STRATFORD-upon-Avon Boat Club continued the 2023 regatta season with a trip to Evesham as action took place on 1500m of the Avon across two days.
The J14 squad took to the Avon to score an early win over the Evesham Rowing Club on their home water in the first round of the WJ14 coxed quadruple sculls event.
The crew of Martha Baines, Josephine Cooper, Poppy Warren, Isla Dunn and Tessa Parkin (coxswain) went on to grab the first pots of the day with a win in the final against Cheltenham College.
Next up was the WJ14 double sculls event where Stratford fielded three crews. Maeve Dunn and Sophie Franklin took an early win in the first round against Stowe Sculling Club.
The crew of Bryony Francis and Martha Cooke were less fortunate, narrowly missing out to a Hereford combination.
The second round was an all Stratford affair with Dunn and Franklin bettering the duo of Becca Smith and Millie Smith with a quality row from both.
Dunn and Franklin saved their best for last by vanquishing Hereford to take the second set of pots in the final with a commanding display to deliver Stratford a clean sweep at J14.
Stratford’s J15 squad were represented by the two women’s double scull of Lily Warren and Poppy Baines plus Sophie Evans and Alice Jones.
Both crews showed the great strides made in their training leading up to the event but left the competition in the semifinals after meeting stiff competition from Evesham Rowing Club and Ross Rowing Club.
The J15 boys’ coxed quadruple scull of Theo Richter, Seth Vondrak, Ollie Rowlands, James Albrighton and Meg Nuttall (coxswain) put on a great show and romped home to win their event leaving Cheltenham College and RGS Worcester crews in the their wake with a first class row in the final.
With GCSE’s imminent, a reduced J16 squad took the trip across to Evesham to compete over the 1km course.
First up was Jamie Wilcock in the open J16 single sculls semi-final against Huntingdon who built on a composed start to take a small lead and then pulled away in the home straight to secure a spot in the final against Royal Grammar School Worcester.
In the final, the RGS sculler had a collision with a safety boat off the start and Wilcock took the win.
Next, with no other women’s J16 entries, the women’s coxless quad of Ez Elfwood, V Vondrak, Eloise Cooper and Aimee Appleton, rowed up three classes to senior and took on Minerva Bath in a semi final match.
After a quick start, the crew settled and rowed with composure to take the race all the way to the line, narrowly missing out on a place in the final by half a length but winning respect from the Minerva ladies.
Up last were the double scull combination of Scarlett Richardson and Nancy Davis in a straight final match against a very competitive RGS Worcester.
They got off the start well to stay in contention to the half way point when the strength in the RGS boat was too much to hold off and they settled for runners up having given it their all.
Four members of the J17/18 squad took on the 1000m course on Saturday in Evesham.
First up were the WJ18 double of Lucy Browne and Freya Watts who sculled flawlessly to take two unequivocal wins in their quarter and semi-final races against crews from Stowe and Minerva Bath respectively.
Their streak of good form then culminated with an authoritative victory in the final against a crew from Cheltenham Ladies’ College whilst being cheered on by the swathes of Stratford supporters on the bank.
Next up were the J18 singles of Charles Happel and Toby Sartain who both won their semi-final matchups in style by dispatching strong competition.
They were then pitted against each other in the final where Happel earned a deserved win.
The afternoon then saw them join forces in the open doubles event where they were unfortunate to face a much more experienced men’s crew from Stourport Boat Club.
Despite a race that both rowers could be happy with, they fell short and couldn’t come home with a win in this event.
Stratford’s J13 scullers started part two of Evesham’s Spring Regatta early in Division 1 the following day in their first ever side by side racing.
In the OJ13 2x event, Seb Happel and Euan Richter started cleanly from the stakeboat and held their lead over the Bristol Ariel boys who rowed very nicely.
In the semi-finals, Seb and Euan faced Stratford’s J13 girls Naomi Sime and Erin Appleton, with a win for the boys.
The other semi-final saw Stratford’s J13 boys Will Shaw and Noah Rutter pitted against a very strong looking Evesham boys crew, with the latter taking the win.
In the final, Evesham boys won on their home water, sculling with good technique and power.
Division 3 was a straight final for the Stratford Boat Club J13 crews in the OJ13 4x+ event.
This time, the girls, Naomi Sime, Erin Appleton, Orla Linforth, Maria Ntoukaki, coxed by Seb Happel won by a narrow half a length, against Ed Appleton, James Greenwood, Rory Rowan and Rory Jones, coxed by Euan Richter, in what looked like a dead heat from the bank.
Both crews showing spectacular sculling throughout the 500m sprint.
Hugo Happel, J13 Coach said: “It was a day of great camaraderie, fun and great sculling.
“Thanks to Evesham Rowing Club for putting on a great event.
“We look forward to welcoming Evesham crews to our regatta on Saturday, June 17.”