Ironbridge Regatta: Successful Weekend!

SuABC Ironbridge June 2016 2aFollowing the excellent performance of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s senior men at Henley Royal Regatta’s qualifying competition on Friday, it was the turn of the rest of the club to showcase Stratford’s rowing ability at Ironbridge Rowing Club Regatta on Saturday.

Held in the locality of the world famous Ironbridge in Shropshire, the regatta attracts crews from all over the country for a two day exhibition of keenly fought competition raced over a 1000m course. Stratford Boat Club was represented by a number of men’s and women’s crews from across club throughout the day’s full racing programme.

First for Stratford were the women’s novice double scullers of Christine Goodwin and Emily Barret in only their second ever competitive event: they recorded a well deserved and first ever win against Minerva Bath in their first race. In the semi final in a hotly contested race, Stratford was just beaten by two lengths by a quality Swindon Rowing Club crew.

It was then the turn of the Masters men’s events which saw two crews competing in coxed fours competitions with the E crew of Gary Clay, Richard Nelson, Tom Doherty and Simon Beard, coxed by Lucy Brekwell from Bridgnorth, recording a good win by two lengths in the final over Evesham Rowing Club.

This was closely followed by the D crew of Tim Lunel, Simon Skillings, Glyn Hawkins and Wallace Brown just missing out on a win in a closely fought final to a strong Huntingdon crew by only one and a quarter lengths in a race fought all the way to the finishing line.

In an afternoon interrupted by spectacular torrential rain showers, it was the turn of the small boat crews which saw Victoria Ward returning to the water for her first race of the year following a serious knee injury. Racing in a very competitive Women’s IM3 single sculling event, Victoria was narrowly beaten by the eventual event winner from Grosvenor Rowing Club by three lengths.

The final event of the day for Stratford saw the double scull of Chris Straw and Joe Moore fresh from their victory at Stratford Regatta the week before, hotly contesting the final with Derwent/Derby Rowing Club only to be squeezed out of a win by only a length.

Said Helen Smith, Women’s racing crew co-ordinator, “It was fantastic to see the women’s novice crew of Christine and Emily record their first ever race win and to see Victoria return to competitive racing following a long period of injury recuperation: coupled with a strong showing from the men’s crews, this all bodes well for success at future events.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online at… and p17 hard copy and Stratford Observer online…/henley-next-agenda-ironbri… and hard copy p30.

Rosconn Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Another Great Success!

SuABC Regatta 2016 J15 presentation 2



SuABC Rosconn Banner large




What a great day! Excellent racing: great participation from crews as far afield as Bewdley Rowing Club, Cardiff & Vale Schools Rowing Association, Evesham Rowing Club, Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester, Stowe Sculling Club and Warwick Boat Club and newcomers from Becket School Rowing Club, Cotswold Rowing Club, Holloway Scullers, Leicester Rowing Club, Merton College, Monkton Combe School, Monmouth Comprehensive School and Northwich Rowing Club.SuABC Regatta 2016 J15 presentation 1

Said Glyn Hawkins, lead committee member for the Club’s refurbishment, “It was a great opportunity for Stratford Boat Club to show off our newly refurbished and expanded Club and how we will be continuing to provide sport for all ages not only for Stratford itself but also the greater Warwickshire area. We also had the opportunity to talk to local visitors on completing the finance for the project.”

SuABC Regatta 2016 J15 presentation 3Kjersti Rogneflaten, Stratford Boat Club’s Regatta Secretary said, “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.”

Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President commented. “It was a long day’s racing from 08.30SuABC Regatta 2016 J15 to 18.30hrs: 350 beefburgers, 40lbs of sausages, 20lbs of bacon, 25kg of sliced onions and 700 buns all from local suppliers were consumed as well as dozens of cakes and snacks: what a magnificent day topped by great racing! The weather during the week running up to the regatta was not kind, river levels came up and so we decided to shorten the course to ensure the safety of all the competitors and river users. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

Said Paul Hazelwood, the Club’s Treasurer, “Stratford Boat Club’s next event is the Fun Regatta on Saturday 09 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 SuABC Regatta 2016 J15 winregatta for them! There are 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 Esme Booth

picture courtesy of Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

picture courtesy of Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

(J17) and Imogen North (J18), rowing for King Edward VI School and Stratford upon Avon Boat Club respectively competing at Henley Women’s Regatta. The racing took place over a distance of 1500 metres upstream on the famous Henley Royal Regatta course. Both athletes took part in the Junior Women’s singles division. The category saw a high-class entry of scullers from both the U.K and from overseas.

A total of twenty nine competitors took part in an initial time-trial, eliminating all but the top sixteen athletes. Both Stratford athletes progressed comfortably, ranking in the top ten overall. Racing against extremely tough competition, SuABC HWR June 2016 North bestunfortunately both Esme and Imogen were knocked out in the following rounds not being able to progress to the last eight and last four respectively.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Coach Alfie Nash commented, “Both Esme and Imogen had rowed exceptionally competitively against the highest ranked competition nationally at junior level, many of whom currently represent British Rowing internationally. It is always great to see King Edward VI School and Stratford represented in such prestigious events. This is truly aSuABC HWR June 2016 North 5a reward for the time and effort put in by athletes, coaches and supporting members of Stratford Boat Club.”

Commenting further on the weekend, coach Mark Holden said, “Henley Women’s Regatta attracts not only the strongest crews in the United Kingdom but also considerable international interest with crews competing from the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Esme came up against a tough opponent from Cambridge 99 but gained very valuable experience for the future in this SuABC HWR June 2016 North 4apremier event. Imogen North won a close race against a sculler from the United States to repeat her success of last year and progress to her second Henley Women’s Quarter finals. Imogen was beaten by the eventual winner from Reading but both Stratford athletes can be very proud of their achievements in the company of such strong international competition.”

There was more good news for Stratford crews as the Club’s Men’s Seniors coxed four has pre qualified for the Britannia Challenge Cup at Royal Henley Regatta in less than a week’s  time and the coxless four will be going through the qualifying round this coming Friday.

For media coverage of the regatta, please see the Stratford Herald p20 and p4 and Stratford Observer online

To see David Phillip’s great photographs of the regatta, please click onto

To see Mark Williamson’s (Stratford Herald), excellent photographs and The Herald’s online report, please see

Rosconn Stratford upon Avon Boat Club 2016 Regatta


SuABC Regatta 2015 H7

Our thanks to all who competed in our Rosconn Group Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta on Saturday 18 June: despite the short course, we hope you enjoyed the day!  We hosted 16 visiting clubs, 163 crews took part with 136 races in four divisions!

A special ‘thank you’ to all our sponsors, especially The Rosconn Group who were our main regattaSuABC Regatta 2015 H22 sponsor: without our sponsors, the regatta would not have happened

We would also thank the Avon Navigation Trust, the other river users and those who make their living on the river: your co-operation was essential and we’re most grateful for your help

Lastly, but certainly not least, thank you to all the visiting umpires, officials and Club helpers: no regatta can run without you!

Battle of Blenheim and Nottingham

SuABC Nottingham June 2016 1Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was ably represented at British Rowing’s premier Masters Championships last Sunday at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham by their Masters men’s squad and club supporters.

The event comprising six lane side by side racing was characterised by very competitive and exciting racing throughout the day and saw crews from Stratford upon Avon competing in variable weather conditions in a number of events.

First off was the Stratford Masters E coxless four of Gary Clay, Tom Doherty, Richard Nelson, and Simon Beard in a close race which saw all crews separated by only five seconds, just failing to qualify for the final by two and a half seconds in a time of 3.35.30.SuABC Hinksey 5 Blenheim Gates plus SW

This crew then competed again in the Masters E coxed four event ably coxed by Jen Cary in one of the most heavily contested events at the regatta which saw twelve of the thirteen competitors in the heat races separated by a mere twelve seconds time difference. Despite coming third in their heat in a creditable time of four minutes and rowing into a strong headwind, the crew again just failed to qualify for the final by four seconds.

SuABC Hinksey 3 Blenheim GatesThe most impressive performance of the day however was reserved for the Stratford Masters D coxed four crew of Stephen Haighton, Glyn Hawkins, Tim Lunel, and Wallace Brown coxed again by Jen Cary. The crew stormed forward to a very close win in their heat in a time of 3.40.89 in a race which saw the top four crews separated by less than two seconds to record the fastest overall heat time.

In a hotly contested final which produced one of the best races of the day, an exuberant crowdSuABC Hinksey 2 presentation saw all six crews finish within five seconds of each other. Stratford, rowing a very strong race into the last two hundred and fifty metres were just squeezed out of a medal position in a last gasp finish surge by Nottingham Boat Club by only a second to finish an outstanding fifth in a time of 3.36.48 less than three seconds behind the winners Monmouth.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters Vice Captain, ”This was an excellent overall performance by the Masters’ Squad crews from Stratford, in particular the outstanding Masters D coxed four, and demonstrates that we are able to compete for medals at national level with a squad that continues SuABC Hinksey 7 girls quad 2to grow in strength all the time. It was also great to have the support of club members Christine Goodwin and Helen Smith who kept the crews spirits up all day.”

Meanwhile, Stratford Boat Club’s youngest athletes were in action over the weekend competing at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta hosted by Hinksey Sculling School. For many of the Junior Squad, this marked their competitive debut and the competition was strong with top crews at J13 level from around the country.SuABC Hinksey 7 girls quad

The coxed quadruple scull of Sophie Neville (cox), Jasmine Mountney (stroke), Alice Baines (3), Mili Wilcock (2) and Maiya James (bow) gave the spectators something to celebrate overhauling King’s Ely School, Staines Boat Club and Hinksey to take a bronze medal. There were also strong performances in single scull (Fred Tyler) and double scull categories (Dan Cox and Max Griffiths). Commenting on their performance, coach and Junior Co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said, “These SuABC Hinksey 6 boys doubleyoung athletes all showed tremendous composure in the heat of competition and should be enormously proud of their achievements.”

For more great photographs of The Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta, please see

For media coverage, please see the Stratford Herald p18

Busy Bank Holiday Weekend for Boat Club

On Bank Holiday Friday, the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Mimi Hill (cox), Katie Wellstead (stroke),SuABC NSR May 2016 tt Emily Browne (3), Katie Phillips (2), Autumn Keil (bow) opened their account at National level with a strong performance at the National Schools Regatta held on the Olympic Course at Eton Dorney.

In the qualifying time trial the crew put in a solid row recording the sixth fastest time amongst strong competition from thirty five schools and clubs from around the country.

SuABC NSR May 2016 nnHead to head racing in the semi-final saw a gripping 1000m battle take place between Newark, Stratford, Tideway Scullers and Ardingly with the Stratford crew missing a place in the A final by less than a foot to Tideway Scullers.

Moving to the B Final after disappointment in the semi final, the crew regrouped to deliver a confident victory over quality opposition from Liverpool Victoria, Headington School, Bedford Girls and Marlow.

Commenting on their performance, coach Dr Graham Collier said, “They are anSuABC NSR May 2016 t outstanding group from the Stratford Girls’ Grammar School who are already highly skilled sculling athletes with the motivation and determination to make their mark at national level – all whilst having loads of fun!”

Also competing at the National School’s Regatta at Eton Dorney Lake in the Junior Girls Championship Single Sculls category was Stratford Boat Club’s WJ17 rower Esme Booth – this time rowing for King Edward VI School.

Although rowing at the WJ18 age group with over forty competitors, Esme missed out on a place in the semi-finals by a mere 0.4 seconds. This put the KES rower in the “C” final where, in a very tight and exiting race, she finished in a very creditable fourth place in a time that would have brought her a top four place in either SuABC NSR May 2016 quadsemi-final.

Imogen North also made it through to her third National Schools rowing regatta final having rowed an impressive time trial to qualify as one of the top sixteen boats in the WJ18 single sculls category. Imogen finished fourth in a competitive semi-final to qualify for the final and finished eighth overall on the day.

The following day Stratford’s WJ18 coxless quad of Imogen North, Lucy Weston, Cassie Bird and Phoebe Winter finished twenty eighth in their time trial and improved their overall position by one place in the final stages following a thrilling race with Millfield School.

However, the highest place of the three day event for Stratford-upon-Avon Boat ClubSuABC NSR May 2016 Conolly was secured by the WJ15 4+.  The coxed four of Robin Connolly (cox), Lara Davies (stroke), Ellie Gray (3) Issy Marsden (2) and Maddy Winsper (bow) rowed their time trial seamlessly to take third place, qualifying well for the A final. Despite an old injury flaring up for one of the crew shortly after the start of the final, the girls rowed a well paced race to take fifth place nationally.

On Saturday18 June, the same day as the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta, Esme will be rowing at the Henley Women’s Regatta, again a qualifying time trial will determine which athletes’ progress to the finals. Esme will be up against the top national and international female junior rowers and racing on the famous Henley Regatta course.

During the busy Bank Holiday weekend, Stratford Boat Club’s Masters, Novices and Intermediates also competed at Monmouth Regatta and The Club welcomed scullers from Thames Valley Skiff Club in Walton on Thames and The Skiff Club at Trowlock Way, Teddington during their weekend meanderings along the River Avon.

For media coverage, please also see Stratford Herald online and p16 and Stratford Observer p31.

For more great pictures of the National Schools Regatta, see David Phillips coverage on

Lively AGM at Stratford Boat Club

SuABC AGM May 2016 7At last Thursday’s Annual General Meeting, Stratford upon Avon Boat 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: these are tankards won by Felix Badcock during his long career rowing and over engraved with the winner’s name and award. The intention was to award the Junior and the Senior Personality of the Year but the evening started with a special award to recognise a single action that had massive implications for the Club and for the Club’s members in particular.

The Special Felix Award went to Will Smith for his brilliant and speedy actions in helping save the life of one of the Club’s members who had capsized and stopped breathing. This club member has gone on to make a full recovery and is back on the river and competing to the delight of everybody at the Club. At the time Will wanted no fuss and no recognition but the Club wanted to take the occasion of the AGM to mark a very special ‘Thank You’ to recognise this great example to all.

The Senior Felix Award went to Jane Hadland who has put in hours and hours of unpaid time for the Club sorting out the Club’sSuABC AGM May 2016 4 Jane membership and general administration. All the Club members’ enquiry emails get answered by Jane and she is also an active social member who is always ready to help.

SuABC AGM May 2016 9 ConradThe Junior Felix Award went to Conrad Bird, for his all round contribution on and off the water. Conrad was considered to be a great crew member who works hard and competes to win and has a great competitive future ahead of him. Said Stephen Haighton, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club, “Conrad is also the first person to volunteer to help out and when he does, it is always with a smile and he can be relied on to do what he says he is going to do. Recently he has been absolutely essential in our boat maintenance team, working with our Boatman, Phil Marshall, and he has also been a great advocate of Junior opinion. So a great all-round performance is now properly recognised.”

The AGM was very lively with passionate debate on all aspects of the Club’s governance and an example of democracy in action. SuABC First Aid May 2016 2

On Sunday, the Club had a second refresher course on first aid which was attended by coaches, parent helpers, senior members and delegates from other local clubs. Head Coach Andrew Roe commented, “Although most of the coaches and helpers were up to date with first aid practice, it is essential to have a refresher course now and then to understand new techniques such as the use of defibrillators to ensure that those we look after are as safe as possible.”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club arranges many courses throughout the year for coaches, parent helpers, young leaders and all members to ensure that the Club follows best practice to minimise accidents and danger.

Celebrations at Stratford Boat Club

Friday evening 13 May saw great celebrations at Stratford upon Avon Boat Club as the new training room and refurbished Club RoomSuABC Open SH 41 JR were opened by James Roe MBE and Nadhim Zahawi MP

Said Stephen Haighton, Chairman of Stratford Boat Club, “We have been extraordinarily lucky here at the Boat Club that we got together the right team, with the right vision, ambition, skills, talent and commitment, ably lead by Glyn Hawkins for whom this has been virtually a full time job and who we recognised with honorary life membership last week. We were also very fortunate to have the right people advising us included some great partners such as MRT Architects and Iris Construction and invaluable help from Alan Meegan at British Rowing”

SuABC Open SH 26 PROther guests included chief executives and senior executives from Sport England, British Rowing and Stratford Town Trust who provided just under £200k between them to fund the project

Commented Paul Stanton, President, “The key objectives and main reasons for building are to provide all-weather year round training facility, to improve access for disabled athletes and to increased participation in sport and rowing. There have been a number of very generous individual donations including my predecessor Felix Badcock whose estate provided £12,500 for the development. He was a very passionate advocate of building the extension and we know that the finished result is a fitting memorial to him”

“We will be continuing with our fund raising activities with the aim of paying the bank loan off early,” stated Glyn Hawkins, leadSuABC Open SH 31 Gotrel committee member for the refurbishment. “We are very keen to attract more sponsors and we hope that progressive local businesses will see that the Boat Club is a thriving Stratford community asset and want to be associated with us”

On Sunday, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters squad were back on the water commencing their regatta season with a tough baptism at Nottingham Masters’ Regatta. This high standard event which attracts some of the best crews in the country was held in good weather conditions which contributed to some high quality racing

Pavilion large (6)IMG_1894First up for Stratford was Chris Straw and Joe Moore in Masters’ F double sculls who put in a brave performance finishing third in their event. Chris and Joe followed this up with Mike Atkins and Simon Moore in Masters’ F quad sculls
In an excellent race against Peterborough, Stratford lead out to the 600 metre mark only to be pipped by Peterborough by four seconds in a time of 4.02 minutes

Final race of the day saw Gary Clay, Tom Doherty, Richard Nelson and Simon Beard competing in Masters’ ESuABC Open SH 8 revd coxless fours. After a shipwreck on the start which cost Stratford two lengths on the rest of the field, the crew settled into a good race pace and by 500 metres had overhauled the entire field to lead at the halfway mark, a position they held until 800 metres when they were just overhauled to finish third 2.5 seconds behind the race winners Express from Cambridge in a time of three minutes and 40 seconds

Said Tom Doherty, “Whilst our own race result was disappointing, it was pleasing to see three masters crews from Stratford all competing so competitively at a high quality regatta this early in the season and bodes well for the rest of the regatta season”

For more media coverage, see Stratford herald p2 and p19 and The Stratford Observer p39

Successful Weekend at Evesham

Bank Holiday Saturday saw the Masters D Crew from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club win the Masters Coxed Fours event at EveshamSuABC Evesham April May regatta 1 Masters D Crew Regatta. The crew of Stephen Haighton, Glyn Hawkins, Tim Lunel and Wallace Brown, coxed by Jennifer Cary, beat a home crew from Evesham in the final, recording a creditable time of three minute and forty seconds over the 1,000meter course. Although this was the first race for the new squad which also features Simon Skillings as ‘fifth man’, it proved excellent preparation for their attempt at the National Masters Championships in June.

Said Tom Doherty, “This was a great result. Well done to all. It’s great to have winning crews across the Masters’ squad!”

SuABC Evesham Regatta April May 20 GabyNot to be outdone by the Men’s Squad, Gaby Walker won her Women’s Novice 1x. Commented Helen Smith, Senior & Performance Women’s Captain, “This was superb. A good day for Stratford all round!”

The Junior Squad had a J16 2x win and finalists with their WJ15 4+, WJ15 4x+, WJ14 4x+, J16 4x, J18 1x, J15 2x athletes and crews.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p18, online at and Stratford Observer online at

For more great photographs, see David Phillips’ selection at

Weekend of Celebration for Boat Club

Whilst all the celebrations were happening in Stratford, three of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews were representing the WestSuABC JIRR April 2016 girls quad 1 Midlands at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta which was held on the multi-lane course at Nottingham on Saturday. Competition was keen and all Stratford’s crews responded well to it.

The girls’ J14 coxed four of Lara Davies, Ellie Gray, Issy Marsden, Maddie Winsper coxed by Robin Connolly qualified for the A Final. A most superb row saw them SuABC JIRR April 2016 girls four 1finish in fourth place missing the bronze medal by two seconds.

This race was followed by the girls’ J14 coxed quad with Katie Wellstead, Gracie Mitchell, Katie Phillips, Emily Browne supremely coxed by Mimi Hill which also qualified for the A Final and with a spirited row finished fifth out of twelve crews.

Next came the boys’ J16 coxless quad of Conrad Bird, Will Buckley, Khalid Ahmed and Isaac Herring who raced immaculately in an extremely high quality field finishing second in the B Final and eighth overall.

Said coach Dr Graham Collier, “The Boat Club is delighted with the performances of all the athletes: they represented their club and the region so very, very well.”P1040313

Earlier that morning, two coaches and a junior member had appeared on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio’s Grassroots outside broadcast sports programme from Stratford with Lorna Bailey to talk about the Club’s expansion and successes and plans for the future. Said Jessica Wiesheu, J14 sculler, “Being part of The Lorna Bailey Show was great fun: I was able to explain what a ‘buzz’ I get from rowing and being part of a crew”

On Sunday, whilst several Club members were taking part in the Stratford and London marathons, Christine Goodwin, Club Welfare Officer, and three colleagues from the Wildmoor Spa took part in their own ergo marathon to raise funds for The Shakespeare Hospice: the ergo marathon was over the same distance as the London and Stratford marathons.SuABC Goodwin April 2016 revd

Said colleague Tom Doherty, “Christine completed her marathon distance of over 42 km in just over three hours and seven minutes, the fastest recorded time for any woman of any age group in the UK, a tremendous achievement.  On this score she is fourth in the world for her age group and seventh for all ages. She maintained very consistent splits throughout the distance, taking her rate up for the last 8500m to ensure she beat her nearest rival.”

Fellow members of Stratford Boat Club were there for the later stages to cheer Christine on and celebrate her success.  Her husband and coach, Shaw Goodwin, again gave a great level of support on the day as well as in the lead up to the trial.

Christine is planning to row the Boston Marathon in the autumn. Said Chairman Stephen Haighton, “This is some achievement by Christine! This was really well done and many congratulations to her: hopefully, the best is yet to come as Christine now has access to world class training facilities at the Club too!”P1040339

The final celebration of a packed weekend was the ‘soft’ opening of the Club’s new Pavilion training suite on Sunday: this will now enable the Club to expand and cater for the increased sporting needs for athletes in the Stratford area

For online media coverage, see Stratford Herald and Stratford Observer See also Stratford Observer hard copy back page 29 April

For more great pictures of JIRR, see David Phillips album…/135872444…/albums/72157667489977865