STRATFORD Boat Club’s masters rowers completed their summer in style with a trip to the 2016 World Rowing Masters Regatta.
The event, which is held on the international course at the beautiful Lake Bagsvaerd just outside Copenhagen, attracts a high quality field from all over the globe with many Olympians from London 2012 and former internationals among the competitors.
Among the best performing competitors were crews from as far afield as Argentina, Russia and Australia. With almost 10,000 rowers competing over four days, racing was thick and fast, every three minutes throughout the day, with up to three races on the 1,000m course at any time.
The Stratford crew of Kjersti Woolley (stroke) and Tom Doherty (bow) competing in the mixed masters E double sculls had their work cut out in a race against crews from the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Switzerland and France.
Despite getting off to a shaky start which saw them a length down over the first 250m, the Stratford crew settled into a good rhythm and fought back to overtake several crews, finishing in a time of four minutes, 25 seconds in a race won by an excellent former champion Netherlands double.
Woolley said: “It was a great experience to take part in such a high profile event and, as a Norwegian, to beat a crew from Norway was an added bonus!”
Next year Stratford will be hoping to take a larger contingent to the event which takes place at Lake Bled in Slovenia.
CLOSER to home, Stratford’s junior squad were in action at the weekend on the Thames at the opening head race of the new season.
The Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, held over 4.25km, attracts top level scullers from around the region and Stratford fielded crews across the age range.
Of particular note were third placings for the J15 double scull of Khloe Curnock and Autumn Keil, J16 double scull of Ellie Gray and Lauren Willis and the J16 coxless quad of Amy Neville, Lara Davies, Issy Marsden and Maddie Winsper.
On the shorter 1.5km course, Stratford J14 crews triumphed as all three boats won their events.
The mixed coxed quadruple scull of Max Griffiths, Daniel Cox, Nixie Brunt, Mya Kenny and Mimi Hill recorded the fastest time of the coxed quadruple sculls entered whilst the women’s crew of Jasmine Mountney, Mili Wilcock, Maiya James, Alice Baines and Sophie Neville overhauled Maidenhead to win their event.
To close the day, a gutsy performance from Fred Tyler in the single scull saw him take the victory in the J14 category.
Junior co-ordinator Steve Wellstead said: “All in all, it was a solid performance for the club and great promise shown for the season ahead.”
NOT to be outdone, Stratford’s Explore Rowing squad travelled to Edgbaston Reservoir where Birmingham Rowing Club played host to the penultimate Explore Regatta on Sunday when eight crews took part.
Once again two crews from Stratford attended, joined by assorted crews from Birmingham, Bewdley and Upton.
The odd intense shower, gust of wind and slight bloom of blue-green algae added to the novelty of racing on a reservoir for the first time, not to mention getting in and out of the boats on the shoreline whilst trying to juggle with wellies and shoes and plenty of on-board water!
The somewhat limiting racing distance of just over 200m also provided some exciting close finishes and the Stratford mixed crew of Becs, Lucy, Rona and Rory managed to pull ahead of Birmingham to seal a race win.
The Stratford ladies crew of Andrea, Jackie, Maria and Rosie proved to be in great form and, thanks to some good starts, managed to keep the pressure on and won their first three races.
Their last race was against a mixed crew from Bewdley, who unsurprisingly proved the stronger crew in the end but only by a canvas.
Had the Stratford ladies also won this final race of the day, they would have shared first place with Upton, who were the undefeated winners of the afternoon’s racing.
Stratford can now look forward to hosting the final Explore Regatta of the season on Sunday, October 30.