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 http://bit.ly/2aeg9Bg 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 http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-crews-impress-nationals and Stratford Herald p16.

For excellent pictures of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club at the Junior National Rowing Championships, see David Phillip’s stream https://www.flickr.com/…/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 http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/fun-frolics-water

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 http://www.stratford-herald.com/55088-smith-proud-stratford-shine-henley-royal-regatta.html

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 http://www.stratford-herald.com/54764-stratford-rowers-show… and p17 hard copy and Stratford Observer online http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/…/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 http://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-regatta-hailed-huge-success

To see David Phillip’s great photographs of the regatta, please click onto http://bit.ly/28VujpF

To see Mark Williamson’s (Stratford Herald), excellent photographs and The Herald’s online report, please see http://bit.ly/28VvghY

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 http://bit.ly/1YtSjB0

For media coverage, please see the Stratford Herald p18