STRATFORD Boat Club’s seniors and masters rowers braved blustery, deteriorating weather conditions to compete at neighbours Evesham Rowing Club’s Masters of the Avon & Evesham Head of the River Race on Saturday and saw their efforts rewarded with across the board success.
Ed Lewry and Ben Gittus-Smith were the pick of the crews with an outstanding performance of double sculling much admired by the organisers, completing the course in an excellent 15 minutes, 42 seconds for the third fastest overall time of the day.
Gary Clay and Tom Doherty followed this up with a win in the Masters C double sculls category in 17 minutes, 12 seconds for the tenth fastest overall time of the day as they beat Evesham crews and fellow visitors from Worcester and Warwick.
Stratford’s success did not end there as fellow Stratford rowers Ruth Winter and Will McCloud – racing for sister club Mayflower Offshore Rowing Club – narrowly beat Stratford members Kjersti Woolley and Phil Marshall in the Mixed Masters C Novice double sculls in a time of 20 minutes, 27 seconds.
As if that was not enough, the afternoon session saw Ladies’ Masters vice-captain Lucy Kelleher lead by example with an excellent win in Mixed Masters C double sculls in her first ever head race with Doherty.
Doherty said: “It was touch and go if the event would even take place due to the deteriorating weather conditions and much thanks goes to the organisers at Evesham who worked tremendously hard to ensure the event could happen.
“It was very satisfying to see Stratford do so well right across all the competing crews, which bodes well for the rest of the winter head racing season.”
Not to be outdone by the rowers on the water, fellow club member Christine Goodwin competed at the Welsh Indoor National Rowing Championships and achieved an outstanding gold medal and personal best time in her two-kilometre race and now looks forward to representing Stratford Boat Club in the Great Britain National Indoor Rowing Championships on December 12.
Doherty added: “This is an outstanding achievement and the whole club is very excited at the prospect of Christine competing at the National Championships for Stratford Boat Club.
“Christine’s time was one minute, 43.7 seconds, down from one minute, 48.7 seconds, so a new personal best for Christine.”