IT WAS a busy Bank Holiday weekend for Stratford Boat Club rowers who were in action at both the Evesham and Wallingford regattas.
Continuing the 2018 regatta season, the action moved to Evesham where the traditional Bank Holiday weekend two-day event took place over 1,000m of the Avon on Saturday and 500m on Sunday.
The sun shone on the event for both days, but heavy rainfall earlier in the week made conditions tricky with a strong stream on the river against the racing crews.
The Stratford masters coxed four crew of Richard Field, Richard Anderson, Graham Cann and Dave Edwards opened proceedings with a win over the host club to put them through to the semi-final.
In what turned out to be one of the most memorable events of the day, the masters lined up against a schoolboy crew some 40 years their junior from Royal Grammar School Worcester. Battling hard, the Stratford crew lost out by just one length as their years of experience were narrowly eclipsed by the exuberance of youth!
Next up was the junior 15 double sculls events in which the boys’ crew of Fred Tyler and Max Griffiths met their match early on, losing out to the eventual winners City of Oxford by just half a length. The girls’ crew of Mya Kenny and Alice Baines then stepped up to win their first heat easily but then went out in the semi-final to a strong Stourport crew, again by half a length.
The women’s junior 14 coxed quadruple sculls event saw Sienna Rawlings, Martha Usselmann, Abbey Meggeson, Elisabeth Edwards and Mary Walton on the water. Unfortunately, the luck of the draw was against them as Stratford went out in the first round to eventual winners Stourport.
The men’s junior 14 double sculls action continued the flow as the crew of Will Clarke and Conar Aitchison spoiled the day of two Pangbourne College boats on their way to the final. In a great battle in the final, Stratford eventually succumbed to City of Oxford.
Then came the women’s coxed quadruple scull of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock, Maiya James and Naomi Sergeant. The drama unfolded with a straightforward dispatch of Abingdon in the first round and then Stourport in the semi-final. Onwards to the final, the previous races took their toll and the crew eventually lost out to Evesham.
The women’s junior 18 double scull event proved another crowd-pleaser as the Stratford crew of Issy Marsden and Issy Clarke made short work of Royal Grammar School Worcester in the semi-final. However, the fairytale ending eluded them in the final when the Evesham crew pipped them to the post by just one length.
Junior co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said: “One of the joys of regional regattas is both senior and junior crews competing at the same event. The senior squad was represented by Victoria Ward and Sian Maher in the double scull, Oliver Smith in the single scull and also a Stratford coxless pair of Harry Tarrant and Stuart Lyons.
“All rowed hard but lost out in the semi-finals of their respective events, no doubt taking an extra lift from the assembled club supporters on the bank.”
Closing the day’s racing was the women’s junior 14 double scull event in which Sophie Elstone and Harriet Hodgson flew the flag for Stratford. The pair put on a dominant show, winning their heats easily and then the final to give Stratford a win to round the day off with another display of superb sculling.
Stratford’s WJ14.1x (Amelie Sartain) missed out on a final place by one length and Stratford’s WJ14.8x+ had a great time with some good racing and lost out by only one-and-a-half lengths behind City of Oxford J15 boys’ boat as they had two wins out of three races.
The J13 squad had a great day on Sunday at Evesham Regatta in their first ever river race. They competed in various crews in all of the boat types available to them – octuple, quads and doubles.
In the octuple, the J13 squad were beaten by Stratford’s WJ14 squad by just two lengths and the Evesham WJ14 squad by only one-and-a-half lengths, which were fantastic results given the J13 squad are a year younger.
Stratford’s J13 coach Abi Terry added: “We are very proud of the way the J13 squad raced and showed immense maturity in the way they conducted themselves both on and off the river.”
Meanwhile at Wallingford Regatta, Stratford’s senior men’s four had a good row and finished 14th quickest of 36 crews but missed out on the semi-finals.
Stratford’s 4+ also competed at Wallingford, but sadly the regatta at Marlow scheduled for Bank Holiday Monday had to be cancelled due to flooded car parks.