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

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!

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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


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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.