Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters’ Squad descended on the beautiful Worcestershire town of Bewdley this weekend for their two day summer regatta. The event which attracts crews from all over the country is held on the Severn finishing in the town itself watched by large crowds.
On Saturday on a hot summer’s day, it was the turn of the mixed Masters’ crew of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty on the 800 metre course. In their semi- final, they recorded a comfortable win over the local Bewdley crew. In the final, they faced much tougher opposition from Derwent who were fresh from winning a bronze medal at the National Masters Championships a few weeks beforehand. In a close race with the lead changing several times, Derwent just squeezed through on the finish to win by half a length.
Another hot Sunday saw Stratford crews arrive in force for the 500 metres sprint races with first competitors being the Men’s Masters D coxed four of Stephen Haighton, Tim Lunel, Glyn Hawkins, and Wallace Brown. In a close race against a high quality Monmouth crew, Stratford was narrowly beaten by half a length.
Next up saw Mike Atkins racing in a single scull in the Masters G category, after the first win of the day with a fine victory over a younger Monmouth sculler by one length. In a close final later in the day in which the lead changed several times, Mike was just beaten by a length by the local Bewdley sculler.
The mixed Masters crew of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty then had a repeat of their Saturday final against Derwent in their semi- final which saw another very close race, with Stratford again being pipped at the line by half a length.
The Masters’ D coxless pair of Richard Nelson and Simon Beard restored Stratford’s pride with an excellent semi- final win against a quality Stourport pair by a third of a length, and then went on later in the day to record a comfortable event win over Loughborough.
Not to be content with his efforts in the single, Mike Atkins was joined by Chris Straw in Masters’ Men’s F double sculls. In an incident packed race with local rivals Evesham, the race ended in a mid- course crash between both crews fighting for the centre of the river which saw the Stratford men unfortunately disqualified.
Stratford finished off the day’s racing with Richard Nelson, Simon Beard, and Tom Doherty in a composite eight with Bridgnorth. The crew which had a very successful winter’s head season was on their first regatta outing and not withstanding no pre-race practice, powered off the start at 45 strokes a minute settling to 40 strokes a minute to pull away from Monmouth down the course to win the event by three lengths. Beating the Monmouth eight crew containing the rowers who had beaten Stratford earlier in the day in the coxed fours proved a fitting end to a well run regatta.
Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Men’s Vice Captain, “It was fantastic to see six Masters’ squad crews competing here which shows the continuing growth in strength of the Masters’ squad at Stratford, ably assisted by the great support and encouragement from Stratford’s Helen Smith and Christine Goodwin throughout the day.”
For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald p16 and online at http://bit.ly/2aeg9Bg and Stratford Observer p37