FOLLOWING the excellent performance of Stratford Boat Club’s senior men at Henley Royal Regatta’s qualifying competition last Friday, it was the turn of the rest of the club to showcase Stratford’s rowing ability at Ironbridge Rowing Club Regatta on Saturday.
Held in the locality of the world famous Ironbridge in Shropshire, the regatta attracts crews from all over the country for a two-day exhibition of keenly fought competition raced over a 1,000m course.
Stratford Boat Club was represented by a number of men’s and women’s crews from across the club throughout the day’s full racing programme.
First for Stratford were the women’s novice double scullers Christine Goodwin and Emily Barret in only their second competitive event and they recorded a well deserved and first ever win against Minerva Bath in their first race.
In a hotly-contested semi-final, Stratford were just beaten by two lengths by a quality Swindon Rowing Club crew.
It was then the turn of the masters men’s events which saw two Stratford crews competing in coxed fours competitions and the E crew of Gary Clay, Richard Nelson, Tom Doherty and Simon Beard recorded a good win by two lengths in the final over Evesham Rowing Club.
This was closely followed by the D crew of Tim Lunel, Simon Skillings, Glyn Hawkins and Wallace Brown just missing out on a win in a closely fought final to a strong Huntingdon crew by only one-and-a-quarter lengths in a race fought all the way to the finishing line.
In an afternoon interrupted by spectacular torrential rain showers, it was the turn of the small boat crews which saw Victoria Ward return to the water for her first race of the year following a serious knee injury.
Racing in a very competitive women’s IM3 single sculling event, Ward was narrowly beaten by the eventual winner from Grosvenor Rowing Club by three lengths.
The final event of the day for Stratford saw the double scull of Chris Straw and Joe Moore – fresh from their victory at Stratford Regatta the weekend before – hotly contest the final with Derwent/Derby Rowing Club, only to be squeezed out of a win by a length.
Helen Smith, Stratford BC’s women’s racing crew co-ordinator, said: “It was fantastic to see the women’s novice crew of Christine and Emily record their first ever race win and to see Victoria return to competitive racing following a long period of injury recuperation.
“Coupled with a strong showing from the men’s crews, this all bodes well for success at future events.”
Today (Friday), Stratford Boat Club’s men’s seniors coxed four are drawn against Kingston Rowing Club in the Britannia Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta having pre-qualified in previous regattas.
Stratford crew captain Dr Ben Twiney said: “Last year it was a great privilege for the club to be back at Henley after so many years and this year we are determined to do even better.”