STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club held their annual summer regatta as more than 150 races took place in near perfect conditions.
Stratford were competing against crews from Evesham Rowing Club, Magdalen College School Boat Club, King’s School Worcester Boat Club, Royal Grammar School Worcester Boat Club, Hereford Boat Club, Ross Rowing Club, Clifton College Boat Club, and King Edward VI.
This year’s regatta comprised of three divisions and 163 races which took place between 8.30am and 5.30pm on a busy day of racing.
Stratford’s regatta secretary, Dan Warren, said: “It was a long day’s racing, our tea tent was extremely busy dispensing dozens of cakes and snacks.
“What a magnificent day topped by great racing. We ran the regatta under very tight protocols. We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”
Stratford would like to thank clubs and the public for the strong turnout and all SuABC members, umpires and officials for supporting the event.
Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council Mayor Kate Rolfe was in attendance.
On the water, Stratford’s Open J13 4x+ of Rory Rowan, Seb Happel, Ed Appleton and James Greenwood, expertly coxed by Orla Linforth comfortably won their straight final in Division One against Hereford Rowing Club.
In Division Two, the WJ13 2x of Naomi Sime and Maria Ntoukaki encountered a steering problem on the tricky course, which caught out many rowers, and unfortunately capsized.
And in Division Three, making their Women’s J13 single scull event debut, Orla Linforth and Erin Appleton lost out to powerful scullers from Evesham and Kings School Worcester despite a strong row.
Also, making their debut in the Open J13 single sculls were Rory Jones, Will Shaw, Euan Richter and Noah Rutter who saw off Worcester Rowing Club in eventful heats.
And in the all Stratford final, Shaw beat Rutter by three lengths.
J13 coach, Hugo Happel, said: “The J13 glass pot winners were very grateful to Club President Paul Stanton for his kind and gracious words at the award ceremony.
“Athletes, parents and coach are immensely grateful to all the volunteers who made the day a huge success.”
The Junior Spring Regatta took place the 500m course following the Avon through the town from Holy Trinity Church through to the finish line between the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, The Tramway Bridge and the club’s grounds.
Stratford’s J14 squad were once again out in force to take on the visiting crews on their home water with the WJ14 single sculls of Tessa Parkin, Bryony Francis and Poppy Warren first up.
Francis harried a confident Hereford sculler down the course in a thrilling race which resulted in a disqualification for Hereford as they strayed into Stratford’s racing lane.
Next up Tessa Parkin raced hard against local rivals Evesham Rowing Club with Evesham taking the win by a length.
Poppy Warren delivered the performance of her rowing career to seize a win in the semi-final against her squad mate and then produced a nail biting row in the final to beat her opposition by half a length only to be disqualified after straying from her competitor’s racing lane.
In the WJ14 double sculls event, Stratford’s Becca Smith and Isla Dunn lost to Evesham in the semi-final despite a strong row.
On the other side of the draw, it was a different story as Josephine Cooper and Martha Baines who took an easy win in their semi-final and went on to collect victory in the final with a gutsy row.
In the WJ14 coxed quadruple sculls event, the Stratford crew of Sophie Franklin, Millie Smith, Maeve Dunn, Martha Cook and Bryony Francis (coxswain) put forward a strong campaign with easy wins in the early rounds.
A similarly commanding performance saw them take the win in the final against Evesham.
Elsewhere, Stratford scullers were also in action at Henley’s Women’s Regatta which is one of the most prestigious events of the year run over the famous Henley course.
The event takes place two weeks before Henley Royal and attracts crews from all over the UK and many from abroad with the competition of the highest calibre.
Stratford’s J17 squad entered with Uche Nwachukwa, Maddy Hall, Harriet Noyes, Kate Richardson and cox Imogen Hill in the Groton School Challenge Cup for Junior Coxed Fours.
The crew made a good start in their time trial qualifying in the top-16 crews to progress to the knockout stage of the competition.
However, the girls were drawn against hot favourites Saint Edward’s School Oxford, who won at the National Schools’ Regatta in May.
Stratford went out hard and hung on to Teddies through the first third of the race but by the halfway point, Teddies had established clear water between the two crews which despite Stratford’s best efforts, Saint Edwards maintained to the finish.
J17 coach Sam Hill said: “The girls put in a superb performance in a fast heat. They are still a young crew and will have gained a lot from the experience, I have no doubt they will progress further next year.”
The club’s Fun Regatta takes place on Saturday, July 8 where Stratford give crews from local companies, clubs and organisations three hours training, a boat and an experienced cox.
Stratford Boat Club’s president, Paul Stanton, said: “We were blessed with good weather for the regatta and there were crowds watching the racing adding much to Stratford’s atmosphere and vitality.
“We were glad to showcase our sport and demonstrate our part in the success of our town. Again, we appreciate the tolerance and help from the other river users and colleagues.”