IT HAS been a couple of busy weeks for Stratford Boat Club members in the run-up to Christmas, including a massive ‘clean-up’ weekend to sort out the club room, boat houses and the grounds.
Laurie Flintoft, Land & Buildings committee member, said: “It was great to see so many members, parents and helpers all get stuck in to tidy the club up and get the place ready for 2015 and the new rowing season.”
Meanwhile, Frank Hamilton, Harry Stirling, Ben Gittus-Smith and Denis Bradulin starred at a quality Head of the River race hosted by Monmouth Rowing Club.
In the morning division they all joined forces in an IM1 Quad and impressed onlookers, winning their category in style and beating a strong Bewdley boat in the process.
In the afternoon division, team-mates became competitors as Harry and Frank took on Ben and Denis, as well as three other crews, in the IM1 doubles.
Youngsters Harry and Frank managed to hold off their seniors, Ben and Denis, to win by just one second, as the Stratford boats again led all other opposition to win the category.
Coach Ken Stirling said: “Our thanks go to the host club for lending our crew a boat after our own suffered a broken rigger just minutes before getting on the water!”
Their colleagues put up a spirited performance at Wycliffe Small Boat Head as Stratford Boat Club and King Edward VI School entered no fewer than 27 races.
Notable Division One wins were KES with their Open Novice 4+ and Stratford with their Open Junior 15 4x+. In Division Two, there was a win for Stratford’s Open Junior 16 4+.
Will Bird, Stratford’s junior co-ordinator, said: “It was great to have such a large turnout from Stratford and we did well against stiff competition. This puts us in a good position for the rest of the winter head season.”
To finish 2014, Stratford Boat Club will not be resting on their laurels, as training will continue up to Christmas with high performance sessions, a mini practice upstream head and then, after Christmas, the club’s scratch Boxing Day Regatta when members come down to the club to blow away Christmas excesses and have fun.
Oli Smith, Stratford’s Captain of Boats, said: “Last year’s Boxing Day regatta was cancelled due inclement conditions but this year we’re hoping for a record turnout.
“All are welcome from 9.30am at the club to watch and help us judge the best fancy dressed crew!”
The Monmouth medallists are pictured, left to right – Denis Bradulin, Ben Gittus-Smith, Frank Hamilton, Harry Stirling. (s)