THERE was a superb turnout of both competitors and supporters for Saturday’s Rosconn Stratford Boat Club Regatta.
Crews from as far afield as Cardiff & Vale Schools Rowing Association, Monkton Combe School near Bath, Nottingham & Union Rowing Club, Merton College and Northwich Rowing Club joined teams from clubs closer to home to compete.
Glyn Hawkins, lead committee member for Stratford BC’s refurbishment, said: “It was a great opportunity for Stratford Boat Club to show off our newly-refurbished and expanded club and how we will be continuing to provide sport for all ages, not only for Stratford itself, but also the greater Warwickshire area.
“We also had the opportunity to talk to local visitors on completing the finance for the project.”
Kjersti Rogneflaten, Stratford BC’s regatta secretary, said: “We were very heartened by the huge turnout from local and distant clubs and the interest from the public.
“A massive thanks to all our sponsors, especially the Rosconn Group, hardworking Stratford Boat Club members, visiting crews, umpires and officials and the public for supporting the event.”
Club president Paul Stanton added: “It was a long day’s racing from 8.30am to 6.30pm.
“Some 350 beefburgers, 40lb of sausages, 20lb of bacon, 25kg of sliced onions and 700 buns, all from local suppliers, were consumed, as well as dozens of cakes and snacks.
“What a magnificent day topped by great racing! The weather during the week running up to the regatta was not kind, river levels came up, so we decided to shorten the course to ensure the safety of all the competitors and river users.
“We were especially grateful for the help and tolerance of those operators who work and make their living on the river.”
Attentions now turn to Stratford BC’s Fun Regatta on July 9 and club treasurer Paul Hazelwood is excited.
“This is a much more ‘relaxed’ event with scratch teams from Stratford, Warwickshire and area companies and organisations.
“We give them three hours’ coaching, a boat and cox and organise a regatta for them.
“There are bound to be thrills and spills so come and see the ‘other side’ of rowing!”
WHILST Stratford crews were competing hard at their own regatta, Esme Booth (J17) and Imogen North (J18) rowed for King Edward VI School and Stratford Boat Club respectively at Henley Women’s Regatta.
The racing took place over a distance of 1,500m upstream on the famous Henley Royal Regatta course and both athletes took part in the Junior Women’s singles division.
The category saw a high-class entry of scullers from both the UK and overseas and 29 competitors took part in an initial time trial, eliminating all but the top 16 athletes.
Both Stratford athletes progressed comfortably, ranking in the top ten overall.
However, racing against extremely tough competition, unfortunately both Esme and Imogen were knocked out in the following rounds and were unable to progress to the last eight and last four respectively.
Stratford BC junior coach Alfie Nash said: “Both Esme and Imogen had rowed exceptionally competitively against the highest ranked competition nationally at junior level, many of whom currently represent British Rowing internationally.
“It is always great to see King Edward VI School and Stratford represented in such prestigious events. This is truly a reward for the time and effort put in by athletes, coaches and supporting members of Stratford Boat Club.”
Coach Mark Holden added: “Henley Women’s Regatta attracts not only the strongest crews in the UK but also considerable international interest with crews competing from the Netherlands, Canada and the United States.
“Esme came up against a tough opponent from Cambridge ‘99 Rowing Club but gained very valuable experience for the future in this premier event. Imogen won a close race against a sculler from the United States to repeat her success of last year and progress to her second Henley Women’s quarter-finals.
“Imogen was beaten by the eventual winner from Reading but both Stratford athletes can be very proud of their achievements in the company of such strong international competition.”
There was more good news for Stratford crews as the club’s men’s seniors coxed four pre-qualified for the upcoming Britannia Challenge Cup at Royal Henley Regatta and the coxless four will be competing in the qualifying round on Friday.