A magnificent win by Fred Tyler and Dan Cox in their J15 double scull, gaining two minutes from their closest opposition over the 1900m course, was later followed by a further medal win for Fred in the single sculls event with Dan a very close third.
The J14 ‘mixed’ quad crewed by Martha Usselmann, Elisabeth Edwards, William Clarke and Abbey Meggeson valiantly coxed by Conar Aitchison fought hard for an impressive against the odds victory. Overcoming the loss of their rudder shortly after the start, Conar showed admirable composure controlling his winning crew over the awkwardly bending course against strong opposition.
‘Head’ races are time trials with boats starting individually at fifteen second intervals, originally started with winter ‘off season’ training in mind, they are competed for over various distances and are now a regular feature in the winter rowing calendar.
Also competing but on the Thames were Stratford Masters who showed early national form when they represented Stratford upon Avon Boat Club at this year’s Pairs Head of the River on the Tideway in London with the Club’s Masters E pair of Simon Beard and Richard Nelson.
The Pairs Head is the premier national long distance race held annually for crews of two competitors, raced over 4500m of the Championship Boat Race course on the Thames. The first major national event of the winter season, the Pairs Head is unique combining all age categories from sixteen year old Juniors to eighty plus year old Masters. The crews were blessed with ideal weather and water conditions on the day with almost five hundred crews racing up the Thames in a festival of quality rowing.
Competing in the Open Championship category for combined Masters D and E age groups and racing against a field of fourteen top crews from around the country, Simon and Richard finished in fourth place overall in fifteen minutes and forty eight seconds, improving on their starting position in the draw by almost two hundred places and overtaking numerous other crews. This puts down a strong marker for Stratford Boat Club’s prospects of success at this early point in the season particularly as this event was the first to be held under new British Rowing rules pitting older against younger men without any handicap advantage.
Said Richard Nelson (stroke), “We kept our pace under control and had a good row. It was a great early success to build on as the season progresses.”
For media coverage, see Stratford Herald online http://www.stratford-herald.com/77167-stratford-boat-club-get-head-start-impressive-performances.html and p15, Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-show-good-early-national-form-at-evesham-and-on-the-tideway and p31.