In celebration of Christmas, the athletes from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club took to the water on Sunday for their annual Boxing Day Scratch Regatta. In a change from the usual format, Club members raced in the more sturdy boats due to the river conditions following the traditional Warwickshire Christmas Day downpour!
Crews were formed of current members and former Club members at home in the area for the festive period. The excesses of Christmas Day did little to dampen the competitive spirit amongst the crews on the water and each of the morning races was hotly contested.
Successfully making it through the early rounds, the stage was set for the final between “Puddings” (Cameron Dalrymple-Baker, Martha Usselmann, Talei Dunn, Alice Baines and Matilda Watts) and “Pies” (Richard Aitchison, Katie Phillips, Katie Wellstead, Tomi Wilcock and Beth Edwards). A clash of blades and suspect steering forced a re-row of the final race and in the repeat attempt, a clean race saw “Puddings” triumph by half a length – a just result for the season!
Athletes were supported by family members and members of the public and Christmas visitors to the town also came down to watch the spectacle and cheer: the crews were supported by Club volunteers driving the safety launch and acting as scorers.
Dr Graham Collier, Vice Chairman 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 of Stratford Boat Club, “The scratch regatta caught the imagination of all who came down to the river and this year’s racing included many more juniors and it was good to welcome many athletes home from university.”
Commenting, Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and competitor said, “It was great to have such a mix of members competing and especially spectator parents and families. 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 New Year weekend and after the New Year, athletes will be training hard for the 2022 head season and the Club’s own regatta in June.
For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/puddings-edge-pies-in-final-race-re-row-9232678 and page thirty seven. Also Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-upon-avon-boat-club-hosts-annual-boxing-day-scratch-regatta and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/01/07&pages=024
For more great pictures of our Boxing Day Scratch Regatta, see Stuart Baines’ selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiQkY1SNwjpDgoxheTOWymdH16IC3Q?e=U2U7By