STRATFORD Boat Club’s senior men are celebrating after receiving the good news their 4- have pre-qualified for the Henley Royal Regatta (July 4-8).
The 4+ will need to go to Qualifiers Rounds on Friday, June 29 but Stratford’s senior men’s coach Bill Sullivan said: “We would be very disappointed if they didn’t make it through after all their hard training and doing so well in the run-up pre-qualifying regattas over the last couple of months.”
The two senior men’s crews continued their quest to qualify for Henley Royal Regatta at Marlow Regatta which is one of the most important opportunities to both race and do well enough to qualify for Henley.
Both crews raced at championship level against some of the best university and club squads in the country and from overseas.
First up were the coxed four of El Willets, Chris Thomas, Ben Twiney, Tom Coles and Ed Lewry who are aiming to race in the Britannia Cup at Henley. After the time trial on Saturday morning, the crew knew they needed a strong performance in the B final.
However, they were just pipped for fifth place by half a length against a crew who were subsequently qualified for Henley. The Stratford crew will have to go to the Qualifier Rounds this Friday, racing against 11 other crews for the last five places in the line-up.
The other Stratford boat of Mike Hourigan, Patrick Hourigan, Alistair Collier and Ed Press were trying to qualify for the Wyfold Cup and faced more than 20 other crews at Marlow.
After a series of energy-sapping races in which they finished second and fourth in their finals, they left hoping they had done enough. On Sunday evening the Henley stewards confirmed the Stratford crew had indeed qualified and could start to plan for the regatta.
Sullivan added: “Attention now turns to Qualifiers Rounds on Friday where the coxed four will be endeavouring to join their squad-mates at the most prestigious regatta of the year.”
Also at Marlow, Tim Lunel participated after many years since his last Marlow Regatta.
Lunel said of his efforts: “Does 30 years make a difference? Well, it was 30 years ago since the last time I had the pleasure of racing at Marlow and came away with a pot for the Elite Eights.
“That was before Eton Dorney where the regatta is held now was even built!”
This time Lunel was rather lower down in the pecking order with a race-off in the E final in the Challenge single sculls with a London Rowing Club sculler in his 20s and the Walbrook sculler who had won Masters D at the Masters National Championships in Nottingham the previous Sunday, when Lunel had come third.
The Walbrook sculler won again in the Masters D Final, whilst in the informal race the London Rowing Club rower was disqualified for being too young even though he came in a distance ahead of scullers!
Lunel said: “So does 30 years make a difference? Not one bit. Eton Dorney is a fantastic place to race and I enjoyed the day, remembering back to cheering on the GB teams back in 2012 and having the chance to race at such a great venue.
“The main take home message – campaign for a Masters event at Eton Dorney!”
Meanwhile, at home in Stratford, preparations continue for the club’s Fun Regatta on Saturday, July 14.
The entry date for participating crews has been extended to Saturday, June 30 and secretary Wallace Brown said: “This is a much more ‘relaxed’ event than our main fine boat regatta, with scratch teams from local Stratford, Warwickshire and area companies and organisations.
“We give the crews three hours’ coaching, a boat and cox and organise a regatta for them!”
Companies and organisations wanting to put a crew into the Fun Regatta should contact Wallace Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit stratford-rowing.co.uk/fun-regatta-2018.