.

Crew captain Rosie Stone commented, “A solid performance maintained over the distance and excellently coxed throughout by Alfie Nash!”

Stratford Men’s coxless four also bought home some silverware from Avon Masters & Evesham Senior Head after winning the race for IM1 crews. The crew contained three new rowers to the Club plus Stratford’s Captain of Boats Oli Smith who stroked the winning boat. Max Marcus, Mark Tarrant, Patrick Hourigan and Oli won their race by over a minute from a crew from Bewdley and ended up as the third quickest crew of the day.

Said Bill Sullivan, Stratford’s Senior Men’s Squad coach, “Stratford men’s squad has grown rapidly this autumn with the addition of eight new rowers and the squad will spend the next few months getting in some hard training before next summer’s regatta season and hoped for entries for Henley Royal Regatta.”

Saturday also saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters’ squad make the short trip to local neighbours Evesham Rowing Club also for the Avon Masters and Evesham Autumn Head. The event held on the picturesque River Avon over four kilometers made for some challenging steering on a meandering and in places narrow course. A beautiful sunny but very cold day saw a number of crews braving the weather in coxed and coxless fours, and quad, double and single sculls.

Stratford’s Masters were lead off in division one by the Masters’ D coxed four crew of Richard Field, Richard Anderson, Graham Cann, Dave Edwards and cox Jane Connolly. The crew competing in their first ever long distance head race were looking for a steady performance and although unsuccessful in winning their event, recorded a very respectable time of twenty minutes and thirty three seconds.

Closely following on their heels were the Masters’ E crew of Richard Shepherd, Richard Nelson, Simon Beard, Tom Doherty and cox Lucy Breakwell. Maintaining a steady rate of thirty two strokes per minute, they were able to make up ground on the preceding event crews from Worcester, Warwick and Stratford. Despite being held up on a very narrow section of the course by a slower crew, they were still able to record a very good time of seventeen minutes and forty seconds to win their event by almost two minutes over Warwick Boat Club, a time which would also have won the Masters’ D younger age group event!

Division one racing now moved to the small boats and Stratford were represented by the Mixed Masters E double of Gina Fusco and Phil Marshall. The crew were up against a very good National Championship medal winning crew from Derwent but nonetheless put in a very good performance to finish second in their event in a time of twenty minutes and forty two seconds.

Bringing up the division were the single sculling races .The competitors who had been waiting in the very cold conditions for some considerable time were eager to race and thaw out. First off for Stratford was Stephen Haighton competing in Masters F/G single sculls. Haighton in his first ever single sculling event produced a very creditable performance to win his event in a time of twenty minutes and forty three seconds over competitors from Ross, Pengwern and Bristol clubs.

Last but not least was the Women’s Masters’ E single scull of Kjersti Woolley. Starting at the rear of the field after a long wait on the start, Kjersti soon made time up on the field in front of her to finish in a very respectable time of twenty four minutes and ten seconds to finish in second place in her event.

With most competitors deciding to thaw out in the afternoon, the second division contained only one Stratford crew. Sian Maher and Tom Doherty in a last minute partnership competed in IM3 mixed double scull. Despite never having been in a boat together before the race, they recorder a very respectable time of nineteen minutes and nineteen seconds to finish just over a minute behind the winners from Warwick Boat Club.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “It was great to see a range of masters, senior and junior crews braving the winter chill to compete and record some very impressive results.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p15 and online at and Stratford Observer online

For more great pictures of Hampton Small Boats Head, see Stuart Baines’ selection!AuJoEG1Fov50hNBqDdT3z9IYSK91ZQ