Kitchens by Dexter Stratford Boat Club Regatta: Great Success!

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

A marvellous late summer day with the weather ideal for racing! Great participation from crews local and further afield from Stourport Boat Club, Evesham Rowing Club, Derwent Rowing Club, Bridgenorth Rowing Club, Warwick Boat Club, A B Severn Boat Club, Hereford Rowing Club as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and sister club King Edward V1 School Boat Club. The regatta this year had three divisions, twenty nine events and eighty one separate races starting at 09.30 and running all day through until a prompt close

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

at 16.30hrs! Stratford Boat Club managed over fifteen wins during the day.

Dawson Curnock, Stratford Boat Club’s Chairman and Regatta Secretary said, “This year we were very heartened by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public who also had the bonus of having the Stratford Town Food Festival closeby. A massive thanks to all our sponsors especially Kitchens by Dexter, hard working Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and especially the public for supporting the event. We were especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Councillor Kate Rolfe and her consort and Councillor Christopher Kettle, Chairman of Stratford on Avon District Council attend the regatta.”

© Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald

Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s Treasurer commented. “It was a long day’s racing: 175 beefburgers, 12kg of sausages, 4kg of bacon, 20kg of sliced onions and 300 buns all from local suppliers were consumed as well as dozens of cakes and snacks: what a magnificent day topped by great racing! We decided to stay with the shortened 650 metre 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.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald pages sixteen and fifteen and online and Stratford Observer online

For more great photographs of the 2019 regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection!AiW2DAyn9tg9jbFR30p-Fy1vZSQlRw?e=bofV9V

Dinner Surprise for Stratford’s Adaptive Coach!

At Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s formal dinner on Saturday, the Club’s Adaptive Coach Mark Dewdney got a surprise when he was awarded the James Roe Award for outstanding services to the Club and rowing in the area

In the citation given by Oliver Smith, Captain of Boats, considerable mention was made of Mark Dewdney’s tireless efforts to establish and expand adaptive rowing at Stratford and throughout the region. Said Oliver Smith, “Mark’s hard work and determination are an example to us all: the standard of coaching that Mark and his fellow coaches and supporters have given to Stratford’s adaptive squad is a beacon of excellence which we hope will be copied throughout the region and gain the support that adaptive rowing deserves.”

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “The James Roe Award was named after and first awarded to the Club’s 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner, James Roe MBE to commemorate James’ great achievement and the kudos and lift it gave to the Club and rowing at Stratford. The cup has only been awarded to a very few club members since 2012 and Mark’s presentation was richly deserved.”

The guest of honour at the Club dinner was Richard Phelps, 1992 Olympian in the Great Britain Men’s Eight in Spain, competitor at the World Championships in 1993 and 1994, a member of the winning Cambridge crew in three University Boat Races in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and many other sporting successes. Richard is a member of the Leander Club, Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club, Chiswick Boat Club, Cambridge University Boat Club and Kingston Rowing Club. Richard was also the University Boat Race umpire for the women’s race in 2019 and the men’s race in 2014. In his speech, Richard enthralled the audience with his many rowing anecdotes on and off the water!

The weekend’s duties were not over for Richard Phelps as he was out early on the Sunday morning as guest coach for the Club’s J17/18 squad with Stratford coaches Dr Graham Collier and Colin Bell. Said Dr Graham Collier, “Richard certainly didn’t give the crews an easy time and pushed and encouraged them using his considerable experience as a coach and competitor: our young athletes gained much from the outing and we are so grateful to Richard for the time he spent with us.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online and Midweek Herald page twenty eight

Stratford’s Adaptive Squad Scores at Worcester

At the weekend, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Senior Men’s sculler Harvey Mole travelled to Worcester Regatta and had a first round victory in the Band Two Open Single Sculls event beating Crane from local club Warwick. In the final, Harvey was against a rower from City of Bristol: whilst Harvey started well, he lost the middle part of the race giving away two and a half lengths at the halfway mark. Although Harvey took back a length, he left himself too much to do in the final sprint.

The mixed Masters double sculls event featured Stratford rowers Heather Hayton and Thomas Doherty against a younger Minerva Bath crew in a straight final. After a fast start, the Stratford crew racing with a slight handicap advantage rating a lively 38 strokes per minute off the start eased out into a significant lead by the halfway stage.
A big push saw the Stratford crew consolidate the race easing through to the finish rating 35 strokes per minute for a comprehensive win to round off a successful days racing.

Following their recent success at Oxford, Stratford Boat Club’s Adaptive squad was equally triumphant at the weekend’s Worcester Autumn regatta. Pride of place must go to Hattie Throssell. All season she has been getting closer and closer to that debut win: it finally came on Saturday. In the final, Hattie competed against an all male crew, again from Stratford. It was a clear win for Hattie and her support rower Paul Beason. The whole squad was ecstatic for her; even her well beaten colleagues.

Other wins included Mark Brookes, another athlete succeeding for the first time, again with Paul Beason. In the final of the adaptive pairs they

narrowly overcame their young opponents Dan Godefroy and Jake Blatcher in yet another all Stratford final, only nudging into the lead in the last one hundred metres of the race.

Mark Sanders and Jake Blatcher, in better form than at Oxford, had a comfortable win over Maidenhead in a supported doubles event and also Mark was beaten by a mere six feet in the semi final of the adaptive singles event.

The remainder of the Club spent the weekend settling into their new squads and learning new skills and techniques such as how to go through the very narrow spans of Clopton Bridge. Last minute jobs were being completed ready for the Club’s rescheduled regatta on Saturday 21 September.

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

Three Day Weekend of Glorious Rowing!

Over the weekend, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force to the Ross regatta. The Ross regatta setting is perhaps one of the best in Stratford’s event calendar and it was further enhanced by the weather being very sunny and very hot.

The J13 crews raced in the morning and first on the course was the 2x double of Louis Beason and Charles Happel who had progressed through to the semi final race courtesy of a bye. They provided a first class demonstration of sculling and steering, the course bend proved to be the downfall of many during the day, winning against Queen Park High school easily.

Their final saw them up against Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, Louie and Charles got off to a great start but were pegged back by the power of the Nottingham crew who registered the win – easily.

The next up for Stratford was Grace Beason again rowing against Nottingham & Union Rowing Club in the WJ13 1x. The race proved not to be Grace’s best unfortunately capsizing shortly after the start.

Stratford’s  WJ13 4X+ Crew of Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Uche Nwachukwa, Grace Beason and Emily Stobart (cox) were up against Ross Rowing Club. The ladies competed very well after losing ground at the start, picking up in middle of the course to be on the tail of Ross before running out of steam at the sprint finish missing out by only one length – a great effort by the ladies. Said Steve Marsden, J13 coach, “A great day and great experience for our young crews.”

On Sunday, the J14’s were out in force again. The J14 double of Toby Sartain and Owen Perkins were first up racing against a strong duo from the home club, Ross. The Stratford boys pushed hard but on this occasion it wasn’t to be and it was the Ross crew that progressed to the next round. The other double of Bella Chappelhow and Will Beattie also completed in the same event and were drawn up against a very strong boys’ crew from City of Bristol and despite a battle all of the way down the course, the Bristol crew were victorious by just two lengths.

Next it was the time of the J14 girls’ singles. Ruby Howells competed in only her second event in a single against a very neat sculler from Exeter Rowing Club. Ruby sculled beautifully down the course but the Exeter sculler was just too strong to be beaten.

Fleur Griffiths and Freya Watts both took to the water to race their first rounds against scullers from Queens Park High School. The Stratford pair were comfortable winners in this round and progress to the semi-finals. Here Griffiths met Harriet Holmes and in a very close race and it was Griffiths who took the spot in the final by just half a length over Holmes. Watts then took on another sculler from Queens Park High School which again was dominated by the Stratford sculler. Watts then took on Griffiths in the final and in another close race in which Stratford was guaranteed a win. On this occasion it was Watts that was victorious and picked up the tankard.

Beattie was up next in the J14 singles where he faced an extremely big sculler from Warrington. Beattie came down in the lead and took the win in the heat, his first in a single. Next he faced one of the boys from the Bristol double from earlier in the day. Unfortunately it was the Bristol sculler who took the place in the final.

The J14 girls doubles of Griffiths and Honour Keil and Howells and Chappelhow were both dealt challenging draws in their first rounds and despite pushing hard they were defeated. Holmes and Watts made it through the first round with a comprehensive win but unfortunately they were beaten in the semi-final by Exeter.

On Monday, it was Chapplehow’s turn to race in a single for the first time and despite a sterling effort, she was unable to overcome her opponent from Bristol. The WJ14 coxed quad of Keil, Howells, Griffiths, Watts and cox Toby Sartain powered to a five length victory against Ross in the semi final. Then in the final, they raced Bristol and with some expert coxing from Toby taking the fastest water, they finished two lengths ahead of their opposition.

The doubles of Griffiths and Watts and Howells and Keil again came up against crews that they couldn’t quite overcome as did Perkins in the J14s single. Said Abi Terry, J14 coach, “The squad now look forward to the new season as they move up to be J15’s.”

Bringing the season to a close, the J15 squad’s winning weekend began on Sunday morning with finals places for Amélie Sartain in the singles event and also in the doubles event with Abbey Meggeson later that afternoon.

The heats were aptly named as the sun beat down making for some demanding racing with both girls fighting through deservedly winning their finals places. In both the single and doubles events, the finals went right down to the line with victory escaping by only by the shortest of margins on both occasions.

Monday saw the course increase in length for the main regatta. Sartain, again in the single faced a local Ross girl for the heat and after a fast start comfortably won by four lengths for a place in the semi final. A tougher semi final race against Evesham, winning by less than a boat length had Sartain against Queens Park High School in the final. An inspired row from both saw the girls side by side as they passed the cheering crowds yet it was Sartain that dug deepest to take the win by two and a half boat lengths.

The afternoon doubles event saw Meggeson and Sartain back together to face a Wycliffe crew. Despite Sartain having raced eight previous races during the weekend and Meggeson three, the race was extremely close and hard fought all the way, coming a very commendable second by only three quarters of a length (eight metres). This demonstrated the sheer determination and drive of the girls throughout this race and the whole weekend

Commenting, Trevor Tiller, J15 coach said, “A wonderful conclusion to a successful season for the J15 squad: the determination and passion shown by the squad throughout the season, during both training and racing, has made for some great times and as a byproduct, great results.”

As the regatta continued into its second day and the temperatures continued to soar, Stratford’s J16 girls took to the water. Just two athletes took a break from summer holidays to light up the Wye in their single sculls. On opposite sides of the draw, the competition began with both Jasmine Mountney and Alice Baines sailing through the first round each with a win against Dart Totnes and Evesham respectively. In the semi finals Alice again took a win against City of Bristol however unfortunately Jasmine met her match and was edged out on the line. Alice went on to the final and duly avenged Stratford’s semi final defeat vanquishing Nottingham Union thus taking her second win is successive years in this event. Said Steve Wellstead, J16 coach and Junior Co-ordinator, “Top sculling by both ladies and a fitting end to the day’s racing!”

Also on day two of the regatta, Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift racing in the Senior Women’s double sculling event proceeded through the heats in magnificent style to reach the final and race against Upton Rowing Club. An amazing final: the first attempt ended in a dead heat with the two crews returning without rest to the start to do it all over again. Despite a combative performance, Upton just took the event.

Katie Wellstead sculling vigorously in a single in the Women’s Junior event was overhauled by less than ten feet at the finish by an Exeter sculler. The afternoon saw Mimi Hill, normally a coxswain, join the three girls (all only 17 years old) to take on the Senior Women’s quadruple sculls. More top class sculling by the girls enabled them to destroy the ladies from Ross and then Worcester Rowing Clubs. The final against an Evesham crew composed from university students was a brutal affair in which Evesham finished less than two lengths ahead of Stratford.

A composite Stratford/Derwent Master Women squad also travelled to Ross and showed endurance over the weekend. They were entered in a Women Master F single, Women Master E double, Women Master D Pair and Women’s Master E and Women’s Senior Coxed Four. Altogether they were on the river nine times over the weekend, where they won five races and lost two by small margins.

Commenting, Kjersti Rogneflaten, Stratford’s Masters sculler, “In my Women’s Masters F single, I won my semi-final and lost by a quarter of a length in the final, where I had to give my opponent five seconds head start over the course of 600m.  We also had a win in Women’s Masters D Pair and also in our Women’s Masters E coxed four. We were pleased to have got through one heat in the Women’s Senior coxed Four beating young women from City of Bristol Rowing Club.”

The composite Stratford/Derwent crew are grateful for being able to use Stratford Boat Club’s four and the help and support during the days at Ross. Now the composite Stratford/Derwent squad are looking forward to the World’s Masters Regatta in Hungary in September.

As the school term starts, all the squads move up one division. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator,”There has been no ‘fall out’ this year again with all the squad members continuing rowing in the next category. We will be joined in September by a new J13 squad who have come through the August summer camps which saw nearly one hundred young athletes learn rowing as a sport: we would love to have taken many more on the new J13 intake but space, equipment and coaching availability are all at a premium at Stratford.”

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

For more great pictures of Ross Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection!AiW2DAyn9tg9japp4IR8hhRWg3RN-w?e=ouWvWN

Kitchens by Dexter, Regatta by Dexter!

Preparations for the rescheduled Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta on Saturday 21 September 2019 have been saved by local kitchen design and installation company, Kitchens by Dexter

Picture courtesy of Stratford Observer

“A lot of hard work goes into planning a regatta and the lifeline that Kitchens by Dexter have thrown us has meant that Stratford Boat Club’s regatta can finally be rescheduled for Saturday 21 September”, says Dawson Curnock, Stratford Boat Club Chairman

The Club’s June regatta had to be cancelled for safety reasons as the River Avon was high and fast flowing after continuous heavy rain. As well as Stratford’s own crews, the rescheduled regatta already has entries from local, regional and national clubs such as Abingdon Rowing Club, Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School Rowing Club, Cardiff & Vale Schools Rowing Academy, Evesham Rowing Club, Hereford Cathedral School, King Edward The Sixth School Boat Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Ross Rowing Club and Royal Grammar School Worcester Boat Club.

Jamie Hall, Director at Kitchens by Dexter said, “We had already pledged to be a Gold Sponsor for Stratford’s June regatta and shared the Club’s disappointment when it had to be cancelled. Stepping up to be the Headline Sponsor is, we feel, the right thing to do to help a local club. Our philosophy, which has developed over twenty years of business, is the same as the Boat Club’s – to have happy and contented clients and members.

Paul Stanton, the Club’s President said, “Stratford upon Avon Boat Club is most grateful to Kitchens by Dexter for stepping in as Headline Sponsor making our rescheduled regatta viable again so that we can continue to encourage and provide sport for those in the Warwickshire area. We also look forward to welcoming competing crews, VIPs and guests and especially Stratford and Warwickshire residents and visitors to the town down to the river on Saturday 21 September to watch and enjoy what will be an action-packed day.”

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

Felix Awards Presentation for Fred

At Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Annual General Meeting, the 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: the tankard trophies were won by Felix Badcock during his long rowing career and are over engraved with the winner’s name and award. There were awards for the Junior and the Senior Personality of the Year

The Senior Felix Award went to Phil Marshall and his team who have strived over the last year to ensure that the Club’s fleet of boats are always in good repair and that all the Club’s equipment is safe to use. Over the years, Phil as Stratford Boat Club’s Boatman and his team have saved the Club many thousands of pounds: there has also been a very pleasing link with the Duke of Edinburgh’s award in that many of the Club’s junior members have worked under Phil’s guidance to help repair and maintain equipment for the good of the Club and the community

The Junior Felix Award this went to Fred Tyler for his all round contribution on and off the water: Fred was put forward for the award because of his cheerfulness and help that he gives to all at the Club

The award to Fred was given on Saturday during a farewell J16 breakfast for Fred to mark his departure from the Club as Fred has won a rowing scholarship to Shrewsbury School: Shrewsbury School is nationally recognised as one of the leading rowing schools in the country and boasts an impressive fourteen Henley Royal Regatta wins to its name. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and J16 coach, “The Club is very proud of Fred’s achievements which have been gained through his own determination and support from his parents. His scholarship also says much for the standard of coaching at Stratford.” The awards were presented by Dawson Curnock, the Club’s Chairman

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club also highlighted the recent awards of other high achieving past Juniors:-

Imogen North: represented Great Britain at the Home International Regatta

Peter Boyes: represented Great Britain at the Home International Regatta

Mya Kenny: awarded place at Hartpury College

Esme Booth: represented Great Britain in the Under 23 Squad

Maddie Gardner: represented Great Britain at the Home International Regatta

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

Success at Local Regattas for Stratford’s Crews

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took athletes from their J13 squad to compete in their first singles events with both the open and the girls’ events running as round robin events, culminating in the final for each event at Warwick Regatta. Grace Beason and Amalia Richardson both raced against a girl from Derwent with the Derwent sculler victorious on both occasions and when racing each other, it was Grace who edged ahead this time. On the other half of the draw, Uche Nwachkwu raced Emily Stobart where it was Uche who was ahead as they crossed the line. They both then raced against a sculler from Upton who was victorious in both races. It was the Derwent and Upton sculler who went head to head in a close final.

In the boys’ event, Charles Happell and Louie Beason both competed for Stratford Boat Club. They went head to head against each other and it was Charles who was the winner on this occasion. They both also raced against a sculler from Upton and despite two very tightly fought races, it was the Upton sculler who crossed the line first in both. Charles then went on to race again in the final against the Upton sculler and again another tight battle commenced. They were neck and neck down the course, but it was the Upton sculler that just pipped Charles to the line.

Said Abi Terry, Junior Squad Coach, “All of the J13’s showed great determination for their first singles events with some very good results which should stand them in good stead going forwards to next season.”

From the J14 squad, there were just two boys available to compete and with no double event to take part in, both boys took to the water in singles. Will Beattie and Owen Perkins had to race each other as part of the round robin and against a strong sculler from Warwick. It was Beattie who won when they went head to head but the Warwick sculler won against both of the Stratford boys. Beattie then went up against the Warwick sculler again where unfortunately the same result occurred as in the previous rounds with Warwick taking the win in home water. The junior squads now look forward to Ross Regatta next weekend.

The WJ15 girls double of Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone began a run of undefeated success for the J15 squad at Warwick on Saturday. Facing a strong crew from Worcester, a good start along with accurate navigation saw the girls gain an early lead as they left the castle and headed towards the cheering crowds. A mid race push from Worcester made for an exciting race to the finish with Sartain and Elstone taking the bell by a couple of lengths.

Racing up an age group in the J16 single sculls, the heat saw Will Clarke drawn against a Warwick home boat. With a steady start Clarke grew in confidence to take the lead passing under the bridge, gradually increasing the gap to gain his place in the final later in the afternoon.

Soon after, Martha Usselmann in the WJ15 single sculls event lined up against her competition from Worcester. Under the shadow of Warwick Castle, Usselmann made a positive start achieving the lead as they approached the excited cheers of the spectators at the halfway point. Urged on, the lead began to ever increase with Usselmann crossing the line to her first singles win and to an emotional welcome from her supporters.

The penultimate race of the day, the J16 singles final, saw Clarke facing a formidable looking opponent from Upton. Slightly behind at the start, Clarke maintained his composure and kept position, sensing that the race had started too fast. At the halfway point this was proved correct as Upton began to slow, allowing Clarke to take the lead, finishing strongly for a well deserved win.

Whilst the J13, J14 and J15 squads were battling it out at Warwick Regatta, the J16 squad took part in the annual Oxford City Royal Regatta which takes place on the town stretch of the Thames. A two day affair, the Stratford Boat Club Junior Squad was in action over the 1000m course on Saturday whilst the Club’s Adaptive Squad tested their skills on the 500m sprint course on Sunday.

Saturday’s racing got underway with the J16 sculler Fred Tyler taking on Nottinghamshire County Rowing Association in the Senior single sculls event. A narrow defeat by just two lengths to the England Gold medalist saw Tyler taking an early break before the afternoon’s competition. Later in the day, Tyler came out fighting in the J18 single scull event as he spoiled Evesham’s day in the semi-final and then took the event win with a blistering row leaving Ardingly in his wake.

The J16 girls started their campaign in double sculls with Alice Baines and Jasmine Mountney narrowly losing out to a quality outfit from Wallingford Rowing Club. On the other side of the draw, the combination of Maiya James and Mili Wilcock tore up the course adding insult to the injury inflicted by Tyler and putting Evesham out of the event. Sadly for James and Wilcock, it was not to be their day as Wallingford proved too much for them in the final. The J16 girls regrouped for the afternoon into the coxless quadruple scull senior event with a dominant row in the semi-final leaving Oxford Academicals working out the answer on the start line whilst the junior crew boiled the Thames up with their sculling. Once more the event win was denied however as the girls chased the ladies from Guildford Rowing Club down the course finishing just two lengths behind.

The J17 squad fielded two crews with first to go being the mighty combination of Katie Wellstead and Emily Browne racing in the J18 double sculls. The two time winners in previous years met their match in the first round as they went down to an England gold medal winning partnership from Cheltenham Ladies College and Ardingly Rowing Club. The second J17 crew down the course was the composite of Stratford’s Khloe Curnock and Evesham’s Becca Parkin racing in the senior double scull event. Their day was unfortunately cut short by an Amazonian crew from Oxford who on home water dominated the event taking the event win.

Stratford’s Adaptive Squad raced on the Oxford Sprint course on the Sunday. It proved a successful day: none of the crews were beaten by more than half length by crews from other clubs. Of the five adaptive events, Stratford won three. Ian Ward impressed all with a clear win in the Development Singles. The final of the supported pairs was an all Stratford affair. Dan Godefroy and Paul Beeson established an early lead which their opponents Jake Blatcher and Mark Brookes were just not able to claw back before the finish line. This was Mark’s first event and Dan’s first win.

In Supported Doubles, mother and son combination Ian and Paola Ward convincingly saw off a Marlow crew in their semi-final. This again meant an all Stratford final. Their opponents, Hattie Throssell and Sofia Ward (the daughter of Paola). Paola and Ian came out on top winning a great race by six feet.

Jake Blatcher and Mark Sanders made the semi final in another doubles event narrowly missing the final being beaten half a length by a good Marlow crew. Jake has enjoyed recent success with a win in J16 singles at the recent Bewdley Regatta. Mark Sanders met his arch rival and friend Ben Marsden of Marlow in the adaptive singles. Another close race between them saw Ben just getting over the line first. The adaptive squad now move on to Worcester Regatta in a couple of weeks.

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

For more great pictures of Oxford City Royal Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection!AiW2DAyn9tg9jaoLUHwa3BezBnKSQw?e=EjbEGg

Challenging Conditions for Stratford’s Successful Crews at Stourport

The weekend weather forecast for heavy rain and strong winds had made us consider very carefully the safety aspects of taking our Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior crews to Stourport but how happy we were to have gone!

Firstly, the weather proved to be very kind to us if you ignore the heavy blustery rain showers and secondly the J13 crews had an excellent and successful regatta.

First up was our junior J13 double crew of Charles Happel and Louie Beason provided a very promising row racing against a crew from Derwent Rowing Club. Stratford went off very powerfully and quickly holding a good lead for the first third of the course before running out of steam and eventually missing out by three boat lengths.

Next up for Stratford was the WJ13 coxed quad of Ruby Brooker Collins, Grace Beason, Uche Nwachukwa and Imo Hill admirably coxed by Emily Stobart up against Stourport Boat Club in their first heat race. The girls provided a very impressive controlled performance starting strongly and extending their position through to finishing with a very satisfying win recorded as “easily”.

The next heat was the final against a crew from Burton Leander in strong blustery wind conditions was if anything a better performance than the first heat. It was well coxed and steered by Emily with her crew providing a demonstration of well controlled sculling winning by two lengths. The crew jubilantly collected their pots in bright sunlight.

From the J14 squad, Stratford Boat Club had four athletes competing.

Owen Perkins and Ruby Howells both competed in their first singles events and were joined by Lucy Browne and Freya Watts.

Watts was first up and despite a strong effort didn’t quite manage to overcome her opposition from Derwent Rowing Club. The Derwent sculler then went on to race against Howells who again raced a brilliant race to be beaten by just two lengths.

Browne then took to the water to race against a young lady from Hollingworth Lake and Perkins raced against a strong sculler from Burton Leander. Both raced with their best technique and determination, unfortunately this wasn’t enough to progress to the next rounds.

Perkins and Howells then teamed up in the J14 double sculls to race against two boys from Derwent in the final. They steered a fantastic course and pushed right to the end, but this time it was the Derwent duo who claimed the pots.

The final race of the day for the J14’s came from the WJ14 double scull of Browne and Watts. Again, they raced brilliantly and by the halfway mark already had a substantial lead over their opposition from Hereford. The Hereford duo tried their best but the Stratford double pushed away further to claim their win.

Commenting, Abi Terry, J14 coach said, “The J14’s enjoyed a good event where a lot was learnt about coping in windy conditions and race strategies.”

Overcoming the prevailing wind and impending showers, Conar Aitchison in the single was first on the water for the J15 squad. Despite a good hard row a final’s

place became just out of reach during the finishing sprint.

Emma Harrison and Sophie Elstone in the double battled the conditions comfortably winning a place in the afternoon finals. Shortly after, Elstone took to the water again, this time in a single, easily gaining another finals place in the afternoon.

The afternoon weather improved and the timetable saw Elstone initially competing in the singles final racing against local competition from Evesham. Gaining the lead from the start, Elstone controlled the race to win confidently with much support from the river bank.

The final race of the day for Stratford juniors was Elstone and Harrison

in the double against a strong brew from Hollingworth Lake. Despite their strong and tidy rowing, fighting hard to the end, the girls were unable to close the gap during the last push to the line, finishing second by only a few lengths.

Stratford’s Masters’ sculler Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley also raced at Stourport Sprint Regatta, this time on Sunday. Despite some downpours, the weather had improved massively from Saturday’s stormy weather.

Kjersti raced in a Women Master E Double, as a composite crew with Derwent’s Gillian Lockhart. They won their first heat against the ladies from Exeter by one length.

The semi-final against Bewdley was more exiting. Despite several warnings from the umpire, Bewdley did not move over into their own lane and thus the Derwent/ Stratford crew was forced into the lane for boats going up to the start. The composite crew registered their objection at the finish and the umpires disqualified the Bewdley crew. An unfortunate outcome of a race.

The final was against Hereford Rowing Club and the Stratford/Derwent composite won with two lengths. Said Kjersti,”This was our first regatta in a women’s double this year. A few tweaks with the set up of the boat and we will be ready for the Worlds Masters Regatta in Hungary in September!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald pages 15 and 16 and online Also see Stratford Observer online

International Competition for On Form Stratford Crews

On Saturday Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s athletes young and old travelled to Henley on Thames to compete in the Town and Visitors Regatta. With athletes from Las Vegas, the East India Company, Holland and the Royal Air Force this is truly an eclectic and fabulous event.

The double scull with the Masters Neville Hand and Gary Clay on board won a very hard fought heat against Bentham Boat Club: in the final they took on Guildford Rowing Club with a crew in an older age group who were given a generous ten second advantage from the start. Stratford again piled on the pressure but by the finish failed to overhaul their opponents to lose by less than two seconds.

The 17 year old girls raced both senior and junior women’s events: Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift raced a Dutch coxless pair in the senior event. After a most grueling race the Dutch ladies finished three feet in front of the Stratford girls. Katie Wellstead and Emily Browne racing in junior double sculls were just unable to overhaul a double from Upper Thames Rowing Club. All four girls were joined by their cox Mimi Hill to race in the Senior Women’s coxed four event. After winning their heat by over three lengths, they took on Warwick Boat Club in the final. In another amazing and closely fought race, the Stratford girls won by half a length to bring home the trophy and a wodge of pewter.

The J16 squad were represented on Henley Reach by Fred Tyler, Mya Kenny and Alice Baines. First up was Alice entered in the Senior Women’s single scull event where the competition was strong and a sculler from Greenbank Falmouth Rowing Club triumphed. Next off the stake boats was Fred Tyler in the J16 single scull winning his heat in style over Henley Rowing Club. Unfortunately the final did not follow the same pattern and a miss-timed final push cost Tyler the silverware by just two feet. The space on the mantelpiece will have to wait for now. Finally Alice returned to the water undaunted with Mya in the J16 double scull. A race proven combination, the girls ran sisters from Henley Rowing Club (both National Schools Gold Medalists) hard just losing out by less than one length in a crowd pleasing race. In the last race of the day for Stratford a late entry from Sophie Elstone in the J15 single scull event delighted the spectators as the bar opened. Unfortunately, it was not to be Sophie’s day as she lost out to a young sculler from Wallingford Rowing Club.

Commenting, Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator, said, “An excellent day’s racing with an international flavour and pleasing results for Stratford as we stay in form ready for our own rescheduled regatta on Saturday 21 September.”

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

For more great photographs from Henley Town & Visitors regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection on!AgY7EiDB2lCOg5Eg3w0rKI0UR8s1GQ

Testing Conditions at British Rowing Junior National Championships

The junior rowing season culminates each year in the British Rowing Junior National Championships held on the 2000m purpose built lake at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham. The event, held over three days, represents the last opportunity for junior athletes to compete on the national stage after a year of training hard.

Day One of the Championships saw the J14’s taking to the water in their first chance to compete at this prestigious event. The J14’s event is different to all of the other age groups because, in order to race the quads, they have to do the omnium event in singles or doubles. The omnium is made up of seven different skills to decide the best scullers in the country. In the WJ14 singles sculls event Stratford upon Avon Boat Club had four entries, Harriet Holmes, Fleur Griffiths, Freya Watts and Lucy Browne, who finished thirteenth, seventeenth, nineteenth and thirty first respectively from eighty seven entries. Toby Sartain competed in the equivalent open event where out of sixty three competitors, Sartain finished in a very respectable twenty fifth place.

In the WJ14 double sculls, where there were sixty seven crews, Ruby Howells teamed up with Hermione Brewster and despite an unfortunate capsize managed to get themselves back in to complete the event in twenty fourth place. Honour Keil and Bella Chappelhow also competed in the same event beating several crews to finish in fifty six place.

The boys double of Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie were the last Stratford Boat Club crew to take part in the omnium, competing in a very competitive field and even though they managed a very impressive fourth place in the 500m race, finished up in fourteenth place overall.

Then the quads then took to the water. The WJ14 crew of Watts, Browne, Griffiths and Keil expertly coxed by Toby Sartain put in a strong performance in the time trial, to finish thirteenth and take their place in the C Final. Here they went out strong and led out of the start. They settled into their rhythm and just weren’t quite quick enough to stay in front, finishing with a big push to take third place.

The mixed crew racing in the open event finished the time trial in twentieth place. The crew of Beattie, Wilcock, Chappelhow and Holmes, coxed by Amelie Sartain raced well in the D Final to push through and take the third place spot.

Said Abi Terry, J14 coach, “Some really great results for the J14’s at their first British Championships. They will look to build on these next season.”

Day Two of the Championships saw athletes from J15, J16 and J17/J18 squads take to the water. Time trial events in the morning were dogged by high winds and waves on the usually calm waters of Holme Pierrepoint. The J16 squad rose to the challenge with gritty performances from Fred Tyler in the single scull (seventh) and Alice Baines / Mya Kenny in the double scull (ninth) taking both crews forward into the multi-lane regatta format on Day Three.

The first J15 representatives on Saturday to face the choppy open lake were Abbey Meggeson and Emma Harrison in a double, who despite a valiant row against the clock in most hostile conditions, were unable to gain a finals place in one of the largest fields of the day.

The remaining J15 time trial events for the squad were all singles. In boats weighing less than 15kgs, the athletes faced the increasingly windy and choppy conditions. First up were Conar Aitchison and Will Clarke who despite not being quick enough to gain finals places, finished not too far out of the running.

The girls’ singles were next with Amelie Sartain, Elisabeth Edwards, Harriet Hodgson and Sophie Elstone taking to the water. Following the 2km row to the start, the conditions began to worsen. After a slight halt to proceedings, racing eventually continued in terrible conditions that saw Hodgson’s boat being swamped by the waves after 500m, filling the boat with so much water she was unable to continue.

At times it appeared as if the remaining girls were rowing backwards due to the winds however perseverance saw them cross the finish line soaked and exhausted with Edwards and Elstone both less than a minute from a finals place. Sartain meanwhile, gained a place in the C Final to take place in the afternoon, missing out on an A/B Semi Finals place on the Sunday by only twelve seconds.

The early evening saw Sartain lining up for the C Final against girls from Maidenhead, Reading, Runcorn, St Andrews and local rivals, Ross on Wye. A good start had Sartain pushing for an initial lead from the Maidenhead boat and once settled the two boats began drawing steadily away from the others. Maidenhead gained a slight lead by halfway and a late push from Reading in the closing quarter made for an exciting finish resulting in Sartain second to Maidenhead and eighth overall for the event.

On Day Three, the top twelve crews nationally in each event gathered at the lake once more to do battle. Conditions were significantly improved and excellent racing from all ensued. A fifth place in the semi-final saw Fred Tyler well placed for the B Final in his single scull. What followed was one of the closest races of the day as Fred led the B Final from the start but was tested to the maximum by Tideway Scullers School in the last 500m. A win for Stratford resulted by just 0.4 seconds. Mya Kenny and Alice Baines also progressed to the B Final in the J16 double sculls event. Said Steve Wellstead, J16 coach and Junior Co-ordinator, “Racing hard to the end, the girls ended the day at tenth overall. A great result from the J16 squad on the national stage.”

The Junior National Rowing Championships are the culmination of nine months of hard training. It was thus for the Junior 17 girls; Katie Wellstead, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne and Molly Gill-Swift rowing competitively in a coxless four for the first time, displayed skill and determination as they took on some of the best crews in the UK two of which go on to represent England and Scotland this weekend. Finishing seventh in the time trials put them into the semi-finals against five other crews. After racing over 2000 metres they missed qualification to the A final by four seconds. Their performance in the B Final was outstanding. They and the heavier Henley Rowing Club raced neck and neck over the first 1200 metres leaving the rest of the field in their wake. The race ended with Stratford coming second and three lengths behind the Henley winning crew.

The double scull partnership of Jessica Wiesheu and Talei Dunn raced in another highly competitive event. By the time of their time trial the weather had deteriorated and the girls were left to race into a strong headwind and a substantial swell. Jessica and Talei finished just thirty seconds behind the winner and secured a place in the C Final. Due to the bad weather their race was very delayed and not rowed out.

Dr Graham Collier, J1718 coach commented, “Now it is time for the group to have fun at local regattas before they embark on their final year of Junior Rowing and our own rescheduled regatta on Saturday 21 September.”

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

For more great pictures of British Rowing Junior National Championships, see Stuart Baines’ selection at!AiW2DAyn9tg9jaY_DZJoQf4drWNFgg