Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was ably represented at British Rowing’s premier Masters Championships last Sunday at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham by their Masters men’s squad and club supporters.
The event comprising six lane side by side racing was characterised by very competitive and exciting racing throughout the day and saw crews from Stratford upon Avon competing in variable weather conditions in a number of events.
First off was the Stratford Masters E coxless four of Gary Clay, Tom Doherty, Richard Nelson, and Simon Beard in a close race which saw all crews separated by only five seconds, just failing to qualify for the final by two and a half seconds in a time of 3.35.30.
This crew then competed again in the Masters E coxed four event ably coxed by Jen Cary in one of the most heavily contested events at the regatta which saw twelve of the thirteen competitors in the heat races separated by a mere twelve seconds time difference. Despite coming third in their heat in a creditable time of four minutes and rowing into a strong headwind, the crew again just failed to qualify for the final by four seconds.
The most impressive performance of the day however was reserved for the Stratford Masters D coxed four crew of Stephen Haighton, Glyn Hawkins, Tim Lunel, and Wallace Brown coxed again by Jen Cary. The crew stormed forward to a very close win in their heat in a time of 3.40.89 in a race which saw the top four crews separated by less than two seconds to record the fastest overall heat time.
In a hotly contested final which produced one of the best races of the day, an exuberant crowd saw all six crews finish within five seconds of each other. Stratford, rowing a very strong race into the last two hundred and fifty metres were just squeezed out of a medal position in a last gasp finish surge by Nottingham Boat Club by only a second to finish an outstanding fifth in a time of 3.36.48 less than three seconds behind the winners Monmouth.
Said Tom Doherty, Masters Vice Captain, ”This was an excellent overall performance by the Masters’ Squad crews from Stratford, in particular the outstanding Masters D coxed four, and demonstrates that we are able to compete for medals at national level with a squad that continues to grow in strength all the time. It was also great to have the support of club members Christine Goodwin and Helen Smith who kept the crews spirits up all day.”
Meanwhile, Stratford Boat Club’s youngest athletes were in action over the weekend competing at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta hosted by Hinksey Sculling School. For many of the Junior Squad, this marked their competitive debut and the competition was strong with top crews at J13 level from around the country.
The coxed quadruple scull of Sophie Neville (cox), Jasmine Mountney (stroke), Alice Baines (3), Mili Wilcock (2) and Maiya James (bow) gave the spectators something to celebrate overhauling King’s Ely School, Staines Boat Club and Hinksey to take a bronze medal. There were also strong performances in single scull (Fred Tyler) and double scull categories (Dan Cox and Max Griffiths). Commenting on their performance, coach and Junior Co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said, “These young athletes all showed tremendous composure in the heat of competition and should be enormously proud of their achievements.”
For more great photographs of The Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta, please see http://bit.ly/1YtSjB0
For media coverage, please see the Stratford Herald p18