Stratford Create Storm Indoors!

On Sunday, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior squad and their parents braved Storm Ciara to attend the annual South of England Indoor Rowing Championships in Abingdon run by Hinksey Sculling School.

The championship started with the individual events with the J15 girls five minutes category first. Ruby Howells went out hard and led her group closely followed by Fleur Griffiths and Freya Watts. At the other end of the sports hall, Bella Chappelhow also started out well and led her group by a considerable margin. The battle between Howells and Griffiths continued and they finished with exactly the same distance gaining themselves the silver medals. Chappelhow finished just one metre behind them to take the bronze, with Watts finishing in a very respectable seventh place.

Next up was the J15 boys’ five minutes race. Tomi Wilcock, Will Beattie and Toby Sartain all competed in this with another close battle for the top with Wilcock and an athlete from Hinksey Sculling School. Wilcock took the silver nine metres behind gold with Beattie in sixth and Sartain in twelfth place.

Will Clarke was the only J16 taking part and he raced over the full 2000m. He went out hard but having been suffering with a bad virus found he couldn’t sustain the fast pace he had set. Despite this, Clarke finished in a very good eighth place.

The day culminated with the relays. Both the open and girls’ J15 relays took place at the same time competing over 3000m. The open team of Wilcock, Beattie, Sartain and Lucy Browne put in a good performance in a battle with The Langley Academy and Falcon Boat Club. The Stratford Boat Club quartet finished in a brilliant third place to secure the bronze medal.

The girls’ team of Howells, Chappelhow, Griffiths and Watts faced another closely fought race with Hinksey Sculling School. The Stratford Boat Club girls did what was needed and despite the race coming down to the final 250m, they won the title for the second consecutive year picking up the gold medals.

Said J15 coach Abi Terry, “A brilliant result for the J15 squad all coming back to Stratford with at least one medal each!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifteen and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/105985-stratford-storm-medal-success-south-england-champs.html and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-rowers-create-a-storm-indoors

Stratford Cleans Up Indoors!

On Saturday a number of the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14, J15 and J16 junior squad travelled to King’s School Worcester for the annual Indoor Rowing Championships.

First up was J14 Harriet Noyes in the four minute race. Harriet raced hard and took an early lead. This continued to build and she finished with a comfortable win over her nearest rivals.

Next up were the J15 five minute races. Here Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths and Lucy Browne took part in the closely fought girls’ event where they came up against the recently crowned British Champion from King’s Worcester. She was too tough to beat but Freya and Fleur took the silver and bronze medals respectively. Tomi Wilcock took part in the equivalent boys’ event where after comfortably winning his heat, he was pipped by just four metres from the second heat. Tomi picked up the silver medal a long way ahead of the bronze.

Bella Chappelhow and Ruby Howells were next up in the J15 500m girls’ event. Both girls started fast and it quickly became a race between the two of them. On this occasion, it was Bella that was victorious with Ruby closely behind taking the silver.

Then it was time for the relays. As a club, Stratford fielded two J15 girls’ teams into another close race. King’s Worcester and the first team for Stratford developed a race between them and it quickly became apparent these two were going to get the gold and silver. The Stratford first team of Freya Watts, Fleur Griffiths, Ruby Howells and Bella Chappelhow, managed to push ahead to win by just 0.6 of a second. These girls then turned to cheer for the second team who had also developed a race between them and RGS Worcester for the bronze and fourth places. The Stratford second team of Lucy Browne, Harriet Holmes and Harriet Noyes (racing up a year), with only three rowers put in a big push and managed to finish 1.9 seconds ahead of RGS.

Said Abi Terry, J15 coach, “A fantastic day’s racing with Stratford picking up five golds, three silvers and two bronze medals with all athletes coming home with at least one medal!”

Emma Harrison and Martha Usselmann took part in the Yr11 girls’ 500 metre individual races. They achieved good middle of the pack scores with Martha close behind bronze position.

The J16s also fielded a strong Yr 11 boys’ 500m competitor in Will Clarke who showed his skill in easily beating his nearest rival over the three heats to comfortably win gold.

At the end of the competition Martha, Emma and Will, along with Tomi Wilcox (Tomi racing up an age group) joined forces in the Yr11 3000m mixed relay, comfortably winning gold for Stratford.

Stratford’s sister club, King Edward The Sixth School also had four rowers competing at the event. First up were Joe Hodson and Sam Thornton in the 6th form 2km race. They both started strong and quickly pulled away from the rest of the field. Joe took the gold and Sam finished only a few seconds behind for the silver, 10 seconds ahead of third place.

Up next were Adam Baylis and Felix Crabtree in the 6th form 500m race. After having seen the times to beat in a previous heat, the boys started strong and held their own. Felix came home in third place and Adam got fourth place just 1.7 seconds off the medal position.

To finish the event, the boys had the 6th form relay, a 2km race split between four people. They started strong and displayed great composure, sadly losing out to Kings Worcester by four seconds. This gave them the silver medal, meaning that KES came away with a very impressive tally of medals – one gold, five silver and a bronze. Said Bill Sullivan, a KES rowing coach, “A great haul of medals: they should be very proud of themselves!”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifteen and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/105131-medals-galore-stratford-juniors-indoor-championships.html and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/stratford-squad-cleans-up-indoors

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