The weekend’s Henley Town & Visitors regatta was to host pulsating performances by the young ladies from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J15 squad. Racing over 800 metres of the famous Henley Royal Regatta course, the ladies demonstrated their devastating sculling skills, honed on the river Avon, to their opponents from home clubs on the river Thames.
In the morning the quadruple sculling crew of Scarlett Richardson, Megan Rowan, Jessica Long and Harriet Froom coxed supremely by Nancy Davis annihilated a Wallingford crew by more than three lengths to earn each crew member a lovely engraved pewter tankard.
Later in the day, two double sculling crews of Aimee Appleton partnered by Molly Vondrak and Scarlett Richardson with Nancy Davis took on the mighty Henley Rowing Club and Wallingford Rowing Club respectively. Both crews sculled well, demolishing Henley by five lengths and Wallingford by over three lengths to bring both Stratford crews to the final. In what was the best race of the day, both crews sculling out of their skins were neck and neck all the way down the course. As they approached the finish the crowd was on its feet to witness Scarlett and Nancy winning by just one foot!
The regatta on Thames treated Stratford upon Avon Boat Club athletes to very kind weather on Saturday: not too hot with a fair breeze down the course at least to start the day with the breeze strengthened during the afternoon.
Stratford Boat Club WJ16 ladies were entered into an open category meaning they were to scull against adult ladies in a coxless quad. Not daunted, the junior crew of Amalia Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall and Kate Richards faced up to a crew from Walton Rowing Club in their first race. Sculling with great energy over the 800m course beating Walton by one and a half lengths in a time of three minutes and thirty five seconds. This was a great race and qualified them to meet a composite crew from Upper Thames Rowing Club and Wycliffe Rowing Club in the final.
In the final, the Stratford crew got off to an excellent start but gradually Upper Thames and Wycliffe pulled away to a two length lead in the mid course which was pulled back to finish to only one and a half lengths ahead at the finish. Commenting Steve Marsden, J16 Coach said, “A valiant effort against a very experienced crew.”
First to race for Stratford’s WJ 17/18 squad was Elisabeth Edwards in the Women’s Single Sculls. Racing against two highly experienced scullers from Upper Thames RC and University College London, Edwards had a rough start but soon recovered and settled into a clean and tidy rhythm down the course. A final sprint in the last 200m narrowed the gap between the other scullers but she ultimately ran out of time to catch them. Said Helen Smith J17/18 Coach, “Despite this, Elisabeth looks forward to her next race in a few weeks’ time, where she hopes to better Saturday’s result.”
For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page forty three