Stratford Win in Style at Abingdon


Stratford upon Avon Boat Club went in force to Abingdon’s Spring Head with two very full trailers and athletes from all squads: together, with their sister club King Edward The Sixth School (KES), there were over thirty crews to one of the last head races of the year prior to the start of the regatta season. The conditions were very warm and sunny with a variable wind on a wide stretch of the Thames. Stratford and KES came away with nine race wins and fastest times in many categories. The racing was of the highest standard with Stratford and KES crews racing against many of the local based clubs and experienced Thames rowers

A stand out performance was delivered by Stratford’s WJ 17 coxless quad comprising Theo Mordaunt, Claire Teakle, Lauren Willis and Sofia Ward. They were the fastest boat in a competitive event beating City of Oxford and Evesham by four and seven seconds respectively. Stratford’s J13 entries, a girls’ coxed quad (Julia Gurden, Elizabeth Edwards, Emma Harrison, Abbey Meggeson and cox Mary Walton) and double scull (Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings) competed for only the second time having been rowing for just six months. Both crews gave it their all over the two kilometre course against the stream and coped very well with the notorious ‘Abingdon Bend’. Lara Davies had a good row to finish runner up in the W16 single scull category

Junior highlight of the day was Stratford rower Esme Booth, rowing in King Edward The Sixth School colours in the Junior Women’s single scull event where she won her event and achieved the fastest female junior sculler of the day also winning the RF Wilson trophy

KES went on to win three events out of four races: KES 1st Junior Boys’ Coxed Four consisting of Pieter Skuse, Alex del Principe, Kit Gallagher, Joe del Principe with cox Charlie Waters finished a creditable third place in the Men’s Band Three event whilst the KES 2nd Junior Boys’ Four of Kit Gallagher, Robert Cadden, Keiran Pope, Alex del Principe and cox Charlie Waters finished in first position for a win in the Men’s Band Four event. Not to be outdone, the KES Junior Women’s coxed four of Africa Jones, Esme Booth, Liv Hansen, Caitlin Britt and cox Simran Gil, competing in the Open Women’s event, took another fantastic win against senior opposition

Four of Stratford’s Senior Men’s Squad raced in a coxless four as well as a quad, winning both events and ending with some of the quickest times of the day. Ed Lewry and Harpreet Mander from the four also took their singles out coming in second in Band Two and second in Band Three respectively. Said the Senior Men’s Squad coach Bill Sullivan, “This was a promising way to prepare for their upcoming Easter training camp!”

Stratford’s Masters’ E4+ also won convincingly over Evesham in eight minutes and six seconds and Stratford Masters C/D/E 2- also won in eight minutes and twenty two seconds (handicapped from an actual time of eight minutes and forty eight second) by a narrow margin of three seconds over City of Oxford who they will be meeting again in the upcoming regatta season

Stratford’s W2x saw another convincing win in their Band 2 race and the Club’s MX4+ managed a time of eight minutes and thirty eight second and have great potential for the mixed events in the summer coxed or coxless

Said Steve Wellstead, Stratford Boat Club’s Junior Co-ordinator, “Very much worth a mention is our J14.2x (Fred Tyler and Dan Cox) for their commanding win over five crews from Henley, Reading and Wallingford with a time fast enough to beat six of the nine J15.2x crews”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald p14, online at and Stratford Observer online at

For more excellent photographs from Abingdon, see Stuart Baines’ selection at!AgY7EiDB2lCO5i1GtEihKRQAxfme

Posted in News.