This was the largest number of masters women that Stratford has seen out in a while, boating two VIIIs, three quads and a coxed four. Despite a series of unfortunate events that could have derailed the plans for the day, including crew illness, mechanical failure resulting in two boats remaining at Stratford and some pretty awful weather, the adaptability of the squad members coupled with generosity from Monmouth rescued the situation and saved the day.
In the morning division, the first VIII composite had a very solid row in a time of 7.39mins, beating two other crews. The stern pair of Amanda Bowden and Suzie Radley set a strong rhythm for the crew. The middle four of Heather Hayton, Rebecca England, Ruth Poulten and Charlotte Jones, were called upon a couple of times for extra pushes. The response was felt and the boat lifted, supported with good timing from Rona Fitzpatrick and Susan Brown (Xpress Boat Club) in the bows. The crew was ably coxed by Keris McShane.
The second VIII of Jane Cryer (stroke), Ellie Davies, Emily Sayer, Lin Hansen, Geraldine Chorley, Lucy Kelleher, Claudine Pearson and Paola Arevelo Ward, were confidently coxed along the 2.25km by Jen Carey. The crew went off at a rate of 26 strokes per minute, settling to 24 after three minutes before finishing strongly at 27 with a respectable time of 8.22mins. This was an enjoyable row despite the cold wet conditions and challenges faced in order to get a boat on the water. Jane Cryer commented, “Great to see so many women representing Stratford Boat Club at this event and enjoying their sport.”
In the afternoon division, the winning Women’s Masters C 4x- of Ellie Davis, Gina Fusco, Christine Goodwin and Emily Sayers had a very good row. They beat Worcester by seven seconds. They were delighted with the win having stuck to their race plan and produced a good race.
The winning composite Women’s Masters D/E 4x- of Heather Hayton, Suzie Radley, Amanda Bowden and Susan Brown (Xpress Boat Club) had a fabulous row, in a time of 7.37mins beating Upton and Gloucester.
The novice Women’s Masters D/E 4x- was stroked by Lucy Kelleher and backed up by Jane Connolly, Mel Brown (substitute) and Claudine Pearson. Claudine was steering for the first time in a race. This developmental stage for a sculler is a positive step for racing crews. Mel Brown from Monmouth Boat Club, commented on what a great line Claudine had taken down the river.
The Women’s Masters C 4+ was coxed by Jen Carey, stroked by Rebecca England, was supported by Lin Hansen, Jane Cryer and Ruth Poulten. They came in 26seconds after the winners, Evesham Boat Club. This crew is recently formed and one to watch in the future.
Vice Captain, Amanda Bowden said, “The squad is developing to show real strength in depth. Crews are beginning to see rewards, or will do soon, for the effort they put in. Time on the water and in the gym is ensuring that we have strong and technically competitive crews. I am delighted with the progress this autumn, it bodes well for the summer racing. Thanks goes to Eric Appleton for trailering and supporting the crews on a rather cold, damp day and to the finishing coaches Dan Simkins and Sam Hill.”
Sadly, the juniors squads’ Wycliffe Small Boats Head on Saturday was cancelled at the very last minute after the crews and their boats had travelled to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
For media coverage of Stratford’s Women’s Masters’ triumphs at Monmouth Rowing Club’s Winter Head see Stratford Herald page thirty nine and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/medals-for-rowers-at-monmouth-meeting-9343383 and Stratford Observer online https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-mammoth-effort-from-boat-clubs-womens-masters-at-monmouth and back sports page https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/12/08&pages=24