STRATFORD Boat Club’s Masters squads descended on local club Evesham for one of the last head races of the pre-Christmas season in the shape of the Masters of the Avon & Evesham Senior Head.
Held on a cold but otherwise perfect day for rowing, Saturday’s event was run over two divisions with the morning division of 4km length of the River Avon attracting a Masters D/E (average age 55) coxed four of Jen Carey (cox), Simon Skillings, Glyn Hawkins, Tim Lunel and Wallace Brown.
After a steady start the Stratford crew, marshalled expertly by Carey, powered away from Evesham to win their event in a time of 18 minutes, 34 seconds, beating Evesham by 45 seconds.
Following them closely down the course was the Stratford Mixed Masters E (average age 55 years) double scull of Kjersti Woolley and Tom Doherty.
Competing against a high quality Derwent crew, they completed the course in a creditable 19 minutes, 47 seconds but had to settle for second place.
In the afternoon division, raced over a shorter 2km course, the Masters F/G (average age 60 to 65) men’s double scull was an all-family affair as the Moore brothers Joe and Simon took on local crews from Evesham and Bewdley.
Rowing a tidy race, the brothers completed the course in 11 minutes, 3 seconds to finish in second place.
The next Stratford racing crews saw a head-to-head between single scullers Mike Atkins and Chris Straw in the Masters E/G division (average age 55 to 65).
In a competitive field, Atkins came a well deserved second in a time of 11 minutes, 15 seconds, just beating training partner Straw by only three seconds to secure bragging rights.
Hot on their heels and not to be outdone by the men was Woolley who, having recovered from her morning exploits and now in a single scull, recorded a very good time of 12 minutes, 11 seconds.
Tom Doherty, Stratford’s Masters vice-captain, said: “It was great to see so many of the Masters squad competing across a range of events.
“With more crews in training, we hope to have additional crews competing across the region at events in the new year.”
FOLLOWING their amazing season of success and having only been rowing for slightly more than a year, Stratford’s Explore rowing section was invited to enter a crew into the Women’s Primary 4+ event in Division Two to provide some friendly competition for a Bewdley crew.
Definitely up for the challenge but last of the day to set off, the Stratford crew of Rosie Stone, Clare Booth, Rona Fitzpatrick and Becky Smith nevertheless strode out well over the start line and increased their rating to catch up and overtake the Bewdley crew by the halfway mark.
They maintained a good lead for the rest of the course and finished just under two minutes ahead.
Rosie Stone, the Explore section organiser, said: “The Stratford Explore crew gave a stylish performance throughout, much aided and encouraged by cox Esme Booth who did a sterling job of motivating and keeping the crew together!
“Thanks as always go to our great coaches who provided enthusiastic support and advice whilst training and on the day.”