STRATFORD Boat Club’s junior 13 squad rose to the challenge admirably as they tackled heavy rain and strong winds from Storm Miguel at the Blenheim Palace Junior Regatta on Saturday.
First to test the conditions was a double boat of Charles Happel and Louie Beason who recorded a very competitive time of two minutes, 13 seconds to finish in sixth place.
The next race for Stratford brought the club’s first medal as the girls’ quad of Amalia Richardson, Maddie Hall, Millie Hodgson and Ciara Wilson, coxed by Imogen Hill, won a bronze medal after finishing just nine seconds behind the winning Marlow crew.
The girls’ quad of Grace Beason, Ruby Brooker-Collins, Uche Nwachukwa and Kate Richardson, coxed by Emily Stobart, also won bronze, only eight seconds away from first place.
Next up was the mixed quad crew of Happel, Louie Beason, Nwachukwa and Grace Beason, with Wilson, finishing in joint second place with Marlow and only three seconds behind the winning Radnor House crew who clocked a stunning one minute, 56 seconds.
Conditions were deteriorating and the double crew of Amalia Richardson and Hodgson battled on to finish in fifth place but only two seconds from a medal place.
Hall and Stobart finished in fifth place in their double, which again was an admirable effort in very difficult conditions.
The event concluded with the delayed singles races in which Hill and Brooker-Collins struggling through the wind to complete their races.
J13 coach Steve Marsden said: “Even after really poor weather conditions, all the athletes had at least one medal and some two medals, creating very smiley faces and a great amount of parental pride having faced up to some of the most successful rowing clubs in England!”
ALSO out in the foul weather was Heather Hayton in her first singles race at Bridgnorth Regatta.
Coping well with a strong stream, Hayton put in two good races against opponents from University of Birmingham and Bewdley in a round-robin event.
Stratford’s women’s vice-captain Helen Smith said: “This was a good start to Heather’s singles racing career.”
ELSEWHERE, Mark Sanders from Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad took part in racing at Hereford Rowing Club Regatta recently.
The squad’s aim was to support Hereford’s first steps into adaptive racing and compete in supported doubles against Brendon – a student from Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.
The squad undertook two 500m sprint races – the second using the club level adaptive time handicap system. Both competitors won a race each and were presented their pots by the mayor of Hereford.
Mark Dewdney, coach to Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad, commented: “Thanks to Hereford Rowing Club for their hospitality and to Stratford juniors for cheering us on!”
ALSO at Hereford were Hayton and Tom Doherty racing in the mixed masters double sculls category.
Racing an older but very competent Upton crew, the Stratford duo had to contend with chasing down a 16-second handicap over the 1,000m course.
A good start allowed them to make steady progress and draw to within three lengths of Upton by the 500m mark and a big push saw them close on Upton with 250m to go before taking the win by two lengths.
Masters vice-captain Doherty said: “This was Heather’s first regatta win since taking up rowing 18 months ago and she was given the traditional ‘first win’ river dunking by the junior crews!”