ROWING - Boat Club juniors, masters and adaptive athletes on form to win medals - The Stratford Observer

ROWING - Boat Club juniors, masters and adaptive athletes on form to win medals

Stratford Editorial 4th Aug, 2023   0

STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s J16 squad celebrated success at the Henley Town and Visitors Regatta with a pair of race victories.

The double scull of Jamie Wilcock and Will Dalrymple-Baker executed their race plan to perfection in a straight final against Wallingford to win by two boat lengths.

There was also success for Stratford’s Seth Vondrak in the J15 singles as he pulled clear in the middle section of the race to win by four lengths against a Henley sculler in a straight final.

First to take to the water was the J14 women’s coxed quadruple scull of Sophie Franklin, Becca Smith, Martha Baines, Bryony Francis and Poppy Warren (coxswain).

Competing in the J15 category, the crew made easy work of Wallingford Rowing Club in the first round only for a second Wallingford crew to win by four lengths in the final.

In the WJ14 single sculls, Sophie Franklin and Millie Smith represented Stratford with great sculling in a tough headwind as both finished second in their respective semi-finals, narrowly missing out on a place in the final.

And in the WJ14 double sculls, three Stratford crews took to the water in the form of Bryony Francis and Martha Cook, Martha Baines and Becca Smith and Isla Dunn and Poppy Warren.

Francis and Cooke powered their way past a quality Wallingford double in their semi-final while Baines and Smith also secured a final place as Dunn and Warren narrowly missed out.

The final was not quite an all Stratford affair as Henley Rowing Club came out on top.

Stratford’s J15 squad took on four events as Theo Richter and Ollie Rowlands were unable to qualify for the J15 double sculls despite a valiant effort.

The J15 girls enjoyed success in the sculls event with Sophie Evans, Alexandra Francis, Poppy Baines and Meg Nuttall representing Stratford.

Evans finished third in her race, despite usually racing in bigger boats, as Francis won her race to advance to the final with Baines in second while Nuttall, who normally coxes, lost to the eventual winner in her heat.

In the final, Franics fought hard but lost by a narrow margin to Wallingford.

And in the double sculls, Lily Warren and Alice Jones were competing as a crew for the first time as Wallingford won the overall event although the Stratford duo beat Shiplake to claim second place.

In the J16 single sculls, Elliot Baird finished third in a closely contested heat while the WJ16 coxless quad of Jessica Long, Scarlett Richardson, Megan Rowan and Harriet Froom competed up an age category as the age difference told against a composite WJ18 crew from Staines and Mundener from Germany.

Lastly, Charles Happel from Stratford’s J17 squad stepped up to do battle in the senior single sculls event and was beaten by a sculler from Upper Thames Rowing Club.

Elsewhere, the club’s women’s masters squad came away with five gold medals at the Euro Master Regatta in Munich, Germany.

Suzie Radley, Amanda Bowden, Heather Hayton and Kjersti Rogneflaten Woolley all represented Stratford across four days of racing in several boat classes.

Bowden said: “Lining up at the start to hear the starter announce ‘Great Britain’ alongside the other international competitors was totally thrilling.

“It was hugely inspiring to race masters’ athletes at this level, competing against other nations and great fun catching up with previous rowing friends and making new ones.

“Many thanks to all our supporters, with a special mention to Dan Simkins for boat support and David Bowden for the driving to and from Munich.”

Back on home waters, the club’s adaptive squad headed to Exmouth for the British Offshore Rowing Championships competing against rowers from Czech Republic, France and Germany.

Stratford pair Andrew Morris and Tom Doherty competed alongside Ali Martineau and Kath Coleman-Jones from Coastal Barbarians Club, in the mixed ability quads sculls over a 4km course.

The lead changed hands several times before the Stratford/Barbarians crew edged ahead and were able to hold off their competitors to the finish line.

Crew captain Doherty said: “This was Stratford’s Andrew Morris’s first experience at sea rowing and he put in an incredible performance to win a gold medal.

“It also shows there are no limits to what adaptive athletes can achieve.”

And Doherty then won bronze in the senior men’s 6km double sculls final with Robin Steward from the Mayflower Club.

In a competitive field of six crews, Eastbourne pulled away at the 3km mark to win the race with Stratford/Mayflower forced to settle for bronze after a good battle with Jersey who claimed silver.

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