Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Masters squad sent a strong team to Northampton to start off 2017 racing season including a large number of development rowers experiencing their first taste of competition rowing.
First off on the day for Stratford Boat Club was the Men’s Masters squad of Charlie Evans, Tom Doherty, Richard Shepphard and Simon Beard, rowing up status at IM1 level in a coxless four. After a frenetic start, the crew settled into a high tempo race at 37 strokes per minute which they maintained for the whole race to finish in a time of 6 minutes 32 seconds. This would have been significantly faster except for an unfortunate collision close to the end of the course which cost the crew some time forcing them to settle for second place to Northampton University who finished 40 seconds clear in the fastest time of the day.
Also braving the cold conditions in the morning division was Mike Adkins who resumed his competition with fellow club member and training partner Chris Straw who was racing later in the day in Masters F single sculls. Unfortunately both Stratford scullers had to settle for minor places behind Granta and Hollywell clubs with Mike taking club bragging rights from Chris in a time of 9 minutes 14 seconds.
The morning division also saw the debut of a mixed Masters’ novice four with Richard Anderson, Richard Field, Linn Hanson and Dave Edwards. On their first ever race, the crew which has been training for several months, put in a sterling performance against a strong field from Northampton and sister club King Edward Sixth Grammar School to finish in a time of 7 minutes and 53 seconds.
Also debuting in his first sculling race was Tim Lunel in Masters D single sculls. Racing in a high quality field, Tim was not overawed by some quality opposition to finish a creditable third in 7 minutes 24 seconds, only 6 seconds behind high quality Rudkin of Hollowell Scullers.
Stratford ladies were not to be outdone despite the conditions with club mates Lucy Rouse and Christine Goodwin going head to head in Women’s novice sculls. With Swindon Rowing Club playing a supporting role Christine recorded her first ever win for Stratford in a time of 8 minutes and 33 second and her first win over her club mate Lucy. Christine said, “A massive credit to Helen Smith as my coach – I am only here due to her encouragement and help all the way!”
With weather conditions improving and the fog lifting racing became more competitive in the midday divisions with Stratford Masters’ D coxed four of Charlie Evans, Tom Doherty, Richard Sheppherd and Simon Beard, expertly coxed by Becky Stokes recording an event win over Derwent in a time of 6 minutes and 33 seconds.
The debutant Novice four were back in action in the midday divisions with Lin Hanson making way for Mike Cordner making his racing debut with Richard Anderson, Richard Field, and Dave Edwards racing up status in IM3 coxed fours finishing second to an experienced Oundle crew in a time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds.
Stratford’s Mixed Masters E double scull of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty were unable to do the double over a much fancied Derwent crew and were pipped to second place by 3 seconds by Milton Keynes. In the same event the Stratford second boat of Phil Marshall and Gina Fusco put in a very creditable performance for Gina’s first competitive race for the club.
Next it was the turn of Helen Smith to make her racing debut, this time as a cox in the mixed coxed four event with Charlie Edwards, Mike Cordiner, Harriet Smith, and Sian Maher. The crew racing for the first time with event debutant Mike Cordner in the engine room recorded a well deserved win over fancied Oundle Town in a time of 7 minutes and 16 seconds.
Finally the Masters’ squad rounded off an excellent days racing with Tim Lunell and Tom Doherty winning the Masters’ E double sculls event in a time of 6 minutes and.50 seconds over crews from Oundle, Derwent, and Hollowell.
Said Tom Doherty Masters Vice Captain, “What was so pleasing was to see so many debutants racing in Stratford colours for the first time, acquitting themselves so well and really enjoying the experience.”
Stratford’s Women’s Masters also did well in their E/F category sculling race.
Said Steve Wellstead, Junior Co-ordinator, “Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s junior section braved the cold weather to compete at the Head of the Nene held over 1800m in Northampton. Race wins were in plentiful supply across the age groups.”
The Junior 17/18 squad of Libby Dwyer, Lara Davies, Maddie Griffiths, Lauren Willis, Theodora Mordaunt, Claire Teakle, Sofia Ward, Isobel Marsden, Eleanor Gray, Madeline Winsper and Robin Connolly triumphed in Novice, IM3, J16 and J18 categories in their coxless quadruple scull and coxed fours.
In the J15 age group Joe Hodson sculled masterfully to a win in his single scull and then went on to notch up a further victory in the double sculls event with Fred Tyler.
The J14 squad added to the trophy haul with wins for Mili Wilcock and Daniel Cox in their single sculls. The coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Mya Kenny, Nixie Brunt, Alice Baines and Simran Gill (cox) produced a superb performance to not only win their event but also beat all crews in the next age group. Victory in the double sculls category went to Max Griffiths and Dan Cox in the boy’s event and Jasmine Mountney and Alice Baines in the women’s event to round off a fantastic day’s racing.
With outstanding performances across the board in Junior, Senior and Master’s events the club also secured the Victor Ludorum trophy as the most successful club at the event. A truly marvellous way to start the year’s competition!”