Saturday 9th December saw Junior members of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club compete in the 2017 British Rowing Indoor Championships (BRIC) at the Olympic Velodrome in Stratford, London. This year saw a record number of entries from both home and abroad with all spectator tickets sold out before the event.
Sophie Elstone, Harriet Hodgson and Will Clarke from the J14 squad and Nixie Brunt from the J15 squad competed in front of a crowd of well over a thousand cheering spectators, performing magnificently against such high calibre competition.
In the Year 9 500m events, Sophie Elstone came third in her heat to be placed finally in tenth position with a time of 1:50.4, with Harriet Hodgson in twenty first place with 1:54.8 out of a field of sixty eight competitors. In the boys 500m heat, Will Clarke fought hard for a well deserved twelfth place in a field of twenty four with a time of 1:42.1.
Nixie Brunt won a very well deserved Bronze medal in her Year 10 500m event alongside fifty two fellow competitors. With an amazing time of 1:40.9, Nixie narrowly missed Silver by less than half a second and was only 2.5 seconds behind the Gold medal position.
The afternoon saw the age group timed events, with the J14s competing over four minutes and the J15s five minutes. In the Y9 four minute races Sophie came thirteenth with a distance of 1008m with Harriet thirty seventh with 962m in a huge field of ninety two competitors. Will Clarke finished well, in nineteenth place rowing 1065m against fifty two competitors.
Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Squad Coach Trevor Tiller competed in the Men’s Open 2000m event: this was against members of the Great Britain rowing squad along with newcomer to the sport Sir Bradley Wiggins. Clearly pleased with gaining a new personal best of 7:32.1, Trevor was also surprised to discover he was only seventy seconds behind Sir Bradley.
Further local entries included recent Stratford upon Avon Boat Club learner Millie Hodgson winning the Silver Medal in the Year 7 500m event with a time of 2:01.8 and just missing out on a Bronze in the Y7 two minute time event by a mere three metres!
Harriet and Millie’s father Ed Hodgson also raced in the Masters 40-49 age group, pushing fantastic times in both his 2000m and 500m events with times of 6:50.3 and 1:28.6 respectively.
Said Stratford’s coach Trevor Tiller, “The day’s events and results have shown what great progress our own members are making and how in parallel with the water based side of the sport, indoor rowing has developed to be so inclusive with Junior, Senior, Masters and Adaptive events and competitors ranging in age from eleven to those well into their nineties! A successful, promising and enjoyable day for competitors, spectators and families alike … with training plans already in place for next year!”
Unfortunately, the Club’s attempts to compete on Sunday at Monmouth Christmas Head were thwarted by the weather as the event was cancelled
However, a cold but otherwise beautiful day saw the potential for throbbing frost bitten fingers as Walton on Thames Rowing Club held their major small boats head race on Saturday on a beautiful three kilometre stretch of the River Thames in London
The event one of the biggest of its kind in the country for singles and two person crew boats and attracted well over six hundred entries with a huge contingent from across all the London clubs ensuring a very high level of competition throughout the day with crews determined to squeeze one more competitive race in before the Christmas festivities begin
Racing was spread across three divisions with boats starting every ten seconds throughout the day providing an excellent spectacle to onlookers and lively competition on the water for crews. Stratford upon Avon Boat Club was represented at the event in three crew categories during the day
First off was the coxless Masters E age category crew of Richard Nelson and Simon Beard. A solid race rating thirty two stokes per minute saw them up against National Champions Tyrian Boat Club and although they were unable to overcome them, Stratford pushed them very hard to secure a well deserved second place in a time of twelve minutes and three seconds with less than a minute and a half separating all four crews in the event
Following close behind was Gary Clay and Tom Doherty in the double scull Masters E age group race. A field of nine crews containing National Championship medalists lead to some hard but very close racing with only one minute and nine seconds separating the entire field. National Medalists and home crew Walton put in an excellent performance to win the event in a fast time of eleven minutes and thirty eight seconds. Stratford finished in a very creditable mid table position in a time of eleven minutes and fifty nine seconds in a dead heat with Molesey Boat Club and beating Bentham Boat Club by a mere one second over the three kilometre course!
Women’s representation for Stratford Boat Club saw Christine Goodwin competing in Women’s Novice single sculls in a large field of twelve competitors. Racing towards the end of the day in rapidly dropping temperatures, Christine nevertheless put in a solid performance to finish in a very respectable time of fourteen minute and thirty eight seconds
Said Tom Doherty, Masters’ Vice Captain, “It was a great experience to come to such a high quality event for the first time and see all of our crews put in some very competitive performances.”
Those members who stayed Stratford based over the weekend were involved in the Club’s Clean Up Weekend. Said Laurie Flintoft, Committee Member responsible for Land and Buildings said, “A lot was achieved over the weekend with all squads working together to tidy and clean the premises.”
For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-young-guns-star-at-british-indoors and Stratford Herald p20 and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/79872-stratfords-junior-rowers-excel-british-indoor-championships.html