Stratford & Marlow Regattas: Success All Round!

The weather could have been better for the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta but the rain didn’t stop the great participation with local crews and further afield from Evesham Rowing Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester Boat Club, Ross Rowing Club, Clifton College Boat Club, King Edward V1 Boat Club, Worcester Rowing Club, Monmouth Comprehensive School Boat Club and AB Severn Boat Club as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club itself. The regatta this year had three divisions and one hundred and fifty nine separate races starting at promptly at 08.30 and running all day through until a close at 17.45hrs! Running a regatta to time is no mean feat and is a tribute to the race organisers!

This year the Club was very heartened again by the huge turn out from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public. A massive thanks to all our hard working Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and especially the public for supporting the event. The Club was especially honoured to have Stratford upon Avon Town Council Mayor Cllr Jason Fojtik attend the regatta and walk the course with Stratford Boat Club President, Paul Stanton.

Dawson Curnock, Regatta Secretary and Chairman commented, “It was a long day’s racing: our tea tent was extremely busy dispensing dozens of cakes and snacks. What a magnificent day topped by great racing! We ran the regatta under very tight safety protocols. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”

Saturday proved to be another day of rowing success, fun times and great learning for the Stratford Boat Club’s squads. For the J14 squad starting off in Division 1, Erin Appleton and Orla Linforth boated nice and early in the WJ14 1x event. Both sculled very well and steered a nice line on the Club side but lost out to Evesham by a canvas and to Ross Rowing Club by three lengths. Later in Division 1, Will Shaw was drawn in a straight final, sculled very well too with good pace and line on the Club side and won by two lengths against Worcester Rowing Club.

In Division 2 in the OJ14 4x+ event, Orla Linforth coxed the boys’ boat of Seb Happel, Euan Richter, Ed Appleton and James Greenwood. They won their semifinal by three and a half lengths against Monmouth. In the final they sculled very well but lost by one length to another crew from Monmouth.

In Division 3 in the OJ14 2x event, Rory Rowan and Rory Jones won their first race against Kings School Worcester. They sculled really well too in their next race against Monmouth, the latter winning easily.

Also in Division 3, in the WJ14 2x event, Maria Ntoukaki and Naomi Sime showed excellent timing and power, but were let down by their steering as they were repeatedly warned to get back in their lane and failed to do so, thereby getting disqualified.

J14 Coach Hugo Happel commented. “Overall, a great day with some really nice sculling, enjoyed by all. Numerous parents and coaches fed back what a great event the Stratford Junior Sprints is, so thanks to all involved. Great job!”

Stratford’s J15 squad were also in action at Stratford’s home regatta. First to go were the ladies double sculls where crews of Sophie Franklin/Josephine Cooper and Martha Baines/Tessa Parkin raced hard against Monmouth Comprehensive School Boat Club and Kings Worcester to eventually meet in the final. The final proved a crowd pleaser with the Franklin/Cooper combination coming out on top. Next up were the single sculls of Martha Cooke and Maeve Dunn who also made short work of the heats and semi-finals sweeping aside Evesham Rowing Club and Kings Worcester to deliver the second all Stratford final of the day. Firm squad mates in training, the two temporarily put aside their friendship to tear up the track in gladiatorial style. In the final analysis, it was Dunn who triumphed by the narrowest of margins in a superb demonstration of single sculling. Finally, the coxed quadruple scull of Isla Dunn, Millie Smith, Becca Smith, Bryony Francis and Martha Cooke (coxswain) turned up the heat with another set of races giving them safe passage through to the final where they met a quality outfit from AB Severn Boat Club. Fine sculling and fierce competition ensued with the AB Severn crew snatching a three quarters of a length win.

The first division saw J16’s Xavier Sissins-Rofey clinch a remarkable victory in the single sculls event, showcasing a burst of speed that left his opponent trailing. His next round was against a strong opponent from Monmouth School: sadly Sissins-Rofey could not repeat his first-round success losing by one length in the semifinal. Meanwhile James Albrighton, despite a valiant effort in his debut singles race, narrowly missed out on victory. In the women’s junior 16 sculls finals, Alice Jones faced a formidable challenge against the National Schools doubles champion, and despite a strong performance, fell short by a mere length. The day’s races culminated with the girls’ quad, who dominated their event, securing a decisive win against their local rivals Evesham.

Saturday’s Junior Spring Regatta was the 500m course following the Avon through the town from Holy Trinity Church through to the finish line at the Club’s grounds.

Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “Although we weren’t blessed with good weather for the regatta, there were still crowds watching the racing adding much to Stratford’s atmosphere and vitality: we were glad to showcase our sport and demonstrate our part in the success of our town! Again, we appreciate the tolerance and help from the other river users and colleagues and look forward to our Fun Regatta on Saturday 13 July”

Meanwhile, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s adaptive squad travelled to Marlow on Saturday to take part in the rowing event that forms part of the Marlow Town Festival.

The trip proved to be highly successful with Stratford only losing one race all day and winning six of the seven events. The fastest sculler from each of the four largest competing clubs was entered in to the Charlton Cup. Stratford’s Curtis Dickens beat a tall Marlow sculler in his semi-final by two lengths. Dickens then faced an experienced rower from Guildford in the final. Dickens’ second row was better than his first and he comfortably beat his opponent to win the event. The Cup was presented to Curtis by the five time Olympic Gold Medalist Sir Steven Redgrave.

Andy Morris won his single’s event by several lengths and then he then joined forces with Dickens to triumph in Open Doubles event. Gillian Middleton was entered in the Ladies Doubles and won it convincingly. Middleton was then asked to compete in another event in a scratch crew which also won.

The mother/son combination of Paola and Ian Ward completed the day with another convincing Stratford win in the Mixed Doubles. Isaac Clarkson in the J14 singles made a bad error right at the start: this in the end proved fatal to his chances of success. He did however fight back to lose by only a couple of lengths to a very good young Marlow sculler in the final.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald pages forty six, forty seven and forty eight and online and also Stratford Observer online and and back sports page

For great pictures of Stratford regatta, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection!AiW2DAyn9tg9j_Be-11W8zQR3-MX4A?e=aqqrzo

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