Stratford Start The Season Well at Wallingford and Runcorn

Starting their full head season for the first time, three J14 squads made their debut at Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, rowing the short course. Thanks to some brilliant intersquad camaraderie, three J15 athletes stepped up as coxswains, enabling all twelve J14 athletes to compete on the day. Martha Baines coxed the girls’ quad (Linforth, Ntoukaki, Sime, Appleton) and came fourth against well drilled crews from Headington School, beating one of the Headington quads on the way from Oxford Brookes to Oxford University boat houses. Maeve Dunn coxed the boys’ quad of Rowan/Shaw/Appleton/Jones and Sophie Franklin coxed Happel/Richter/ Greenwood/Rutter, with the latter taking the win for Stratford in a time of eight minutes and twenty eight seconds. J14 Coach Hugo Happel said: “A really good day for J14’s, showing good technique on this fabulous stretch of water. Great experience gained combined with plenty of laughs. Well done to all athletes!”

The J15 squad’s new rowing season also began last weekend with the opening event at Wallingford. A bumper entry saw Stratford’s juniors travel to Wallingford for the 2023 edition of Wallingford Long Distance Sculls. First out for the J15 squad was the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Sophie Franklin, Maeve Dunn, Martha Baines, Millie Smith and Martha Cooke (coxswain).  The crew stormed over the 4000m course to come within touching distance of Henley Rowing Club’s two crews finishing third by just 2.1 seconds over the nineteen minute race. Next to go, in the 1800m short course event, were the J15 double scull crews of Bryony Francis/Poppy Warren and Tessa Parkin/Josephine Cooper. The two crews duelled over the full course to achieve second and third ranking for the Club with the Francis/Warren combination taking the second place spot after battling their way through the traffic. Last to go for the J15 squad were the single scullers, Martha Cooke and Isla Dunn. Always a gladiatorial competition, Dunn and Cooke fought it out on the Thames to record creditable fourth and sixth places.

One of the most anticipated events in the rowing calendar for Stratford junior squads is the Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, a challenging and prestigious race that draws many competitors from various clubs and schools in the region. The event takes place annually in Wallingford, a historic town in Oxfordshire and the head race has a rich tradition that goes back to 1974. The original course was a gruelling 6,000 metres upstream from Moulsford Boathouse to Wallingford Marina but it has since been shortened to 4,000 metres starting from Cholsey Ferry.

The race consists of two long divisions and one shorter one with different categories of boats and rowers. The Wallingford Long Distance Sculls is a test of endurance, skill and teamwork and showcases some of the best talent in the sport.

The Junior 16 Women’s coxless quad consisting of Tessa Parkin, Sophie Evans, Alice Jones and Poppy Baines were the first down the course. They faced tough competition from local rivals such as Wallingford, Henley and Headington but they rowed with determination and skill. They finished in fifth place which is a commendable result considering that Tessa Parkin, a junior 15 athlete, stepped in at the last minute due to illness: Tessa went on to compete in her own event after a short break.

Another impressive result came from the double sculls pair of Theo Richter and James Albrighton who finished fifth overall. They competed against strong crews from St Pauls School, Leander, Wallingford and Lea and showed great speed and technique.

Finally, Alexandra Francis represented the J16’s in the single sculls event, which had thirty four entries. She had to endure a long wait on the water due to some issues on the course but she did not let that affect her performance: she rowed with power and stamina and finished sixth overall.

The first J17 crew to take to the water were Lucy Sartain, Jess Long, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton in their coxless quad. They sculled with great skill and were faster than the crew in front over the second half of the race finishing fourth which was an excellent result at such a high profile event.

Charles Happel entered the Open Junior 18 single scull event pitting his skills against forty four other scullers from some of the top rowing clubs in the country. Setting off hard on the first half of the course he was in nineteenth place at the halfway point. Charles put in a very strong final kilometre to finish in a highly creditable sixteenth place.

Molly Vondrak, Ez Elfwood, Eloise Cooper and Nancy Davis all entered the Junior 17 single sculls event finishing seventh, twenty sixth, twenty seventh and thirtieth respectively. Molly’s performance was particularly impressive.

Uche Nwachukwa entered in the Women’s single scull event, a tall order for a junior athlete, finishing twenty fourth out of thirty competitors. She then sculled in a double with Maddie Hall in the afternoon division coming tenth out of sixteen competitors. Also racing in the same event Jess Long and Lucy Sartain came thirteenth, Harriet Froom and Megan Rowan came eleventh and Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton finished strongly in eight place.

Given the favourable conditions, Suzie Radley and Amanda Bowden representing Stratford’s Masters’ Women were excited to be racing again in the first head race of the season. Following a convincing start rate set by stroke, Suzie, accompanied by fantastic steering through the bends overtaking several crews in the process, the race was going very well! The boat speed placing the crew second behind a younger age category. However, sadly there then followed a steering error costing the crew thirty seconds which knocked the double out of the competition on this occasion. Commenting, Suzie Radley said, “This race was to be a warm up for the Pairs’ Head of the River in London next weekend. The race has provided much needed feedback, with some key points to work on to improve the competitive edge. This has certainly sparked a fire for next weekend!”

Also sculling at Wallingford were Paul Collins and Mike Adkins who were the only entry in Masters’ H double category and they had a good row. Steered by Paul, they managed to restrict their bank contact on the way to the start! For a first event together, they were well satisfied with the result managing to hold off a good Guildford double.

Also sculling on Saturday, this time at the Runcorn Autumn Head, was Stratford’s adaptive squad. The Runcorn Head of the River attracts clubs from the North West and Midlands to compete on the river Weaver. Andy Morris represented Stratford’s Adaptive Squad in a division which included Runcorn’s Sean Bailey who had recorded a personal best of 18:20 for the course.

This was Andy’s first race without floats and in a boat borrowed from Runcorn. The conditions were fine for the race over a 3650m course which was a series of bends with 200m straights in between. Commenting, Andy said, “I was pleased with my row and the course tested my steering skills. This was my first head in a single without floats and it went well”. Andy’s winning time was eighteen minutes and thirteen seconds.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online  https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-club-make-strong-start-to-new-season-at-wallingford-and-runcorn and back sports page https://stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/10/06&pages=32: see also Stratford Herald page forty five

For great pictures of Wallingford, see Kathy Baines’ excellent selection https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AKg7Ldg9UzZfSuU&id=8E50DAC120123B06%21101272&cid=8E50DAC120123B06

Stratford Juniors Shine in Strathclyde!

To close out the National competitions for the season, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s junior squad competed at the British Rowing Junior National Championships. This year’s edition proved more of an adventure than most with the selected venue being in Strathclyde in Scotland. Undeterred, Stratford fielded seventeen crews across the J14 to J18 age range into the event on Strathclyde Loch.

First to go from Stratford’s J14 squad was the coxed quadruple scull of Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Martha Baines, Sophie Franklin and Isla Dunn (coxswain). A solid time trial performance secured the crew a place in the semi-final where a gutsy row earned them a place in the B-Final after a tussle with Calpe Rowing Club of Gibraltar. In the B Final, the crew led from the front and wowed the crowd with a dominant and confident row to take the win and seventh overall.

On Day Two of the regatta, it was the turn of the J14 single scull event with Maeve Dunn and Martha Cooke representing Stratford Boat Club. In a howling headwind both athletes demonstrated composure in both time trials and their finals to end the day in twentieth and twenty seventh places respectively in field of over forty competitors, a great result with quality opposition in their wake.

Day Three saw the WJ14 double scull event and another day of challenging conditions with a heavy tailwind demanding a change in technique to take full advantage. Stratford fielded three crews with the combinations of Martha Baines/Sophie Franklin, Millie Smith/Isla Dunn and Poppy Warren/Martha Cooke. The Baines/Franklin combination smashed the time trial to secure a spot in the A Final with Warren/Cooke and Smith/Dunn well on the pace in D and E Finals respectively. A tough lane draw in the A Final meant Martha and Sophie were unable to better their time trial result ending the day a superb sixth place nationally. Poppy and Martha delivered again to take third place in the D Final whilst Millie and Isla showed their grit and quality taking the race to the Tideway clubs in the E Final with a stonking win by just 1.5 seconds over the 1000m course.

Stratford’s J15 squad also headed north of the border to the British Rowing Junior Championships held at Strathclyde Country Park, Motherwell. Strathclyde Park is the only 200M multi-lane course in Scotland, built in 1986 for the Commonwealth Games and it hosts the Scottish Rowing Championships each year and more recently the 2018 European Rowing Championships.

Representing the Junior 15 girls on Day One were Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines in the single sculls event. Despite the long delay at the start, both girls showed amazing determination and skill in their time trial, overcoming the gusty conditions and earning spots in the C and D finals. Francis finished second in her final, while Baines came sixth, both with impressive times.

Day Two saw Baines and Francis teamed up for the Junior Women’s double sculls event. They faced the Scottish weather with courage and resilience and made it to the D final, where they had a thrilling race and finished just behind Queen Elizabeth High School.

Also competing in this event were Lily Warren and Sophie Evans who had a fantastic row and gave their best effort but unfortunately missed out on a finals selection by a narrow margin.

Day Three saw Seth Vondrak made his debut in the single sculls event. Vondrak had a superb start and middle piece showing his talent and strength but the conditions on the day were very challenging and he did not qualify for the finals. However, he should be very proud of his performance and his participation in this prestigious event..

Gusty conditions welcomed the W16 2x to their time trial on Friday morning. Despite the winds, the double of V Vondrak and Aimee Appleton finished fifteenth securing a 3rd place spot in C final, followed by Lucy Sartain and Ez Elfwood who placed twenty firth and secured a D final race in a field of thirty seven competitors. Throughout the afternoon, conditions worsened but the racing continued in the pouring rain. In their final, the 2x of Sartain and Elfwood had a fast start and kept the pace throughout the race, pulling ahead of three other boats, earning them fourth place. They were followed by Vondrak and Appleton in the C final who gained momentum through the race and overtook close rivals from Lea RC to finish second, only 1.5 seconds off the winner over the 2000m course.

Windy conditions prevailed again for Sundays racing and the W16 4x- started with the time trial, finishing tenth in a field of seventeen very competitive boats, earning them fourth in the B final after a fabulous race. Semi finals were cancelled due to the weather conditions, so they proceeded straight to the finals. Off to a strong start, they held the line with the other boats. but with tricky conditions one of the crew caught a crab which stopped the boat and allowed the other boats to pull ahead. Showing real grit the girls quickly got back up to race pace and with the second fastest final 1000m, put their months of hard training to work to catch the pack, pulling ahead of local rivals Stourport to finish fifth in the last few metres of the race.

Also on Sunday, the OJ2x combination of Jamie Wilcock and William Dalrymple-Baker battled the rough conditions and placed a respectable twentieth place out of thirty seven competitors and qualifying for a place in the D final.  A tightly bunched field highlighted the importance of marginal gains with over twenty crews finishing within eight seconds of each other over the seven minute course.

Four members of the J18 squad, Will Beattie, Tomi Wilcock, Charles Happel and Toby Sartain also travelled to Glasgow to compete in the annual British Rowing Junior Championships at Strathclyde Country Park. Friday saw all four boys competing together in the OJ18 coxless quads event, an event that took place over three rounds of side by side lane racing throughout the day. The first round saw them finish in eighth place out of thirteen competitors which moved them into a second round repêchage against three other boats in which they were placed in third place, fighting a strong headwind and heavy rain. This then put them into the B Final, in which they pushed hard and sculled well in similarly tough conditions to come home in fourth place, just missing out to the third placed crew by less than a second.

Saturday then saw Beattie and Wilcock compete together in the OJ18 doubles event, and in the first round time trial event they sculled excellently to place a highly respectable twenty first place out of thirty seven crews. Facing similarly tough weather conditions to the previous day, they then attacked the D Final and edged out a crew from Grosvenor Rowing Club to claim a well earned second place to conclude both a successful and enjoyable weekend for the squad.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page forty four and online https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/junior-rowers-head-north-for-nationals-9323323 also Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-juniors-close-out-competitive-season-at-junior-national-championships and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/07/28&pages=32

For more great pictures of British Rowing Junior National Championships, see Kathy Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j7J6BC78SySITB0ARg?e=d3IKSp

Peterborough, Ironbridge & Nottingham in One Weekend!

Saturday saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14 squad in action at Peterborough Junior Championships on the purpose-built Cambridgeshire rowing lake. The event drew in top schools and clubs from the junior rowing scene to do battle on the 1000m four lane course. First to go in the heats were the WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Martha Cooke, Millie Smith, Josephine Cooper, Isla Dunn and Maeve Dunn (coxswain) with a solid fifth place of the twenty four crews entered.  Going forward to the B Final, the girls had a ding dong battle with Cambridge’s Rob Roy Boat Club to finish second by the slimmest of margins.

Next to go were the WJ14 double sculls of Sophie Franklin and Becca Smith along with Bryony Francis and Poppy Warren going to work in the heats to record fourth and fifth place respectively of twenty two entrants. In their finals the Francis/Warren combination dominated their B Final and romped over the line in first place whilst the Franklin/Smith crew chased Nottingham and Union down the course to maintain their fourth place overall ranking. In the last of the J14 events, Stratford’s single scullers took to the course as the afternoon heat continued to bake the spectators. In the heats Stratford was represented by Tessa Parkin, Martha Baines and Maeve Dunn who recorded eighth, fifth and fourth respectively of the thirty three scullers racing. In the B Final, Tessa and Martha brought their best to finish fourth and second against stiff competition.  Meanwhile, in the A Final, Maeve Dunn dug deep and tore down the lake to better her time trial ranking and earn herself a richly deserved silver medal against quality competition in the process.

Stratford’s Junior 15 squad also competed at the Peterborough Junior Championships. The competition was intense, with crews from Leeds, Lincoln, Oxford, Sussex, and London. There were one hundred and fifty two races, with four-lane racing and initial time trials. The fastest twelve crews were seeded into the ABC finals, which took place throughout the day.

In the double sculls event for the Junior 15’s, Theo Richter and Ollie Rowlands represented their squad and finished third in the C final. Xavier Sissins-Rofey and Seth Vondrak competed in the time trials for the same event and finished fourth in the B final. Vondrak and Sissins-Rofey also competed in the single sculls event and finished fourth in their respective division B finals. Lucy Yang and Alice Jones raced in the Junior Women’s 15 single sculls event. Yang did not qualify for the finals due to being overwhelmed by her first singles event more to come in future events but Jones finished third in the C final.

In the double sculls event for the girls, Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines narrowly missed out on the A final but won their B final. Lily Warren and Sophie Evans finished fourth in their B final. Francis also competed in the single sculls event and won a bronze medal in the A final, while Baines placed second in the B final.

Commenting, Colin Bell J15 Coach said, “Overall, the event provided valuable learning experiences for Francis, Baines, and Vondrak, who will apply what they learned in the upcoming British Junior Championships.”

Sunday saw the trials for the U16 GB vs France match take place at the National Watersports’ Centre in Nottingham. ‘V’ Vondrak and Scarlett Richardson entered in the double sculls event in their first opportunity to compete for a GB Rowing badge. With the forecast for thunderstorms in the afternoon, the side by side finals were cut from the programme meaning selection would be based on performance in the time trials only. The Stratford girls sculled well in the early heat of the day, missing out on a top five finish by just 0.5 seconds but demonstrating they are in the mix with the most competitive crews in the country.

Meanwhile, Jake Blatcher, competing in the open single sculls event, was the only Stratford Boat Club representative at Ironbridge Regatta on Saturday. In the first round he came up against a local rival from Evesham. Jake overcame his opponent, in a hard fought race, by a length and a half. His semi-final against a young sculler from Liverpool Victoria Rowing Club proved a more straightforward affair. Pulling away consistently, he won easily.

This win set up Jake for a final against a very good sculler from Falcon Rowing Club (Oxford). The tall rower from Falcon set up an early lead. In the last few hundred metres, Jake’s improved technique started to tell and he began to close quickly on his rival. Unfortunately, he was not able to quite catch up before the finish line. Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach commented, “This was another sign of progress in an encouraging season. I’m pleased with the performance”.

For media coverage, please see Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-boat-club-juniors-take-on-peterborough-junior-championships and Stratford Herald page fifty two

For more great pictures of Peterborough Junior Championships, please see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j69o2xUB_tV0JoX2OQ?e=1HikGG

Stratford & Henley: Success All Round!

The weather couldn’t have been better for the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta with only a little rain but great participation with local crews and further afield from Evesham Rowing Club, Magdalen College School Boat Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester Boat Club, Hereford Boat Club, Ross Rowing Club, Clifton College Boat Club, King Edward V1 as well as major entries from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club itself. The regatta this year had three divisions and one hundred and sixty three separate races starting at promptly at 08.30 and running all day through until a close at 17.30hrs! 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 Kate Rolfe attend the regatta and walk the course with Stratford Boat Club President, Paul Stanton.

Dan Warren, Regatta Secretary 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 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 J13 squad. Starting off with Division One, in their straight final against Hereford Rowing, the Open J13 4x+ of Rory Rowan, Seb Happel, Ed Appleton and James Greenwood, expertly coxed by Orla Linforth, rowed to a comfortable win despite catching a crab at the start.

In Division Two, the WJ13 2x of Naomi Sime & Maria Ntoukaki had a steering problem on the tricky course, which caught many an athlete out on the day and they capsized. In Division Three, making their Women’s J13 single scull event debut, Orla Linforth and Erin Appleton put on a determined performance but lost out over the 500m course to powerful scullers from Evesham and Kings School Worcester.

Also, making their debut in the Open J13 single sculls were Rory Jones, Will Shaw, Euan Richter and Noah Rutter who had eventful heats, beating Worcester Rowing Club along the way. In the all Stratford final, Shaw beat Rutter by three lengths. Said Hugo Happel, J13 Coach, “The J13 glass pot winners were very grateful to Club President Paul Stanton for his kind and gracious words at the award ceremony. Athletes, parents and coach are immensely grateful to all the volunteers who made the day a huge success.”

Saturday’s Junior Sprint Regatta was the 500m course following the Avon through the town from Holy Trinity Church through to the finish line between the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Tramway Bridge and the Club’s grounds.

Stratford’s J14 squad were once again out in force to take on the visiting crews on their home water. First to go were the WJ14 single sculls of Tessa Parkin, Bryony Francis and Poppy Warren. Francis harried a confident Hereford sculler down the course in a thrilling race which resulted in a disqualification for Hereford as they strayed into Stratford’s racing lane. Next up Tessa Parkin raced hard against local rivals Evesham Rowing Club with Evesham taking the win by a length. Poppy Warren delivered the performance of her rowing career to seize a win in the semi-final against her squad mate and then produced a nail biting row in the final to beat her opposition by half a length only to be disqualified after straying from her competitor’s racing lane.

In the WJ14 double sculls event, Stratford’s Becca Smith and Isla Dunn sculled confidently but were overcome by Evesham in the semi-final. On the other side of the draw, it was a different story as Josephine Cooper and Martha Baines took an easy win in their semi-final and went on to collect victory in the final with a gutsy row.

In the WJ14 coxed quadruple sculls event, the Stratford crew of Sophie Franklin, Millie Smith, Maeve Dunn, Martha Cook and Bryony Francis (coxswain) put forward a strong campaign with easy wins in the early rounds. A similarly commanding performance saw them take the win in the final against Evesham.

Saturday provided the opportunity for the J16 squad to take on local clubs and schools at Stratford Junior Sprint Regatta. First down the course was the J16 single of Will Dalrymple Baker who gained a spot in the final after winning his heats and semi finals. He was followed by Jamie Wilcock who faced tough competition from Evesham and narrowly missed out on a place in the final . Dalrymple-Baker had a fast start in the final but despite an exciting and close race, he too lost out to Evesham by just a foot.

Next down were the WJ16 single sculls. Nancy Davis rowed a tidy race and gained on her competition as she rounded the ferry bend but it wasn’t enough to win the heat. Eloise Cooper in the Band 2 final put in an excellent display of sculling and easily beat her competition, earning a well deserved and long overdue winners pot.

After a later start than expected, the first WJ16 2x of Lucy Sartain and Megan Rowan won their quarter final and steered a good course in the semi final, losing out on a place in the final by a small margin. The second double of Jess Long and Harriet Froome faced stiff competition from Evesham in their semi final who were just too strong for the Stratford girls, securing the remaining final place.

Charles Happel and Toby Sartain were the sole representatives of the J17/18 squad at this years home regatta. In the morning they raced together in the J18 doubles event, and after a convincing win in the semi-final they then took on a strong crew from Evesham in the final. Despite a fast start and a strong row, they fell just short, with the difference being only one boat length at the finish line. Happel then took on the course again in the afternoon, racing a straight final in the J18 singles event. Facing strong competition again, this time from Hereford Rowing Club, he sculled superbly and took home the win, rounding out an enjoyable day for the squad.

Henley Women’s Regatta which is one of the most prestigious events of the year run over the famous Henley course two weeks before Henley Royal and attracting crews from all over the UK and many from abroad the competition is of the highest caliber, saw Stratford upon Avon Boat Club J17 squad entered with Uche Nwachukwa, Maddy Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and cox Imogen Hill in the Groton School Challenge Cup for Junior Coxed Fours. The crew made a good start in their time trial qualifying in the top sixteen crews to progress to the knock out stage of the competition.

Sitting at the start of your first side by side race on the narrow Henley course as a junior rower is a thrilling moment but unfortunately the our girls were drawn against hot favourites Saint Edward’s School Oxford who had won The National Schools’ Regatta in May. Stratford went out hard and hung on to Teddies through the first third of the race but by the half way point, Teddies had established clear water between the two crews which despite Stratford’s best efforts, Saint Edwards maintained to the finish.

Commenting, J17 Coach Sam Hill said, “The girls put in a superb performance in a fast heat. They are still a young crew and will have gained a lot from the experience: I have no doubt they will progress further next year.”

On Friday the J16 Quad of Ez Elfwood (Stroke), ‘V’ Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton (Bow) knocked out a couple of GCSE exams before also making the journey to Henley Women’s Regatta to compete in the time trial for the hotly contested Nina Padwick Trophy. First down the 1400m course in a field of twenty three of the best crews in the country, the girls kept their composure and didn’t let the occasion put them off their stride. With only the top eight finishers proceeding to the knock out stages, it was always going to be a big ask and in the end they finished a very respectful sixteenth place having enjoyed their first Henley Women’s experience.

Saturday’s busy regatta will be followed by the Club’s Fun Regatta on Saturday 08 July where the Club give crews from local companies, clubs and organisations three hours training, a boat and an experienced cox.

Paul Stanton, Stratford Boat Club’s President said, “We were blessed with good weather for the regatta and there were 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.”

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald centre spread pages twenty four and twenty five and Stratford Observer  https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratford-host-successful-summer-regatta

For pictures of Stratford upon Avon Boat Club Junior Sprint Regatta 2023, see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ great selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j64qw-k_D7Glyp4TvQ?e=mfYPA8

Stratford’s Juniors Rack Up Points For West Midlands

The Stratford upon Avon Boat Club regatta season started in style with five crews selected to represent West Midlands at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta. The opening national level regatta of the season as the twelve UK regional teams competed for the much coveted Victor Ludorum prize.  First down the 1500m course was the WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Becca Smith, Tessa Parkin and Poppy Warren (coxswain). They dominated their heat, leading from the front for the full race crossing the line twelve seconds ahead of a tidy North Western crew. This earned them a place in the A Final where once again the crew went out hard, dicing for third place at the halfway marker and eventually being placed sixth and collecting valuable points for the West Midlands squad

Theo Richter, Ollie Rowlands, Seth Vondrak, James Albrighton and cox Meg Nuttall were selected to represent the West Midlands in the junior 15 coxed quad event. Despite an early morning chill, the sun broke through the overcast skies resulting in calm conditions at the National Water sports Centre in Nottingham. In typical fashion for the venue the competitors soon found themselves facing strong headwinds, challenging the most experienced coxes

The boys were drawn in the second heat facing opposition from Yorkshire, North West, East Midlands, Northern, West and Wales Wiltshire, Avon, Gloucester and Somerset. Despite a strong start, the boys race did not progress as planned which resulted in them finishing in fifth place in their heat progressing to the B final. Undeterred, the boys and Meg revised their race plan executed their race as to the plan, pressurising strong opposition from Yorkshire and closed the gap to within 2.5 seconds, placing them second in the B final and eight overall

Stratford Boat Club’s WJ16 squad competed for the region in both the double scull and coxless quadruple scull categories. Lucy Sartain and Eloise Cooper rowed a well paced race to finish fourth in their double scull heat, also securing fourth position in the B final. The coxless quad crew of Esme Elfwood, Molly Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton rowed a strong heat finishing in second place to a dominant Thames Upriver boat and making the A final, ultimately claiming fifth place overall for the region

Isaac Clarkson from Stratford’s adaptive squad, competing in his first race, represented the region with distinction in the adaptive single sculls. Aged only thirteen, Isaac performed well against his three opponents who were all several years his senior. Commenting, Mark Dewdney, Head Adaptive Coach said, “Isaac showed once again that Stratford is the leading adaptive/para squad in the West Midlands”

In the final analysis, the West Midlands squad was placed fourth overall of the twelve regions, a superb result from all the athletes from the region. Commenting on the result, West Midlands Team Manager (and Stratford J17/18 Performance squad coach) Abi Terry said, “Well done to everyone in the squad! A big improvement on placing from last year and a real testament to the hard work from all the coaches!”

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald page fifty two and Stratford Observer back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/04/28&pages=032

For more great pictures of JIRR, see Dave Parkin’s excellent selection https://1drv.ms/f/s!AtAyGCrPvAupqho6bP6AymvayZMM?e=s72mPb

Stratford’s Juniors Show Promise at Junior Sculling Head

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s junior crews were back on the water this week following Schools’ Head for the second of the pinnacle events of the Head racing season – the Junior Sculling Head at Dorney Lake.

On the Olympic course at Dorney Lake the J14, J15 and J16 squads took on competition from around the UK to compete at this high profile event.  The J14 squad fielded a women’s coxless quadruple scull with Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Becca Smith, Sophie Franklin and Martha Cooke (coxswain) representing Stratford Boat Club. The crew stormed up the course on the first 1800m leg and held their own in the 1800m second leg to finish eighth out of forty five crews entered. Commenting, Steve Wellstead, J14 Coach and Junior Co-ordinator said, “This places the WJ14 squad amongst the top crews in the country and makes for an exciting summer regatta season ahead!”

Representing the Junior 15’s girls were Alexandra Francis, Lily Warren, Sophie Evans, Poppy Baines, Meg Nuttall (cox) competing in the WJ15 coxed quad event. This is a popular event and this year was no different: a total of seventy two crews from the UK competed in difficult conditions. The Stratford girls were drawn in the outside lane racing into a crosswind of 23mph bearing the full brunt of the strong gusts and thus the first of the two runs challenged cox and crew. Despite a strong performance the girls finished twenty fifth. Said Colin Bell, J15 Coach, “On this occasion, the results did not reflect the effort!”

A field of fifty one crews took to the water in the WJ16 coxless quad event. Seeded sixteenth, the Stratford Boat Club crew of Ez Elfwood (stroke), ‘V’ Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton (bow) settled into a strong and steady rhythm early on with Appleton dealing well with the cross winds to steer a straight line. Rowing through two other boats and with a faster second leg, the girls pulled up three places to finish thirteenth overall in a very competitive class.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page fifty three and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-junior-scullers-show-promise-on-dorney-lake and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2023/03/31&pages=032

For more great pictures of the Junior Sculling Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AAgtRX2jqm73JFY&id=3DD8F6A70C0CB625%21250426&cid=3DD8F6A70C0CB625

Stratford’s Juniors Out In Force At West Midlands Junior Championships

Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s junior squad went in force to Stourport for British Rowing’s West Midlands Junior Championships. Making their debut in rowing competition, the eight boys and four girls who make up Stratford’s J13 squad came home with at least one medal each. The J13’s rowed the 1800m downstream course cheered on at the midway point at Stourport Boat Club and showed everybody how focused and determined they are. It was smiles all-round on the day for the J13s. The gold medal time was 8 minutes and 45 seconds. J13 Coach Hugo Happel said,” I’m so proud of these boys and girls. They have great spirit, attitude, belief and are just a joy to coach. They have a terrific bond with each other and that showed again today. What a super bunch! Thanks to the parents for helping out, it is much appreciated!”

The winter head season continued at the weekend for Stratford’s J14 squad at the West Midlands Junior Championships. The event presented the opportunity for the region’s junior rowers to be selected to represent West Midlands at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta in April. As a result, the spectators lining the banks of the Severn were treated to an excellent display of rowing and sculling. First to go for the J14 squad was the girls coxed quadruple scull of Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Becca Smith, Tessa Parkin and Poppy Warren (coxswain). The crew demolished the course to win the event by forty five seconds and gain West Midlands jerseys in the process. Next to go were the three J14 girls double sculls of Isla Dunn and Sophie Franklin, Martha Baines and Mille Smith and Martha Cooke and Josephine Cooper. It was a nip and tuck affair as the crews raced under Stourport Bridge with the majestic Victorian arch willing crews onwards. Commenting, Steve Wellstead, J14 Coach and Junior Co-ordinator said, “In the final analysis, the Stratford Boat Club crews were placed second, third and fifth with a cigarette paper between them: accomplished rows from all!”

The day started early in Stourport for the J16 squad at the qualifying event for the chance to represent the West Midlands at the prestigious Junior Inter-Regional Regatta. The WJ16 doubles headed down the course first, facing strong competition from high level clubs in the region. All three boats rowed elegantly, with the pairing of Nancy Davis and Jess Long coming home in fifth, Harriet Froom and Eloise Cooper in fourth and Megan Rowan and Lucy Sartain in second, meaning they qualified to represent the West Midlands. Next up was Jamie Wilcock in the J16 singles who put in a well composed performance to finish sixth in a field of tough competition. On the heels of the WJ16’s were Lily Warren and Poppy Baines in the WJ15 double and Xavier Sissins-Rofey in the single sculls events. Although not qualifying to represent the West Midlands, both crews delivered an excellent performance, bronze medals for Warren and Baines and silver for Sissins-Rofey

After a strong start in the morning, first crew down the course for division two was the WJ16 coxless quad of Ez Elfwood, Molly Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton. A clean start and some tidy sculling, they pushed on to win with a sub seven minute time, eleven seconds ahead of the home Stourport crew and well ahead of the trailing Kings School Worcester and Pengwern boats to qualify to represent West Midlands at the inter regional regatta. Following the quad was the J16 double of Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple Baker who just missed out on a podium position after delivering a skilful performance. Up next representing the J15’s was the coxed quad of Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, James Albrighton, Ollie Rowlands coxed by Meg Nuttall. Following on from their previous success at Stourport’s own head race, the J15 boys did not disappoint finishing one second against their nearest rivals and now move onto the Inter Regional Regatta. In hot pursuit was Alexandra Francis competing in the single sculls. Francis was competing against a formidable opponent from AB Severn who last year was awarded a gold medal at the British Rowing Championships. Francis finished just three seconds behind her opponent in silver medal position, a result which shows promise for the year ahead.

Finishing the day with a final singles race, Molly Vondrak, Lucy Sartain and Eloise Cooper went back out for one more run. Chasing each other, they pushed hard and finished with some strong times, Molly finishing fourth, Lucy just behind in sixth, and Eloise in eighth positions in a highly competitive field of eleven boats. Following on was the WJ15 quad with Poppy Baines, Lily Warren trying to repeat their previous placing along with Sophie Evans, Alice Jones and cox Lucy Yang. Despite every effort and up against stiff opposition the girls finished in fifth place.

Two members of the J17/18 squad also took on the familiar course at Stourport-on-Severn. Whilst they were not eligible for qualification for the Inter-Regional Regatta, Charles Happel and Toby Sartain competed in the J17 and J18 singles events respectively. Happel sculled superbly to bring home a confident win in his class, whilst Sartain also put up a good performance to finish third. In the afternoon division, they then combined to compete in the J18 doubles events, where in a field of strong crews they recorded a third place finish, rounding out a successful day.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page forty five and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-boat-club-juniors-impress-at-west-midlands-junior-championships

For a selection of photographs see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ amazing album WMJRRC 2023

Stratford’s Juniors Conquer The Severn!

On Sunday, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club junior squads went in force to Stourport Winter Head: the J17/18 squad started the day with singles’ events, which featured Will Beattie and Toby Sartain in the J18 category and Charles Happel in the J17 category. Beattie sculled to his usual high standard, finishing strongly to win the event and was followed down the course by Sartain who crossed the line in second place to round out a 1-2 finish for Stratford. Happel came next and sculled to a similar high standard also to claim second place in his event. Next up was the WJ18 pair of Amalia Richardson and Kate Richardson who, despite being relatively new to the pairs event, rowed proficiently and came home in first place. Finally, the afternoon division saw the two J18 doubles of Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock and Charles Happel and Toby Sartain take on the 4km course: Beattie and Wilcock set off first sculling typically well on their way to win the event just ahead of Happel and Sartain who also sculled confidently to complete an excellent overall performance for the squad in second place.

For Stratford’s J16 squad, the morning division saw the coxless quad of Aimee Appleton, Scarlett Richardson, Molly Vondrack with Megan Rowan in the stroke seat put on an impressive display of sculling to beat the home Stourport boat by 12.5 seconds and take first place. In the afternoon three doubles of Lucy Sartain and Jess Long, Eloise Cooper and Nancy Davis, Ez Elfwood and Harriet Froom all competed to a very high standard and finished with seven seconds of each other over the 4k course. In the end it was Elfwood and Froom who missed out on a second place by just 1 second to take 3rd with Sartain and Long 0.8sec behind them followed by Cooper and Davis. Finally, Jamie Wilcock competed in the singles event and was in the lead at the halfway stage before a collision caused him to lose time and finish second overall.

For the J14 and J15 squads, the weekend saw the Stratford upon Avon Boat Club athletes from across the age ranges compete on the Severn in the “Blackpool of the Black Country, Stourport-on-Severn”! The 4000m course running with the stream presented a good opportunity for all to display the fruits of their winter training over a longer distance. Conditions on the day were superb with a light breeze and sunshine threatening to make an appearance on occasion.

In Division One, Stratford’s J14s fielded two WJ14 double sculls combinations. The crew of Josephine Cooper and Sophie Franklin powered down the course in style to finish over a minute ahead of Avon County Rowing Club and Evesham Rowing Club. The win however was taken by Maeve Dunn and Bryony Francis by a margin of just three seconds with a superb performance. The J15 squad fielded a coxed four into the event but, without opposition in their age range, took on senior crews. The crew of  Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, Xavier Sissins-Roffey, Oliver Rowlands and James Albrighton (coxswain) thundered down the course to take the win in emphatic style.

In Division Two, the WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Sophie Warren, Isla Dunn, Becca Smith, Martha Cooke and Josephine Cooper (coxswain) delivered a stonking row to take the win over quality opposition from Trentham Boat Club and Hereford Cathedral School.  The quadruple scull event was followed by the toughest event of the day by far, the single sculls. Testing themselves, representing Stratford were the J14 girls of Martha Baines, Tessa Parkin and Millie Smith. Dicing with strong competition from around the area, they recorded a creditable eighth, fifth and sixth respectively. Commenting, Steve Wellstead, J14 Coach and Junior Co-ordinator said, “No mean feat over the 4000m course so early in their rowing careers. No doubt, these athletes will return to the Severn in the coming years!”

Representing the J15 squad in the women’s double sculls, the powerhouse duo of Alexandra Francis and Poppy Baines provided a show for the assembled crowd with a textbook row, taking the win by a comfortable margin, In the women’s J15 coxed quadruple sculls event, the crew of Sophie Evans, Meg Nuttall, Alice Jones, Lily Warren and Lucy Yang (coxswain) delivered a solid row chasing Ross Rowing Club all the way to achieve a fourth place.

Joining their Stratford colleagues, King Edward The Sixth School Boat Club also headed to Stourport Head. First up in the morning division was the J18 4+ of T. Wilcock, R. Macdonald, T. Wheeler, T. Beard and I. Hill (cox) they were racing in the open men’s category and put in a great performance to see off crews from Warwick BC and Trentham RC to take the win.

The afternoon division saw a debut for our J16 4x of W. Dalrymple-Baker, H. Hoare, A. Mathers and M. Cullimore, three of whom only start rowing in September. Said Hannah Crone, KES Coach, “This was their first race and the aim was to row well and enjoy it: the boys put in a fantastic performance to take the win over Evesham Rowing Club.”

Next up was our WJ18 4+ of A. Richardson, T. Dunn, M. Hall, K. Richardson and I. Hill (cox) again racing in the senior category. Despite a last minute substitution due to injury, the girls had a good row and came out on top ahead of Evesham Rowing Club and Trentham Rowing Club. This topped off a great day for King Edward The Sixth School Boat Club coming home with three wins from three crews.

For media coverage, see Stratford Herald page forty four and Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-stratfords-juniors-conquer-the-severn

For more great pictures of Stourport Winter Head, see Kathy and Stuart Baines’ excellent selection at https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AOAm%5FWXXHbdtI6M&id=8E50DAC120123B06%2190130&cid=8E50DAC120123B06

Canal or River: Stratford Deliver!

An early, crisp start welcomed Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14 squad as they arrived to do battle on the 2.5km course held on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal in the Wycliffe Small Boats Head on Saturday. First down the course was the WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Isla Dunn, Cara Berisford-Murray, Martha Baines, Martha Cooke and Bryony Francis (coxswain). A plucky row saw them in the mix with the Bristol Rowing Club and luminaries of the junior rowing scene Henley Rowing Club. The crew eventually placed fourth and within touching distance of the crews ahead. Next up where the three Stratford WJ14 double scull crews of Bryony Francis and Sophie Franklin, Millie Smith and Tessa Parkin and Becca Smith with Poppy Warren. In a hard fought event, the Stratford crews placed third, fourth and fifth with the Parkin/Smith crew picking up the bronze medal. Finally, the WJ14 single sculls took the water with Maeve Dunn and Josephine Cooper representing Stratford. Both girls put their hard training to work and sculled tremendously to be placed third and fifth with Maeve Dunn collecting the bronze in emphatic style.

Representing the Junior 15 squad in their inaugural single sculls rowing head were Alexandra Francis and Xavier Sissins-Rofey. Francis, racing against fourteen crews faced her double scull rival from City of Bristol. Francis starting behind the Bristol sculler, she closed the staggered start gap and crossed the finish line in first place. Given Sissons-Rofey only started rowing a year ago, he managed to cross the line in seventh place out of a field of fifteen crews. Representing the girls in the quadruple sculling event were Sophie Evans, Poppy Baines, Lily Warren, Lucy Yang and Alice Jones (coxswain) finishing sixth out of fifteen crews. Finally, in diminishing light and low temperature conditions, the boys quadruple scull of Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, Ollie Rowlands, James Albrighton and Meg Nuttall (coxswain) took to the water finishing fifth out of fifteen crews.

With exams impacting the availability for racing this weekend, the J16 squad took just five athletes to Wycliffe Small Boats Head. First up in Division 1 was the J16 women’s coxless quad of Jess Long (stroke), Molly Vondrak, Scarlett Richardson and Aimee Appleton (bow).  After a strong start out of the bridge, they managed to pass local rivals Kings School Worcester and then with open water ahead of them, continued to work hard for the rest of the race finishing in gold medal position, seventeen seconds ahead of Thames Scullers and twenty six seconds ahead of the Kings School Worcester boat.

In Division 2 Vondrak and Richardson doubled up to race again in the WJ16 2x. Pushing hard throughout the race, they pulled away from a chasing Thames Scullers’ crew to secure a bronze medal, only narrowly missing out on silver by 0.2 seconds. Following them was Will Dalrymple-Baker in the open J16 1x. In a strong field of thirteen athletes, he rowed hard and consistently to gain a respectable fifth place.

Last up in Division 3 was Appleton in the women’s J16 1x for her second race of the day. Rowing a tidy race and pushing hard in the last 500m, she secured seventh in a competitive field.

The J17/18 squad started the day on a high note as the WJ18 4+ of Kate Richardson, Harriet Noyes, Maddie Hall, Amalia Richardson and cox Poppy Baines set off for their race in the first division. Despite Baines being a last minute substitute, they rowed strongly to win their event posting a time of 9:49.2. The two J18 doubles of Will Beattie and Tomi Wilcock, and Charles Happel and Toby Sartain were next to race for the squad in the second division. Beattie and Wilcock set off first and sculled superbly to come home in first place, ahead of fifteen other boats. Happel and Sartain followed them down the 2.5km course, and came over the line in joint seventh place, setting an identical time to the crew from The King’s School Worcester. Division three saw Beattie, Wilcock, Happel and Sartain race as one crew in the Open J18 4+ event, again with a late substitute cox who was kind to step in despite being from the RGS Worcester squad. They rowed confidently, despite being an inexperienced combination, however they were unfortunate to be outpaced by strong crews from Winchester College and King Edward The Sixth School and finished fourth overall.

Also competing at Wycliffe Small Boats Head was Stratford’s sister club, King Edward The Sixth School: the first race of the season for KES saw a quad and four competing. With a last minute substitution due to illness, the quad was up first in a strong field of J18 quads. Ed Rose, Rafa MacDonald, Tom Wheeler and Will Dalrymple-Baker had a good scull, completing the course in 8:53, putting them in sixth place within six seconds of a medal. In the afternoon, again with last minute substitution, the same crew went out in the coxed four with Poppy Baines from Stratford coxing. They had another decent row finishing in bronze medal position behind two strong crews from Winchester College.

Not to be left out, Stratford’s Masters’ squad travelled to Monmouth on Sunday to compete on the River Wye. The women’s new masters eight of Amanda Bowden, Suzie Radley, Charlotte Jones, Heather Hayton, Jane Cryer, Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley, Ellie Davis and Ruth Poulten won Monmouth Head over a 2.5 km course. Not only that, but they were the pennant winners for the fastest women’s eight for the day at 6.55 minutes! This is a superb achievement to this newly formed eight in their first race and it shows the strength of women in the Club. Said Charlotte Jones, crew members, “Despite the cold, damp conditions, the women were determined and, with Amanda at stroke, we set a good rate. Women’s rowing at Stratford Boat Club is just getting better and better!

Not satisfied with just one win, Stratford’s women’s’ masters quad of Heather Hayton, Amanda Bowden, Ruth Poulten and Suzie Radley raced for a second time to win in a time of 7 minutes19 seconds! Suzie steered a great course keeping hold of the stream.

Also at Monmouth on Sunday, a Stratford Masters 8+ debuted at the Winter Head, competing in the Mixed Masters D/E/F category. The crew, with an age range of 45 to 76 years old, raced the 2500m downstream in cold but thankfully calm weather, guided confidently by their experienced cox Isobel Moore who has been coxing for Stratford since she was a junior and more recently, coxing for University of Edinburgh Boat Club.

In their first 500m, the crew pushed firm, finding their pace for the 2000m still to come. With their opposition from Avon County Rowing Club ahead of them, the enthusiastic Stratford crew were ready to battle for a win in their very first race as a crew. Entering their last 500m, the crew dug deep to find those last strokes, their energy restored and spirits lifted by shouts of encouragement from the bank as they crossed the finish line.

Having only come together as a crew this autumn and with just a few weeks of training to prepare, the group was pleased with the result of their hard work, even if they missed out on a win. No doubt the presence of two Level 2 coaches in the crew was a blessing, with both Joe Moore and Alfie Nash bestowing their years of rowing expertise to the crew. Another mention must go to Alfie for completing his first race as a rower, having only coxed in previous races, as well as to David Day for his racing debut at 76 years old! The crew are already back to training and looking ahead to plan their next race in the new year. The crew consisted of Christine Deacon, Clare Booth, David Day, Joe Moore, Simon Moore, Alfie Noakes, Paola Ward, Rona Fitzpatrick and Isobel Moore (cox).

For media coverage, please see Stratford Herald https://www.stratford-herald.com/sport/junior-squads-make-waves-9288103 and page forty four and Stratford Observer https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-success-for-stratford-juniors-at-wycliffe-small-boats-head and also back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/12/09&pages=024

For more great pictures of Wycliffe Small Boats Head, see Stuart Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AiW2DAyn9tg9j6BfI3pyu0CSN51jdA?e=18GHXv

Stratford’s J14 and J15’s Put Down A Marker at Evesham!

Hot on the heels of Wallingford Long Distance Sculls last weekend, Stratford upon Avon Boat Club’s J14 and J15 squads were back in competitive action a few miles downstream on the Avon for Evesham Junior Head. Perfect conditions greeted the athletes as they warmed up for a day of against the clock racing over 1900m.

First to go were the WJ14 double scull crews of Isla Dunn with Millie Smith and Josephine Cooper with Martha Baines. With competition hot, the Dunn/Smith combination recorded fifth place with the Baines/Cooper outfit close behind in sixth place. Next were the WJ14 single sculls where Becca Smith and Tessa Parkin represented the Club. With nothing left on the course, the scullers recorded exactly the same time to finish equal third – quite something over a ten minute race. Last to take the water was the WJ14 coxed quadruple scull of Bryony Francis, Maeve Dunn, Sophie Franklin, Martha Cooke and Tessa Parkin (coxswain). The crew tore up the course leaving quality clubs such Headington School and Hinksey Sculling School in their wake to take the win in emphatic style with classy sculling on show.

First down the course for the J15 squad were the coxed quad of Theo Richter, Xavier Sissins-Rofey, Seth Vandrok, Ollie Rowlands, and Meg Nuttall (coxswain): despite a valiant effort, the boys could not close the gap between themselves and Hinksey Sculling School finishing in second place. Representing the girls were the WJ15 double sculls of Alice Jones with Poppy Baines finishing in fourth place and Sophie Evans with Alexandra Francis. Despite an untimely nosebleed and a clash with a slower boys’ crew from Royal Grammar School Worcester the Evans/Francis combination finished in second, missing out on the medals by just four seconds.

For media coverage, see Stratford Observer online https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/sport/rowing-junior-rowers-lay-down-a-marker-in-evesham and back sports page https://www.stratfordobserver.co.uk/editions/view/?/Stratford/2022/10/14&pages=024 and also Stratford Herald page fifty one

For more great pictures of Stratford Juniors at Evesham Rowing Club Junior Head, see Kathy Baines’ excellent selection https://1drv.ms/u/s!AgY7EiDB2lCOhbJnPzqq34Axw27Z_g?e=hFrKXg