Success at Wet Worcester Regatta

SuABC Worcester September 2016 Goodwin RouseSaturday saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club compete at Worcester Rowing Club’s Autumn Regatta: despite a mostly wet day, all of the crews and supporters had a good event and Stratford showed its presence in small boat racing.

A scratch crew of Christine Goodwin and Lucy Rouse raced a technically competent women’s Novice 2x, never having rowed together before. Although they were beaten by tall Worcester seventeen year olds, Christine and Lucy proved their ability under race pressure and both showed their future promise. Their opposition went on to win the event.

Victoria Ward beat a very competent Nottingham University woman who raced in Gloucester colours in W.IM3.1x category. SuABC Worcester September 2016 Ed ImVictoria fought in the next heat against a tall Minerva Bath athlete, losing only to her opponent’s greater size. Said Victoria “They were both hard races and I was pleased I kept the pressure on the Gloucester athlete to cross the finish first”. Coach Helen Smith added, “Victoria continues to show her promise having had a few months of injury and we look forward to her continuing to develop her ability”.

Lucy Rouse competed in her first ever W.Nov.1x category race against the same Gloucester athlete who Victoria held off in the morning.  Lucy showed how far she has come in less than a year of rowing, keeping her cool and maintaining good technique.  Her opponent went on to win the event. Lucy’s coach Mark Dewdney said, “It was good to be there to see her put all the teaching in to action and I was very pleased with her efforts.”

P1060013The big successes of the day were Ed Lewry and Imogen North, ably racing against a quality crew from AB Severn in the Mx.Sen.2x category, taking Stratford over the finish easily. It was their last race together this season following their win at Ross Regatta a couple of weeks ago and the exciting final at Henley Town & Visitors’ Regatta a few weeks prior to that.

The crews were assisted by Dave and Lynne Rouse, great supporters of daughter Lucy and the Club and also Jen Carey who loaned her towing vehicle – without which no boat transport would have been available.

Back at Stratford, the Club was very busy during Sunday as the venue for the very successful Shakespeare Hospice Dragon Boat event raising money for running the Hospice.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page 16.

Winning Form Continues at Ross Regatta

SuABC Ross August 2016 Mas D 4+Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force over the Bank Holiday weekend to Ross Regatta. Stratford Masters’ squad endeavored to follow up the quality performance of Stratford’s Junior squad, firstly with the Masters F double sculls. Stroked by Simon Beard and expertly steered by Mike Atkins, the doyen of the Masters’ squad, a mix of power and style saw them take on the brute strength of a Runcorn crew determined to dominate from the start. Drawn on the outside of an unfavourable long bend, Stratford found themselves down coming into the regatta enclosure where they were unable to pull back the lead of two lengthsSuABC Ross August 2016 13 established by Runcorn.

Determined to bounce back, Simon Beard joined by Wallace Brown, Richard Nelson, and Thomas Doherty and expertly coxed by the outstanding Sophie Neville, belying her tender years, took on a powerful heavyweight Evesham crew in Masters’ D coxed fours. In a nail biting race with neither crew giving an inch, Stratford driven on by lung bursting commands from Sophie, managed to gain a half length advantage and hold it to the SuABC Ross August 2016 12finish for a memorable event win.

With the afternoon’s racing truncated by monsoon rain showers, Stratford’s Mixed Masters’ E double scull of Kjersti Woolley and Thomas Doherty yet again found themselves up against their old nemesis from Derwent, but despite a good row and having being drawn on the unfavourable outside of the bend, they were unable to break their stranglehold over recent races loosing by two lengths.SuABC Ross August 2016 27

Said Thomas Doherty, Masters’ Squad Vice Captain, “It was great to see competitors of all ages from thirteen to seventy two racing here today: all put in excellent performances to do Stratford proud.”

SuABC Ross August 2016 14A pulsating day of racing at Ross regatta also saw the WJ14 girls coxed quadruple sculls overcome adversity as a crew member responded badly to a wasp sting. Medical issues permit a crew replacement and Autumn Keil, Khloe Curnock Jessica Wiesheu, Katie Wellstead with coxswain Mimi Hill raced on to win the event. Interestingly, Joseph Hodson with Autumn Keil raced in the boys’ J14 double sculls and was a phenomenal combination beating several total boys’ crews only to be overcome by a strong all boysSuABC Ross August 2016 9 crew from Staines.

The WJ14 girls’ double sculls event included two Stratford crews. Autumn Keil and Khloe Curnock resisted well in their first round heat but were beaten – just – both being exhausted from their vigorous efforts in the earlier events. Not quite so for the superlative combination of Jessica Wiesheu and Katie Wellstead who fought their way to the semi final only to be beaten by a Ross crew who were still fresh from their two previous races. The Stratford crew on the other hand was competing in their sixth race of the day: tiredness for these young 14 year olds took over and they were simply out of energy. Joe Hodson in the J14 single sculls also delivered a gritty performance dispatching a couple of opponents before losing in the semi-final. Said coach Dr Graham Collier, “A great day much enjoyed by all the participants. SuABC Ross August 2016 5In a few hours time they move into the J15 category. We wish them well!”

Meanwhile, Stratford’s J13 squad was also in action. High quality sculling was in plentiful supply to bring to a close their first year of racing. The WJ13 single scull event opened proceedings with a thrilling race between Sophie Neville and Staines Boat Club. Neville steered a precise course and led the race until a caught blade in choppy water upset her rhythm and Staines gained the advantage. Recovering well, the gap proved just tooSuABC Ross August 2016 3 great for Sophie to close.

In the WJ13 double sculls, Jasmine Mountney and Alice Baines kept the Stratford supporters on their feet with two solid wins against Evesham and City of Bristol before narrowly missing out of the top prize to Liverpool Victoria in the final.

SuABC Ross August 2016 4The coxed quadruple sculls fared less well with tough opposition from the outset. The mixed crew of Sophie Neville, Maiya James, Mili Wilcock, Nixie Brunt, Dan Cox, Alice Baines and Jasmine Mountney being drawn against City of Bristol who went on to win both open and women’s categories. Said Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator, “The event proved a great day to close the season and set the scene well for the year ahead.”SuABC Ross August 2016 Conrad

Also at Ross, Conrad Bird raced a semi final against Penarth winning easily and then went on race against Swansea where he won by a length in a thrilling final: a very special day as he won his Novice status. The W.J18A.4x narrowly missed out on a pot in the final at Ross beaten 1.5 lengths by a very strong Warrington quad (current National Champions). Said coach Mark Holden, “A very positive way to conclude their junior rowing years with Stratford and there were smiles all round.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online

For more excellent pictures of Stratford at Ross, see Stuart Baines amazing shots!AgY7EiDB2lCOsEdDZGdIdzOPznKa

SuABC Stourport LtR August 2016 1Stourport’s ‘Learn to Row’ event the previous Sunday was another successful day for the Stratford boat in this summer’s ‘Learn to Row’ competition. Travelling to Stourport to face five other crews from Bewdley, Ironbridge (two), Dudley and Birmingham, Stratford won three races, lost one and tied one to maintain their joint position at the top of the points table with rivals Bewdley. Rowing upstream into a strong flow and against the backdrop of the funfair in its full Sunday afternoon glory, Stratford’s best wins came against Birmingham and Ironbridge A. The Stratford’s crew of Clare Jervis, Clare Sperrey, Rory Nicol and Nils PurserSuABC Stourport LtR August 2016 2 had a great afternoon, encouraged by a good gathering of supporters and some excellent hospitality from the home club. The next event is at Upton on 11 September and the programme reaches its finale at Stratford on Sunday 30 October.

SuABC DucksThere was action too at Stratford on Bank Holiday Saturday with Stratford Boat Club’s launches helping out with Stratford upon Avon Rotary Club (Evening Group) Duck Race. Over one thousand plastic ducks were launched into the foaming water at the weir below Holy Trinity Church opposite Lucy’s Mill. The event raised in the region of five thousand pounds for Shakespeare Hospice’s new Children and Young People’s services and was sponsored by Care UK who run over one hundred care homes across the county including Priors House in Leamington Spa and Ambleside in Stratford-upon-Avon and provide a range of care services from respite to residential care for older people.

Adaptive Rowers Triumph at Oxford

SuABC CoO para 6aStratford upon Avon Boat Club’s para-rowers attended Oxford City Royal Regatta at the weekend. Two rowers, Mark Sanders and Steve Binns, were competing in their first races. There were eight disabled rowers in the morning event from Stratford, Marlow, Peterborough and Oxford itself.

Steve Binns, a paraplegic, had a tough first round against a sculler from Marlow Rowing Club losing by two lengths. Mark Sanders however defeated a spirited sculler from the City of Oxford Rowing Club by the same margin.

In his semi-final Mark, a visually impaired rower, had a tremendous race with another sculler from Marlow. He was behind until the final few strokes, finally winning by just three feet. This put him through to the final. Here he was to face a familiar face, Kingsley Ijomoh, who until recently was a Stratford para-rower. Kingsley had moved down to South East last autumn and is now racingSuABC CoO para 5a for Marlow Rowing Club. An epic final resulted in another tight fight. After the crews crossed the line there was an agonising minute long wait for the result to be announced. Again Mark had won by just three feet, steered by Joe Moore from Stratford Boat Club.

Steve Binns competed in the afternoon Plate event. Sadly again beaten by two lengths, this time to an Oxford sculler.

Said Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive coach,”The regatta was applying a new system to try to ensure close racing across a range of disabilities: this proved hugely successful with a large number of very close finishes. Stratford upon Avon Boat Club welcomes adaptive rowers SuABC CoO para 4awith all disabilities.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and p39.

After the disappointment of the cancellation of the Warwick Boat Club regatta at the weekend due to high winds and inclement weather, Stratford Boat Club are gearing up for a busy Bank Holiday weekend at the Ross Rowing Club regatta when all squads will meet local and national rivals. Closer to home, Stratford Boat Club launch drivers will be assisting Stratford upon Avon Rotary Club (Evening Group) with their charity fundraising duck race ( at 14.00hrs on Saturday at the weir by Holy Trinity Church.

Next Stop … Copenhagen!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club mixed masters E crew of Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley and Thomas Doherty continued their ongoingSuABC World Masters Copenhagen square personal battle with Derwent Rowing Club over the weekend at Stourport Regatta. The event, held over two days provides challenging racing over 1100m on Saturday and 650m sprint racing on Sunday, attracted a high quality field including clubs from London and the North of England watched by a large vocal crowd on both days.

Stratford was again drawn against National Championship medalists Derwent on both days having raced them previously over two days at Bewdley previously. On the Saturday, racing over the long course with a tail wind and stream which produced a fast race, saw Derwent powering off the start to take a length’s lead by halfway. A strong push by Stratford saw them close the gap but just fade away at the finish to lose by just over a length.
SuABC Stourport longWith the sprint race on the Sunday, a change of tactics saw Stratford storm off the start rating 40 strokes a minute and hold a high tempo narrow lead for the majority of the race rating 37 strokes a minute throughout. In an exciting finish cheered on by the watching crowds, Derwent just made their experience tell to pinch victory by half a length.
Said Kjersti Woolley, “This was our best race yet against a quality crew which demonstrates our continued improvement as we prepare for the World Masters in Copenhagen in a month’s time.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p16 and Stratford Observer p36.

Explore Rowers put their new skills to the test!

SuABC Bewdley Explore 2016 2aStratford upon Avon Boat Club new Explore Rowing squad competed with two crews on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Bewdley: Rosie’s crew, with Jackie, Rory and Celia, and Rona’s crew, with Nils and the two Clares. Nine crews took part in the Explore Rowing regatta, plus a lot of support and hospitality, especially from the crowds leaning out from the pubs on the town bank at Bewdley. A hugely enjoyable event for all!

Cruelly, Stratford’s two crews were drawn together in the first race. Rona’s crew came through as the close winner. In their next two races, Rosie’s crew won one race and very narrowly lost oneSuABC Bewdley Explore 2016 3a race, whilst Rona’s crew won both races, finishing top of the table with Bewdley A. There was a showdown race at five o’clock, with Stratford sadly losing by a canvas to a good crew.

Said Nils Purser, squad organiser, “We all enjoyed an exhilarating experience and would like to thank Glyn and the several other coaches and coxes who helped us in what we now realise was essential preparation. This kind of fun is a big step up from our Wednesday morning fun paddles. SuABC Bewdley Explore 2016 1aWe have several more events this summer, culminating in Stratford hosting the final event on Sunday 30 October!”

Explore Rowing Learn to Row scheme is a British Rowing initiative to introduce rowing to adults: Stratford upon Avon Boat Club still has some places available on its Explore Rowing Learn to Row courses starting in September.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and Stratford Observer

Henley Town & Visitors’ Regatta

Saturday saw many from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club compete in the Henley Town & Visitors’ Regatta. The regatta provides anSuABC HT&V North unique opportunity for scullers and rowers to compete in three-lane racing on the Henley Reach. Races were run over 800m of the famous Henley Royal Regatta course, much of which was also used for the 1908 and 1948 Olympic Games.

From Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Squad, Geoffrey Flambert and Joe Hodson executed their race plan perfectly to beat Wallingford in the semi-final of the J14 Doubles. In one of the closest races of the day, Wallingford led for most of the race by half a length until Geoffrey made the call to pick up the rating with 250 metres to go and the Stratford crew powered through to take the win by a canvas. They came second to Henley in the final. Joe rowed a strong race in the final of the J14 singles again coming second to Henley.

In the Intermediate Single Scullers’ category, Imogen North won her division by beating a sculler from Upper Thames Rowing Club by a length and a half in a time of 3 minutes 49 seconds. Imogen and Ed Lewry also got through to the final of the senior mixed double scull: their opposition included Louisa Reeve a two times Olympian who represented GB at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics only narrowing missing out on selection for Rio. Following an explosive start the Stratford boat lead the way for the first 300 metres but the power of the Olympians came through and they went on to win by two lengths. It was a valiant effort by the Stratford crew and a race of which to be proud.

Stratford’s senior men had formed two quadruple sculls for the event and ended up head to head in the final along with Quintin Boat Club. Not being used to the larger vessels on the Thames, the wash from a passing river cruiser outdid the Stratford scullers and the Quintin boat won out over both crews.

SuABC HT&V DiscoveryA special thanks must go to Jaguar Land Rover’s CSR team who managed to provide the club with a tow vehicle at the last minute following an unfortunate shortage at the club. Said Will Bird, who towed on the day, “The Discovery 4 is such a capable vehicle, it effortlessly towed our fully loaded 2.6 tonne trailer even with the car full of rowers and kit. A big thanks to JLR for the letting us borrow the Discovery: it’s great to see a big business supporting local community groups. Without the car lent to us, we wouldn’t have been able to get the club to the event at all!”

Many of Stratford’s Junior Squad also spent the week improving their rowing and sculling techniques at the 2012 Eton Dorney Olympic Rowing Lake with accommodation at Eton College. Stratford’s own weekly Summer Camps for juniors started 01 August for the whole month of August: there are still places available 22/26 August.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p16.

Beautiful Bewdley Successes!

SuABC Bewdley July 2016 Bridgenorth composite 1Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters’ Squad descended on the beautiful Worcestershire town of Bewdley this weekend for their two day summer regatta. The event which attracts crews from all over the country is held on the Severn finishing in the town itself watched by large crowds.

On Saturday on a hot summer’s day, it was the turn of the mixed Masters’ crew of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty on the 800 metre course. In their semi- final, they recorded a comfortable win over the local Bewdley crew. In the final, they faced much tougher opposition from Derwent who were fresh from winning a bronze medal at the National Masters Championships a few weeks beforehand. In a close race with the lead changing several times, Derwent just squeezed through on the finish to win by half a length.

Another hot Sunday saw Stratford crews arrive in force for the 500 metres sprint races with first competitors being the Men’s Masters D coxed four of Stephen Haighton, Tim Lunel, Glyn Hawkins, and Wallace Brown. In a close race against a high quality Monmouth crew, Stratford was narrowly beaten by half a length.

Next up saw Mike Atkins racing in a single scull in the Masters G category, after the first win of the day with a fine victory over a younger Monmouth sculler by one length. In a close final later in the day in which the lead changed several times, Mike was just beaten by a length by the local Bewdley sculler.SuABC Bewdley July 2016 Nelson Beard 2

The mixed Masters crew of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty then had a repeat of their Saturday final against Derwent in their semi- final which saw another very close race, with Stratford again being pipped at the line by half a length.

The Masters’ D coxless pair of Richard Nelson and Simon Beard restored Stratford’s pride with an excellent semi- final win against a quality Stourport pair by a third of a length, and then went on later in the day to record a comfortable event win over Loughborough.

Not to be content with his efforts in the single, Mike Atkins was joined by Chris Straw in Masters’ Men’s F double sculls. In an incident packed race with local rivals Evesham, the race ended in a mid- course crash between both crews fighting for the centre of the river which saw the Stratford men unfortunately disqualified.

SuABC Bewdley July 2016 Nelson Beard 1Stratford finished off the day’s racing with Richard Nelson, Simon Beard, and Tom Doherty in a composite eight with Bridgnorth. The crew which had a very successful winter’s head season was on their first regatta outing and not withstanding no pre-race practice, powered off the start at 45 strokes a minute settling to 40 strokes a minute to pull away from Monmouth down the course to win the event by three lengths. Beating the Monmouth eight crew containing the rowers who had beaten Stratford earlier in the day in the coxed fours proved a fitting end to a well run regatta.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Men’s Vice Captain, “It was fantastic to see six Masters’ squad crews competing here which shows the continuing growth in strength of the Masters’ squad at Stratford, ably assisted by the great support and encouragement from Stratford’s Helen Smith and Christine Goodwin throughout the day.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald p16 and online at and Stratford Observer p37

Champs on the Water!

SuABC Junior National Rowing Championships WJ14.4x+ July 2016 1Last weekend crews from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club competed at the Junior National Rowing Championships which were held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham.

The J14 (13 to 14 years of age) had to compete is a skills event on the day before the regatta if they wished to race.

All the Stratford J14 girls squad competed in windy and sometimes rainy conditions; everyone inSuABC Junior National Rowing Championships WJ14.4x+ July 2016 2 either single or double sculls completed the course successfully even though our lightest athletes (50kg) were blown about somewhat. Autumn Keil was the most successful athlete in a single finishing twelfth out of a field of sixty five. Khloe Curnock with Gracie Mitchell and Molly Gill-Swift with Katie Philips finished fifteenth and seventeenth from a fleet of forty five boats.

Two WJ14 crews raced in the time trial on Saturday: Molly Gill-Swift, Katie Philips and Autumn Keil SuABC Junior National Rowing Championships July 2016 Stratford Evesham compositeformed a composite crew with Evesham and finished fifteenth. The Stratford crew of Khloe Curnock, Jessica Wiesheu, Emily Browne, Katie Wellstead and cox Mimi Hill finished fourth to take them into the semi-final. From there they progressed to the final where they sculled supremely in the most exciting 2000m race to finish fifth and only seven seconds from the bronze medal position.SuABC Junior National Rowing Championships July 2016 Stratford Evesham composite.JPG 2

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer p38, online at and Stratford Herald p16.

For excellent pictures of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club at the Junior National Rowing Championships, see David Phillip’s stream…/135872444@N…/sets/72157671079402246

Amazing Fun Regatta!

SuABC Fun Regatta 2016 MFS10Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Fun Regatta took place on Saturday amidst good humoured rivalry. Although the weather didn’t attract the crowds hoped for from Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield, it helped by being not too hot. Cheers from crew supporters and visitors spurred on some twenty nine crews to their fleeting place in history – winning, surviving, completing the course or being the best well dressed crew on the river!

Said Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s Fun Regatta Organiser and Treasurer: “This year’s FunSuABC Fun Regatta 2016 MFS12 Regatta was another great one in terms of number of local crews from companies and organisations such as Blythe Liggins Solicitors, Royal Leamington Spa; two crews from Warwickshire Young Farmers; Simplify IT Solutions Ltd, Alcester; Barford Cricket Club and BNI Warwick 49ers to name just a few. This year we also had several crews from parents of our young rowers: fierce competition – Mums against Dads!”

Paul said. “The ingenuity and effort put into the fancy dress was amazing – Cool Runnings, Hawaii SuABC Fun Regatta 2016 MFS11Five O, Boatylicious and The Cavemen 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,SuABC Fun Regatta 2016 MFS9 the Club’s President. “This year we were so pleased to have NFU Mutual’s Stratford agent sponsor the Fun Regatta: this was a first for us and it proved a great success to have local companies support us in this very exciting year after we have just completed our huge refurbishment and expansion. 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 SuABC Fun Regatta 2016 DP23sport. We are a community club and NFU Mutual’s Stratford agent’s support will help us to pay for our increase in facilities and increased our ability to provide sport for all especially those looking for weekday recreation and exercise.”

For meda coverage see Stratford Observer back page and online at

For great Fun Regatta pictures, see David Philip’s stream and Trevor Tiller’s collection.

Second Year of Success at Henley Royal Regatta

SuABC HRR 2016 1Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s once again competed at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta with a Senior Men’s coxed four in the Britannia Challenge Cup and, with another excellent performance, they got through to the quarter finals again this year winning against Kingston Rowing Club. All those who were there and who watched the live stream had their nerves shredded for the second time and although the quality of the rowing was verySuABC HRR 2016 5 high, alas the result went against Stratford in the quarter finals to a very talented Utah Crew from USA by a small margin. The crew of Martin Hotton, James Reeder, Ben Twiney, Chris Thomas and cox Becky Stokes did Stratford Boat Club proud.

SuABC HRR 2016 9Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Men’s Seniors 4+ won their first heat against Kingston Rowing Club in the Britannia Challenge Cup by one foot! The crew had already pre-qualified at previous regattas during the weeks running up to Henley Royal Regatta.

Stratford’s race against Utah USA, one of the seeded crews from overseas, was in the evening of Thursday: thisSuABC HRR 2016 2 year with the races from Royal Henley Regatta being televised through YouTube and on other sports channels, members of the Club were able to watch the racing live. Said Oliver Smith, Captain of Boats, “Having won by one whole foot against Kingston Rowing Club, Stratford wanted to increase that winning SuABC HRR 2016 3margin for their own satisfaction as well as our nerves but we knew that they would have their work cut out to win against the Utah crew! The atmosphere in newly refurbished Club Room was electrifying as we all cheered of colleagues on but sadly it wasn’t to be. We are very proud of the crew and what they have achieved for Stratford.”

For Stratford Boat Club’s video of the race with Kingston Rowing Club, see