Inspiration for Juniors from GB Hopeful

As part of the series of sessions which complement the Junior Performance land and water sessions, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior 16 and 17 year squads played host to a special guest Flo Pickles. Flo started rowing as a junior at Evesham Rowing Club and her talk took the juniors on her journey to date. A move to Gloucester Hartpury attending the British Rowing World Class Start Programme gave Flo the opportunity to push herself in order to develop into the high performance athlete she is today.

Flo was a member of a crew who made history by becoming the first to win at rowing’s premier event Henley Royal Regatta taking gold in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup in 2014 and subsequently retaining their title in 2015. Following on from this success, Flo represented Team GB U23’s through 2016 and 2017. During 2017 she competed in The Boat Race for Oxford. Flo is currently training as a lightweight at Reading Rowing Club taking part in the GB Rowing selection programme and setting her goals on achieving selection for the 2019 World Rowing Championship to be held in Ottensheim Austria, cumulating in the ultimate honour of representing Great Britain at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

Listening intently to Flo, the Junior Squad began to realise that Flo was no different to them and that setting their sights on rowing on the world stage resulting in a medal is within everyone’s grasp and it takes dedication to training and time management through exam years in order to keep all on track through thick and thin in the quest for success.

Said coach Colin Bell, “Serious respect: I’m certain that Flo has been an inspiration to our Juniors and will motivate them all in their aspiration to reach their own goals in the forthcoming season!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and Stratford Herald page 16 and online

Stratford Romp Home at West Midlands Junior Championships

The sun came up and the heavens opened on the West Midlands Junior Championships held in Stourport-on-Severn at the weekend. Conditions where challenging for all as competitors arrived to a quagmire more usually associated with the festival season, the headline act this time being the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior squad! The Championships are held over 1800m of the River Severn which, although wide, presents a navigation challenge for coxswains and steersman to stay in the stream and maximise the speed of their crew. At stake was selection to represent the region at the Junior Inter-Regional Regatta held in April.

The J16 squad fielded two crews in the competition. First up in the morning sun was Fred Tyler who romped home in his single scull to take gold and pick up the first West Midlands squad place for the Club. Next to go was the coxless quadruple scull of Alice Baines, Mili Wilcock, Nixie Brunt and Maiya James who whilst pushing on were unable to repeat the form seen in the Stourport Winter Head and collected a Silver medal. Commented Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator and J16 coach, “This was enough for them to secure selection to represent the West Midlands in a composite eight with Evesham Rowing Club.”

The first division saw the J15 squad competing in the doubles’ event with Amelie Sartain and Sophie Elstone winning silver just four seconds shy of regional qualification after a long fought race. The crews of Elisabeth Edwards and Martha Usselmann and Abbey Meggeson and Emma Harrison finishing closely down the field in seventh and twelfth positions respectively. In the midday division Harriet Hodgson in her first outing in the single event, rowed finely to a confident finish in fifth place against the region’s finest. She is now looking forward to building on this experience during the forthcoming season. The final division saw the two quads compete well with the boat of Julia Zampronio Gurden (cox), Amelie Sartain, Sophie Elstone, Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings finish slightly ahead that of Mary Walton (cox), Abbey Meggeson, Harriet Hodgson, Emma Harrison and Elisabeth Edwards. Said Trevor Tiller, J15 squad coach, ”Weather aside, a fine day’s outing and good spirits all round!”

First up for the J14 squad were the coxed quads. The girls’ crew of Harriet Holmes, Lucy Browne, Honour Keil, Fleur Griffiths and cox Owen Perkins put in a strong performance to see them take their place in the West Midlands squad. The mixed crew that raced in the open event had opposition from the Royal Grammar School Worcester and consisted of Will Beattie, Tomi Wilcock, Ruby Howells, Bella Chappelhow and cox Toby Sartain put in a very strong race and despite an equipment issue near the end of the race still managed to beat Royal Grammar School Worcester by twenty three seconds. This meant that this crew was also selected for the West Midlands squad.

Next up were the doubles’ crews with three combinations competing. Tomi Wilcock and Will Beattie teamed up together and with Beattie steering a fantastic racing line down the course: the boys managed to win their second gold medal of the day beating the nearest rivals from Worcester Rowing Club by eighteen seconds. Toby Sartain and Owen Perkins also teamed up together to race in the open doubles: they put in a fine effort to finish in fifth place. The girls’ double with a late substitute of Harriet Holmes to complete with Fleur Griffiths came away with the bronze medals following another very good row despite the girls not having trained in the double together before. The day finished with the singles and there were two girls competing here: Lucy Browne unfortunately sustained an injury at the beginning of the race and subsequently she was unable to finish. Freya Watts also competed very strongly and finished in a very respectable fourth place just eight seconds off the bronze medal. Said Abi Terry, J14 coach, “A brilliant effort by the J14 squad competing at this event for the first time and managing to secure ten seats in the West Midlands’ squad!”

Although not competing to represent the West Midlands, the J17/18 squad entered two events. Khloe Curnock, determined to win her first event in a single scull, put in a superb performance to take the win from Pengwern Boat Club by six seconds. Autumn Keil dug deep and sculled well to finish fourth. Matilda Watts, normally known for her coxing, was competing in her first event sitting backwards in a boat and demonstrated just how effective light weight and good technique can be by finishing a highly creditable fifth!

Joe Hodson and Fred Tyler, who had both won their respective single events, joined forces in the J18 double scull event in division three. Facing the worst of the rain and headwind, they were dead level on time with Royal Grammar School Worcester at the 800m mark only to be beaten into second place by 1.1 seconds. Dom Furey and Howard Gould-Yates also enjoyed the drenching conditions finishing tenth.

The King Edward The Sixth School J18 4+ crew of George, Felix, Adam, Sam and Emerald made a strong start and a great pace for their first race together but the opposition closed on them to win by eleven seconds. The school’s second crew to race was the J16 2x of Fred and Cameron who were attempting to qualify for a place at the Junior Inter regional regatta: this meant that the competition they faced was very high. The boys put in a very good performance making great improvements from their last race to come in fourth, nearly ten seconds ahead of the crews behind them.

Up next were the King Edward The Sixth School’s WJ18 4+ crew of Lara, Ellie, Maddie, Gina and Leah who put in a very good performance showing good pace and technique but sadly lost out to a very strong crew from Kings Worcester. Finally Joe in a J17 1x showed a very strong pace in tough condition pulling away from his competitors to win by 3.5 seconds.

Said King Edward The Sixth School coach Helen Smith. “Overall, a good day for King Edward The Sixth School with some excellent results and crews showing a lot of promise for the future.”

Finally but certainly not the last, this was Stratford’s J13 squad’s introduction to rowing competitions and all finished the day smiling despite the weather. The two Stratford quads were racing each other with the winning crew of Maddie Hall, Louie Beason, Imogen Hill, Charles Happel and Ciara Wilson (cox) winning out against Kate Richardson, Grace Beason, Ruby Brooker-Collins, Emily Stobart and Elisabeth Edwards who stepped in to cox at very short notice.

The J13 double of Amalia and Millie Hodgson rowed a very strong race to win and excellent silver medal losing out to Ross Rowing Club. Said J13 coach Steve Marsden, “All agreed that it was a very enjoyable, successful but wet and muddy day!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 15 and online

For more great photographs, see Stuart Baines’ great selection!AgY7EiDB2lCOgtwUuBzTzXeAcQexrg and excellent photos from Hugo Happel

Stratford Master’s Woman Wins at Trafford Head of Bridgewater

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley went to race at the Trafford Bridgewater Canal on Saturday 23rd February. Trafford Rowing Club is a very friendly and welcoming club at the outskirts of Manchester.

The race is over 3200m. Kjersti raced in her single in Division One against a lady athlete from Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club. Having great respect for her opposition, knowing that she had won bronze at a recent indoor rowing competition, Kjersti set out hard, wanting to put distance between them.

This year, Kjersti was prepared for the windy conditions through the famous Budenburg Flats which occur about 500m from start and so carried on regardless. The last 1000m is a straight course and Kjersti was worried that the opposition would push hard, Kjersti put the throttle down.

Kjersti won the race by forty five seconds which was an improvement on her time from last year by two minutes and thirty seconds, although 2018 was on a blustery winter day with ice on the canal in the morning!

Kjersti said, “I was so pleased that I was able to work hard throughout the race and I am so grateful to my coach and mentor Chris Straw who has helped me to get more power into my strokes”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page 19 and online see also Stratford Observer online

Another Regional Indoor Success!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14 and J15 squads travelled to Abingdon to compete at the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships.

The club’s first event was the WJ14 individual four minute race. Anne Mynors, Ruby Howells, Lucy Browne, Freya Watts and Harriet Holmes all put in fantastic performances with personal bests and high place finishes, just outside the medals. Bella Chappelhow, despite carrying a slight injury, managed to secure the Silver medal with Fleur Griffiths winning bronze with a new personal best.

The J14 boys’ crew of Toby Sartain, Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock also individually competed in the four minute category. All of them gained significant personal bests with Wilcock finishing highest in fifth place.

The individual events continued with J15’s Amelie Sartain, Sophie Elstone and Will Clarke taking the arena for their respective five minute races. More personal bests saw Sartain finishing strongly in fifth place with Elstone winning a remarkable Gold medal in a new event record distance of 1353 metres. In the boys’ event, Clarke raced hard and won a well deserved Bronze medal.

The afternoon saw the relays with everyone in action again. The J14 boys’ crew of Wilcock, Sartain and Beattie showed huge amounts determination against considerably bigger crews finishing in sixth place.

The J14 girls split into two squads with Browne, Holmes and Mynors teaming up to finish within touching distance of the medals but unfortunately they were overhauled by a number of teams with four athletes in each squad. Meanwhile, the other crew of Chappelhow, Griffiths, Watts and late substitute Howells took the Gold medal by just 0.4 seconds during the last three strokes.

The J15 boys’ 3km relay saw J14s Wilcock and Beattie teamed up with J15s Clarke and Conar Aitchison. Facing larger competition, they finished in third place to claim their bronze medals.

Freya Watts showed great sportsmanship to team up with three girls from local rivals, Evesham Rowing Club, in their WJ15 relay. Watts’ fine performance saw them placed just outside the medals.

In the final race of the day, J14s Chappelhow and Griffiths teamed with J15s Sartain and Elstone in the WJ15 3km relay. Another thrilling race coming down to the final few strokes saw the girls dig deep to finish in first place.

J14 coach Abi Terry said, “A brilliant day’s racing was had by all. Stratford finished the day with three gold, one silver and three bronze medals.”

J15 coach Trevor Tiller added, “It was great to see all the Stratford athletes really pushing themselves to the limit, not only for themselves but also their team-mates.”

While the J14 and J15 squads were in Abingdon, the elite men’s senior, J16 and J17/18 squads went to the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham for an arduous training day on their multi-lane course.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page 14

Head of the Severn: Composite Success!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club commenced their winter eights competition season with a first competitive race outing at Worcester on Sunday with the Head of the Severn.

The event raced, over the long six kilometre course, was held in perfect conditions with only a head wind to disrupt proceedings. The event which is organised by Worcester University and predominantly aimed at Senior and university crews nonetheless attracted a good quality Masters entry eager to try out new combinations for the upcoming season with an eye on the 2019 Vesta Veterans’ International Eights Head of the River Race event in London in March.

Stratford rowers Gary Clay, Richard Nelson, Simon Beard and Tom Doherty competing in a combined crew with representatives from Midland clubs with Jon Martin from Warwick and Paul Wallis, Rob Graham and Tim Grimsdale from Bridgnorth were up against good opposition from Pengwern with two fancied crews, including last year’s winners, and local club Worcester who were aiming to put down a season marker with a big experienced crew.

Setting off second in their event behind Worcester the Stratford composite crew stroked by Paul Wallis made a powerful start rating 34 strokes per minute to close down Worcester over the first kilometre and put the local club under pressure. However Stratford’s real race turned out to be against last year’s winners Pengwern following behind them.

The Stratford composite crew, settling into a rating of 32 strokes per minute, managed to gain a small advantage at the nine minute timing point of just three seconds over Pengwern. The next section proved the best of the race for Stratford who managed to increase their lead at the fifteen minute timing point to eight seconds. However the last quarter of the race proved extremely tough with Pengwern increasing their effort and Stratford working hard to maintain their rhythm and pushes right up to the finish line.

The necessity of maintaining their rhythm and final push was borne out by an extremely close finish with the Stratford/Bridgnorth/Warwick crew winning in a time of twenty minutes and thirty two seconds, just four seconds ahead of Pengwern who finished in a time of twenty minute and thirty six seconds, an extremely close finish for a six kilometre race.

Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “This was a very satisfying race for a crew that has only had three outings this year together. The race was against very good opposition and a perfect springboard to push on with training for the tougher races to come.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 14 and Stratford Observer online

Horrendous Conditions on Severn and Taff!

The weekend saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club athletes from across the age ranges compete on the Severn at Stourport. The 3600m course running with the stream presented a good opportunity for all to display the fruits of their winter training over a longer distance. Conditions on the day were challenging and although the rain stayed away, the sleet and strong wind presented the competing athletes with a real test of endurance.

In Division One, first to go was the Women’s J16 coxless quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock and Alice Baines. Rowing up an age group with J18 athletes, the crew set their mark on the event with a confident win. Next the J16 single sculler Fred Tyler braved the course missing out on the win by just one second to strong opposition from Trentham Boat Club. The third J16 sculler in the mix was Maiya James who despite the tricky conditions delivered a solid row and recorded third place. The J15 squad was represented in the coxed quadruple sculls event by crews consisting of Sienna Rawlings, Amelie Sartain, Julia Zampronio Gurden, Abbey Meggeson and Mary Walton (coxswain) first away and closely followed by Sophie Elstone, Harriet Hodgson, Martha Usselmann, Emma Harrison and Elisabeth Edwards (coxswain) second down the track. In the final analysis the Meggeson crew had the edge by just two seconds over their club mates despite a damaged rudder from the start.

In Division Two, the Women’s J16 coxless quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Maiya James, Mili Wilcock and Alice Baines demonstrated the results of their winter training programme and recorded another win, this time in the J16 category. Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “Exciting times for this outfit as they look forward to the 2019 season.”

Fred Tyler also took the water for a second time, this time in the J17 category but once again was thwarted by the Trentham Boat Club athletes with another second place by the narrowest of margins. For the J15 squad it was an afternoon of the third place results with the double scull of Will Clarke and Conar Aitchison, the women’s double scull of Amelie Sartain and Martha Usselmann and the women’s single scull of Sophie Elstone all in the bronze medal position. In the J18 event, Dom Furey rowed the course with his typical flair ending in a solid second place. The women’s J17 double scull of Autumn Keil and Katie Phillips joined the J15 squad in the creditable third place against strong competition.

King Edward VI School’s squad competed alongside sister club Stratford at Stourport Head in testing conditions of cold and gusting wind. First to boat was the boys’ four of Joe, Cameron, Adam, Felix and Lara for a first race in this combination. The long wait to start meant the crew used the time well to warm-up and drill, letting them settle their technique for the race despite never having raced together before. Up against crews from Warwick and Stourport, they quickly left the Warwick crew behind to maintain a distance from Stourport (also a J17 crew) and were awarded joint first place.

Next to boat was Fred, a J16 sculler in his first race for this squad, in a single. He coped well with the conditions which tested all of the single scullers and raced a good line, maintaining his long stroke against other boys who included a Great Britain trial athlete. No medal for Fred on the day but he showed his potential for the squad.

Said Helen Smith, King Edward V1 School coach, “A second successful weekend for the athletes following several Northampton wins just a week ago this young squad continue to show their potential which will develop over the next few years at School.”

Meanwhile in Cardiff, the hail, rain, sleet and ferocious winds welcomed Stratford’s Woman Master Christine Goodwin back to the Head of the Taff this year. The course had to be shortened for the afternoon due to capsizes, boat collisions and other incidents in the famous railway tunnels. Sadly all the other Masters women dropped out of both divisions, leaving sole competitor Christine with no opposition for her race so a ‘time only’ result. Said Christine, “I think when my only remaining fellow Masters’ Woman opposition rowed back to the boathouse after only 250m, I realised this was going to be ‘ staying alive’ type row and it definitely was!”

For DP Photos excellent select for Stourport Head, please see

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 14

‘Comfortable’ Outing at Northampton!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club and their sister club King Edward VI School, commenced their 2019 competitive racing year with a series of head races at Northampton on Saturday. The event extremely well hosted by Northampton Rowing Club and raced upstream on the River Nene in cold but unusually dry conditions, giving all a good chance to work off any remaining post Christmas indulgences.

Northampton Head of the Nene was divided into four divisions with individual events competed over all divisions during the day. This also gave the majority of competitors the chance to enter several events.

The course, being reasonably straight and only 1800 metres long, attracts beginners’ crews and those seeking to expand their racing experience for tougher tests later in the year and as such both Stratford and King Edward VI School brought a number of novice crews seeking their first experience of competitive racing.

An early start saw crews rowing off at 08.00hrs for the first division of racing. The first event for Stratford saw two crews competing in the Masters’ coxless quad sculls. First off in division one was Richard Nelson, Wallace Brown, Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty. Kjersti racing in a men’s event as a late minute substitute put in a sterling performance to help the crew finish in a creditable time of 6mins 22 sec, twenty seconds behind a high quality Oundle all men’s crew in the same race and faster than a

Milton Keynes men’s crew. Later in the day Stratford’s second crew of Gary Clay, Wallace Brown, Neville Hand and Tom Doherty put in an improved effort to record a time of 5 mins 56 sec to earn a very creditable second place to a high quality crew from Hollowell Scullers.

Stratford Men’s Masters were in action again later in the day with Gary Clay and Neville Hand in the double sculls event against crews from Oundle and Cantabrian boat clubs and were able to record a well deserved victory recording a creditable time of 7.05 seconds.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event for Stratford was the debut of their new Women’s Masters crew of Naomi Knowles, Ruth “Kings Heath” Poulton, Dee Wevill, and Heather Hayton. This crew which had been training hard over the previous autumn were racing in a quad coxless sculling race requiring good race management and steering ability. Racing more experience opponents from Oundle Rowing Club, the crew put in an excellent performance finishing just under six seconds behind the winners in a time of 7mins and 29 seconds.

It was then the turn of the small boats crews next with a Mixed Masters all Stratford showdown between Helen Helliwell and Hugo Happel taking on the more experienced crew of Christine Goodwin and Tim Lunel. A very competent performance by Helen and Hugo in their first race saw them post a creditable time of 8 mins and 17 secs but it was not sadly enough to beat the experience of Christine and Tim.

Kjersti Woolly in addition to her Men’s quad race earlier in the day raced for Derwent Rowing Club recording a win in their Mixed Masters quad four and a good performance in their Women’s Masters coxed four.

This left the small boat racers of Gina Fusco and Tim Lunel competing in single sculls. Gina who is in her first season of competitive racing recorded two very good times of 8 mins 34 secs, and 8 mins 48 secs displaying some very consistent sculling and is sure to be closing on her first competitive win. Tim Lunel competing in his third event of the day in Masters single sculls was unable to match his success in the double but put in a good solid performance.

The King Edward VI School squad joined the Masters rowers at Northampton. Of the thirteen athletes taking part, six had never raced or coxed in a race before. Said Helen Smith King Edward VI School coach, “Lack of junior opposition meant several races for these sixteen to eighteen year olds were against seniors, However the athletes gave their best efforts to achieve a good clutch of medals.”

George, Adam, Felix, Sam and Emerald raced 4+ in Division 1 making the bronze medal position whilst the girls crew of Lara, Ellie, Maddie, Gina and Leah also came first in their event.  Division 3 saw the other boys’ 4+ of Joe, Cameron, Fred, Felix and Emerald also achieve gold whilst being the fastest coxed four of the day. The 2x crew of Jess and Talei also achieved two golds for the squad in the J17 girls’ and women’s’ doubles over two divisions.

Said Tom Doherty, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Masters Vice Caption, “This was an excellent day’s racing for both clubs with creditable performances across all crews. The event was well organised and ran to time providing a good experience both on and off the water. Our collective thanks to John Vedy for organising the boat transport without which we could not have enjoyed the day. My overriding memory of the event however will be removing a selection of hot water bottles, hand warmers, food hampers and a selection of soft furnishings from our Masters Women’s crew’s boat about to embark on their first ever race!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online and Midweek page 24

For official photographs of Northampton Head of the Nene, photos can now be found online at: To view the gallery, use your own email address with nene as the password. The results are available at:

Stratford J14’s and J15’s Kings of the Day!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club were invited for the first time to join Royal Grammar School Worcester and Worcester Rowing Club as guests of Kings School Worcester at their annual indoor rowing competition.

First up was the WJ14 individual four minute event. Freya Watts, Lucy Browne, Fleur Griffiths and Anne Mynors all competed in this event. Griffiths set out hard and led for over two minutes, when a very strong girl from Kings pushed on past. In the last minute Watts, having maintained a steady pace throughout managed to finish in the Silver medal position having made it to 988 metre. Browne taking the Bronze from Griffiths in the very last stroke of the race with a distance of 968m. Griffiths finished up fourth having completed 965m and Mynors finished in a very respectable eighth place out of fifteen competitors with 910m.

The individual timed events continued with the WJ15 five minute race that saw Emma Harrison, Martha Usselmann and Sophie Elstone racing side by side. The bank of claret tops saw a determined start by Elstone that put her in a commanding position with Usselmann and Harrison following her lead. Elstone settled nicely during the middle of the race with Usselmann constantly jostling between third and fourth place with Harrison closing. The final minute of determined pushing to the finish saw Elstone finish in Gold position a clear 80m ahead of her closest rival with Usselmann and Harrison both gaining fresh personal bests in a close fourth, and seventh positions respectively from a field of thirteen competitors.

Representing the Stratford Boat Club participation group was Charlotte Johnson competing in the WJ16 individual six minute event. Charlotte was up against a field including five rowers from the hosts – Kings School. Despite limited preparation leading up to the event, Charlotte finished in fifth position with a personal best of 1400 metres – missing out on a podium finish by a mere 38 metres.

Then was the turn of Bella Chappelhow and Honour Keil in the WJ14 individual 500m event. This was strongly contested between the two Stratford girls, with the three Kings girls making up the other three places. Both girls had an extremely good row with Chappelhow taking the Gold medal in a time of 1:48.9 with Keil just 0.8 of a second behind taking the Silver. The bronze medal was won in a time 10 seconds slower than Keil.

Harriet Hodgson took the flag for the J15s in the Y10 500m event. A fast and furious race from the off with tough competition from the hosts saw Hodgson at her finest. Maintaining a strong position throughout, the final pushes saw her finishing in a time of 1:48 ensuring a place on the podium in Silver medal position.

Then it was the time for the relay races. First up were the WJ14 relays raced over 2000m. Chappelhow, Keil and Griffiths teamed up to form one relay team with Mynors, Watts and Browne teaming up to make the other. Both teams raced hard with some fantastic quick changeovers. It was Chappelhow, Keil and Griffiths that managed to pick up the Gold medals on this occasion in a time of 7:30.1 with Mynors, Watts and Browne fighting it out with another strong team from Kings beating them by just 0.3 of a second to take the Silver medal in a time of 7:44.2.

The WJ15 2km relay brought together Elstone, Harrison, Hodgson and Usselmann for their final race of the day. Establishing a 30m lead after the first few changeovers proved that their practicing had paid off, as they seamlessly held their position over the opposition. Maintaining their lead, the girls finished in Gold medal position in a time of 7:12.6.

Said Abi Terry J14 coach, “A brilliant day’s racing was had by all and this was shown by all of the WJ14’s and WJ15’s that competed coming away with at least one medal each.”

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

A Well Deserved Celebration in a Brewery!

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club had two reasons to celebrate at the prestigious Fours Head prize giving held at Fuller’s Brewery in Chiswick, London. As well as picking up the award for the Men’s Coxed Four Challenge event, the Club was also named as the inaugural winners of the Davison Award – given to the ‘standout performance’ from a small club.

There were many clubs from around the country represented at the event which met the criteria of the Davison Award all of which were reviewed by the Fours Head Committee. After much deliberation, the conclusion was that performance of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s Senior Men and Junior Women made them the worthy winners.

The award was given by Eleanor Davison, in memory of her husband Noel who was a stalwart supporter of rowing and a long term Honorary Secretary of the Fours Head event.

Dr Graham Collier who has been coaching at Stratford for over fifteen years and is a former Captain of the Club said,”Winning this award continues to keep our small club at the forefront of British rowing. It was the tremendous performance by the Junior Women’s coxed four of Katie Wellstead, Talei Dunn, Khloe Curnock and Molly-Gill-Swift expertly coxed by Mimi Hill that provided the support to the outstanding men’s coxed four that enabled the Club to collect this supreme award.”

As well as the decorated blade the men’s coxed four of Amie Jones, Mike Hourigan, Tom Coles, Finn Sprackling and Patrick Hourigan also picked-up prestigious Fours Head medals to recognise their victory in the Challenge Fours event.

Paul Stanton, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club President commented, “Our sincere thanks from our members, athletes, supporters, coaches and helpers to the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours Committee and especially to Eleanor Davison and her family for their commitment to our small club and honouring us by presenting this inaugural award to the Club in person. Our thanks also to Fuller’s Brewery for their magnificent hospitality.”

Senior Men’s Coach Bill Sullivan said, “It was a great evening and a fitting reward for all the hard work the guys put in over the autumn. It was good to see them let their hair down and take full advantage of the free beer kindly poured out by Fuller’s, the very generous sponsor. Our Stratford boys showed a fitting determination to enjoy a ‘celebration’ in a brewery!”

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

Christmas Excess Blown Away!

Courtesy of DP Photos

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

Twenty six competitors, including four former junior members and visiting rowers took part. A nice mix of mature and younger members

Courtesy of DP Photos

from all sections of the Club came with their families. Some of the athletes have been rowing for less than a year.

Six crews raced in a knockout competition. The final was won by a masters and juniors mixed crew of Simon Beard, Nixie Brunt, Khloe Curnock, Richard Shepherd and coxed by Katie Wellstead. Club tankards were awarded to the winning crew. The conditions were mild with little wind or current and the crews were supported by club volunteers

Commented coach Helen Smith, joint organiser. “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 who came down to the river and gave us added impetus to move further ahead for fundraising in 2019 to achieve the funds to refurbish and replace our fleet and equipment”  

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club will be back on the river this week and after the New Year training hard for the 2019 head season, the Senior squad’s entry at Henley Royal Regatta and their own regatta in June

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online and page fifteen

For more great Boxing Day Scratch Regatta pictures, see David Phillip’s selection and Stuart Baines’ pictures!AiW2DAyn9tg9jOluK1P6Ae2IgUtZMA