THE REGATTA season continued in impressive fashion for Stratford Boat Club members who starred at the Peterborough Junior Championships held over 1,000m on the purpose-built Cambridgeshire lake and at Ironbridge.
Always a competitive event, this year’s Peterborough competition did not break the mould as clubs travelled from around the UK, stretching from Teeside to Kent and many in between. Stratford’s junior 14 and junior 15 squads made trip to Fenland to taste the competition.
The J14 event began with Elisabeth Edwards missing out on a semi-final place in the single sculls by just one foot. Another competing for the first time in a single scull was Sophie Elstone who, after getting through her heat, fought hard in her semi-final and just missed a finals place.
For their first time racing in a single, both girls showed promise for the future.
Staying with the girls’ singles, Amelie Sartain paced herself well in the heats leading up to her final and came home to win a silver medal – a great achievement over the blustery 1,000m course.
William Clarke in his single faced both strong competition and the windy conditions and missed out by only six seconds on a semi-final place.
The girls’ double of Martha Usselmann and Sienna Rawlings sculled well on their way into the semi-final but, after a closely-contested race, were pipped at the post for the remaining final positions.
The coxed quadruple scull of Mary Walton (cox), Abbey Meggeson, Emma Harrison, Harriet Hodgson and Julia Zampronio-Gurden confidently won their first heat, but during the semi-final suffered an equipment breakage.
While positioned nicely ready for the final push, one of the gates holding an oar gave way and slowed the boat and ended their race.
Meanwhile, in the J15 events, the action was also red-hot. In the girls’ single sculls, Alice Baines, Mya Kenny and Maiya James were relieved to be drawn in separate heats. The strong headwinds caused issues for all, with Baines progressing to the semi-final stage but missing a place in the final by just two seconds.
In the girls’ coxed quadruple sculls the crew of Jasmine Mountney, Nixie Brunt, Mili Wilcock, Baines and Naomi Sergeant (coxswain) exited the competition early against strong crews from Northwich and Bedford Modern School in the toughest of the three heats.
In the girls’ double sculls both Stratford crews of Wilcock and Mountney plus Kenny and James won their heats convincingly. Ecstasy turned to agony, however, in the semi-finals as the journey ended for both boats.
Not to be outdone, the junior 15 boys’ squad stepped up as the double scull of Dan Cox and Fred Tyler swept aside their competition in the heats, only to be undone in the final.
Last but by no means least, in the J15 single sculls Tyler rowed a tactical first heat, conserving energy. After waltzing through the repechage to book his place in the final, things got spicy and a superb row in the final delivered the second Stratford silver medal of the day.
MEANWHILE at the magnificent Ironbridge – traditionally a happy hunting ground for Stratford crews – this year was no exception.
Kjersti Rogneflaten-Woolley led the way with pots in both the Women’s Masters E double with her rowing partner from Derwent with a very big margin over Evesham in the final.
She then followed up by winning Women’s Masters E in the afternoon with what ended up being a straight final – ideal for avoiding what had been scheduled as a very late finish!
Christine Goodwin and Tim Lunel had a first race entry more in preparation for the head season rather than ambitions of winning an open mixed competition.
They surprised themselves by how hard they pushed the eventual winners Oxford City despite an interesting start provided by the starts in cross-wind conditions.
Goodwin and Lunel kept pushing back, showing that Masters rowing can provide the stamina the younger competitors lack at times and they eventually finished just a couple of length down over the line.
In the afternoon, Lunel teamed up with coach and mentor Chris Straw to see if they could go one better than their final place of last year. A really good row in the semi-final saw them take an early lead which they sat on for the length of the race and won by a comfortable three-length margin.
This led to a final against their well-known Stourport opposition who beat them last year in two finals by half a length and a canvas respectively. Again it was not meant to be as the Stourport crew maintained their winning streak.
Lunel said: “So, a clear goal for next regatta season then – a few more training sessions to ensure a win in 2019!”