Stratford Boat Club coaches will now be warm & dry this winter thanks to a local company!

Warwick Events, the area’s premier destination event design company, has teamed up with Stratford upon Avon Boat Club to provide all-weather jackets to the Club’s volunteer coaches. The coaches who work in all weather conditions throughout the year will now be warm and dry whilst coaching the Club’s athletes on the River Avon, as well as regional and national events

Said Dr Graham Collier, J17/18 coach and former Club Captain, “Having support like this makes a big difference to our club. We’re the oldest sports’ club in Stratford and we’re still here because of all the great community of volunteers we have. So, to have a company like Warwick Events seeing us striving for success, and wanting to help us, is really appreciated – our new jackets means we’ll no longer go home all cold and wet!”

Warwick Events, based on John Street in Stratford upon Avon, design experiential events for national and international groups. They connect their clients and visitors with the local heritage, culture and people. Their events all happen within a fifty mile radius of Stratford upon Avon and thus have immense local knowledge with 97% of their supplier base being local. Organising corporate retreats, incentives, meetings, launches, team activities and high-end individual or VIP group trips with that local immersive twist is Warwick Events’ specialty.

Commenting, Emma Wellstead, Managing Director at Warwick Events, said, “We often see Stratford crews out in all weathers on the river and we admire the dedication that the coaches put into the training and mentoring of their crews. Stratford Boat Club’s success doesn’t happen by accident: it takes lots of thought, care and a genuine passion to make success happen and Warwick Events share this ethos with Stratford Boat Club. With their Warwick Events sponsored Musto jackets, the coaches will at least be able to keep warm and dry!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer hard copy Friday 17 January and

Stratford Cleans Up Indoors!

On Saturday a number of the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14, J15 and J16 junior squad travelled to King’s School Worcester for the annual Indoor Rowing Championships.

First up was J14 Harriet Noyes in the four minute race. Harriet raced hard and took an early lead. This continued to build and she finished with a comfortable win over her nearest rivals.

Next up were the J15 five minute races. Here Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths and Lucy Browne took part in the closely fought girls’ event where they came up against the recently crowned British Champion from King’s Worcester. She was too tough to beat but Freya and Fleur took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Tomi Wilcock took part in the equivalent boys’ event where after comfortably winning his heat, he was pipped by just four metres from the second heat. Tomi picked up the silver medal a long way ahead of the bronze.

Bella Chappelhow and Ruby Howells were next up in the J15 500m girls’ event. Both girls started fast and it quickly became a race between the two of them. On this occasion, it was Bella that was victorious with Ruby closely behind taking the silver.

Then it was time for the relays. As a club, Stratford fielded two J15 girls’ teams into another close race. King’s Worcester and the first team for Stratford developed a race between them and it quickly became apparent these two were going to get the gold and silver. The Stratford first team of Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Ruby Howells and Bella Chappelhow, managed to push ahead to win by just 0.6 of a second. These girls then turned to cheer for the second team who had also developed a race between them and RGS Worcester for the bronze and fourth places. The Stratford second team of Lucy Browne, Harriet Holmes and Harriet Noyes (racing up a year), with only three rowers put in a big push and managed to finish 1.9 seconds ahead of RGS.

Said Abi Terry, J15 coach, “A fantastic day’s racing with Stratford picking up five golds, three silvers and two bronze medals with all athletes coming home with at least one medal!”

Emma Harrison and Martha Usselmann took part in the Yr11 girls’ 500 metre individual races. They achieved good middle of the pack scores with Martha close behind bronze position.

The J16s also fielded a strong Yr 11 boys’ 500m competitor in Will Clarke who showed his skill in easily beating his nearest rival over the three heats to comfortably win gold.

At the end of the competition Martha, Emma and Will, along with Tomi Wilcox (Tomi racing up an age group) joined forces in the Yr11 3000m mixed relay, comfortably winning gold for Stratford.

Stratford’s sister club, King Edward The Sixth School also had four rowers competing at the event. First up were Joe Hodson and Sam Thornton in the 6th form 2km race. They both started strong and quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Joe took the gold and Sam finished only a few seconds behind for the silver, 10 seconds ahead of third place.

Up next were Adam Baylis and Felix Crabtree in the 6th form 500m race. After having seen the times to beat in a previous heat, the boys started strong and held their own. Felix came home in third place and Adam got fourth place just 1.7 seconds off the medal position.

To finish the event, the boys had the 6th form relay, a 2km race split between four people. They started strong and displayed great composure, sadly losing out to Kings Worcester by four seconds. This gave them the silver medal, meaning that KES came away with a very impressive tally of medals – one gold, five silver and a bronze. Said Bill Sullivan, a KES rowing coach, “A great haul of medals: they should be very proud of themselves!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifteen and online and Stratford Observer online

Onwards to 2020!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s annual Boxing Day Scratch Regatta took place early on Thursday morning and over eighty members managed to leave their beds to come down to the river. The crews were supported by friends and relatives who came down to watch the spectacle and cheer.

Competitors, also including former members and visiting rowers, took part with a mix of mature and younger members from all sections of the Club. Some of the athletes had been rowing for less than a year. Multiple crews raced in a knock out competition: the final had to be re-run to get a clear result after a dead heat! The conditions were mild with little wind or current and the crews were supported by Club volunteers driving the safety launch and acting as scorers.

J17/J18 coach Dr Graham Collier, race organiser said, “All races were over a short sprint course from the Ferry to the Club grounds on the Town stretch of the River Avon.” The racing provided great interest to early morning sightseers and visitors watching from the Recreation Ground, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre Terrace, Bancroft Gardens and The Tramway Bridge. Said Dawson Curnock, Chairman for Stratford Boat Club, “The scratch regatta caught the imagination of all that came down to the river and this year’s racing included many more juniors and members of our ever growing adaptive squad.”

Commenting, Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and start umpire for the racing said, “It was great to have such a mix of members competing and especially some of the weekday rowers who we often don’t see during the weekend sessions. Their participation in the running of the Club has been a great bonus as they bring management and organizational skills to the Club as well as offering their time and effort volunteering and carrying out maintenance and other jobs.”

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club will be back on the river this weekend and after the New Year training hard for the 2020 head season and our own regatta in June.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page fifteen.

For more great pictures of the Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see Kathy Baines’ excellent selection!AgY7EiDB2lCOg6ZWOj-VQR1erO43pg

President’s Sculls Trophy Awarded

The frustration of not being able to get onto the river for water sessions continued this weekend but Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out from their arduous indoor training schedule to award trophies for some of the best scullers in the Club

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 this year was reinstated as an annual sculling competition in three categories – women, men and juniors. Paul Stanton, Club President took time out during the presentation of the trophies to thank Paul Hadland who had refurbished the much damaged trophy and also Dawson Curnock, Chairman and Colin Upchurch, Senior Vice President, who had made and fitted the trophy mounting

Paul Stanton further 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.” The President also thanked Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, for his part in running and organising the competition

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald page fourteen

Stratford Happy To Be On The Water and Racing Again!

After many frustrating weeks of not being able to get out onto the river because of unsafe conditions, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force to Wycliffe Small Boats Head on Saturday with their sister club King Edward The Sixth School.

First up for Stratford Boat Club was the WJ14 4x+ squad of Amalia Richardson, Millie Hodgson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall coxed by Imogen Hill who after settling nerves about getting through the low bridge produced an admirable demonstration of power and precision sculling over the course of 2500m to beat crews from City of Bristol, City of Oxford and Monmouth Comprehensive School in a time of 11:33.6.

Next up in the afternoon division was the OJ14 4x+ of Louie Beason, Uche Nwachukwa, Grace Beason, Charles Happel coxed by Emily Stobart. The weather conditions had changed from the morning sessions providing a strong distinctly cold wind down the course. However this did not deter the crew and with Emily providing all the encouragement possible from the cox seat did battle with the all boys’ crews from Monmouth and two boats from Winchester College in a time of 11:26.4 missing out on a medal place by only nine seconds. Commenting, Steve Marsden, J14 Coach, said, “Great racing and they did gain bragging rights by beating their peers’ crew by seven seconds!”

Stratford’s J15 squad had a very successful day, finishing up with two golds, one silver and one bronze medal. The first gold came from the boys’ double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie, who despite being forced to stop by a girls’ quad that refused to move out of their way, finished over twenty seconds ahead of their nearest rivals from Falcon Rowing Club, in a time of ten minutes and twenty three seconds. Said Abi Terry, J15 Coach, “With this time, the double would have also won the J16 event!”

Tomi and Will were both in action again in the J15 singles event. Here Wilcock dominated in a time of eleven minutes and thirty five seconds, twenty six seconds ahead of a sculler from Hereford. Beattie also put in a good performance to finish in the bronze medal position in a time of twelve minutes and seven seconds. The silver medal came from Harriet Holmes and Freya Watts in the WJ15 double event. This was Watts’ third event of the day and despite no practice together, the girls rowed brilliantly to finish with a time of eleven minutes and thirty three seconds.

The WJ15 4x+ of Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Lucy Browne, Harriet Holmes and cox Toby Sartain, finished in fourth place just 1.4 seconds behind third place in a time of ten minutes and fifty four seconds. Griffiths, Watts and Holmes also competed in the WJ15 singles event, finishing in sixth, seventh and ninth place respectively.

The Club’s J16 squad was represented by Elisabeth Edwards who won a bronze medal in the WJ 16 1x single sculls class.

Wycliffe Small Boats Head presented a long awaited opportunity for Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews to engaging in some racing over 2,500 metres on the Sharpness canal. The ladies in the J17/18 squad fielded four crew combinations and collected gold, silver and bronze medals in both Junior and Senior coxed four events. It was a particularly fruitful day for Amelie Sartain, the Club’s talented fifteen year old sculler who collected two silver medals, one in the women’s junior 16 single sculls and the other in Senior Women’s double sculls partnered by Alice Baines.

Stratford’s sister club from King Edward The Sixth School was also out in force and this weekend saw the first of this year’s head races for them and after many months of training, the squad was eager to put their strength to the test. At this year’s annual Wycliffe head, KES fielded two coxed fours and a double scull. The novice J17 four consisting of Cameron Dalrymple- Baker, Fred Alanson, Sam Thornton and Tobias Bretschneider with cox Jamie Mitchell competed in the first division of the day, comfortably achieving first place in a race that could only be described as an uncontested victory. The second division of the day witnessed a fantastic display of racing elegance by Cameron and Fred (this time competing in a double) who managed to beat five other crews, racing up an age group before narrowly losing out to older opposition. As the day drew on, the J18 four consisting of Joe Hodson, Felix Crabtree, Adam Baylis, Sam Thornton and once again cox Jamie Mitchell prepared for their race. Their first challenge of the day was soon evident as we battled the rough waters of the Gloucestershire canal on our way up to the start. Cox Jamie Mitchell ensured his crew stayed calm and they stuck to their race plan and executed it perfectly. After a minor collision with a Victorian transport barge due to another crew coming along side us, the KES crew powered on to finish in a very competitive time of nine minutes and fifty four seconds. This secured them fourth place, one minute and twenty seconds ahead of the fifth crew and only thirty seconds behind the first crew from Radley College that contained a boy from last year’s junior GB squad. Said crew captain Joe Hodson, “We are very pleased with this set of results especially as this was Tobias and Jamie’s first time racing! We are all looking forward to racing again in the New Year!”

Also rowing in the MAS4+ category at Wycliffe Small Boats Head was Stratford Masters’ Men’s four of Richard Aitchinson, Sean Kim, Enrico Calore and David Edwards coxed by Elisabeth Edwards. This was a great success as three of the crew members came through the Club’s Learn to Row course only three months ago!

Meanwhile, off the water at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Velodrome in London, Adaptive Squad Coach Trevor Tiller flew the flag at the British Rowing Indoor Championships in the Open Men’s 2000m event. A good steady race saw Trevor finish just outside a personal best time and seventieth out of eighty seven entries of all ages.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page seventeen

For more great pictures of Wycliffe Small Boats Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection at!AiW2DAyn9tg9jcR06xHLqjFZ6vGIiA?e=OGq4TK

We Will Remember Them

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out of their training on Sunday morning to honour those who fell in the World Wars and other conflicts and observe a two minutes’ silence on Remembrance Sunday. The Club’s thoughts were led by the Club’s President, Paul Stanton

Wreaths were laid at the memorial in the Club grounds by the Club’s youngest member Freya Dawe and Peter Wyatt, the Club’s oldest member: seventy seven years separate their rowing experience! Peter was also one the Club’s 2012 Olympic Torch Relay runners together with the Club’s Camilla Hadland

All the crews and rowers came from their indoor training during a busy Remembrance Sunday to attend the act of remembrance. Said Abi Terry, Stratford Boat Club’s J15 coach, “The memorial is at the heart of the Club and our sporting life goes on around it: this was an opportunity to stop, reflect and remember those Stratford Boat Club members who had died so that we can live in peace and enjoy our sport.”

This year there was the added poignancy of marking of the eightieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Amongst other members of the Club who died because of WW2, George Ball and John Dunlop Lambert had served in the Canadian armed forces: the Club was honoured to have visiting rower Dr Martyn Judson from London Rowing Club, Ontario lay a wreath at the Club’s memorial to commemorate the two members. Dr Judson also gave a short history of George Ball’s and John Dunlop Lambert’s life and achievements from extensive research by the Club’s Archivist and Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page twenty three and Stratford Observer picture mention

Masters’ Training Pays Off for Stratford!

On a day that saw most of the rivers in Warwickshire bursting their banks and club rowing sessions throughout the region cancelled, a number of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club crews were able to escape indoor training for a day’s racing on the Gloucester to Sharpness canal in the City of Gloucester.

In glorious sunny conditions contrasting the torrential rain of the day before, crews from all over the Midlands and South West of England enjoyed some competitive racing across two divisions for a full day’s racing finishing only as dusk settled over the 5km course.

On a course renowned for being fairly choppy due to its reinforced banks, conditions were made further challenging as flood water alleviation, saw the canal conditions become even rougher for the smaller single and doubles crews with boats being bounced around on the water leading to some interesting racing.

The course, although providing some long straight line racing, also threw in some challenging bends, narrow bridges and large motorised river traffic to keep crews on their toes from start to finish.

Racing in the afternoon division, Stratford had two crews in division events, first off being Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty racing in a combined masters’ double sculls event comprising three mixed (male /female) crews and six men’s crews from clubs as far afield as Dart Totness, Taunton, Worcester, Stourport and Upton on Seven.

A steady start in the choppy conditions saw Stratford settle into as much of a rhythm as the conditions would allow. Leading off the other eight crews, Stratford were able to push away from the crews immediately behind them to open up a gap and chase down two junior women’s coxed fours ahead of them from Worcester Rowing Club.

Racing towards a narrow bridge on the course saw Stratford overtake the first of the Worcester coxed fours boats to squeeze ahead through the bridge. By this time the field in their doubles event had began to sort itself out and Stratford began to come under pressure from the top quality Upton mixed crew containing Steve Redgrave’s ex rowing partner Julian Scrivener. Stratford working hard, held Upton, the eventual event winner, off until the 4km mark.

Having negotiated the last major bend, saw Stratford close right behind another Worcester women’s coxed four crew whilst in turn being chased down by the impressive men’s crew from Stourport. A neck by neck side by side race between the two crews over the last 500 m saw both crews cross the finish line level.

The final race result saw Stratford’s mixed crew finish fourth out of nine entries beating four men’s and one mixed crew, losing only to two men’s and one mixed crew from Upton.

The plaudits for the day’s racing however have to go to Kjersti Rogneflaten racing in a single scull which, in the choppy conditions, saw many competitors throughout the event struggle to complete the course in what are normally quite unstable boats.

Racing in a field of four women’s masters scullers against strong opposition, some of whom had beaten Kjersti in earlier races, made for very challenging racing. Using her experience of racing on rough water courses, Kjersti was able to maintain a very good consistent race pace to finish in a very respectable time of twenty seven minutes and twenty seconds which saw her gain a deserved victory in the event.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “A great days racing was topped off by seeing Kjersti gain a very well deserved win, a suitable reward for all her hard training, on what was a very challenging stretch of water in such an unstable boat as a single scull.”

Kjersti has had a busy season already this year having competed in The World’s Masters Regatta in Hungary in September: now that the head race season has started, Kjersti has to get used to racing in kilometres rather than sprinting over metres!

“The World’s Master’s Regatta was a great experience,” said Kjersti.”Racing was in eight lanes over 1000m. At the start block, hearing neither my name nor my club, but ‘in lane four: Great Britain’ – and that was me! Saying I was out of my comfort zone is an understatement! But I survived and managed to do a Personal Best even though I was far away from a medal.”

Last weekend saw Kjersti race at the Weybridge Silver Sculls which is on a non-tidal reach of the Thames. The Silver Sculls is a trophy that many famous scullers have won including Sir Steve Redgrave.

After some discussions about the conditions earlier in the week, it was decided to shorten the course to 3km.  The race is upstream from Walton to Weybridge.  Kjersti’s immediate challenge was to manoeuvre down to start in the strong current amongst cruisers and competing crews coming up stream crossing in to the marshalling channel. During the race Kjersti managed to overtake a younger woman but with the strong current it felt like Kjersti was racing against the tide!

Kjersti’s was up against nine women in her event. Unfortunately the two Kjersti was hoping to beat scratched before the race but Kjersti still ended up number five out of seven, being beaten by women from Tideway Scullers, Henley, Mortlake and Christchurch

Commenting, Kjersti said, “At both events I met some amazing masters’ women: there is a passion about what we are doing, so ‘if it’s there, it has to be done’. So we will continue to meet at various events and at training camps!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page fourteen and Stratford Observer online

Felix’s Presence Is Still with The Club!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took time out on Sunday morning to welcome the Badcock family back to the Club and name the Club’s new launch after Felix Badcock, the Club’s former President

In 1972, life and work brought Felix, Jane his wife and their three children to Welford on Avon where they went on to farm for over thirty years. In 1977, he became local Scout Leader, then Group Scout Leader and finally Stratford District Commissioner, a position he held for many years.

Felix had a long and successful career with Thames Rowing Club in Putney, London, rowing in the Thames Eight in the ‘Grand’ at Henley Royal Regatta for seven years and sometimes doubling up in the Stewards’ Cup. In 1958 his crew won a Bronze for England at the Commonwealth Games in Wales. He remained active in the world of rowing, becoming an International Selector in the 1960’s, Captain of Thames and later Vice President.

Felix’s involvement with Stratford upon Avon Boat Club started in 1980, first coaching his daughter and her school friends and from there countless more junior and adult members. Felix’s women’s coxed four of 2008/9 won both at Henley and at the National Championships. He is fondly remembered by the Club and his crew as dedicated, passionate and deeply committed to every aspect of the training. His love for the sport was infectious, and the time spent with this crew led to some very great rowing and life-long friendships with both Felix and his beloved wife Jane.

In 2010, Felix was awarded the British Rowing Volunteer of the Year Award, immediately nominating another Stratford volunteer for the same award the following year, a gesture typical of his selflessness, and in the London 2012 Olympics was a Games Maker at the rowing centre at Dorney Lake.

Felix is still remembered by Stratford upon Avon Boat Club as a gentle ‘Father’ of the Club. He was much loved and respected, and his tact and diplomacy meant he was always able to see both sides of any discussion. His wisdom, knowledge and experience were called upon on numerous occasions!

Said Paul Stanton, the Club’s President, “What an honour to have so many of the Badcock family with us on what was a very special day naming our new launch after Felix: it was an unanimous decision to continue Felix’s presence with us both off and especially on the water.”

The naming ceremony was carried out by Felix’s three rowing granddaughters – Phoebe Bridges (University of Sussex and Thames Tideway), Helen Craven (Lancaster University) and Frances Badcock (King’s College, University of Cambridge): the new launch was ‘christened’ with a bottle of Fuller’s London Pride, reputed to be Felix’s ‘tipple of choice’ during his rowing days!

Commenting, Dr Graham Collier, J17/18 coach and former Club Captain, said, “The Club is most grateful to all who have contributed to the cost of the new launch which is essential for the safety and training of all our athletes and will replace equipment in our aging launch fleet. We are especially grateful to Warwickshire County Council who gave the Club a grant to towards the purchase and we were please to see Councillor Jenny Fradgley with us at the ceremony so that we could thank Warwickshire County Council face to face: their involvement in assisting with sport and recreation in the county is much appreciated.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page sixteen and also Stratford Observer online

Stratford Masters’ Double Impresses at Pairs’ Head

Sunday saw the annual running of the national Pairs Head of the River Race in London.

The event, organised by Barnes Bridge Ladies’ Rowing Club, brings together the best two person double sculls (two blades each) and pairs (single blade each) crews from all over the country for a spectacular time trial event on the River Thames with over four hundred and sixty entries racing over the majority of the Boat Race Course, a distance of 4.5km.

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was represented in the Mixed Masters D Double Sculls category (average crew group age 50 to 55) by Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty.

On a day that forecast heavy rain and bad weather, the competitors were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by sunshine and a moderate wind to provide unusually reasonable calm conditions, most unlike a normal Tideway events.

Starting in the one hundred and ninety fifth position gave Stratford a chance to watch the race spectacle unfold with some of the country’s top national rowers competing for honours and leading off the field.

Stratford Boat Club, up against a good Ardingly crew and surrounded by other boats containing ex- internationals, were in for a tough race but made a good start and, although in a heavy boat, held off some quality crews from Bewel Bridge and Upton for the majority of the course.

Stratford were able to close on Bristol, their direct competitors, and a close battle ensured for the majority of the course with less than a length separating both crews for the last two kilometres. With Hammersmith Bridge fast approaching and the finish in sight, a final push saw Stratford just pip Bristol over the finish line to complete the event in fifteen minutes and fifty one seconds to beating Bristol overall by nineteen seconds. Unfortunately this was not enough to win their category with Ardingly finishing twenty three seconds ahead which saw Stratford settle for second place.

As with most major Thames races, a degree of steering was required to avoid both slower crews and charging faster boats leading to some very close encounters. With conditions being reasonably favourable, all crews were set on fast times and aiming to take advantage of the stream, leading to close side by side racing for much of the course.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “This was Heather’s first visit to a major Tideway event and only her third ever head race: it was great to see her put in a big performance against some very good opposition!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page fifteen and also Stratford Observer

Good Start for Stratford Juniors First Head

Last weekend saw the opening head race of the new season on the Thames in Oxfordshire. Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, held over 4.25km, attracts top level scullers from around the region with Stratford fielding crews across the age range. Stratford’s J15 squad were represented in the coxed quadruple sculls event by Freya Watts, Lucy Browne, Fleur Griffiths, Honour Keil and Harriet Holmes (coxswain). Their row was sufficient to rank them fifth just ten seconds behind Headington School. In the shorter course event (1.5km), the J15 single scullers of Harriet Holmes and Owen Perkins ranked sixth and third respectively.  In the double sculls, the J15 crew of Ruby Howells and Bella Chappelhow delivered a solid row to achieve tenth amongst a strong field. This left the double scull of Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock last to compete in the J15 event. The powerhouse pair dominated their event taking the win by more than twenty seconds. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “A superb result for the season opener.”

Yet again the two quad boats of the J14s did not disappoint, providing very spirited demonstrations of their sculling skills over a 1500m course. The WJ14X+ quad of Amalia Richardson, Grace Beason, Uchenna Nwachukwa, Millie Hodgson expertly coxed by Imogen Hill provided a battling sculling performance to finish a very creditable fourth place behind boats from Headington and Maidenhead but beating two other boats from Headington and Maidenhead. The J4 4X+ quad boat of Charles Happel, Madison Hall, Louie Beason, Harriet Noyes superbly coxed by Emily Stobart were racing to record a time, having no other competing crews for their category. However the time they recorded of 8 minutes and 49.4 seconds beat the girls’ quad by 2.5 seconds. Said Steve Marsden, J14 coach, “Perhaps they grabbed the bragging rights for the J14’s on this occasion. A final note that the times recorded were 2.3 and 4.8 seconds, respectively, faster than the J15 race and would have finished fourth in that race too.”

The J17/18 juniors started the new season by competing on Wallingford’s challenging course over 4,500 metres with some not insignificant bends to test the bow steered coxless boats. The event was attended by over six hundred high quality crews competing across three divisions. Boating first for Stratford in the Open Junior 18 sculls was Joe Hodson competing against a large field of sixty one competitors achieving a creditable result of thirty four out of sixty one.

Next up to the challenge was the crew of Emily Browne, Maiya James, Nixie Brunt and Matilda Watts competing in the Junior 18 women’s coxless quad which resulted in achieving twelfth place in their category.

In the afternoon division, the crew of Alice Baines and Katie Wellstead competed against a plethora of London based schools in the women’s Junior 18 double sculls achieving eleventh place, a promising start given this was their second outing together.

Finally the crew of Mili Wilcock, Molly Gill-Swift, Hermione Hill and Jasmine Mountney took to the water. Due to the high number of entries in the Junior 18 category the girls had to step up to the Women’s coxless quad event which resulted in achieving sixth place.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page sixteen and online

For more great pictures from Wallingford Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection