STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club’s Adaptive Squad swept the adaptive board winning both the singles and doubles/pairs events at Gloucester Rowing Club’s Spring Head.
On the Adaptive Squad’s first outing of the season, Andy Morris won the singles competition in his maiden event for the club, covering the 1,750 metre course in a few seconds under 10 minutes.
And Stratford then secured a one-two-three finish in the doubles/pairs event with Gillian Middleton and her support rower Rona Fitzpatrick taking first place ahead of Ian Ward and his mother Paola in second and Hattie Throssell and rowing partner Joe Moore in third.
Elsewhere, Jake Blatcher had a good row in his single but suffered from cramp during the last kilometre of his 5000 metre race which ruined his chances of success.
The meeting also saw a composite Stratford/Gloucester crew comprising Gary Clay and Kjersti Rogneflaten (representing Gloucester but also a Stratford member), racing in the Masters F Mixed Double Scull event.
And the duo were up against stiff opposition but settled into a strong rhythm and managed to overtake four women double scull crews who had set of ahead of them before finishing the tricky course strongly to win by four seconds from Upton (the Scriveners, who joined forces with Stratford in the afternoon division).
Another Stratford Masters’ squad continued their competition in the 5km afternoon division with Heather Hayton and Tom Doherty rowing with their Upton friends Tabatha and Julian Scrivenor in the mixed Masters’ fours event.
With a field of five crews of varying age groups from under 30 up to 60, the Stratford/Upton crew with an average age 55 to 60, led off closely followed by Bristol Ariel average age 35 to 40.
In a back and forth race, in which both crews led at various stages, Stratford/Upton were able to come home in second place with a significantly close overall time to take the race win knowing that a close finish would guarantee them a win on the races age group handicap system after Ariel pulled out to a 20-second lead at the finish.
Sadly, Stratford’s Junior Squad and King Edward The Sixth Boat Club had to make the best of the water on the Avon at Stratford as their West Midlands Rowing Championships at Stourport were cancelled as the River Severn was not viable for rowing.
The Adaptive Squad now forms part of a new initiative at Stratford Boat Club – The Stratford Mixed Ability Rowing Team – which aims to integrate the adaptive squad with able-bodied people learning to row and the club’s day time recreational groups. The club is introducing this change slowly so that the best result is achieved for all concerned.
The Adaptive Squad’s next event is a time trial at Henley-on-Thames on Sunday, April 3.