Stratford Gets to Semi Final at Henley!

With no mixed events on the race card, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was represented at this year’s Henley Masters Regatta event on 9/10th July by Tim Lunel in the Master E single sculls. The quarter final on the Friday under a glorious Henley blue sky day saw Tim race against a Grosvenor sculler and with new found pace off the start this year Tim took a length lead in the first 100m. That allowed an almost comfortable row through to the finish to win by a length and a half of clear water.
So, Stratford through to the semi finals at Henley! With the form at the earlier British Masters at Nottingham showing that there were three scullers from Commercial (Ireland), Holloway Scullers and Exeter dominating this class at the moment, it was always going to be a tough ask to progress further.
Tim went for the ‘blast off the start’ approach to give the best chance of a surprise upset. At 200m the boats were level: then a couple of rollers coming in between the open area between the booms meant that Tim had a couple of untidy finishes. The crews were level no more! David Burns from Exeter then went on to win by four lengths at the finish. The final winner, as at Nottingham, was Denis Crowley from Ireland. Said Tim, “It was good to be competing in a category won by an international athlete in a year of more limited international entries. My final reflection was that this was a very enjoyable couple of days of racing and meeting up with fellow rowers at Henley!”
For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page sixty one and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/…/lunel-enthused-by… and also back sports page https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/…
For more pictures of Tim Lunel at Henley, see Ben Rodford Photography’s Open E x1 great selection https://benrodford.photoshelter.com/…/C0000UTr6r8nzl2M

Stratford Battle Choppy Waters at Nottingham!

Last weekend, the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J16 double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie travelled to Nottingham to the National Water Sports Centre to take part in a new event, the GB J16 Summer Regatta. This event attracted the best of J16 athletes from around Great Britain.

Held over 1500m, this event enabled athletes to race up to three times during the day giving them vast amounts of race experience, something that has been drastically lacking over the past eighteen months.

The Stratford duo took to the rather choppy water for the time trial where they put in a great performance to finish in third place. This secured them their spot in the semi-finals: the water remained choppy due to the winds throughout the day. Wilcock and Beattie raced well in the semi-final coming into the final 200m in second, where they were just pipped on the line placing them third, enough to make the A-Final.

As they boated for the A-Final, the wind picked up even more: they paddled off to the start in preparation. They had been assigned Lane 1 out of 6 and rowed extremely well. The crews from Weybridge and Newark were out in front and took Gold and Silver respectively. The other four crews were extremely close together coming into the final 200m, it was going to come down to whoever could out sprint the rest. Beattie and Wilcock put up a good fight and on the line were officially awarded sixth place, in pretty much a photo finish of the four crews. Said Abi Terry, J16 Coach, “The result was so close that none of the coaches actually knew who had finished where. This was a great event for the boys to attend, well organised and some brilliant racing. We now look forward to the British Championships in a couple of week’s time.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/photo-finish-for-boat-club-duo-9206158 and page fifty three and also Stratford Observer https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2021/07/09&pages=024 and back sports page

Stratford Clean Up at Marlow and Peterborough!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad finally returned to competition at Marlow this weekend: Stratford were the most successful club on the day winning three of the four events entered

Hattie Throssell, supported by Sofia Ward, had a clear win in the ladies’ doubles event for those who use a wheelchair. Lissie Simpson, competing in her first event, supported by Jake Blatcher then overcame stiff opposition from Guildford to win their final by two lengths. This race was for those with some lower limb disability.

Ian Ward, supported by his mother Paola, in their final, took part in the best race of the day. All three crews crossed the line within a few seconds of each other. The event for those with a learning difficulties and was won by the Stratford crew, defeating two Marlow crews by half a length.

Dan Godefroy, supported by Nev Hands, came close to making it a clean sweep for Stratford, missing out by only a length to a strong Marlow boat.

A number of other members of Stratford’s adaptive squad attended the event to cheer their colleagues on. “It was a great sporting and social day out for everyone,” said Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach. “The squad next plan to compete at Maidenhead in early August: several new adaptive squad members will be making their debut at this event.”

Meanwhile at Peterborough Junior Championships, Stratford’s J15 squad’s racing began on the Saturday in what can kindly be described as cool, cloudy with a stiff breeze: so much for blazing June! However, undaunted, their day started with a round of time trials to determine which finals race the crews would race in. Stratford’s J15 quad crew of Imogen Hill, Ruby Brooker Collins, Grace Beason, Uche Nwachukwa and coxed by Kate Richardson sculled strongly to be placed in the C final which they duly won producing a great time of 4 mins 50 seconds. Commenting, Steve Marsden, J15 Coach said, “Great sculling , fantastic audibly exuberant coxing pushing the crew across the line in what was their first competitive outing!”

Next up was Uche Nwachukwa who sculled bravely in a single through a strong head wind in her time trial and then raced again in the Plate final gaining a Silver Medal in a time of 5mins 10 seconds, only five seconds behind the winning boat from Globe.

Stratford’s final J15 squad race took place on the Sunday with Charles Happel racing in his time trial to be placed in the C final, producing an excellent performance to finish in third place behind contestants from Peterborough City and Molesey in a time of 5mins 4 seconds. Commenting further, Steve Marsden said, “A fantastic effort by all our J15 athletes yet again proving Stratford Boat Club can mix it with some of the best scullers in the land!”

Stratford’s J14 squad finally also got their opportunity to race on the wonderful rowing course at Peterborough, four lanes of side-by-side with stakeboat start racing in both the time trials and the finals. The brilliant event was designed to give most athletes two rows each per event. On Saturday in the Open J14 1x trials, Will Dalrymple-Baker finished the 1000m course in 4min 52.9sec (7th overall) and Jamie Wilcock completed it in 5min 02.9sec (9th), earning him a place in the C Final in which he came second against Doncaster and Globe, in 5min 04.1sec. In the B Final, Will D-B finished third in 4min 56.7src, against strong competition from Windsor Boys School, Newark and Bewl Bridge.

Both Stratford J14 boys then competed in the Open J14 2x event after lunch and posted a credible time trial time of 4min 29.8secs (10th overall), which got them into the C Final and winning it in a time of 4min 27.9sec, beating the boys from Peterborough City, Bewl Bridge and Globe. Said J14 Club Coach Hugo Happel: “Both boys did superbly well in their inaugural race, against established schools, in tricky windy conditions. Lots more to come from these two!”

On Sunday, it was the J14 girls’ turn to step into the sculling arena. Starting off in the WJ14 1x category, in similarly windy conditions, Aimee Appleton finished her time trial in 5min 55.1sec (5th overall), which got her into the B Final which she won in 5min 42.1sec. Lucy Sartain did her time trial in 5min 51.1sec (4th overall) which got her into the A Final! She finished fourth in a terrific time of 5min 32.4sec, with Newark Rowing Club winning Gold in 4min 44.2sec.

Shortly after lunch Scarlett Richardson (stroke) and Nancy Davis (bow) set a time of 4min 56.6s in the WJ14 2x time trial (4th overall). Lucy Sartain (stroke) and Molly Vondrak (bow) set an equally impressive time of 4min 54.0s in their race (3rd overall). Both Stratford crews made it to the A Final, against Peterborough City and St Ives. Sartain/Vondrak finished fourth, whilst Richardson/Davis finished second in 5min 11.9s, a superb achievement to be winning Silver medals in their first ever race.

Finally, the WJ14 4x+ entry made up of Eloise Cooper (stroke), Jessica Long, Esmerelda Elfwood, Harriet Froom (bow), expertly coxed by Aimee Appleton, posted a 5min 06.2s time trial (6th overall), securing them a place in the B Final. Against strong competition from Kingston Girls’ School and Norwich School, Stratford’s girls finished third in 5min 07.8sec. Commenting further, Hugo Happel said, “The WJ14 athletes did incredibly well in their first ever competition, they stuck to the game plan of keeping strokes long and powerful, which they did brilliantly. They took to the side-by-side format really well, whereas four weeks ago, it all seemed a bit daunting to quite a number of them. Just like the boys the day before, they really got into the mindset and delivered in spades. They all did the Stratford Boat Club proud. I look forward to seeing more from these spirited J14 boys and girls!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/rowers-clean-up-at-marlow-and-peterborough-9205323 and page fifty two: see also Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-on-form-in-the-water-as-adaptive-and-junior-rowers-take-the-spotlight and back sports page

For more great pictures from Marlow, see Bruce Lynn’s selection https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ncy2dc8e3977kh2/AAA243u_J-s6thwWCVida4Uxa?dl=0

Stratford Masters Settle Some Old Scores!

Saturday saw a return to competition rowing for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters crews following the Club’s junior squad’s successful return to racing of the previous week. The Masters’ crews took on the very significant challenge of the British Rowing Masters Championships held on the multilane course at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham. Held at a venue renowned for its blustery conditions and variable weather, this year saw a reasonably calm and hot day, an unusual occurrence remarked on by many competitors!

The competition which, due to Covid restrictions, was reduced to a one day event with all status crews competing together which led to some high quality and fiercely competitive racing throughout the day. The Stratford Boat Club’s mixed double crew of Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty in their first national competition together in their age group race found themselves in a field of four other boats, all of whom had previously won championship golds.

Faced with such a task, Stratford’s crew who were blessed with a strong headwind gave it everything off the start to stay with the field over the 1000m course. At 600 m they were still in the mix but the experience and power of the other crews saw them pull away over the last third of the race. A satisfied but shattered crew were pleased to have been able to race and to have been competitive against some of the best the best crews in the country.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “The weekend’s race was a real baptism of fire for Heather in her first national standard completion and multilane race and she passed with flying colours. The experience gained over the weekend will be very beneficial as we look to further races as lockdown is hopefully reduced in the future.”

Also competing at Nottingham at the weekend in the Open Masters E single sculls was Tim Lunel. Not holding out for much more than a competitive day out, Lunel was very pleasantly surprised to find himself leading at the 500m mark in the first round with the comforting knowledge that the first three go through to the final. Banter was inevitably to follow as ex-Stratford Boat Club Piers Copham “rowed through” or was allowed to exert extra wasted energy to take first place depending on the perspective of the scullers in question.

Lunel’s and Piers’  fears that the other heat contained the fastest sculler in the field was then confirmed in the A Final where those rowers took the podium positions with Denis Crowley from Commercial Rowing Club of Ireland hopping over the Irish Sea to record a cracking 4.08 as the winning time

The only race that really mattered in the final though this was of course the one between Tim Lunel (Stratford) and Piers Copham (ex-Stratford) and we are pleased to report that staying at Stratford Boat Club to enjoy the new singles (rather than relocating to the Cam as Piers has done) produced the desired result with a “winning margin” of 2.6 seconds for Stratford’s Lunel!

Commenting, Tim Lunel said, “A great day of racing after an eighteen month gap, celebrated by one of those really rare events … a sunny day with a moderate breeze rather than a howling gale at Holme Pierrepoint!”

Whilst their Masters were battling to gain honours for the Club, the Junior Squad and others were at home battling the very busy ungoverned river to achieve their weekend river outings. Sunday saw the second Stratford Boat Club Internal Young Coaches’ Assistant Course: the course consisted of technical ‘classroom’ based sessions and much appreciated outdoor practical sessions. Commenting, Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President, said, “We are so grateful to Abi Terry, our very successful J16 coach, for delivering these courses. The potential coming through our Junior Squad, not only our athletes but also their talented coaches, gives us some much confident for the future. We are delighted with the local and regional response to our junior summer camps for August which are now full!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/masters-settle-old-scores-9203306 and page sixty one

Bumper Weekend for Stratford’s Junior Squad!

After many long months training in isolation and a precious few weeks back on the water, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Junior Squad were at last back racing at the weekend.  It was to be a baptism of fire for our older athletes with the first event back being the National Schools’ Regatta held over 2000m on the Olympic course at Eton Dorney.  Running as a “Behind Closed Doors” event, the venue was eerily quiet without the usual marquees, trade stands and spectators.  The competition on the water however remained fierce as the top rowing schools and clubs from across the country turned out in force eager to show the fruits of the lockdown labour.  Just two crews from Stratford Boat Club’s J17/18 squad competed under the limited entries permitted. Alice Baines and Amelie Sartain flew the flag in the Championship Double Sculls and recorded a creditable twenty second place ahead of some of the premier rowing outfits nationally.

On Sunday Stratford Boat Club’s J16 Junior Squad also travelled to Dorney Lake for the National Schools Regatta where they took a WJ16 coxless quad. The squad rowed really well in the time trial and fought hard, but came up against some strong schools that had been able to train throughout lockdown and ended up finishing in a very respectable twenty sixth place.

On Monday the rest of the J16 squad also travelled down to Dorney Lake, to race at the Junior Sculling Regatta. First up, very early, was the J16 double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie. They raced hard in their time trial to place eight and gain their place in the B Final. The next time trial was Toby Sartain in the J16 single sculls. He sculled with finesse to put him into fifteenth place and safely into the C Final. The last time trial for the J16’s was for the WJ16 double scull of Honour Keil and Harriet Holmes. They put in a great effort to take seventeenth place and again a place in the C Final.

Later in the day the finals happened in the same order as the time trials. Wilcock and Beattie were first in their B Final of the doubles where they raced hard, coming off the start in first, by halfway they had dropped to third. During the second half they pulled their way back through into second place and were catching up first, but ran out of lake, finishing in second place. Next up was Toby Sartain’s C final in the singles. He raced really well, quickly slotting himself into fourth place, which is also where he finished. He was catching third towards the end but had just too much to do. The last J16 final was the C Final of Keil and Holmes in the double. They went off the start fast but quickly slotted into sixth place. They fought all the way down the 2km track to catch fifth and were catching up quickly on fourth, but didn’t quite have enough left to take them so finished in fifth place. Said Abi Terry, J16 coach, “It was great to see the J16’s racing again after a year and half without any recent racing, we can’t wait for the next event!”

For Stratford’s J15 squad it was also back to sculling regattas at long last and what a way to start the season! Whilst some fifteen year olds might have chosen to spend their half term holiday weekend relaxing at the pool or beach, Stratford’s J15’s chose to test themselves over the 2012 Olympic course at Dorney Lake not once but sometimes twice on the hottest day of the year so far!

Time trials to select crews to proceed to A, B or C finals were the first challenges over 1900m. Up first was Grace Beason and Ruby Brooker Collins double sculls returning a time of 9:29 which was an excellent effort placing them in the C final. They raced just as enthusiastically in their final finishing sixth in a time of 10:42 over the full 2000m.

Next up was Charles Happel rowing a single scull. He demonstrated great technique and great effort recording a time of 8:37 which placed him in the B final. Similar enthusiasm, grit and determination saw him finish an admirable fourth in the final in a time of 9:32, only five seconds behind third place.

Our lady single sculler was Uche Nwachukwa who sculled with great determination, against very strong competition, to finish seventh in her time trial missing a place in the final by just six seconds. A truly great effort.

Finally Stratford’s WJ15 quad of Maddie Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson, Amalia Richardson and expertly coxed by Imogen Hill sculled with great precision and energy to record a time of 8:02 in their time trial, just missing a place in the A final by 1.8 seconds. Determined to make amends, they set off at a blistering pace to lead the B final by a length at the 500m mark. Guilford tried to hang on, but broke at half distance leaving Latymer to take up the chase. Stratford saw them coming and opened the taps leaving them for dead in the last 500m to win by three lengths. It was a perfectly executed race in a winning time of 8:47, quicker than both Hinksey and Maidenhead in the A final!

Commenting, Steve Marsden, J15 coach said, “A great performance from all our crews who, as always, performed above and beyond all expectations against the “top” boat clubs. Well done all – they now know the pain and pleasure of competition over a grueling 2km regatta course!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty three and https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/bumper-weekend-for-junior-squad-9202430 and also Stratford Observer back sports page, https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2021/06/11&pages=024 and https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratfords-young-rowers-buoyant-after-regatta-events

2020 President’s Sculls Men’s Trophy Finally Awarded!

 

No, the date is correct! With the recurring lockdowns and Covid restrictions, it has taken until May 2021 to finish and award the Men’s Trophy for the 2020 President’s Sculls competition! The frustration of not being able to get onto the river for water sessions has continued until very recently curtailing training and competition heats

The original trophy was initially presented by Ian Cartwright, the then Captain, to Derek Eardley in 2004 during his tenure as President of Stratford Boat Club to mark his many years of service to the Club and was to be raced for annually in coxed fours

Over the years, the competition faded from the annual calendar and was reinstated comparatively recently as an annual sculling competition in three categories – women, men and juniors

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club President commented, “We hope that the President’s Sculls award will continue to inspire all members to continue with sculling at a high level and further contribute to all sections of the Club mixing and communicating with each other. Our congratulations go to Tim Lunel who won the Men’s Final in a closely fought race with Rory Nicol. Our thanks go to all those who supervised this final by marshalling and safety spotting on the bank. We are looking forwards to running the Junior Heats for the competition very shortly”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/lunel-takes-the-honours-after-close-battle-9198967

Back on the Water and Feeling Good!

This Easter weekend was a bumper one for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club as members got back onto the river under the easing of Covid restrictions for organised outdoor sport. The extra ‘feel good factor’ was added by The Rotary Club of Stratford upon Avon who presented Stratford Boat Club with a much welcome donation to the Boat Club’s funds in what has been a very challenging time

Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and J17/J18 Performance squad coach, “Seeing our young athletes back on the water this week has been immensely heartening. The squad athletes have followed their coaches’ home training exercise plans during the lockdown periods: Stratford Boat Club also lent out our ergos (static rowers) to Club members so that they could their keep up and exceed their physical fitness targets. Seeing the athletes’ performance to date, athletes have kept themselves trim! Getting back to sport has also contributed much to all our mental wellbeing”

©Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s President commented, “The substantial donation to our Club’s funds from The Rotary Club of Stratford upon Avon is most welcome. Financially and mentally this has been a very challenging year for Stratford Boat Club and its members: however, we are very aware how lucky we are compared to so many other people and organisations. The Rotary Club’s donation to Stratford Boat Club is part of Rotary’s far reaching charitable outreach to Stratford’s and Warwickshire’s communities: our donation came from the entry monies from the last two cancelled Shakespeare Rotary Marathons which runners had left with Stratford Rotary to distribute as they felt fit rather than ask for a refund. We are so grateful for the participants’ and Rotary’s generosity”

Stratford Boat Club looks forward to working closely with The Rotary Club of Stratford upon Avon for their plans for 2022 and another successful Shakespeare Rotary Marathon and Half Marathon: Stratford Boat Club is also hoping to stage its own regatta in 2021, most likely in September 2012

For media coverage, see Stratford herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/back-on-the-water-and-feeling-good-9193964 and page fifty six and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-boat-club-continue-to-make-a-splash-with-rotary-club-backing and back sports page

Adaptive Squad Back on the River!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad this weekend was able to get back on the water under the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and British Rowing’s Covid exemption for disability sport

Welcoming the squad back onto the water was Stratford upon Avon’s Mayor, Councillor Tony Jackson with the Mayoress, Mandy Jackson together with Stratford Boat Club’s President, Paul Stanton

Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach, said, “This weekend was very special for the adaptive squad as under the Covid exemption for disability sport, some of the adaptive athletes were able to get back to sport and recreation on the water. It took a lot of planning and risk assessments incorporating all the British Rowing Covid advice on sanitising and social distancing but it was certainly worth it. We’re hoping to get more adaptive athletes onto the water in the coming weeks and eventually the junior and adult members of the Club”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “Having the Mayor of Stratford upon Avon coming down to cheer the adaptive squad back onto the water was a great honour and boost for the squad’s morale. Councillor Jackson has three main chosen causes during his tenure as Mayor which are volunteers, people with disabilities and health and well being. Tony has been a great supporter of the Club and especially the adaptive squad and he understands the importance of sport and recreation for the welling and health of the adaptive athletes”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty five and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/adaptive-squad-back-on-the-water-9158578 and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratfords-adaptive-squad-back-on-the-river-28246

For more great pictures, see Trevor Tiller’s selection at https://1drv.ms/f/s!Ajo1zADNwhQAshunqy3A77kHhHxk

Stratford Score at Bewl Bridge Ergatta

As the last of the winter frost thawed over the Warwickshire countryside, the athletes of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club prepared to race (virtually) in the more temperate Kentish climes of Bewl Bridge Rowing Club. The spinning fans of rowing machines (ergos) in garages and sheds transported the Stratford rowers back to pre-lockdown days when racing was part of their weekend routines.

Bewl Bridge Rowing Club hosted the virtual event and offered racing categories across the age and experience range with an additional running event for those without access to rowing machines.

In the 5k ergo event, Amelie Sartain scored a solid 8th place in the WJ17 category whilst in the blue riband junior event at WJ18 Mili Wilcock and Alice Baines took 7th and 8th place respectively.

Isabelle Watts casually recorded the second fastest time in the WJ18 5k run to take Silver with Maiya James taking a creditable 5th place. Knowledge of the course was clearly a factor as Bewl Bridge took the Gold.

The J15 athletes exchanged the very glamorous surroundings of the Stratford Boat Club rooms for the even more glamorous home gyms for this virtual Ergatta with tremendous results.

Charles Happel came first in his age group for the 5,000m run in a personal best time of 24 minutes and 21seconds.

Amalia Richardson recorded a personal best time of 12:22.3, in the Women’s J15 3,000m ergo event, beating Maddie Hall into 2nd place by just 6.9 seconds, Uche Nwachukwa came 4th and Harriet Noyes 7th out of twelve entries.

Amalia Richardson and Maddie Hall won the WJ 15 double event with Uche Nwachukwa and Harriet Noyes coming 2nd.

Amalia Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall and Uche Nwachukwa won the WJ 15 quad event.

Commenting Steve Marsden J15 coach said, “Admirable results demonstrating athletes’ levels of fitness have been maintained throughout lockdown. We can look forward to similar successes once we are allowed to attend water based events as lock down is behind us.”

First up in the WJ14 5,000m Running category, with two clubs battling it out for top honours with multiple entries, Stratford Boat Club and Lea Rowing Club (London E5, Hackney), a Gold medal for Stratford went to our Eloise Cooper, in a time of 22 minutes 22 second, a full minute and 29 seconds faster than her nearest competitor from Eloise Cooper. A good performance also from our other Stratford J14 athlete Nancy Davis, who ran that distance for the first time, in a creditable 28 minutes 55 seconds, still five minutes faster than another Lea Rowing Club competitor, and no doubt would have been collecting a medal too had it not been for her brother unwittingly deleting all the music from the family iPhone!

Moving on to the rowing events, in the 3,000m Mx 4x J14 category, with an ultra- featherweight cox, our Stratford athletes Will Dalrymple-Baker (S), Jamie Wilcock, Lucy Sartain and Scarlett Richardson (B) took Gold in a resplendent time of 13 minutes 07.4 seconds. ‘It was a great boys and girls collaborative effort,” said the crew afterwards, feeling very chuffed clearly. “The boys did need to talk less during the race though,” quipped bow!

Next up in the 3,000m 2x J14 event, our Stratford J14 boys Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple-Baker faced passionate competition from the boys from Lea, Weybridge and Bewl Bridge (the host club). In a very credible time of 12 minutes 45.5 seconds, our boys took Bronze. Both athletes commented afterwards that a lot of energy was spent splashing each other!

Next up in the 3,000m 2x WJ14 event, our Stratford J14 girls Scarlett Richardson and Lucy Sartain translated all their land and water training experience into a superb performance which earned them the Gold medal, against competition from Shoreham Rowing Club, in a winning time of 13 minutes 29.3 seconds. Both athletes were very pleased with their technique and said there’s a lot more to come.

In the final event for our J14 squad, in the 3,000m WJ14 singles, earning Stratford two medals against intense competition from Tideway Scullers School, Weybridge and Shoreham, Scarlett Richardson won Gold with a time of 13 minutes 01.9 seconds, 16 seconds clear of her nearest competitor and Lucy Sartain won a commendable Bronze for the Club.

Said Hugo Happel J14 coach. “It was a fantastic tally of four gold and two bronze medals for our J14 athletes, showing grit and determination in difficult conditions, and bodes very well for when Junior rowing restarts in the real world, on the water – soon hopefully!”

Recreational weekday rower Ellie Davis was encouraged by a co-member (Mark Tailby) to enter the Ergatta. Having never tried 5k on an ergo before, and with just two practise sessions before the event, she joined the Ergatta from her very cold garage, with only fairy lights for company, and knocked twenty five seconds off her best previous time. She’s now upping her training ready for more competition this season!

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty five and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-success-at-bewl-bridge-ergatta

Stratford Adaptive Sculler Wins Again!

Peter Humberstone, Immediate Past President, Shakespeare Lions (l); Jake Blatcher (c) with the John Whitfield Shield for Youth Community Service and additional award; Mark Dewdney, Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach (r)

Whilst 2020 hasn’t been the best of years for anyone let alone Stratford upon Avon Boat Club, the year ended better than expected not only with the adaptive section winning Parasport Club of the Year but also with Jake Blatcher, an adaptive athlete, being awarded the Shakespeare Lions’ John Whitfield Shield for Youth Community Service for 2020

Jake Blatcher with the Shakespeare Lions’ John Whitfield Shield for Youth Community Service watched over by pictures of Stratford Boat Club’s supporters such as Marie Corelli donating the King’s Trophy Challenge Vase to mark the accession to the throne of King Edward V11 in 1901 and the Club’s first President Sir Arthur Hodson 1874 – 1902

The award was presented to Jake Blatcher, who sculls regularly and volunteers and helps out with the adaptive section at Stratford Boat Club, by Peter Humberstone, Immediate Past President of Shakespeare Lions. Jake was also awarded an addition prize by Peter for his consistent contribution to volunteering and achievement at Stratford Boat Club: Jake has donated this award directly to the adaptive section’s funds

The Shakespeare Lions’ John Whitfield Shield for Youth Community Service

Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach at Stratford Boat Club, commented: “Jake’s selfless assistance and input with the Club’s adaptive section has been an example and beacon to us all in these challenging times and exemplifies the qualities of all who coach and volunteer at Stratford Boat Club. We are immensely proud of Jake’s achievements not only on the water but also in his own life. As well as being an excellent and improving sculler, Jake works with a local company promoting their and other clients’ products and services. The encouragement, mentoring and help that Shakespeare Lions and their outreach for over fifty years into the local community gives, massively impacts the confidence and progress of young adults”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page thirty one and teaser headline page thirty two and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/…/stratford-adaptive… and also https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2021/01/08&pages=024 page four