National Schools Regatta: Testing Ground for Stratford Juniors!

The J14 squad, competing in their first National Schools Regatta, also took part on Friday. First up was the crew of Will Beattie, Tomi Wilcock, Bella Chappelhow, Harriet Holmes and cox Owen Perkins. As the only mixed crew in an open event, racing against all boys’ crews, the Stratford combination put in a fantastic performance. They overtook a crew from the Windsor Boys School on their way to a very respectable twenty fifth place out of the forty one crews taking part.

The J14 girls’ crew of Freya Watts, Lucy Browne, Fleur Griffiths and Honour Keil, expertly coxed by Toby Sartain, performed well in the time trial to place sixteenth, just thirty seconds off first place and gain themselves a place in the C Final.

In their side by side final, they raced against some strong crews. They put in a quick start and found themselves leading the race away from the stake boats. As they settled into their mid race pace, they found themselves in a tussle with a crew from the Grange School, Hartford. The two crews battled their way down the course neck and neck until the Stratford crew pushed away, as they hit the last 250m to take fifth place.

Said J14 coach Abi Terry, “It was a very encouraging day’s racing from the J14 squad, showing that there is plenty more to come. We’re all looking forward to the British Junior Championships in July.”

For the J15 squad, Friday was the first day of a thrilling weekend’s racing at Dorney Lake for the National Schools Regatta.

The J15 girls’ quad of Abbey Meggeson, Amelie Sartain, Emma Harrison and Sophie Elstone, coxed by Mary Walton were the first crew from Stratford to time trial the 1900m for places in the finals later in the day.

Said Trevor Tiller , J15 coach, “Despite a good strong row in the field of sixty eight crews, only eleven seconds saw them miss out on a finals placing, however the experience of the event bodes well for the remaining regatta season.”

The Stratford J16 squad fielded two crews as the regatta continued into its third day.  First down the course was the combination of Jasmine Mountney, Maiya James, Mya Kenny and Alice Baines in the women’s coxless quadruple sculls event.  Always a highly competitive event in junior sculling, the girls finished the day with sixteenth place overall leaving some quality competition in their wake.

Next up was Fred Tyler who raced in the Championship single sculls event.  Commenting, Steve Wellstead, J16 coach and Junior Co-ordinator, “Competing against boys two years his senior, his twenty seventh place overall belies the quality of his performance and over the middle 1000m of the race, he was safely in the top ten fastest scullers. A superb performance from a promising young talent.”

Stratford’s J17 girls coxed four  – Katie Wellstead, Khloe Curnock, Emily Browne coxed by Mimi Hill – stunned many of the crews from the big schools and clubs with their solid performance. Nineteen crews from England, Wales and Scotland entered the time trial event with only the quickest twelve progressing to semi-finals raced over 2000 metres. The girls were sixth fastest in the time trial followed by a fifth place in their semi final. This put them into the non-medal final against five other crews.

Said Dr Graham Collier, J17/18 coach, “This was one of the most exciting races in which Stratford raced neck and neck with their closest opponent who train on the Thames at Marlow. After 1850 metres only six seconds separated all the crews but Stratford put in an incredibly powerful spurt to overtake the Sir William Borlases Grammar School crew and win by the race by half a length.”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page 14 and online at http://www.stratford-herald.com/99178-regatta-provides-tough-testing-ground-stratford-juniors.html and Stratford Observer https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/national-schools-regatta-provides-stern-opposition

Stratford Juniors Take On and Beat Seniors!

Conditions at Wycliffe on Saturday were challenging for all the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior crews with a head and cross wind gusting as the athletes in all age groups raced down the 2.5k course on the Sharpness Canal.

Autumn Keil, Matilda Watts, Molly Gill-Swift and Katie Phillips put in a strong performance to finish sixth in the WJ18 coxless quad event. Considering they had not sculled together as a crew before the event it was a very good result.

Joe Hodson representing King Edward The Sixth School in his single scull demolished his opposition to take the Gold Medal. The Women’s Junior 18 coxed four, Katie Wellstead,  Emily Browne, Khloe Curnock and Molly Gill-Swift coxed tremendously by Mimi Hill and also racing in the Women’s Senior event left all the completion in their wake to win Gold Medals in both events. Racing over the course for a third time was Katie Wellstead partnered by Emily Browne in the Senior Women’s Double Sculling event: a great race developed with Wycliffe College with Stratford coming over the finish eight seconds ahead of the opposition to take another Gold Medal.

The morning division saw the four J15 girls’ singles of Amelie Sartain, Elisabeth Edwards, Harriet Hodgson and Sophie Elstone race strongly against a constant headwind and competitive opposition over the 2,500m course. Just over two minutes divided the race’s fourteen competitors with Elstone gaining Bronze position, closely followed by Sartain, Hodgson and Edwards.

The J14’s had a fantastic start to the day with the WJ14 coxed quad of Harriet Holmes, Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Honour Keil and cox Toby Sartain finishing in third place and gaining themselves the bronze medal out of ten crews and less than thirty seconds behind the winners.

Next up was the J14 double racing against five all boys’ crews: Will Beattie and Lucy Browne had a fantastic row again finishing less than thirty seconds behind the winner and just 1.2 seconds behind Ross to pick up the bronze medals.

The weather for Division Two maintained its constant headwind with bouts of sun and drizzle now thrown into the mix. Not put off  by this, the boys’ double of Conar Aitchison and William Clarke firmly pressed on into sixth place against a large field of stiff competition.

The WJ14 doubles raced against a strong field of six crews to finish in a very respectable fourth place for Lucy Browne and Fleur Griffiths and fifth place for Harriet Holmes and Anne Mynors.

Thefinal division’s racing saw the squad’s four girls’ doubles compete in an eighteen boat field with the headwind still playing its energy sapping part. Due to a last minute illness in the squad, J14 sculler Lucy Browne despite already having competed twice in the day, bravely stepped in to row up an age group in the bow seat and partnered Sophie Elstone. The remaining boats in the day’s final division being crewed by Amelie Sartain and Harriet Hodgson, Abbey Meggeson and Julia Zampronio Gurden and Elisabeth Edwards and Emma Harrison.

As the light began to fade, the remaining headwind failed to diminish the crews’ resolve as they vigorously made their way down the course. Sartain and Hodgson finishing in bronze medal place, Browne (J14) and Elstone only sixteen seconds behind them in an outstanding fifth place. Slightly further down the field, Meggeson and Zampronio Gurden, Edwards and Harrison finishing less than two minutes from the medals.

SaidJ14 coach Abi Terry, “Given the conditions, the WJ14 singles did a fantastic job to complete the course let alone to finish so well in the field of eleven scullers. Freya Watts and Honour Keil both out in amazing performances to finish in fourth and sixth respectively.

The J14 coxed quad raced against three all boys’ crews. The crew of Will Beattie, Bella Chappelhow, Anne Mynors, Toby Sartain and cox Harriet Holmes finished just 6.3 seconds behind the winners to bring home the silver medals. This was a fantastic way to end the day for the J14 squad at only their second head raceever.

Commented J15 coach Trevor Tiller, “Good performances all round from all on a very demanding day.”

For media coverage, please see StratfordObserver online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-juniors-take-on-and-beat-seniorsand Stratford Herald page 23 and online http://www.stratford-herald.com/93720-stratford-youngsters-enjoy-medal-winning-performances.html