STRATFORD Boat Club men’s senior four defeated Quintin Boat Club in superb fashion at the Britannia Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.
The Stratford crew were victorious by two and three-quarter lengths in sweltering heat of 36.7°C in a time of seven minutes and 55 seconds.
Sadly, their success was not replicated the following day against Tideway Scullers as, after a flying start and being half a length up at The Island, the Stratford crew finally lost by a few lengths.
The men’s success in qualifying for The Britannia Challenge Cup and representing Stratford at Henley Royal Regatta after nearly 25 years’ absence is great credit to them, their hard work and the training of head coach Andrew Roe.
Dr Ben Twiney, men’s vice-captain, said: “Qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta is a major achievement in itself. There have been many hours of practice on and off the water with expert coaching.
“The weather was exceptionally hot and Henley Royal Regatta even relaxed their ‘gentlemen must wear jackets’ rule in the Stewards’ Enclosure!”
Included as stroke in the Stratford crew was James Roe MBE. Three years ago, James was part of the British mixed coxed four that famously won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“It is good to be back racing,” said James. “After London 2012, I didn’t do any rowing until the start of this season and I’m easing my way back into it. We didn’t have the results we were hoping for in the first couple of races this season but it has come together in the last few weeks.
“This is my third Henley but it’s Stratford’s first for many years, so it was great to be a part of it!”
THE PAST weekend saw seniors, juniors and parents all helping with Stratford Boat Club’s Open Day Summer Fete in the club’s grounds.
Jane Hadland, club administrator and membership secretary, said: “It was a great weekend to show the general public a little about rowing and also raise much-needed funds for The Pavilion Project at the club which will enable us to provide a training room and other refurbishments so we can offer membership to a wider range of Stratford and area residents.
“We still need £20,000 to complete the budget and enterprises such as the fete help.”
THE COMING week will be spent in final training and preparations for the club’s Fun Regatta on Saturday.
Paul Hazelwood, Stratford Boat Club’s Fun Regatta organiser, said: “The Stratford Boat Club Fun Regatta is a great community event where Stratford Boat Club takes crews from local organisations and companies in the area, gives them a boat, a coach, a cox, three hours’ tuition and a great mini-regatta!
“The course is from the ferry to the boat club, featuring guaranteed thrills and spills!
“It’s not unknown to see a sinking or two! The crews also try to outdo each other off the water as well as there is a competition for the crew in the best fancy dress!”
The Fun Regatta starts around 9.30am and continues until 5.30pm. There is great viewing from the Recreation Ground, Theatre Terrace, Bancroft Gardens, Tramway Bridge and especially the Boat Club grounds where there is a barbecue, tea tent and bar all day. Parking is available in the adjacent Recreation Ground car parks.
“Some of the local teams this year include St Benedict’s Catholic High School, Alcester; Blythe Liggins Solicitors, Royal Leamington Spa; Tyack Architects Ltd, Moreton in Marsh; Rybrook Mini and Jaguar Land Rover plc,” said Paul.
“It’s really about fun and it is also a great event for team-building and camaraderie. Often we find crews that take part get the bug and continue on to our Explore Rowing course here at Stratford.”